Sunday, 22 December 2013

Level One Complete! CRYPTS Playtesting

Good Sunday everyone!

As I sink into my weekly Sunday bath (that's the bath I have every Sunday, not the only bath I have a week, I'm not [quite] that gross). I am thinking about the editing job I have ahead of me for the latest episode of New Fairbank Radio.

You see we recorded the latest Episode on Wednesday and I have yet to get around to edit it. This is my fault and mine alone, but as it is the Christmas episode, I do kinda need to get it out before hand.

So I'll be doing the before mentioned editing tonight and in no time at all you will have the final fight of Level 1 ear worming its way for your attention.

****************

In this weeks episode we had a lot of fun, namely with our very first boss fight!

I won't reveal quite yet who the fight is against, or even how it went, but once again it seems in the spirit of keeping things fair and even, I did in fact me them a -little- easy for the party, and as such some buffs for this boss have been made.

This if fine though, as after all, this is the point of testing and in doing so we are able to make the changes and improve the experience for all.

*************

You see, I have found something very interesting recently, I've been following what a lot of other game developers have been saying, about how they go about designing something, about making sure certain boxes are ticked and then following an almost formulaic system for testing and how you adjust based on the results of that formula.

What I find interesting is how I am not using a formula like that at all, and the only box I am looking to tick when creating rules etc is "does (X) sound fun?"

Obviously I would never say that my method is right or wrong, it is just more chaotic, apparently random and not something that someone with a qualification I'm game design would really do (but then I am more than aware that in the real world qualifications means eff-all!)

One thing I will say however this method of testing, is working for me. You see I started out working on CRYPTS because I wanted to create a game that I wanted to play, and so far that is exactly what this game is, and whenever I play this game for the irregular testing I am putting it through, I look forward to each and every game, which I will be honest, is a rarity for me.

***********

Anyway, as mentioned before, with hope the latest episode of NFR will be out later tonight, early tomorrow. So until next time, stay safe and I'll see you Cryptside!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Another catchup

Good Tuesday everyone!

Ok, so I've been a little pre-occupied as of late, my posts are almost weekly, and my hobby time has all but disappeared.

Why is this? Why is it, rather than working on CRYPTS, rather than painting models, rather than writing blog posts my free time is spent playing on the computer, and my commute time is spent playing Magic TG on my new iPad?

The answer is simple.

It's because I choose to.

**********************

Isn't that a wonderful thing? To be able to choose to shirk your responsibilities for a week or two and have absolutely no negative consequences?

Sure I don't have any updates for CRYPTS, and some people may get miffed with that, but that's ok, it's not to stop me working on it the following week.

Yes my models rant being painted, but I'm not painting for any other reason than to enjoy it. If I don't paint this week, I'm not going to get kicked out of a club, or unable to make a tournament, I'll just do some next week, or the week after.

And if I don't write a blog post for a few days, does it really matter? I mean there are people I follow who post only about once every week anyway, and content is only as interesting as you the reader is interested in that topic - therefore it is purely subjective.

***********

So we come to my choice, to watch tv, play on the computer and vegetate for a few days.

I know what you're thinking, I've probably never been happier!

The truth? I've been restless.

I'm a little unable to explain it, like I feel bored, despite enjoying what I'm doing.

I know, I know, it makes no sense.

************

I guess it comes down to your current 'norm'.

You see, before my little Moo came along, I had spare time spilling out of my ears. But when she came, so did my course as well as my buy in back to hobbies, this blog, my podcast(s) and all that junk that came with it.

I went from being an embarrassed closet Geek to a proud Geek, one who wears his Horde symbol on his breast with pride, and who will very quickly and regularly talk to people at work about his table top games, painting projects and computer games.

I like that version of me.

I like being busy!

Anyway, I don't know where this is going, but then hey! What's new for this blog eh?

Not much of a catch up I know, but still, tomorrow should prove interesting as we record our Christmas episode of New Fairbank Radio!

So on that note, stay safe and I'll see you Cryptside!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Birthday Celebrations

Good Thursday everyone!

I must admit, this feels super weird as I type this currently on my new iPad gifted from my awesome wife @tehtri.

Currently I am not sure if it is better or worse typing on a tablet compared to a smart phone. The keyboard is clearly bigger, so if up I struggled with a phone it would certainly be easier, however as I have no problem with my phone, it could just be a case of being scared of change (because I NEVER do that /sarcasm).

All in all I have had a fantastic birthday week. @tehtri had managed to arrive a secret surprise party for me which I had absolutely no idea was going ahead. Even when a couple of friends arrived I still had no idea what was going on, as at every stage there was a perfectly good excuse, and me being the gullible twonk I am, I had no reason to doubt them.








As you can see she did a fantastic job!

Since then I've been doing all manner of things, setting up a new computer screen, trying (and temporarily failing) to set up dual screen displays, opening presents, getting some unrelated but equally awesome congrats from work and yet more.

With all this time spent being a busy busy bee, one thing I have not had a chance to do is work on CRYPTS, however next week we'll be recording our Christmas episode! So if you have any questions or comments for us, get them in to @newfairbank

So until next time, stay safe and I'll see you Cryptside,

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

FarCry3: Blood Dragon - A Second Opinion

Good Tuesday everyone!

Today I would like to talk to you about a game I've been playing recently:



FarCry3: Blood Dragon

Now I'm not going to do what a lot of reviewers have already done at great length and talk about the science behind the games, about whether or not the game's joke works.

No instead I'm going to tell you about my experiences and if I enjoyed it.

So to start with as you can see from the cover shot, the game takes a lot of inspiration from the 80s and 90s and the tv/film that came from then.

This is continued when you look at the lead character, voiced by none other than Michael Biehn of Terminator and Aliens fame!

Anyway, the game opens up with a cutscene reminiscent of most video games from the 80s and 90s


And these style of cutscenes continue throughout the game, which itself is filled with more neon than the last Tron film



But is it fun?

Let me ask you another question: Is Axe Cop fun?

That is what this game is! It is not a game that is poking fun at the games of old, or even mocking the modern games, instead it is (to me) a game that was conceived 20-30 years ago, when a kid said "if I could make a game, it would have a cyber commando, lasers, neon, an evil general and dinosaurs that fire more lasers out of their freaking eyes!

Now that kid is a developer, maybe even a head developer, and someone has given him the cash to make a game. This is his moment! And this was his game!

And you know what? It fucking rocks!

From start to finish I really enjoyed this game, I genuinely laughed and smiled, appreciated the nods to pop-culture and really enjoyed the genuine retro feel the whole thing had.

Is it a perfect game? Game of the year? Hell no! But it is a truly enjoyable romp through the mind of most early pubescent boys from the time in question.

So if you have fond memories of He-Man, The Terminator, RoboCop, The Running Man, Rambo, TMNT, VCRs, Fixing the tracking on the school TV, and all the other crap that came with it, give this game a whirl and get lost in a world that heavy metal forgot!

Stay safe and I'll see you Cryptside!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Sunday, 1 December 2013

It's all over (until next year)

Good Sunday everyone!

It's been a long time coming, but now I finally have no more exams until the next year!

It's quite simple you see, on Saturday I sat my latest exam; Computerised Accounting for AAT Level 2. The exam was in two parts:

- Practical in using Sage
- Theory with a multiple choice paper.

Both of these have been sent off now to my exam board and will be marked, of which I should get the results back in between 4-6 weeks.

Depending on the results, I'll either be resitting in Jan/Feb or instead sitting my next and last exam for this course: Basic Accounting Part 2.

Until then however, I have given myself a green card for the rest if the year, so it's time to stop revising and start painting, podcasting, rules writing and playing a tonne of video games!

*********

So what is on the table for good ol' Dr Lox in regards to all of this?

-Painting
As embarrassing as it may be, I still have all of my Wyrd GenCon order to paint, plus my HellDorado Demon starter pack.

Some of the models are already starting to come together, the Demons, being absolutely a delight to paint are nearly done, I just have a few things left to do (namely being the colours of the bases down, as at the moment they are blending in with the Demons too much).

My Depleted are pretty much done, just in need of some finer touches. The rest... Yeah got a long way to go.

-Podcasting
So it's been a few weeks since the last New Fairbank Radio, and we are hoping to record again tomorrow, so stay tuned!

In addition to that Hobby Sofa is overdue, so next week, probably around Thursday or something I am hoping to record.

-Rules Writing
Having this free time (an extra 30-90 minutes a night) means that I can get back on top of writing my CRYPTS rules.

As the testers will have seen, we now have an almost done basic rule set, along with the first optional expansion, all the loot cards, encounter cards and Beasty cards! I also sent out the rather large file Dr Loxley's Manual of Monsters (still awaiting feedback on that guys).

So what's next?

First up is two little rules I've been thinking of, Critical Hits, and duel weapons. More of this in this week's testing update.

Next is of course Project Legacy. Those involved know what I'm talking about.

As always if you want to see these rules, you need to send me an email at doctorloxley@hotmail.com or via twitter: @doctorloxley just let me know your email address, I'll send you the files and will include you in any updates that get sent out (1 a week on average).

-Video Games
So a couple of weeks ago my graphics card died, and I replaced it with a £30 replacement that unfortunately was truly subpar and is now in its box as a backup spare.

However in it's place is a £113 Radeon 7850 that let's me run all my games at maximum quality with fantastic frame rate!

What's more it came with a tonne of AMD Reward Vouchers that I've already used to buy (for free) a number of games; FarCry3: Blood Dragon, Saints Row 4, Hit Man: Absolution, Dirt 3, Sleeping Dogs, Sniper Elite 2 and a token for the as yet unreleased Thief due early next year. I still have 1 voucher that entitles me to another 2 games, but there is nothing else in the list that I don't already own, and it runs out at the end of December, so I'm hoping the list gets updated between now and then.

But what this means is that all these game have a high street value of about £160 so I've actually saved money (if I was going to buy the games that was).

*******

What all this means is that I'm spoilt for choice! I've got more fun things to do than I have the time to do them! This is a rare and exciting event for me!

******

Last but not least from me, I've been thinking of running an off the books CRYPTS campaign over Skype using the free download, easy to configure software MapTools as the game board (much like we do on the podcast).

If you would like to get in on this (no bigger than 5) then drop me a line.

On that note, stay safe and I'll see you Cryptside!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

A new medium for Wyrd, but is it a new direction?

Good Wednesday everyone!

A bit of a short one today that I suspect some may/will see as a moan/bitch, but anyway...

So yesterday Wyrd revealed the contents of their Black Friday sale http://www.wyrd-games.net/Newsletter_v2/Sale.html

There's a lot to look at here, but only one thing that I think is fair discussing as it doesn't bring the issue of taste and art into it, and that is the mention of 'opaque' sculpts.
It can be better seen in this shot:



So what do you think?

I look at these and something I find very interesting is the comments that comes with it, that these sculpts are tournament legal when unpainted or 'naked'.

It's interesting because previously naked models were not tournament legal for Wyrd, instead they needed to be both painted and based.

Now I am assuming that basing is still required, but this suggests to me that if these models are suitable straight out of the box then in which case there is a possibility Wyrd themselves are seeing the models more as 'game pieces' and less as 'hobby miniature'.

For me if this is the case, I would not be 100% surprised, after all one of the reasons I fell out with v2 Malifaux was because it felt more 'gamey' to me and less of a fun social experience.

When you factor in Wyrd's involvement in making board games (Puppet Wars and Kingdoms) and card games (Evil Baby Orphanage, Jetpack Unicorn and that other one [i forget it's name]) it does seem that Wyrd are moving more and more into a general 'Games Company' and less into miniatures.

Is this just a natural evolution in today's market based on supply and demand? Maybe but it takes a twist when you factor in that Wyrd started as a company who were only making miniatures, and that it was only after they made the models did their initial rules for Malifaux surface.

Anyway, I'll leave this for now, I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on the matter, in particular if you think that Wyrd are shifting into being a Games Company rather than a Miniatures Company, but also if you think this is a good or bad, after all change does not have to be bad!

Stay safe and I'll see you Cryptside!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Ad Nauseum

Good Saturday everyone!

Currently I am on a train on my way to the office as I have to work today supervising a deep clean - woo!

But I would like to very quickly share with you the final realisation of literally years of deliberation.

************

So you regularly hear the question asked:
If you could only watch one more film for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Ok I admit, I am normally the one asking that question... But it's still a valid question.

For literally years I have struggled with this question.

Just what would I want to be the only film I watch? With something like 500+ films in my collection just what would be the film I would be happy to watch over and over again?

Would it be Fight Club? The clever film that speaks for so many men of my generation?

Would it be Back to the Future? A wonderful family film that never really gets old?

Perhaps it would be Repo:A Genetic Opera?

Well today I realised what the answer was:




James Cameron's Aliens.

I know, big surprise right? -Yeah that was sarcasm, it's only my favourite film in the world ever!

But until this point I have been unwilling to say that I would pick this film. The reason? Because it bothers me that if it was the only film I was able to see, if I would grow to resent and dislike it, and how terrible that would be for me.

This morning however I realised where I was going wrong, how I was looking at this from the wrong side.

The question is not: "what film would I want to watch over and over again?" The question is actually: "What 1 film do I not want to loose from my life? What film has made me a better person, sparked my imagination and driven me to achieve? What film can I not bear to live without?"

And in answering that the result can only be Aliens.

If anyone tells you there is a deeper meaning to the film, then they're just being a pretentious ass justifying their over priced media studies degree. There is absolutely no deeper meaning.

Aliens is an Action-Horror-Sci Fi film, it fits snugly in that small genre and performs exceedingly well there, but it is less the film itself and what it has done for my life which is why I can not bring myself to imagine a world where this film does not exist.

It is based on my love for this full that I am who I am, this film and what has come from this film has given me the strength, courage and need to do many things that I would not have it it had not been for this film.

I have made many life long friends on the back of this film, I have joined, inherited and nurtured an online gaming clan in the game AvP, which had it not been for Aliens would have never existed.

It was this online community which nurtured me with both the bottle and the cane through my angst filled teenage years and saw me emerge a better man because of it.

So much has happened in my life that is either a direct or indirect result of this film and it is for all these reasons and more that I am declaring this film, Aliens as the film I would pick if I could only see one more film for the rest of my life.

It is on that note that I bid you good day, stay safe and I'll see you Cryptside!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

An interesting shift

Good Wednesday everyone!

Today I'm here to discuss an interesting shift I have noticed within the Malifaux community.

- Disclaimer
While I may not have made the move to v2, I still keep in contact with a lot of people who did, and almost all the blogs and podcasts I used to/still do read and listen have made the move.

Anyway, I'm not going to name drop anyone as depending on how you take this post it might be seen as an attack, and I don't want to attack people, especially when it comes to writing blogs and recording podcasts.

So one of the reasons I jumped into the Malifaux Twitter community - for the record there is (or was) a massive difference between those on twitter and those on the message boards. Anyway, one of the reasons was the attitude. There was hardly any competitive nature, quite the opposite, I would regular read and hear from a plethora of sources about how they were 'competing' for the wooden spoon.

No, instead the discussion was almost never about tactics, but instead about the models themselves, their emotional experiences, their upcoming plans and everything else tied into the game but almost never about tactics.

Sure there were the occasional discussion of tactics things like "how does Player X make use of Molly effectively", but they were the exception never the rule.

********
Now we're in a whole new world. I could list you countless numbers of blogs that almost exclusively deal with either tactics or game theory, and every single -Malifaux- podcast now focuses on tactics and how to use models well, talking about the models themselves rather than the players behind the models.

Is this a coincidence? Perhaps, but I'm not sure.

V1/1.5 of Malifaux was (apparently) not optimised well for tournaments, where as v2 is (apparently) extremely optimised for that.

Does the focus of the game on bringing out the competition and tournament scene almost lead people down that path? If reading the v2 rules had sparked some joy in me and I had jumped into the game, would I now be discussing how to best play Dreamer in wave 2?

Maybe, but remember, I'm not a competitive player, I never have been and I never will. The few tournaments I've ever been to, I've never focused on playing games, it's been all about meeting people and getting to meet the gamers, not the game.

But I can go on about this all day "What if X" or "Why Y" and I'm not going to play that game.

But it's a shame, my podcast listening I used to need roughly 2 hands to count on, now I don't even need 1 whole hand.

Same with blogs.

Is the content on these products bad? In most cases, no. They are well written posts and good recordings.

If someone was to come to me and ask about advice on playing certain masters, or about how to improve your game then I know exactly where to send them.

The problem I have; I don't have an interest in reading or listening to it myself.

It's a shame, and one I am not happy about as it means I am by choice distancing myself more and more from people who not long ago I called friends and peers, but it's a choice that I have made none the less.

And on that sombre note; stay safe and I'll see you Cryptside!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

I have a job!!

Good Tuesday everyone!

Just a small update from me today.

So for those who don't know, the company I work for have been going through a restructure plan for the past 6 months, part of this restructure is merging 3 areas into 1, which of course means only 1 finance team, so like the sword of Damocles I've had the possibility of loosing my job to redundancy hanging over my head.

********

Well, 6 months, many many meetings and updates, countless BS sessions and being reassured so much that "we understand this is a difficult and trouble time for everyone" crap they have finally been able to tell me the only thing that I want to know:

Do I have a job?

**********

As you can probably tell from the title of this post: yes I do!

What is more, my assistant is being promoted to peer and we are making up 2/3rds of the new payroll team! This is fantastic news as we get on really well both as personalities and work wise, plus she knows how to take the crap I deal out and sling it right back at me, and as my wife rightfully put it, anyone who has worked with/for me and survived really should put it on their CV as it's one hell of an achievement!

*********

Anyway, I'm declaring tonight a night of celebration, and to mark the occasion I will begin compiling Dr Loxley's Manual of Monsters!
- Beta testers should expect to see this in this week's update.

Luckily a large amount of this has already been covered in my blog as I've introduced Beasties with short stories, this is good as it means most of the work is done, just a few short stories to write this week, format and arrange, and BAM! One Beasty supplement!

On that note I'll return you all to your evening viewing.

Stay safe and I'll see you Cryptside!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Monday, 18 November 2013

Painting, Computers and more

Good Monday everyone!

I trust you have all had a good weekend.

Mine was a combination of joy and frustration.

So Friday came and the evening was spent on the sofa, brushes in hand doing some painting. After all with my computer out if service I had nothing to do with it.

I spent about 4 hours in total painting, and I must be honest, it feels like I've done next to nothing.

Most of my time was spent lightening up the skin on my demons and Neverborn, but annoyingly so, when I look back at the work I've done, they don't 'really' look any different.

That was annoying, but I will withhold judgement until they're finished.

***********

Alongside painting we were also using the time to clear some of the skybox hdd, involving the last three episodes of Dexter I had yet to watch.

Now I don't know about everyone else, but I've been a massive fan of this show since Episode 2 of Series 1 (Episode 1's Dexter wasn't likeable enough) but I feel that this ending to the show did not do it justice.

I know it was supposed to be emotive etc, but all I walked away with was a feeling that Dexter was a prick and not the likeable character that I had been watching up until this point.

It was almost as if the writers didn't want to commit to an actual final ending for him, so copped out and chose the middle ground: "making him happy would annoy those who want justice", while "making him pay for his crimes would annoy those who want him happy" so instead they went for "we'll go down the 'meh' route instead!"

***************

Anyway, Saturday came and with it my new graphics card!

I was so excited, like a child on Xmas morning. I installed it, ran a game, and then sat there gob-smacked as a card developed in 2011 turned out worse than my 2008 card.

Yeah I didn't really do my research so it's my own fault to be honest. My previous card was a HD 4850 and was beautiful! It would run the latest games at maximum quality with an average FPS of about 30-40, which is more than playable if you MUST have max graphics. The only drawback was the lack of DX11.

My new card is a HD 6450, so a whole two generations higher, it would stand to reason that it should be better.

It was also super cheap at only £30.

Yeah... What was running at 30FPS now ran at 3.

I was annoyed, but more so at myself for not checking this out first.

I had a look at some benchmark tables and found my old GPU had a score in the 400s, my new card, in the 200s.

It's really not for games.

Apparently it's awesome for watching films etc, but rendering games? Yeah...

But it works. If I turn the quality down low I can still play lots of my fave games, and that's better than the current state of my old card which won't even stay powered on for more than 10 mins.

So now I play the waiting game, waiting for Friday the 29th to roll around so that I can buy another graphics card, a HD7750, which has a benchmark score of just over 1000! So well over double the power of my old card. This time, it will be good!

*********

Anyway, the weekend passed, now I'm on my way to work.

It's annoying as it's going to be a 6 day week as I have to work Saturday. The good news however is that I get next Monday off as a result.

So on that note, take care and I'll see you Cryptside!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Friday, 15 November 2013

The Failure (Of Modern Technology)

Good Friday everyone!

Today I was hoping to bring you some painting updates, but sadly that was not possible last night.

You see I got home at the usual time, spent time with the youngling, had dinner and did my studying.

While powering up my computer however I noticed something very strange: green dotted lines along the start up, and crazy strobes along the desktop once it had started.

I knew what that was, it's the classic sign of a failing graphics card. But I thought: "stay calm, just reboot and see what happens".

So I did, and thankfully no more strobes etc.

I counted myself lucky before doing my studies followed by going for a bath.

Following said bath I logged quickly onto WoW and TSW to do some crafting, and I noticed that something didn't feel right. The colours were off, and the framer are just felt... Wrong.

Anyway, I shut everything down as was prepping to do some painting when I noticed strobing again.

Oh no...

So I did some more tests, about an hours worth gathering info, removing the card and cleaning it, reinstalling drivers, nothing worked! Instead it just got worse and worse where eventually it wouldn't stay on for more than about 10 mins before BSODing.

Anyway, onto my phone I go and a purchase later I am expecting a new graphics card in the mail to arrive on Saturday.

I'm not happy about it, after all I love my card! It's four years old but performs like a pro, and I'm concerned that the new one despite being technically better in every way, it just won't give me the same reliability, but oh well, we'll see.

The good news however: being without a computer means that tonight I'll have nothing but painting to keep me occupied!

Stay safe and I'll see you Cryptside!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Time to get my paint on!

Good Thursday everyone!

- Seriously can you believe we're already at Thursday? Where's this week gone?

Just a small one today (that's what she said!) so in the past month or so I've done absolutely no painting or modelling at all, in fact where I left off with my models is as follows:


As you can see, my Malifaux models are pretty much under coated and that's about it!

My Hell Dorado are a bit further along:


Still a lot of work to do, but that's why it's time to get my brushes out and give it some wellie!

Of course I'm going to work right now, so I can't do it straight away, but tonight! Oh tonight I will!

You see a few weeks ago I picked up some new tools including a large flat white tile (I understand they're good for paint manipulation) as well as some Clear Red for making fun gore on my Demons.

With hope I will stick to my convictions and have some more photos for you soon.

I do have another photo to share with you:


This is Simon. Simon was bought back in July 2011 while we were furniture shopping in prep for the Youngling's arrival.

Well it is with great sadness and total serious that I have to share the news that with the recent cold snap we've had, Simon got very unwell and on Tuesday evening was declared dead.

I'll miss you Simon.

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Weekend Catchup & CRYPTS Update

Good Tuesday everyone!

No idea why but for some reason I couldn't sign into my blog or twitter. How strange.
I sure hope nothing happened...

Anyway, I hope you all had a good weekend? Me, mine was good, great even! If not a little tiring (read VERY tiring).

It all started Friday evening when I resigned myself to completing the initial works on CRYPTS.

Wow what a task! But was worth every minute!

We now have 12 Beasties, 60 Loot Cards, 4 Bosses and 20 Encounters.

More so than anything, I am very pleased with the bosses, each one featuring a different style of mechanic.

How they are deployed in the game is really up to the Keeper (CRYPTS' version of a GM) but I prefer having 1 set aside to auto spawn in a room of your choice, and then if the BOSS card is flipped elsewhere in the encounter list, picking one at random from those left.

All that is left from the core set is to redo the loot cards to reflect the background change from MaliQuest to CRYPTS, and at a later point think of some more fun names. At the moment they're things like "Common Sword" and "Uncommon Shield".

Fancy helping out and sculpting this game into something we all want to play? Shoot me an email:
doctorloxley@hotmail.co.uk

"What is next?" I hear you ask! Well the first Optional Expansion "CRYPTS:Trinity" is basically done and in need of testing along with the rest of the game, so no need to really worry about that.

No, what is next is my attempt at writing a proper rule book for the game, including of course Dr Loxley's Manual of Monsters, featuring both fluff and rules for both beasties and bosses!

What fun!!

*********

Anyway, Saturday was fun, we did lots of cleaning and prepared for Sunday...

Sunday, the day I was kind if dreading, my little Moo's 2nd birthday!

Now I was dreading this for one reason alone: I hate entertaining. Absolutely loath it. But over all I think it went really well, and most importantly, Mini Moo had a great time, and let's be honest, even if everyone else has a horrid time, what matters is that she enjoys her birthday.

In the evening we got to wind down and finally relax, and that was spent eating left over party food and finishing the Story Missions from The Secret World.

-Awesome game by the way! Something I would love to do would be create a blog chronicling my adventures in that game up to this point and beyond, but there's no way I'll have the time to do that.

**********

And there we have it!

Hope you all had a great weekend, and until next time; stay safe and I'll see you Cryptside!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Monday, 11 November 2013

A Friendly Takeover

>>>>>>>>>>INITIATE G.H.O.S.T. INTERFACE
>>>>>ACTIVATE VOICE TO TEXT PROTOCOL

H##lo?
Hel&o is th£s thing wo*k%ng?
H@ld on

>>>>>>>>INTEGRATE 5K012-N HOMEBREW ALGORITHM

Ok how's that? Ah it's coming in much clearer now!

Ok, right: shit this is much harder than I thought it would be: ok delete that. No delete it! For fuck's sake!

Ok let's start again shall we?

How to start this? Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears! All your base are belong to us! Fuck I don't know.

Ok I have it. Start now!

Citizens on the World Wide Web: You are being deceived!

As you read this there are powers that are conspiring in keeping us apart. They will stop at nothing from stopping this message, which is why I have chosen to feature it in the one place they would never look: the private blog of a massive nerd.

I feel I should apologise at this point to the owner of this, Mr Loxley, I'm sorry but I assure you it is important, and as soon as I am done with this message control will be restored to you, you may do with this message as you see fit.

Anyway.

If you are reading this then my message has gotten past their filters and I can tell you who I am.

>>>>>>>INSERT LOGO


My name as far as you are concerned is Skorn. And while my true identity may remain shrouded, know that I am your friend.

For the past 6 or so months I have been with a small group if agents working for an organisation that from this point on will be referred to as only "The Company".

To some we are the enemy, and while our actions may seem extreme at times, know that we are your friends, wishing only to protect your best interests.

As I said before however, you have been deceived. There are operatives in London, Seoul, Venice and Tokyo who do not share our good nature, and there are some even within the company who would see me hanged for simply sending this message.

You see, it was not long ago that I didn't care for the fate of humanity. My soul burned and I wished to see the world burn with it. But then I met some special people, and one in particular, let's call then I and H.

They reminded me that some lives are worth saving.

H, if you are reading this, you more so than anyone, you saved me. Fuck you guided my actions and saved the world as a result!

I don't know what would have happened if that prison was destroyed, if the fucking monster within was unleashed on this world, and while you were not with my physically, it was your hand that guided mine to repair the seals and lock the fucker away for centuries more! Oh and I, you helped too!

I'm sorry, I am getting side tracked.

And so, for those reading this, know that you are not alone. This world does have heroes and we are fighting to protect it from evil. For now it is safe, but tomorrow, the day after? It may not be so. And as long as there are others conspiring to bend it to their will you will not be safe.

I hope in time I can speak to you again, but I'm already getting an alarm, they are starting to track my signal and I need to relocate.

I'll leave you with this: beware the whispers! They lie! And beware Orochi!

There is a world behind ours, a secret world, and they hope to control all if it.

- This is Agent Skorn signing off

>>>>>>>>>SIGNAL LOST
>>>>>>HAVE A NICE DAY

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Another day with some general chit chat

Good Wednesday everyone!

So we're halfway through the week already! And my has it been a good week so far.

It's funny really, even the bad parts have been good.

***********

Monday evening I did a bit more work on CRYPTS and completed the 3 Aspect cards for the starting 3 Aspects. They will be going out in this week's update, but I hope before then to complete the Beasty cards for Others.

I'm also thinking about duel weapons and if they should have an effect? My initial thoughts are that if you have 2 of the same type (and by type I mean 2 1handed melee or 2 1handed range) then whichever you decide to attack with you roll +1 d6 to hit. Not sure about that, will need to test it out.

**********

We've also had a few issues at home what with the fireworks and my little one having a bad cold/cough. For the past couple of days she's been waking up in the late evening and needing attention and soothing to calm her back down, but then what do I expect by having neighbours who think it's ok to launch fireworks in a residential area where people have young children that need their sleep? It's just selfish twats being selfish twats and wasting their money on gunpowder rather than actually putting it where it matters (like bringing their family out of a lifestyle a-kin to a Jeremy Kyle contestant) but no matter, they'll keep doing what they do, and we'll keep reassuring our Mini Moo that she's safe and loved, and she'll give us that loving smile as we take her back to bed.

************

Yesterday I had the joy of winning an eBay auction for Sarah! It's a present that I hope she'll love for Christmas.

You see over the past few years I've been constantly upping and upping the grade on presents. It all started when I got her a Slanket (a blanket with sleeves) and ever since I've had to outdo the year previous.

The Slanket was beaten by a Onesie with inbuilt feet and hood with detachable mittens and last year that was beaten by among other things, a replacement ring for her old and damaged engagement ring along with a ThinkGeek charm bracelet and USB powered toasty hand warmers. This year is looking to be the best yet, but obviously I can't reveal why here (yet).

********

Anyway, things are looking good, my studies for my next exam are coming along and I hope to be ready for it in time on 30th November but until then, I still have a lot to go over, but not much time to do so, but still it's the last exam of this year, and assuming I pass it first time, in January/February I'll be sitting my final exam of the level. If that's all good, then that's AAT Level 2 done! Then it's on with level 3! :'(

Anywho, time to let you all get back to your own wonderful lives! Thanks for stopping by, take care, stay safe and I'll see you Cryptside!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Monday, 4 November 2013

A Brave New World

Good Monday everyone!

You know I had an interesting discussion earlier today that reminded me of something I was meaning to discuss with you all at some point earlier but never got around to it.

So I mentioned in an earlier post about how we are mere months away from the two year anniversary of this blog, and extremely briefly touched on the highs and lows of that, but I hardly invested into those points, and honestly I think that based on what happened it is worth talking about.

****************

Truth be told however, I think this started long before that, going back to June 2012 when I held the latest SquigFest.

I got a liking for running demos of Malifaux, for sharing my love of the game and having others bask on that love.

I realised that despite my fears and concerns, that I should volunteer my time as a Henchman, and from there Dr Loxley's MaliDAZE were born.

Compared to a lot of people the time and effort I invested into being a Wyrd Henchman was pretty minimal, but it was all I could offer.

While there I made some good friends, some of whom I keep in contact with via Facebook, email and Skype, there is also the shop staff as well who were always welcoming and understanding and never shy when it came to stoking my ego over the effort I was making, even when times got quiet and the interest began to dry up.

*********

But then we entered a new era, one where perhaps Malifaux and my time as a Henchman began to take a back seat, and MaliQuest took centre stage.

It pretty much began with an interview, which I discussed back http://newfairbank.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/maliquest-big-card-unveiling.html. And from this over 300 cards were printed and sleeved, a 3 hour long SkypeQuest began and the foundation of New Fairbank Radio was made as to cover the beta testing of the game.

Things were looking good! Great even!

************

It was then we entered a twilight for the blog, as Wyrd went ahead and released v2 of Malifaux, and by changing how a few mechanics worked pulled the wool out from under the feet of MaliQuest.

In this dark time I did wonder if this was an intended bonus for them, but I always knew it was not, that my work on MaliQuest didn't even register on their radar, and I think that was a realisation I didn't want to admit.

I had worked so hard on this game, and with a single sweep felt that it was defunct and moot.

I was hurt and that coloured my interactions from that point on.

Let's not forget to call a chair a chair however. There other situations, transactions and paradigm shifts that I wouldn't support, all of which eventually lead to me handing in my Henchman status and also stepping away from the Malifaux v2 race.

It was then that twilight turned to night...

***********

It was after my decision not to play Malifaux 2.0 that things started looking really bleak for my hobby and online sanity. With the rest of my gaming community excited for v2, I as left behind. Like the party boat had set sail but because of one reason or another I had missed it.

It was then that things started to take a turn.

It was small to begin with, but later became apparent.

Some people (you know who you are) despite all of this, the paranoid wailing, the bitching and moaning, the mud slinging and doom mongering, they stuck by me, and without even meaning to, their kindness and tolerance pulled me out the other end.

***********

It was then we reached the dawn of the new world of New Fairbank.

With the lessons learned from a year of work MaliQuest was converted to CRYPTS and as I speak is in closed alpha testing, being built up to a stage where it is nearly ready to be released in the free prototype form.

I've still got those great friends, and now I walk into this brave new world with them. We may not have the unifying game of -Malifaux- to bind us, but instead we have something better, something greater, something that I can't quite put my finger on, but it's there, as real and as solid as the brickwork of my home and the foundations it's built on.

So yes dear readers, it's been one hell of a year, but you know what? I wouldn't have changed a thing!

Stay safe, and I'll see you Cryptside!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Don't you love it when things start to come together?

Good Thursday everyone!

So first things, you may have noticed my posts have been quite sporadic as of late, I must be honest, and it's for a good reason. I've been using my travel time to and from work (which as you know is when I write most of my posts) to listen to the audiobook of Neil Gaiman's American Gods.

But that is not to say that things are not progressing! Far from it in fact!

That's right friends, my game CRYPTS is slowly growing and expanding as a game!

With every week or so more and more is being developed and I think that we are on the verge of a playable version of the game!

This is a very exciting time for me, to the extent I have been forced to think about how it is going to move ahead financially.

Now I would ask you all to remember that before anything else this was designed as a game that I personally want to play. This is not a financial money put for me, however I am making sure that I allow for the future possibility, just in case.

We currently have a temporarily working 60 card loot deck, 14 card encounter deck, 8 beasties and 2 bosses, and that is not including the upcoming cards in the form of Skin Walkers, three types of Other, Rachnoir Queen of the Skittering Shadow and The Skeleton King!

This will take us up to 12 Beasties and 4 Bosses!

From there i should be able to put out my initial 'free' copy of the game, available on demand from me. This will be on the grounds that I will NOT be using original art, and therefore do not want it on general release.

I will however then be able to get started on the main rule book, where I get to delve deeper into the rules, instead of the QuickStart summary, and also start piecing together the lore and fluff.

Anyway, I think I've rambled enough now, I'll leave you on this great news however; last night New Fairbank Radio recorded episode 20, our first game of the new rules for CRYPTS, and so far it seems super fun to play!

So on that note, stay safe and I'll see you Cryptside!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Sunday, 27 October 2013

CRYPTS: An overview

Good Sunday everyone!

So it occurred to me amidst my paranoid craziness, that there might be many out there who don't really get what CRYPTS is all about.

If you are one of those people then this post is for you. But first, some narrative to set the mood:

**************

Gene Burgh was a quiet man, only about a foot taller than his Ma and about the same build. One thing he was not, was a fighter.

Gene's brother Josiah however, now there was a brawler. The tallest man in their town with arms as thick as his head.

Twelve weeks ago Gene's family had received a telegram from Josiah, telling them that he had found a way to solve their money worries and that no one would bother them again. But that was twelve weeks ago, and they had heard nothing since.

It was on orders from his Ma that Gene had left their town, put all his savings into hiring a stagecoach and began the long ride to New Fairbank, from where the telegram had been sent, and it was that town that as he was lost in thought exploded into view admits the dust trails and winds that buffeted the roads ahead.

Gene's time in New Fairbank was to be brief. He would speak to the locals, law enforcement, maybe even the tavern staff and would soon find out what had happened to his brother, and true to his word in no time at all he had found more than enough who we're willing to tell about a barrel chested man matching Josiah's description braving the Dark Below never to be heard of again.

Gene knew he could not return with just that news. He was a coward, but he feared his Ma's wrath more than any creature that lived in such mines and crypts. So with his last few remaining coins Gene gathered some final supplies and ventured into the same mine entrance his brother had many nights prior.

The mine itself was well lit, and it ran for what felt like hours, that was until Gene noticed, it came to an abrupt end, ahead on the ground of the dead end there lay a wooden hatch with an iron bolt holding it in place.

It took all of Gene's strength to prise open the bolt and lift the heavy wooden hatch, below he saw what appeared to be a cavern, hard rock that glistened with water as he dropped his torch to light up the below. The torch hit the ground, and as it did the ground itself moved in a tide of a thousand shiny black moving bodies.

"Bugs" though Gene to himself "I hate bugs".

Lowering himself through the hatch Gene picked up his torch and began to take note of the cavern ahead, it seemed to stretch on for about thirty feet and as his eyes strained to make out the end, he was sure he could see something running towards him.

Gene shook his head, he was clearly imagining things, but no matter how many times he blinked or wiped his eyes with scrunched fists, the image would not leave him. Ahead he saw three small creatures, each one no more than three feet high, their skin a sickly orange and their clothes tattered and dirty.

In their hands they grasped crude and rusted weapons, some used carving knives like they were daggers, while others held aloft makeshift spears.

Gene had heard of such creatures from his Ma's tales, things from the old country that were mischievous and bloodthirsty. He also remembered that they were nervous and easily startled, which is why as a boy his Ma had insisted he keep his voice down.

This memory lodged in his mind Gene raised his Pa's trusty rifle to his shoulder, braced himself and fired.

****************

So, what is the aim of CRYPTS?

Good question, the main aim of this game is to be a dungeon crawler with elements of random encounters, so no 2 games are the same.

In this game you play an adventurer in the old west, either by yourself or in a party of other players called a Posse.

Now your posse needs to have creatures to slay and that is where the opponent comes in. Taking on the role of the Crypt Keeper, one player controls the minions of The Dark Below as they are randomly spawned through the use of an Encounter Deck.

Once the Posse has cleared out a room they then have a chance of obtaining new equipment, weapons and spells through the use of a Loot Deck and equipping these items will make you a stronger more powerful adventurer.

***********

One of the core principles of the game is an ease of accessibility. It will not come with any miniatures or specialised terrain, instead all of this will be made available using either 'cut out and play' tokens provided, or using your own miniatures that I am sure most hobbyists already own. The same is the case with terrain. The dungeons or crypts you'll explore will either come in a very basic 'cut out and play' format or you can use your own ones from D&D, HeroQuest, WarhammerQuest of any other game you may have.

It is also being designed to be used with free internet systems like MapQuest, and modules for CRYPTS will be made available or you can create your own.

*********

The future is pretty sound, with the introduction of Aspects for Classes, initially focussing on the Holy Trinity (Tank, Healer and DPS) but with possible additions added later; Gunslinger, Duelist, Arcanist etc followed by the Path Progession System to work as a levelling form allowing players to customise their characters in a near unlimited form.

There will also be Keeper-less encounters in the form of Raids, these will take whole posses working together to bring down, but the rewards will be worth it.

********

Things are still very much in early stages at the moment. We have an initial loot deck, a small encounter deck, a couple of boss characters and as of this week a re-designed character card for players to use. All of these designed to be the size of a playing card, so with a small purchase of card sleeves you can start filling in your own character details without concern.

The future is looking good for CRYPTS but there is still a long way to go and lots of opportunities to make this a great game.

So if you are interested in pitching in and giving some thoughts, please let me know at doctorloxley@hotmail.co.uk and you too could be play testing your character in the fast paced, action packed world of CRYPTS!



- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Friday, 25 October 2013

The Doctor's Lounge - A Chat With Loxley

Hi there!

How's you?

Uh huh

Mmhmmm

Right...

Well it's good to hear you're doing ok!

Me?

I'm good. Had a lot to think about recently, to look back over the past few months and really think about where I stand and what I can bring to the table.

I think it's good to do this. To look at your history be it recent or ancient and re-assess things.

It's like someone somewhere once said: if you don't learn from history then you risk repeating it.

It's funny really, we're quickly coming up to the 2 year birthday of this blog and boy has it been one hell of a year.

... of course I am pretty sure that I have said that every year, but this one feels more hellish than any before.

**********

In terms of hobby updates I have seen so much going on, but I don't wish to talk about that now.

I am still torn up inside over the issues of Shadows of Brimstone.

I have quietened the paranoid brain saying that they ripped my ideas I put online in podcasts and blog/forum posts but I can not shake the feeling that this other game is the one that will get all the credit, that if CRYPTS ever sees the light of day in one form or another, that it will be seen as a game trying to rip off Shadows of Brimstone.

Yes you all know the truth, that when I started this game there was very little in the way of non-fantasy Dungeon Crawlers, and Weird West games were few and far between. I thought I was on to a truly original idea.

I look back over the work I've put into it and the life I have breathed into New Fairbank, the schools of magic, the Sheriff and the Mayor, and of course the Dark Below and the beasties who dwell within.

I still love what has been created and I am really looking forward to creating the main book, with rules, fluff and Monster Manual all combined into one glorious tome.

I just really really hope that when the time comes other people look beyond the 'Weird West Dungeon Crawler' and see the depth of story within.

And so on that note, I leave you for the week. Stay safe, be excellent to each other, and I'll see you Cryptside!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Thursday, 24 October 2013

The morning after

Good Thursday everyone!

Well it's the morning after, and now it's time for me to reevaluate my thoughts and plans.

***********

So an update exists on the Kickstarter for Shadows of Brimstone. This update talks about years of work and planning for the game.

Now if this is to be believed, and let's be honest it almost certainly is. Then this means that the similarities really is just a truly unfortunate coincidence.

************

What it doesn't answer is the future of the game, and if the world really does need both Shadows of Brimstone and CRYPTS.

Honestly I do not know. But there are a couple of differences between these two games. The first is the setting. By now I am sure we have all read about New Fairbank, about Frank Hodges and the Last Light Tavern.

This setting, while perhaps not all that original, is one of the selling points of CRYPTS.

Then there is the designers; me and my friends who have helped this game get where it currently it is.

Between all of us we can make the game exactly how we desire, creating the game we want to play.

************

So yes, I believe there is still a place for CRYPTS, and on that note, stay safe and I'll see you Cryptside.

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Shadows & Fantasies

Good evening everyone!

As I write this I am relaxing in a nice, deep, soapy bath. With the hot water soothing my tired body, I can begin to think clearly and allow my paranoid brain to think slightly more clearly.

You see this evening I read some potentially disturbing news: http://www.beastsofwar.com/board-games/flying-frog-send-dungeon-delving-weird-wild-west/.

It turns out that the company Flying Frog Productions are currently running a kickstarter: Shadows of Brimstone



Reading this information gave me pause for thought, and the more I read the more concerned I grew.

Allow me to extract some information for you from their Kickstarter:

Forming an adventuring posse, the Heroes venture down into the dark mines, overrun with all manner of ancient demons and foul creatures from another world.


With tactical gameplay, lots of dice, and a robust card-driven exploration system, no two games are ever the same as the Heroes explore the mines finding new enemies to fight, new Loot to collect, and new dangers to overcome.


Now I know I'm prone to wearing a tin foil hat at the best of times, but tell me, is that, or is that not REMARKABLY similar to the world/game I began this time last year with MaliQuest that quickly spawned CRYPTS?

**********

You see, I am torn. Part of me thinks "it's just a Weird West Dungeon Crawler with a loot deck. It's not as if that is a unique idea!"

But then I read some of the comments on Beasts of War and the article itself and I find myself taking note that people ARE calling it an original and unique idea.

***********

This puts me in a dark place.

I do not know if we are 2 different groups, completely independently coming up with an extremely similar game idea around the same time as each other, and after all, I was inspired by Malifaux, and we are currently having Wild West Exodus about to ship, it's safe to say that Weird West is possibly the current hot-potatoe.

**************

But there is another possibility, one that I hope to any god out there is not true.

That this Shadows of Brimstone is a rip of my ideas.

And this is where I don't know what to think. I know that I am prone to seeing patterns and similarities where there are none, just look at my Wyrd and Malifaux related blog posts in the run up to GenCon. If I was saying that stuff on the street I'd probably have been given meds and be currently living in a padded cell.

So I don't know what to think.

Am I being paranoid? Or is this just one very unfortunate co-incidence?

OR! Are these two games nothing alike and in fact I am seeing similarities and patterns that do not exist.

********

Whatever the outcome, this puts an interesting spin on things to come with CRYPTS. I haven't copyrighted or trademarked any of my stuff. I know, I know that's the first rule of game design! But I haven't, so even if it turns out this is a 'stolen game' then it's next to impossible to prove it. Especially when you consider how much stuff I put up on the internet for just about anybody to read and use.

But there are more potential issues. What if in a few years time I decided I really wanted to get my game published? Would I think have a possible law suit on my hands, despite having documentation online proving the seeds of this game were sown back in October 2012?

***********

I dunno, I'm probably stressing over nothing, especially now as the coiled beast that lives in the dark of my brain tells me that with this game out there, professionally printed, specifically designed dungeon tiles and miniatures, there's no room for CRYPTS, and that really the game is a pointless waste of my energy from this point on.

- I don't like listening to that part of my brain.

*********

I would welcome any thoughts you may have on this, and while I may be exposing a weakness in saying this, please be kind. As many of you know, MaliQuest and even more so, CRYPTS is my baby, and seeing all of this is leaving me feeling pretty low right now.

Anyway, as always friends, stay safe and I'll see you Cryptside

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Friday, 18 October 2013

I make my own luck (not really)

Good Friday everyone!

Today I would like to talk about the unusual mentality behind a 1 in 6 die roll.



************

So I woke up with a great email sitting on my phone from a treasured playtester for CRYPTS who came up with an awesome idea.

The email included a suggestion introducing a minor mechanic introducing an effect by rolling a 1 on a d6 in certain situations.

Now first I would like to say that I loved the idea suggested and will be looking to incorporate this into my next test rules.

Second, it got me thinking about my mentality of the d6, and I'm left wondering if others see it the same way.

***********

I remember back in my GW days I used to have lots of armour saves that required rolling a 6. I remember that rolling a 6 on 1d6 seemed impossible. It never happened, especially when I wanted it to.

On the other hand, rolling a 1 seemed to happen all the time!

This is the strange thing, because both rolls are 1 in 6, so assuming a perfectly balanced dice, over a long enough time you should see just as many 6s as you do 1s.

But hand on heart I would swear to you that for every 6 I rolled, I would roll 10 1s.

**********

The more I think about this, the more I see similar irregularities in other games. Let's have a look at Malifaux for example.

Now this game as many of you will know uses cards rather than dice, as such it's version of super good vs mega bad is the red vs black joker.

Now many will remember the hoo-har about a year or 2 ago over Hard to Wound, and how flipping more cards made it easier for the attacker to flip a red joker causing insane amount of damage, which was the opposite of the intended mechanic.

What you never heard was that flipping more cards also meant a higher chance of flipping the black joker, causing no damage - the exact intent of the mechanic!

So why was this? That something that using very basic probability should be just as likely to be flipped is never remembered in that instance, while the other is?

************

I have only one possible explanation for this, and that is down to the perceived difference between the good results and the bad.

Going back to the d6 mechanics, no matter the situation, rolling a 1 was always bad.

If you wanted to shoot someone with a gun, rolling a 1 meant you missed.

If you wanted to save your trooper from being shot, rolling a 1 meant you failed.

Rolling a 1 was always BAD!

But if you wanted to shoot someone, and your required 'to hit roll' was a 4+, then rolling a 6 was the same (in many games) as rolling a 4 or a 5.
- hell, imagine if it was a 2+ requirement, then there is no difference between a 2 and a 6.

With this in mind, if there is no difference, how many 6s have been rolled and been ignored because they are counted as part of the mass 'success' roll?

************

So just think about it for a moment. Let's say you need to make 5 die rolls in a game, a 2+, a 3+, a 4+, a 5+ and a 6+?

In those 5 rolls, if you ever roll a 1, you will likely pay attention, because it means you fail in any of the 5 rolls.

In those rolls however, there is only 1 which requires a 6 to succeed, and when it comes to that roll, you have a 5 in 6 chance of failing!

So just think about that, if you need to roll that 6, and you manage to pull it off, you'll be celebrating, because it was about as against the odds as possible!

********

Of course random chance does allow for the possibility that there could be someone who for their entire life only ever rolls 1s. It is possible, just super-duper unlikely.

*********

I've never been one to call myself unlucky, I prefer to put my failures in games down to a lack of skill. Yes I may get bad dice rolls, but chances are if I had done other things it would present more opportunities to get better dice rolls (like using 2 dice instead of 1).

**********

Anyway, that's all from me for today, so as always; stay safe and I'll see you Cryptside!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

The Adventures of Geek Dad: The Realisation of a Modern Father

Good Tuesday everyone!

Today I join you with something that I do not do very often...

I have something to admit, and do so troubles me to my very core.

I was wrong!

*********

For roughly 18/19 months now I've been keeping this blog, dipping in and out of my Geek Dad adventures, and until now I was certain that I was not an anomaly, that my attitude to both fatherhood and marriage was the norm and that those who had major differences were the exception.

Today I came to the cruel realisation that such a thing is far from true.

***********

Allow me to talk you through my attitude towards parenthood and by proxy marriage.

You see, from day one I have done everything in my power to raise my daughter 50/50. Where possible we split the night feeds each alternating who did them, and if one of us desperately needed more sleep then the other took the slack knowing that if the worst came to it, the other would do the same in a heart beat.

When the Moo got older and she stopped needing night feeds, we continued to alternate, I would have Saturday as a lie in while my wife would get up to look after the Moo, and I would do the same on Sunday. On occasion when my wife has been super tired or unwell I have done both mornings, and likewise she has done the same for me.

This routine is still in place, and I think that we share pretty much everything like this.

And I can honestly say that as long as one is aware of what upsets the other and vice verse, then we are happy, we don't argue and we have a magical, happy and playful daughter to show for it.

You see, even when I had come home from a long day in the office you wouldn't find me shying away from spending time with my daughter and the ups and downs that goes with that, the same applied from the first week to now, night feeds, bath time, meals, I do my best to be there whenever possible.

But why? Because I love spending time with my daughter and wife, and I want them to both be happy.

Yes it hasn't always been great and there have been times when I'd love to have been somewhere else, but my love for my wife has meant that I didn't want her going through those hard times alone.

**********

So now dear readers, ask yourself, are you the same? Do you or your partner put themselves before their child or other half? If the answer is no, then you are like me, and let me tell you, we are in the minority.

***********

Just this morning, I found a message from my wife, she had been standing in a queue to get her morning coffee when these two "business jerks" started talking really loudly about their children.

One of these BJs was saying that he has been 'forced' to work longer hours so that when he gets home his personal time isn't 'distracted' by 'baby stuff'.

The other BJ was saying how he is making arrangements to stay in a hotel 3 nights a week purely so that he can get away from his kid who is having trouble sleeping.

Reading this sickened me, and I had to mention it to people at work, and the reactions were incredible. Many men who were near we're agreeing with these BJs, while most of the women were not surprised, saying that their own husbands or friends were exactly the same.

In short, this sort of behaviour is not only present, but it is accepted as normal behaviour!

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Why?

Why is this the case? How can this be the case?

Until today I honestly thought that most men were like me, and those who said "I'm not doing a night feed because I've got to be up for work in the morning" were the exception.

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I know that this is not my usual type if Geek Dad post, but I just had to make this, I just needed to send my disgust for these selfish and horrid creatures into the world.

If anyone reads this who falls under the before mentioned criteria then know this: you are not a father. You are a rancid example of a man who does not deserve the title that others like me and the few like me wear with pride every single day.

A partnership is supposed to be 50/50, and that's for everything including childcare.

But you know what the worst of this is? (Or perhaps the best) these sorry excuses for men? They are the ones missing out by choosing to pass on time with their kid, all of those magical moments passing them by, you can't ever get those back, and when your kid grows up they will remember you as the self centre red egotistical BJ that you are.

To those who do make the effort, good on you! I realise now how few and far between we are, and the world is a brighter place because we exist!

On that note, good night, stay safe and I'll see you Cryptside!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Friday, 11 October 2013

Enjoy what you have

Good Friday everyone!

Today I've been off work thanks to some well placed annual leave, and let me tell you; I feel fantastic!

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So I had a few things planned for today. Some of them (cleaning my Den for example) I've done with aplomb, others (writing CRYPTS cards) I have not, but that's ok.


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You see the past couple of days have been great for me, and it's only thanks to being able to sit back and enjoy the little things that I am able to say that.

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Let's start with earlier in the week.

Last Saturday I had the latest of my accounting exams, and as many of you will know I was shit scared over this. I felt like I wasn't prepared and didn't really know what to expect. But I sat it anyway and managed to walk off with a 100% success grade for that exam.

As a reward for that I decided to buy myself a treat from my FLGS Leisure Games.

This treat was a starter Demon force for the game Hell Dorado.

Since then I have been trying some new basing techniques and began painting them: my current example of a WiP is



Later on in the week on Tuesday evening, me, Will and Vicky met up over Skype and recorded Episode 19 of New Fairbank Radio (you should be able to stream that through the embedded player in this blog).

On Wednesday I was scheduled to record with a member of the development team for the upcoming MMO City of Titans, but sadly due to a family emergency on their side that was postponed and should be done tonight.

Then yesterday me and Andrey met with Bill Anderson of the Gamer's Lounge to record episode 4 of Hobby Sofa. I am aiming to edit that either tonight or tomorrow so it is available to download.

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So today I started off in a lazy way, slept in till about 0930, before getting up, having breakfast, cleaning my Den (apart from a few large boxes that need to go in the attic but I can't do that by myself) then doing a small bit of shopping and coming home.

Now I'm laying in a nice warm bath enjoying what is left of my day before I get to see my youngling after her day in nursery and my lovely wife who's been at work.

But you know what this day off has allowed me to do? I've been able to sit back and see all the lovely little things in my life, the fun times spent with paints and games, the great chats and discussions that I've been able to join in, and how even when people are on completely oposite sides of the same fence, be it about miniatures, religion or any of it, you can still exchange thoughts and opinion, be respectful to one another and walk away better friends with a better understanding of just what makes them tick.

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Now really, what is wrong with that? And this is what I love about living in today's world and in the place that I and those I care for live in. We have the technology to remove the effect that distance has, to take friends from the other side of the country, or even the other side of the world, and have the freedom to agree and disagree with their opinions.

I mean really, how great is that?

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Anyway, I think I've rambled on for a little too long now, plus my bath is beginning to get a little chilly, so I'll leave you for now.

So please friends, stay safe and I hope to see you CRYPTside!

PS: stay tuned for Episode 4 of Hobby Sofa and an exclusive chat between me and Missing Worlds Media!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

More Podcast Plans

Good Wednesday everyone!

Last night me and the rest of New Fairbank Radio (sans Sarah who couldn't join us for work reasons) and our last game of MaliQuest was played.

From Episode 20 we will be switching over to the game CRYPTS, and we will also be moving to a new format: Fortnightly episodes!

The game was fun, long but fun and I am looking forward to getting that out later this week.

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Tonight I will be recording with a member(s) of Missing World Media about their new MMO City of Titans. Really looking forward to that.

Tomorrow me and Andrey will be meeting to record Episode 4 of Hobby Sofa, and we will be joined with Bill from the Gamer's Lounge podcast.

As hinted at before, our forward plan with Hobby Sofa is to have me and Andrey as regular hosts, with a 3rd Guest every episode.

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Sorting out episodes might be a problem for Hobby Sofa right now, when I put up Episode 3 i was greeted by a lovely announcement saying that I was only able to put up one episode a month with my free account - this is not good at all as I want to release the MWM Interview and our chat on Thursday as 2 separate episodes, mainly because it's not fair on our wargame listeners to listen to an MMO interview if they are not interested, and the same for MWM.

Another option for Hobby Sofa is a paid for account, but for that we would require sponsorship, so if you or someone you know would like to sponsor the cast please get in touch hobbysofa@gmail.com
- yeah shameless request...

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Anyway, that is all from me for today, not very much to say, so on that note, stay safe and I'll see you Cryptside!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Monday, 7 October 2013

CRYPTS: Extract from Doctor Loxley's Manual of Monsters - Others

There is more to fear in the Dark Below than simple beasties.

There are bugs that crawl into your brain and take control of your body.

There are notorious vermin which will devour your body in minutes, bones and all.

There are even even creatures that will rip your very soul from your body, leaving the meat behind for whatever those more insidious may desire.

Then there is the Dark itself.

Some say that the very air of the Crypts are alive, that if you listen hard enough you can hear and feel the Dark Below breathing.

I know that as nonsense and superstition. The Dark Below is no more alive than my trusty revolver.

But that is not to say it does not have energy, magical and cruel energy that twists and warps those who reside in the Crypts for too long.

Some call them the Damned, others Lost and even the Wretched. I've come to know them collectively as 'Others'.

Some of the more common ones are the Wretched, hunters who have been turned to rott, undead shadows of their former selves.

On occasion you may glimpse a Lost, with bodies consumed by fire, and footsteps of thunder.

If you see the Damned, then may whatever deity you pray to watch over your soul. With minds as twisted as rabid dogs, and covered in wounds that would kill a normal man. I have seen these creatures slaughter whole posses by themselves.

Yes my friend, be wary of the Dark Below. It has it's ways of creeping up on you...

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Spoilt for choice

Well where do I begin?

Depending on how this week goes I will with hope be able to report on each of these separately later in the week, but for now (with my tired Monday brain) I will cover them all together.

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Missing Worlds Media & City of Titans.

Do you play MMOs? Do you like superheroes? Did you play City of Heroes/Villains back in the day?

If the answer to any of these questions are yes, then you will want to tune into the next episode of Hobby Sofa!

I have managed to wrangle an interview with the volunteer dev team at Missing Worlds Media which is due to record this Wednesday for publishing at the end of the week. We will be talking about their new kickstarter project: The Phoenix Project their work to build the ultimate Superhero MMO; City of Titans.

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I am also hoping to record alongside Andrey and with hope we will have a guest host in the form of Bill Anderson from The Dead Tau Project and Gamers Lounge podcast.

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New Fairbank Radio is also due to return this week (oh my god that is going to be a lot of editing) where we will either be starting a whole new campaign using the WIP CRYPTS rules, or we will be finishing off co-host Will's campaign.

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On Saturday I sat my latest exam for my AAT Level 2 course, Working Effectively in Accounting & Finance, or WEAF for short.

Let me tell you I was anxious as hell, I realised that i didn't really know what to expect, and that I may have prepared completely wrong! Turns out everything was fine and I walked away with a score of ~100%!

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As personal reward for doing so well I took a trip to Leisure Games where I got to catch up with my two favourite Hobby Store workers, David & Mike!

Whilst there I also picked up the Hell Dorado Demon starter box, and I am going to have to do a proper write up on this, it's only for small points, but there's something about this purchase that just feels great!

I order to try and make these a little different to my other models I decided to try out a new basing technique and for it I pulled up lots of resources including one from the new owners of the game itself: here.

I thought I would give this a go, and the end result is as follows:







I'm not convinced the pictures really do them justice, but I think the 'slabs' came out great, with lovely layers present just waiting to be painted up!

The plan for these is to use reds into greys creating a nice Hell look. How that will turn out I have no idea, but I'm really looking forward to finding out!

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And on that note I leave you for now.

Take care, stay safe and I will see you CRYPT side!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Tears in Rain

Good Thursday everyone!

This is a post that I've been thinking of writing for a while now ever since I had a chat about similar with my father and good friend Tom.

The topic at hand is the emotional attachment that we men/geeks/people feel for inanimate objects.

You see this every day everywhere, grown men naming their cars and referring to it as a she. I believe that this started back in Ye-olde days with galleons, and it is my belief that the same attitude exists with modern geeks and the use of computers, and to a lesser extent mobile phones.

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So why do we do this? Why do we feel it necessary to humanise these tools?

I can not explain for other people, only myself and with hope see if the same explanation applies to others.

You see, I'm guilty of this just like many others. My computer is named, and I refer to it as a she (and from this point on will do so in this article), and I do have an emotional tie to her. If she stopped working and needed to be replaced (note, replaced, not upgraded) then I would feel like i had lost a friend and a part of me.

But why? It's crazy isn't it?

Perhaps not...

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Hundreds of years ago knights rode a favourite horse, they often had many, but always one that was their favourite. This horse they would trust with their life, and likewise the horse would trust in the rider not to put it in unnecessary danger.

Together the rider and mount were unstoppable against all manner of foe and the armoured cavalry was a truly fearsome sight.

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I don't ride a horse, I don't own a suit of armour nor a sword to slay my enemies.

What I do have is my computer.

Together my computer and I have seen many amazing sights and done deeds that bards sing of.

We have free dived from the outer atmosphere in MDK2, brought down the Strogg Empire in Quake2+4, killed an Alien Queen with cunning and wits in virtually every AvP game made, travelled to a tropical paradise and lassoed crazies to cacti in BulletStorm, ventured into the frozen wilderness of Skyrim, grown a legion of monsters in Dungeon Keeper 2, saved the world in Mass Effect, slain the Lich King at the seat of the Icecrown Citadel and hidden from Alma in F.E.A.R.

All of these events may not have been real, but the emotions they brought out of me were real, the excitement, the awe, the courage and fear! And at every stage my computer has been there, my steed, my rifle, my sword.

None of this would have been possible if not for my computer.

"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die."
- Roy Batty, Blade Runner 1982


- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Alien Rage - Unlimited: A Second Opinion

Good Tuesday everyone!

So yesterday I got the opportunity to sink my teeth into the recently released game Alien Rage - Unlimited



Now for those interested in the game you may have read the review on Destructoid that seems to be doing the rounds, and I would like to add my own thoughts into the pool.

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So to start off, what is it? Well Alien Rage is a 'classic' First Person Shooter (FPS) available on PC, PS3 and 360, and the version I got to play was on PC.

Now, first and foremost, Alien Rage is pretty! It is very pretty!


I have to be honest, I can't play it with everything on full, but with a lot of settings cranked to max and some others turned down slightly it plays to a decent degree, and that's running a 5 year old graphics card!

From what I have read it is an Nvidia heavy game, and if you've got a suitable card it should run like a dream, mine is an old Radeon, so I put my minor graphic problems down to that.

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But anyway, what about gameplay? AI? Animations? Everything else the game has been criticised over?

Honestly? There are 'issues' with the AI, the aliens are far from intelligent, but that's beside the point. In fact, I believe that in tackling these issues I am doing the game a disservice.

You see there are three games that I regularly have installed on my computer that I enjoy booting up and playing every now and then, the first and least played is Unreal 2, next and middle played is Doom 3, and last but most played is the truly awesome Quake 4! Games that I believe have yet to be properly challenged in the sci-fi FPS genre. I've played the competition that's come about since, and a few (AvP, A:CM etc) have even come close to being as good, but there's always been a problem.

You see modern shooters have a habit if relying on storyline, tactics and game-mechanics, but these games, some of my favourite games ever, don't rely on anything like that, they just throw monsters at you to let you blast them up, all the while giving a pseudo storyline which has the depth of a 1990's Arnie movie.

But is that a bad thing really? No! It means that every so often I can boot up a game, blast some Strogg and feel like a dreaming bad ass!

And that is what Alien Rage does! It makes me feel like a bad ass with a trusty gun!




- You see, yes the game's weaponry is limited, sometimes very similar, but then why would you want to ditch your favourite rifle? She's been through countless battles with you, slain more monsters than you can count and you've even named her!

This is why in games like this, I always have my trusty rifle, be it assault, pulse or plasma, and together we stick through thick or thin. Countless demons, aliens and rogue mercs have fallen before my barrage of fire power, and those words have never been more true in this game:

This is my rifle, there are many like it, but this one is mine. Without me my rifle is nothing, without my rifle I am nothing!


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So my friends, what should you take from this review?

As always I can't tell you to play this game, because I don't know your tastes, and you may be reading this thinking "Quake4 sucked balls!" But if like me you loved those games, then give this game a shot. It's only about £15 on Steam and is one hell of a ride!




- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Friday, 27 September 2013

A Second Attempt

Good Friday everyone!

So yesterday I wrote a post, but forgot to save a draft before posting, and sadly after pressing 'post' it was lost into the nether.

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CRYPTS
Anyway, so things are starting to move forward with the CRYPTS beta! Yesterday two more people signed up, and feedback ideas are starting to come in, so thanks for that, and as always if you are reading this and would like to join in the beta, just drop me your email and I'll send you the files.

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Hell Dorado
So I've decided that I'm going to take the plunge into this game, ever since I started reading about it, it's been eating away in the back of my head and just won't let go.

I'm still struggling to find a player or two who I can play regularly, but I'm sure I can wrangle one up, at the very least I can create a force myself and have an awesome time painting them, which for me is ultimately what I enjoy the most.

In fact, I might even try to make a display base for them (after the models themselves, which I've yet to actually do).

Anyway, that's pretty much all from me today. Short and sweet, but hey...

So on that note, stay safe and I'll see you Cryptside!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

CRYPTS plans, The Malifaux 1.5 Initiative & Hell Dorado

Good Tuesday everyone!

I hope you are all in good health!

So last night I had a plan, first I was to create a present list for my wife so she knows what she can buy me for birthday and Xmas (both in December of course). This I had no problem with!

My next plan was to add more info into the CRYPTS QuickStart rules. This of course never happened.

It is with hope that I will be doing this tonight instead, and will be emailing the revised .pdf to my lovely beta testers.

- Again if you want to be in the CRYPTS beta test, just let me know your email and I'll forward the info to you!

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Also, yesterday on the way home I was listening to the latest Malifools episode where I noticed a brief mention of my 1.5 Malufaux Initiative as mentioned in a recent post.

What was interesting was reaction that the few talking about it had, talking about what they think my aim is behind all of this.

I'm not able to reveal yet what the aim is fully at this point, but closing for the Initiative will be at the end of this week, when I edit the first post to include the details of everyone who is willing to play v1.5 (currently sat at 4 including myself).

Next week I'll be promoting the interest for an international 1.5 League, played out via the table top or Vassel, whichever is best for the players, and at the end of next week I'll be closing down the interest in that and announcing whether or not the league will be going ahead.

As an added note, if you place top in the league I will send you the grand prize in the form of the Warhamster Scheme & Strat deck!


- Massive props to Mr Awesome for donating these!

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Going back to my present list, I realised that three bits of my list were models for CRYPTS:



First is the Hell Dorado Infernal Horde for my Lesser Demons.



Next up is the Hell Dorado Zaaxan for my Greater Demon



Last but not least, the Great Damned One of Wrath for The Butcher.

It occurred to me while writing this, as I hope to get some demons anyway then I should probably grab myself a Demon Force for the game, so I got started reading up on starter boxes:


I must say, while this would be an almost pure gaming purchase, it's one I think could be very fun as after downloading the QuickStart rules there are a lot of things I like.

It seems to be very similar to Malifaux in a way; areas of control, alternating activations, character cards and abilities that require constant referring back to in order to use properly!

In fact reading through these rules actually helps to answer a question I've had for CRYPTS, and that's how I deal with locking people into melee and stopping people using ranged weapons when locked in combat. These rules have given me the ideas needed!

The only problem as always is finding opponents, but no worries about that.

Anyway, that rather random posting is all from me today, other than a quick update on how my recent Wyrd models are coming:


And on that note, stay safe and I'll see you Cryptside!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley