Oct 112011
 
A 1:144 scale HACS-02HG-MPS Grizzly, from Drea...

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Welcome to the Heavy Gear Universe

Whether you are an experienced gamer or you are looking to get started, Heavy Gear is a war-gamer’s dream. It’s set in a universe where the best of the best do battle in big stompy robots. Dream Pod 9 has put together a fantastic collection of miniatures representing all aspects of combined arms warfare centered on “Gears”.  Gears are 15-18 foot tall robots. They are armored and agile carrying tank-like firepower including rockets, auto cannons, lasers and even rail guns. They are capable of inflicting major damage at range while performing martial arts style hand to hand combat.

The setting combines tabletop miniatures with RPG style background. The story takes place on the planet Terra Nova, one of several Earth colony planets. Terra Nova’s poles are temperate but separated by a wide equatorial desert called the Badlands. The North and South wage war across the Badlands while the inhabitants of the Badlands fight for survival and to hold on to their small pieces of inhospitable terrain.

To complicate things further, the forces of Earth have re-appeared to reclaim their colony. The CEF (Colonial Expeditionary Force) is Earth’s strong arm bent on reclamation of the colony planet and all of their resources. There might consists of hover tanks and genetically engineers soldiers called GRELs. After an earlier, failed attempt on Terra Nova, the CEF has set their collective mind and come back with a vengeance.

The combat system for Heavy Gear, which we will discuss in much more detail later, is simple and easy to learn. It is based on opposed rolls (2d6) with simple modifiers. Damage is determined by margin of success and weapon based multipliers. It is an elegant system where every attack counts. Even the lightest attack has the ability to be lethal, giving the exciting feel of real combat.

In addition to the rich storyline, great miniatures, fantastically attractive and well formatted rulebooks, one of the biggest appeals offered by Heavy Gear is the relatively low buy in. A two player starter containing the core rulebook, field guide, dice, a tape measure and 6 gears weighs in at $67. The starter contains everything needed to play Heavy Gear while leaving endless options to expand the game to fit your wants and needs. An out-of-the-box video review of the starter will follow shortly in addition to book reviews, background articles and battle reports.

Keep an eye out for the first battle report where I will be teaching my16 year old son to play and will be sure to include his thoughts on learning the game as well as the diversity of the system.

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Revising Standard the Influence of Innistrad: RUG

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Oct 102011
 

Moving on in our discussion about how Innistrad effects the standard environment we come to RUG.  I know I said we would go somewhere else first.  but we made a wrong turn.   What is RUG anyway?  For those of you that don’t know it is an acronym for Red/Blue?Green.   Most of the RUG decks are control driven, but they are not your traditional type of control.  At least I don’t believe so.

RUG doesn’t have the named history like some of the other archetypes do.  Take Fish for example it was an archetype before it was named.  That doesn’t mean the roots of Rug do not run deep.  I remember building Blue/Green decks when Prodigal Sorcerer still thrived, and Gaea’s Liege deprived your opponent of everything except Islands.   It wasn’t long before you saw Channel, Fireball, and Mana Drain enter the deck.  Yeah, that was a while ago.  Somewhere around the time of Conflux (I believe) RUG got its official name.  Why, I don’t know.  But the name has lasted ever since.

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Revising Standard: Red Burns Innistrad

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Oct 062011
 

First I am sorry for not posting this yesterday,  real life got in the way.   Second, I was going to start with more black cards, but I really have not had a chance to look it over yet.

Why does red burn Innistrad?  Lets take a step back a moment and look at what I am saying.  Red Deck wins is hardly using any Red cards from Innistrad.   David Doberne took 1st at the Star City open in Indianapolis.  Here is the link to his deck.  In the whole deck there are only three named cards from Innistraad, Brimstone Volley, Stormskirk Noble, and Traitorous Blood.  The deck I was going to post differed like this instead of Brimstone Volley I was going to run Goblin Grenade, and instead of  goblin Arsonist I was going to run Reckless Waif.

After looking at his deck I can’t believe I overlooked Brimstone volley.  Duh! 5 damage, an instantand it was one of my favorite picks 2 weeks ago.  The really funny part is I just used a whole bunch of creatures that had good card quality, like Spikeshote Elder, Chandra’s Phoenix, and Grim Lavamancer.  I didn’t even see how good it was until I started writing this article today.

Brimstone Volley is so easy to cause its 5 damage (Grim lavamncer or spikeshot)

With Chandra’s Phoenix you can almost always guarantee having a creature in play.  Too bad the phoenix doesn’t have Flash.

Stormskirk is just darned good right now.  I mean you have to play him; the anti human energizer vampire just doesn’t stop growing.

Enough about the deck.  Why isn’t Red Innistrad seeing more play, when it has some pretty good cards?The truth is Red deck wins didn’t really lose that many cards.  It still has a lot to offer us like Devils Play, and Ancient Grudge.  I am sure the will turn up in a control deck somewhere.  It wouldn’t be surprising if  Curse of the Stalked Prey  and Curse of the Pierced Heart make it into a goblin deck that does fairly well.   HMM I think I will build that for my second son.

 

Next Time I hope to look at Green and blue.  More Specifically R/G aggro.   With any luck we might even get to talk about R/U/G.

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Oct 052011
 

While the lawsuit has been going on for awhile now it appears there is some new news.   If you have not been to Dakka Dakka and to Bell of Lost Souls (BoLS) to read about it I suggest you go here and here.  I am going to recap a little bit of what is being said, but I am only going to recap the main portion of the posts.  I encourage you to visit the links and read them for yourself.

In a nutshell, Games Workshop filed suit against Chapterhouse because they (GW) claim Chapterhouse has infringed on the intellectual property of Games Workshop.  Chapterhouse motioned for a dismissal saying that GW must cite where the infringement is.  So far it seems GW has not defined the areas of infringement.

The post on BoLS by BarCode states that GW has taken the following actions in response to the lawsuit.

  • They have put some Tyranid and Eldar releases on hold until the legal matters have been settled.
  • The Tervigon kit will not be released.  Instead they will release a new monster.
  • Thunderwolves will no longer be released.
  • GW will go to a single wave release schedule.

I don’t know about you but not all of those are bad things.   OK, I am bummed out by the fact that Nids and Eldar are on hold.  But the truth is GW made that  choice not Chapterhouse.  Do I agree with it?  That is both a yes and a no.  Which I will cover in more detail in a minute (it is all opinion).

Continue reading »

Oct 052011
 

Introduction

Last week I provided an overview of depression. This week I shall take a look at its connection with gaming. I’ve been gaming for fourteen years, and have had the opportunity to meet a lot of wonderful people – folks that I gladly call “friend.” And there is one thing that I have noticed about the gamer population compared to the general population. I believe that the rate of depression in gamers is higher than that of the general population.

Gamers & Depression

Why is that? Are depressed people drawn to gaming? Or does gaming make one more depressed? Or is it simply a coincidence, or faulty observation on my part?

We can eliminate that last question based on the proven fact that I am always right. (Which, by the way, is another source of my depression. It is an incredible burden to be right all the time 😀 .)

The second question seems counter-intuitive: How can something “fun,” like playing games, make you feel depressed? Sure, many of the games we play are competitive, and no one likes to lose; losing can put one in quite a funk. But at the same time we recognize that “it’s just a game,” so the prospect and experience of losing are not that emotionally traumatic. Furthermore, many games, especially RPG’s are cooperative, allowing everybody to “win.”

Therefore I’m brought back to the first question: Are depressed people drawn to gaming? I think that there is some solid evidence to indicate this probability.

First, depression makes it difficult to socialize with other people, but gaming provides a “bridge” to social interaction. It’s easier to address another person through the medium of a game, with its rules and structure, compared to trying to strike up a conversation with someone at “regular” party.

Second, it gives the depressed person something to do. Lack of activity and motivation are the most difficult parts of depression to deal with. Gaming, at the very least, is an activity to focus on and participate in. Thus gaming is the vehicle by which one can combat that lack of motivation and activity.

I’m sure there are other reasons (which a qualified sociologist or psychologist could explain) why gamers seem to have a higher rate of depression than the general population, but these two stand out strongest to me. Continue reading »

Revising Standard the Influence of Innistrad in Standard Part 2

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Oct 042011
 

Two days ago, I wrote about White and how it received some really great new creatures giving White Weenie a fighting chance again.  Today, I am going to focus on Liliana of the Veil.   She is pretty amazing.   Being the other 3 drop planeswalker in the game I expect to see some great things from her.   I was hoping that her +1 ability that forces each player to discard a card would be able to take advantage of Flashback.  It seems that the best card to do that with is Unburial Rites.  Which is not the best idea.  It could work, but it would be difficult to make a good combo with the two in T2.  Here ability to target player sacrifice a creature does have some promise though.   The combination of hand control and and board control is an excellent representation of black and a better combination.   Her last ability “-6: Separate all permanents target player controls into two piles. That player sacrifices all permanents in the pile of his or her choice.”  is going to be used. It kind of reminds me of Fact or Fiction, but only because the player has to chose his pain.

Liliana is pretty wicked good.  There is already a really good BUW control deck built around her and there will be more.  here is a link to that deck list WUB. Since that is a really great deck I will focus on a simpler deck for a thirteen year old player.

4 Dire Graf ghoul

3 Cemetery Reaper

3 Zombie Infestation

2 Grave Titan

 

2 Endless Ranks

3 Liliana of the Veil

4 Doomblade

4 Surgical Extraction

4 Distress

4 Despise

3 Black Sun’s Zenith

24 Swamps

 

My sideboard is yet to be determined

Now that I have built this deck I am thinking it might have too much hand disruption.  What about you?  Do you think it has too much?   Here is what I like about this experiment.  It has good creatures for a themed deck.  It has a descent amount of control. Right from the start.  There are just enough mechanics like , discarding, planeswalkers and Grave titan triggers to make this deck a good teaching deck.  Wouldn’t be great if on the first turn you cast despise and surgical extraction?  While it won’t win a PTQ it is a great deck for my son to have fun with at FNM.

Black has a lot more cards to offer from Innistraad.  We will look at them tomorrow,  along with some red cards.  I am hoping to design a new version of Red Deck wins this week.  Any ideas as to what I should play?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Revising Standard: Influence of Innistrad

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Oct 022011
 

Hey again,  welcome to Revising Standard.   In this set of articles we will always discuss the impact of the most recent set.   The goal is to make this a living document that changes as the format matures.  I will attempt to update each article by using the comments section of the blog.

The first installment of Revising Standard will discuss some of the impact Innistrad has on Magic the Gatherings standard or T2 format.   More specifically we will start discussing how white is being influenced or becoming an influence.

White has long since been known for its one and two drop creatures.  It also has a history of having one or two good reset buttons at any given time.   White is often splashed or used as a support color.  In fact blue and white have become a tradition among the deck archetypes of our day.

 

Continue reading »

Challah Bread is so Wonderful with Video Demonstration

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Oct 022011
 

Challah bread is a traditional Jewish egg bread.  Most of the time it is a braided bread, but you don’t have to braid it.  There are a lot of eggs in this bread,  that provides two things.  First, a fuller richer flavor, and second a longer shelf life.  I have left this bread out for as long as a week.  When I say out, I mean uncovered.   The presence of the eggs also help giving the bread a golden brown color.

 

 

 

 

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Through Gamer Goggles to attend Con on the Cob

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Sep 292011
 

In two weeks time we at Through Gamer goggles will be coming off the web to bring you news From Hudson Ohio.  Why?  To bring you great coverage of Con on the Cob.  CotC is a convention full of games, parties, art, and freaks.  Yes, it is a four day invasion of minds altered by fantasy and science fiction.

What we will be doing is covering the convention.   Our goal is to provide you with as much information as we can possibly bring you.  We hope to interview every guest and post them here within 7 days of the event.  Through Gamer Goggles has also planned a few events.  Not to mention we plan on interviewing fellow gamers about their experiences.

Check back soon for more information like event descriptions.

In two weeks you should swing by and partake in the fun.

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Sep 282011
 

Introduction

Well that sounds like a fun topic!  I understand that most folks are uncomfortable discussing depression, it can be, well, depressing.  So why bring it up at all?  And what is depression’s relationship to gaming?  First of all, I have depression.  Second, I am a gamer and there is a clear correlation between my gaming and my particular level of depression.  Third, knowing the symptoms of depression – both personally and professionally – and being familiar with many gamers, I have observed that many gamers may suffer from depression as well; perhaps at a higher percentage than the general population.

What Is “Depression”?

So, just what is depression?  It is more than just temporary sadness.  In fact, sometimes it is not even expressed or felt as “sadness.”  The biggest expression is a feeling of “lack” – a lack of ambition, lack of desire, lack of appetite, lack of worth, lack of hope, lack of focus, lack of energy.  We are all too aware of the tragic consequences of prolonged, untreated depression.

How do you know the difference between normal sadness and clinical depression?  The key is the prolonged nature of depression.  Sadness comes and goes, caused by particular events – from a tear-jerker movie to the loss of a loved one.  Depression is always there – sometimes less pronounced, sometimes more so.

What Causes Depression?

What causes depression?  The most recent research reveals a strong genetic, biological component.  Social influences and particular experiences can exacerbate the underlying tendencies towards negative thoughts and feelings.

Is It Just Weakness?

Isn’t depression just laziness or being weak?  No.  Is someone with heart disease, cerebral palsy, allergies, acid reflux, or fibromyalgia lazy or weak?  No.  Can a person with acid reflux simply “will himself” to not feel pain when he eats jalapeño peppers?  Can a person with heart disease simply “will” her heart to beat properly?  So can we expect someone with depression to simply “will himself” to feel better, to be motivated, to love life?  No.

How Do You Fix It?

So what do you do about it?  Like so many diseases and disorders, depression is treatable though not curable.  Like so many diseases and disorders, treating depression requires a combination of medication and therapy – cognitive, emotional and physical.

To Be Continued . . .

So what does all of this have to do with gaming?  I will explore just that in the next part.  Depression is a part of my life, and so is gaming.  And I believe that gaming can both help, and hinder, one’s experience with depression.  Furthermore, I believe that depression is not a death-sentence.  Sure, sometimes it sucks; but there is hope, even fun.  Join me next time and I promise fun will be had.

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