Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Things I'm Looking Forward To In 2015

With 2014 almost over, it's time to look ahead and see what's got me excited (or at least mildly interested) about 2015. Here's a list of the top 10, plus some honourable mentions...

1) Urban Shadows
I was too late to join in on the Kickstarter for this (I was actually pretty skint at the time anyway), but after reading up about it online and watching some actual play recordings over on +Richard Rogers's Youtube channel, I decided to put myself down for preorder copies of both the Urban Shadows core rulebook and the Dark Streets supplement which compiles all the city guides for the game together. I'm a big fan of urban fantasy like Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dresden Files, Lost Girl, Supernatural, and most recently Grimm. I also like what I've heard about its take on the Apocalypse World system, with mechanics like Debts and Corruption which really reflect the genre. It's a game I'd love to play as a PC, but I don't think I'll mind running it too much either.

2) Hannibal Season 3
This is just of those shows that hooks its viewers over the course of a season and then leaves them reeling with a gut-punch of a cliffhanger at the end. I won't say what the cliffhanger for either season was, in case you've yet to watch it, but let's just say I'm pretty anxious to see what happens next in the show.  And yes, I realise I'm probably going to be left gutted by another brutal cliffhanger next season, but it's suck a good show, so I'll just grin and bear it.

3) Agents of SHIELD - Season 2, Part 2
I had faith that Agents of SHIELD could become a great show despite its shaky start, and my faith has been rewarded big time. It went from being an 'okay' show in early season one, to a good show in the latter half of that season (especially after Captain America 2 happened) and it has been pure awesome since it came back for season two. They stopped mid-season with a reveal that makes me wish the second half would air sooner than March 3rd. But that's okay, because in the meantime we'll have...

4) Agent Carter
Peggy Carter, founding member of SHIELD! Watching the Marvel One Shot by the same name, it's not hard to see how they decided it had potential as a series. Besides having a kick-ass heroine getting her hands dirty with some post-WW2 espionage action, it also has a social conflict built-in with Carter fighting for her right to contribute to the greater good despite the sexist attitudes of her superiors who seem to think she's better kept at a desk than out in the field. Looking forward to seeing how it works out as an hour-length series.

5) Avengers: Age of Ultron
The last couple of Marvel movies have been pretty amazing, so I'm looking forward to seeing the gang get back together for the second Avengers team-up movie. Hopefully we'll get to see more development of Hawkeye's character because, besides being a badass with a compound bow, he didn't really get to do much in the last couple of films he appeared in.

6) Worlds In Peril
And since I'm talking so much about superheroes, there's this superhero-themed Apocalypse World hack due to be released in the New Year. I've been searching for a superhero RPG that works for me as both a GM and a player for almost as long as I've been a roleplayer. But AW is one of my favourite systems, so I figure if anything is going to click with me, it'll be a supers game based on that.

7) The Devil's Only Friend
I finished off the first John Cleaver trilogy earlier this year and now Dan Wells is kicking off a new trilogy about the teenage would-be serial killer turned demon slayer. There were rumors that the new book, The Devil's Only Friend, would be narrated by one of the surviving support characters from the previous series instead of John but there's nothing in the blurb to indicate that. It would be cool to see John from an outside perspective, but even if we don't get a different viewpoint it'll be good to return to the world and see how John is adjusting to the events of the previous book.

8) True Detective - Season Two
Season one was pretty solid. Writing, acting, direction, all top-notch. Can they pull it off again with a second season? Well, we'll just need to wait and see. If nothing else, I love my detective fiction, so I'll check it out just to satisfy that itch if nothing else.

9) Terminator: Genesys
I haven't really been that psyched about new Terminator stuff since Terminator 3 (I did watch Sarah Connor Chronicles, but I mostly just liked the music by Bear McCready), but I've been waiting to see Emilia Clarke play a role other than Daenerys Targaryen so I was pretty intrigued when I heard she'd be playing Sarah Connor. While I was initially skeptical about the plot when it was revealed, the trailer did look quite fun. Even if Arnie is way too old to pull off his old action movie shtick at this point.

10) Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Again, I haven't really been excited about anything to do with Star Wars since the Phantom Menace came out, but I'm gonna give this a chance for old times' sake. Hopefully it won't be terrible.

Honorable Mentions

Constantine: Season 1, Part 2
The show's been good so far, but I'm being a bit reserved about it because it doesn't seem to be doing so well with the network. They didn't get picked up for the back 9 episodes to make it a full 22 episode season, so this first season will be limited to the first 13. That doesn't bode well for it getting picked up for a second season. Based on the better episodes of the series (Non Est Asylum, The Devil's Vinyl, A Feast Of Friends, Blessed Are The Damned and Saint Of Last Resorts part 1) I'd love to see the show get continued, but...we'll see.

Student Nationals 2015
I'm always kinda looking forward to this at the end of each year (if I've signed up to go) so I didn't want to make it one of the main ten entries. That said, this year sees the return of Doctor Who as an RP category, as well as the addition of categories for Anime and TV/franchise tie-ins. I put in all three as my options for the category I'll be playing in this year so, whichever one I get, I'm sure I'll have fun with it.

Tears of a Machine: Tales of the Arx Jericho - Season Two
Not only will I be rejoining +Misha Polonsky and our group from the previous season of this teen mecha drama RPG, but we'll be joined by two new players, one of whom is the game's designer, +Russell Collins. It'll be interesting to see how things progress from last season as our characters head into space to take the fight to the Mayzor invaders on their home turf, and it'll be handy to get Russell's input on the system as we play. The first session starts this Sunday at 7pm GMT and I'm looking forward to it a lot, not least because it gives me a chance to actually play rather than run a game again.

Friday, December 26, 2014

It's (Un)Boxing Day!

Hey folks, hope you all had a lovely time wherever you were yesterday and whoever you were with, and that that you got some awesome and fun stuff.

Anyway, now that I've allowed myself to look through the boxes for the board games I got myself with my birthday/Christmas money (plus one that was a birthday present), I thought I'd share some unboxing videos of the games for anybody who reads the blog.

I'm much better at writing than I am at talking, so I apologise in advance if I ramble on or else lapse into silence occasionally. It's my first real attempt at vlogging, so I hope you'll forgive me.

In any case, here are the videos:

That's all for now, though I'll probably be doing the usual resolutions/geekolutions posts for the days before and after New Year. So I'll see you then!

Monday, December 22, 2014

[The Plan] Blogging in 2015

Hey folks! I dropped off the blogosphere for a bit there. Not exactly back yet, but I will make the customary New Years Eve/Day posts next week. Been busy with Christmas shopping, parties, visiting friends and other festive stuff, so I haven't been posting updates on here of late. I'll get back into the blogging habit early to mid-January, at which point I should actually have stuff to post about!

First of all, it's expected that the second season of the G+ Tears of a Machine campaign, Tales of the Arx Jericho, will be starting up on Sunday the 4th of January, and I'll be able to start putting together AP reports soon afterwards. (I'll also get around to finishing and posting the AP of last season's finale before that, promise!)

Second, I wrapped up the first third of my Firefly campaign at GUGS a fortnight ago, and a couple of my players have posted some pretty awesome in-character APs on our Tavern Keeper site, so I'll be using those to help put together APs for the season so far, and by the time I've finished posting them we should be back from the holidays and I'll post regular updates from the campaign from that point on.

Third, I'll probably have a few new games to read over after Christmas (I might buy Dread and/or Dungeon World with some of my Christmas money) and more expected to arrive sometime in the New Year in the form of Kickstarter backer rewards (Primetime Adventures, Timewatch) and pre-orders (Urban Shadows). Once I've got those and read through them, I'll aim to write up reviews of them.

I'm going to worry less about making posts about writing going into the New Year. Don't worry, I'm not giving up on writing, in fact, I plan to step up my game as a writer in the New Year. Part of that will involve not writing about writing and concentrating on just writing. Until I'm published and have some actual industry experience, I doubt any advice I have to offer will be of any special interest or value to anyone. As such, from the start of next year most of my content will be gaming-related, or will involve books, movies and TV shows. Beyond posting flash fiction and the occasional progress report on current projects, the closest I'll come to posting writing-related content is reviewing books about writing or software that's of particular interest to writers.

I also need to be careful that I don't use up all my potential writing time on blog posts, so my output will probably be low to medium (two to three days a week). It pretty much was that already, but I'm setting that as my minimum target now; if I manage five to six days content, I'll call that a good week.

I'll be back on Boxing Day with unboxing videos of a few boardgames, one of which was a birthday present from friends, and the other two I bought with my Christmas money. This will be the first time I've actually done any kind of vlog posts, so we'll see how that works out.

In the meantime, I offer you all best wishes this festive season. :)