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About sekullbe

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  1. I know exactly what Rob's saying about wanting to read more diverse stuff and falling back on the white men I'm familiar with. I try to have a shortlist of diverse authors when I'm choosing a next book, but sometimes I just want to read #7 in the Splodey Spaceships series by J. Random Whiteguy, and I think that's OK if that's not all I read. I also agree that military history is a problem there- you've got Tuchman, Mary Beard, and then who? The fact that I don't know is a problem. (Catherine Merridale's "Ivan's War" comes to mind, at least.) On my shortlist is a recommendation from John Scalzi's blog: Claire O'Dell's A Study in Honor - it's described as Watson and Holmes except they're queer black women in a near-future setting.
  2. The discussion early in the show about long sequences with no checkpoints and difficulty spikes at the end reminds of one thing that's pretty popular- endgame raiding in MMOs. Grinding on boss fights with multiple phases and difficulty spikes is almost the whole point of those encounters. So I suspect some single-player game designers are looking at that and thinking "this is really popular, I can put it in my game" but IMO it doesn't work well there. In the MMO you have a lot more variables to adjust to beat the encounter, while in an offline game all you can really do is memorize the steps and execute the pattern a little tighter next time, Edge of Tomorrow style.
  3. The notification system Chris was blueskying about actually does exist- 'DriveThruRPG' and its related sites are using it. If you buy a product from any publisher, you're added to a list and they can send you emails. But you can also control this on a sender-by-sender basis- whether you receive emails from that publisher and whether they can see your name and address on publisher reports. Each message comes with a header line like "A message from $PUBLISHER via (stop receiving $PUBLISHER messages.) Why did I get this email?". So it can be done, you just need to find an engineer at Steam who thinks it's a good idea I also don't mind the occasional AD or "survey" episode. I think there are a lot of topics that maybe don't warrant a whole show, and an occasional 10,000-ft view of the lay of the land is interesting of itself. One show I'd like to hear is a survey of naval wargames- that came up briefly in the AD episode. The designer of Rule the Waves is starting on RTW2 so he might be fun to talk to. I haven't yet, but I probably will back AIW 2- I bounced off of AI War myself, but it feels like my fault rather than the game's; I just wasn't ready to put the effort into learning it, and as I've gotten older I've been losing interest in anything in the RTS space. I played the bejeezus out of the Warcrafts and Age of * games, but lately they don't work for me. I'm hoping AIW 2 can fix that for me.
  4. Episode 371: 3MA After Dark

    Love to see you guys in Boston For CMANO, I learned through two sources: Baloogan's tutorial videos: Uncle Mark's tutorial scenarios 1-6 in the Community Scenario Pack. (used to be only on the Matrix site but now they're more available) The hardest thing I found in CMANO for an old Harpoon player was the setup of missions. There are a heck of a lot of options there, some far more important than others, but not a lot of guidance about which ones you really need to care about. The tutorial scenarios have popup messages explaining a lot of the process. edit: sorry about the huge video thing, I didn't know the forum software would pick up the playlist link...
  5. Episode 363: Sid Meier's Pirates!

    I played so much of this on my Atari 800 back in the day, and then on the PC with the remake. I still keep the 1987 manual and map in my 'live' manual drawer because they were better than the 2003 versions. Way back when, I had the map memorized to the point where I could usually find any treasure with one map fragment. I didn't much mind the dancing segments, though I'm desperately average at them- I can follow the directions but never on the beat.. As far as trading, the older game suggested that as a way to play the early Dutch- keep your relations good enough to smuggle goods into Spanish ports. Your fluyt was supposed to encourage you to trade. I never found that interesting, but it was at something they thought somebody might try to emulate. I didn't hear mention of the iOS version; I tried it and found the controls unplayable. Instead of taps they wanted swipes for fencing moves, and that was just death to hitting the precise timing. My guy would just flail around until he got skewered. Nice try, but too much effort trying the hip new UI toys and not enough verifying that it actually worked.
  6. Hearing about UnREAL reminded me of my favorite sendup of reality shows, from Lifetime's evil opposites on Spike- "The Joe Schmo Show". It was mostly a scripted sendup of the usual reality show tropes with the exception that *one* of the cast really was an actual "contestant" who wasn't in on it- everyone else was an actor. So there was a lot of fourth-wall breakage and TV-show inside baseball from the actual actors which I always find entertaining. The first season, in 2003, was a standard 'Big Brother'-type housemates show. The standouts were Kristen Wiig before she got big and the Schmo who turned out to be a really great guy. Second season was a Bachelor/ette dating show with two contestants- it was a lot of fun, for spoily reasons. Third season was less interesting- it was about competing to be an apprentice bounty hunter.
  7. Yeah I remember the days post-college and pre-family when I could actually spend an afternoon practicing carrier landings in F/A-18 Korea. These days, I'd love to learn DCS A-10 but I already have a job. I think of some of the heavy sim games, and maybe some of the more involved Lords Managements, have the same relationship to general PC gaming that ASL does to board wargaming. They're related, and people who like ASL almost certainly would like other games, but they don't need them; the game is a hobby by itself.
  8. Episode 352: Atlantic Fleet

    I'm looking forward to finding out what Troy finds "hideous" about Rule the Waves. Sure, it's got some quirks in scenario generation, and the UI That Time Forgot, but even with those weaknesses it's just so much dreadnought-building fun.
  9. Episode 322: Wing Leader

    Another game that used the side-scrolling mechanic is Phil Eklund's Luftschiff- a solitaire game about German zeppelin bombing in WWI. Instead of the ground being fixed and the planes moving, the Zep is fixed while planes and terrain move past it as it travels. Looking forward to giving this one a try once my pile-of-shame is cleared out a bit.
  10. I bounced off of HOI3, mostly through not quite giving it enough time to figure out which micromanagement tasks were important and which were skippable. I'm hoping HOI4 will clean up some of the fiddlyness. One thing that I think would benefit HOI4 is to have a "history rails" setting. Turn it on and the factions are semi-locked, tension doled out on schedule, and the usual suspects pushed towards starting a war sometime 1939-1940. Turn it off, and all of the hardcoding is gone and you're thrown into a sandbox. You want to see if Germany and a fascist US can defeat the UK, France and a Eurasian communist bloc of Stalin and Mao? Yay for ahistorical fun! OTOH you can get something similar by just starting a game on 1939-09-03, and then all you need is a decent system for US neutrality.
  11. Episode 308: Order of Battle: Pacific

    I played a bunch of Uncommon Valor but never quite made the leap to WITP, I think for the same reasons mentioned above. I didn't really see how the game at that scale was manageable, and at this point I don't have time for much more than a naval equivalent of an old-fashioned panzer-pusher. (Modernize Task Force 1942 and you've got a sale) What I'd also love to play in the Pacific theater is a properly-modernized Close Combat game. I imagine some scenarios might not be interesting in MP for a Japanese player, but my idea there would be to do it kind of like Gratuitous Space Battles. Anyone could design a Japanese defense of a map and upload it to a central server which would make it available to US players. And, for Bruce: "In the grim future of Hello Kitty there is only war": (it's too big to embed here)