Sunday, February 22, 2009

Blast from the Past - Rise and Decline of the Third Reich

While reading Roll Dice and Kick Ass I had a memory flashback when I saw the recent post about the old Avalon Hill Classic, Rise and Decline of the Third Reich. For those that don't know, this was one of the original 'monster games', complexity level 10, massive board, upto seven players, 64 page small font three column rule book, zillions of pieces.

I got a copy in the early eighties. I was the only person in the region who had a copy. I played one game against a school friend (or, part of a game) and several 'against' myself. Never did find another player to play it against. Still have my battered copy of it, hoping against hope that one day I'll get a chance.

In the early 90s I saw a pirated copy of a computerised (Amiga) version which was a hoot to play, but I never again finished as I had to move from the house where the copy was and I didn't have an amiga.

I don't think there's a functioning community even now on the cyberworld for it, and don't know if at this stage of my life I'd have time to go through all those rules again, let alone play it. Sure would love to though!

Maybe when I've retired, as long as my eyesight hasn't gone to shite so I don't miss the fine print.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Cyberspy Warning

I have had an interest in the anthropology of online worlds since I discovered them. Besides the study of the play, I am interested in the 'leakage' between realworld and online cultures. (as may be slightly obvious in my passage through RK). Seems I'm not the only one so interested.

Besides the marketeers and the hucksters, there's another breed I'm at least as interested in, the soldiers and the spies. If you look at this page and surf the links you'll find plenty of interesting stuff if you're interested in it.

The one that grabbed me is this tendentious piece of CIA work, written it seems sometime in 2007. They really don't seem to get it.

And what has this to do with gaming? You'll see that the corporations and the spymasters are trawling with their scientist friends the online worlds of social networks, games, and the hazy territory in between. The assumptions behind their analyses will soon, if it doesn't already, affect your realworld opportunities and experiences. All because you won't know about it doesn't mean it won't be happening.

Makes me sound like a paranoid Call of Cthulhu player!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Dark and Moody Online Dice Roller

As part of my job as Steward of Scotland in RK it became necessary to use an online dice roller that was simple to use and provided accessible time stamped results that are publicly viewable. I needed it for the selection of Scotland's first Grand Jury from a number of volunteers for this important work. It was very important that the process be transparent, nothing worse than a bunch of suspicious scots with an axe to grind, so I thought I'd remove the most likely source of their suspicions.

After calling for volunteers, we needed to cut down the number to the eighteen that were needed, and then to allocate them to either the Grand Jury per se or one of its two alternatives. Doing it by random lot seemed to be the way to go.

After looking at several sites, I settled on using this one.

The Dark and Moody site also seems to be the home of traditional RPGs translated into an online environment, and bears checking out for that alone. I particularly like the fact that there are Call of Cthulhu games going on here, that being my favoritist ever game system and amongst my favoritists games to play.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Steward of Scotland

In Renaissance Kingdoms Scotland we have recently lost a number of players to the Kingdom(s) of Ireland. Amongst those that emigrated was the recently elected Steward of Scotland. He says it was due to an affair of the heart. Be that as it may, and without any personal animosity, the player really let the Kingdom down with his departure. The Steward is the pre-eminent position within the Kingdom available to players, providing leadership to the nation. Losing a leader is like a kick in the guts.

Anyways ... there was an election for a new Steward. I was nominated and elected without opening my mouth. So now I am the Steward of Scotland, and everyone expects me to solve their problems. Which I can't do, but can help them solve their own together. I hope I do better at it than I did as General of the Galloway Regiment. I am more diplomatically inclined as a player than militarily. Or maybe I am more of the Strategist type thinker than the Operational level activist. Either way, I think I'm better suited to the present role.

Needless to say, I have created a new banner:

Dadlean Anthropology

Some of you may recall that I have an interest in anthropology. Sometimes I feel like an ethnographer when I play on the MMPORG worlds I'm involved in. I do try and keep an interest in the general state of play in academic anthropology on cyber realities. I haven't really tightened my own thinking on the subject a great deal but do keep it in the background amongst my intellectual pursuits.

Recently came across this site, the Dadleaus Project which uses a sociological approach to tracking World of Warcraft and other video based MMPORGs, and deriving social science insights on the cyber realities that millions share. If you're into this kind of thing you might find it interesting.

Roadside Sacrifice

My character from Tribal Nations has recently been travelling through distant provinces of 15th Century Aztec Mexico with the intention of using the coded mechanism for 'robbing' to conduct 'sacrifices' of travellers to the road gods (you can follow my travels on this evolving map).

We had our first successful attack on the first day we set ourselves up on a 'node'. We made a tidy profit and, judging by the following mail which my character received, rather upset the victim:

"You are aware that I want back everything you stole from me. Of course ... I'll make an official complain (sic)."

Judging by what he was carrying at the time he was transporting goods between towns as either a trader or as an 'official' who was moving goods to help the economic development of the more isolated towns.

I sent him the following mail in response:

"We thank you for participating in our roadside sacrifice. The high priests of your tribe will no doubt also be pleased at your sacrifice to the gods of the road, in conformity with the sacred lasw of Yohualtepec which encourage devout worshipers of the road gods to sacrifice travelers who travel alone."

The silly bugger might in future make an effort to form a group before travelling with such valuable goods as he was.

We have moved on to another location in the province to conduct further sacrifices. More news as it comes to hand...

Monday, February 02, 2009

Another TN Map

This map of TN world at the moment is by 'Metztli' from the TN forums. Me and my buddy are at Cuauhtinchan at time of writing*. We're not going to spend any time here, instead continueing to head down through the major central road intersection. We are going to ignore the new province of Quiyauhteopan (Blue) to the west of the five way intersection and continue south on the nodes on the road through Huehuehtlan and places south in the province of Youhualtepec (Green). The five way intersection node is in the later province.

*I will keep updating this map with our journey as I find it a nicer map to look at.