Friday, 31 October 2014

Gaming the night away & a goodbye salute to an intact beard

Greetings friends!

Tonight I am hoping to resume my weekly twitch streams due to an almost full recovery from a nasty throat infection and as it's Halloween why not make it a horror game?
- the irony here being that if you look over my YouTube Channel at previous episodes they were covering Outlast: Whistleblower which is of course a horror game.

I haven't decided what it will be at present. Probably either Alien: Isolation or Evil Within. Currently I am leaning more towards Alien: Isolation. I'm at a point where I keep getting killed by the alien which is far from great, but I think I know what I need to do to get to the next bit.
- hint: I need to stop wasting my flame thrower fuel and hide more often.

Anyway, this will of course be the last day of me having a full beard, so if you want to watch a grown man cry while he is hunted by an Alien and give my beard a send off, then please feel free to join me on my twitch channel

I will of course be open to discuss most of my blog posts while doing so, but please note there is roughly a 10-13 second delay in the stream.

Ok and on that note, take care and stay safe!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

The modern disdain for the tabletop gaming consumer

Greetings friends!

In follow up from my earlier post this week I felt it necessary to elaborate on some issues that I did not go into but are a massive deciding factor in how I take this blog and my hobby time.

It has become apparent to me that there seem to be more and more game developers within the tabletop world who seem to see their consumer base as nothing more than cash cows to be milked.

Now before I go further into this I need to add that in no way am I accusing every single company, and I am also not saying that this is a new thing; only something that I am becoming increasingly aware of as time goes by.

You see; as I see it we are looking at the difference of respect vs no respect. The companies in question I am seeing more and more as having little, to no respect for their customers. If they did then they would not engage in the behaviour I'm going to outline here.

First of all we have the current juggernaught of the wargaming world: Games Workshop.
I know, I know: what a surprise! After all GW is the big player in the scene and therefore the easy target.

The truth however in my eyes is that this company has very little respect for the more mature player. I don't say this lightly, far from it.

I'm not talking about the torrent of reasons people give on a daily basis ranging from FailCast to rubbish rules. What I am talking about is the lack of Quality Control over said rules.

How many times have you heard the stories about GW Army Books being the baby of a single writer or couple of writers? It is a more commonly reported issue than I could even imagine. All of it from the stats of a model to the balance of the army is at the disposal of a single writer or couple.

Other companies try to correct the issues caused by a small writing team by making use of large public and private beta testing, but of course we all know that GW do not have these levels of testing for a true plethora of reasons.

So rather than a finely tested product we are presented with something that is the opposite; imbalance thrown together with a smattering of shiny.

If a company truly respected it's consumer base or even it's own art then they would not allow such poorly conceived ideas to reach mass production.

In this case they clearly do not respect the consumer, instead knowing that it really doesn't matter; they can piss off as many customers as they want and for every one who leaves there will be another five+ new players with direct access to the Bank of Mum & Dad to fill that spot.

This was a trend I noticed after the change from 40k Second Edition to Third and with the dropping of GorkaMorka frankly only two years into it's life span.

The worst part however? The thing that truly stinks? That there are hundreds of players across the net who will ridicule and criticise GW for this behaviour all the while celebrating other companies who show the same lack of respect for their customers.

I do of course now move onto Wyrd Miniatures.

It's no secret that Wyrd as an entity and I have had a falling out: well I say a falling out, I have fallen out with Wyrd, while Wyrd didn't really know I even existed.

But I'm sure you are wondering how I can compare Wyrd, the friendly gramps of the miniature world with the evil tyrant Games Workshop?

I am once again talking about Quality Control or a lack there of.

For me this became most obvious with the launch of the first set of Second Edition Malifaux models in particular the Victoria's boxed set. In this box that was first sold at GenCon 2013 you had models that were completely out of proportion with each other and other models from the same range, as if they had somehow developed a tonne a growth hormone. The same was seen with the Death Martials with one model in a crouching pose that was incredibly larger than it's two brothers.

The thing was these were not difficult sizing issues to spot and anyone paying them half a glance saw these issues, but despite all of this they were still sold on the day. There was only two possible reasons that such a mistake would creep through either a). They didn't know about it, meaning their Quality Control was non existent, or b). They knew and didn't care.

I prefer to think that it was a). That the company did not know about the faulty product they were selling and that if they had known they would have pulled it from the store. It is true that they did offer everyone effected by this replacements, but that does not take away from the fact that a good series of Quality Controls put in place would have stopped it being an issue in the first place.

It could have perhaps been forgivable if they learned from their mistakes; but fast forward to November 2013 and we have their anniversary deal where they made the next lot of models available for purchase from their online store in advance of street retail. Within the models available was a gorilla called CoJo who up to this point throughout the entire beta both closed and open and official August to November of the book, this model was depicted as being on a certain sized base (40mm). This model is ordered by the consumer, it arrives complete with it's 40mm base and during construction it becomes obvious that there is little to no way the model will fit on this base. This is resolved not by a recast and replacement service but instead an online errata saying that the model now is to be fitted on a 50mm base.

Once again, another model sold to Joe Public with no Quality Control involved.

But Wyrd are not the only companies responsible for poor quality of product, let us briefly take a look at games like Sedition Wars on KickStarter, and the many other KickStart games that use Restic-Shit material for their models and cardboard that warps at simply getting a bit cold! It is so insane that it is actually celebrated when a KickStarter is not made of shit material.

That's right, it is so common now on KickStarter for companies to use shite materials for their games that it has been excepted as the norm and those who do not are seen as the rare exception! This is for games where people put down between $100-$500 in a single pop on a game that more often than not they haven't played before!

Where's the respect there? Charging premium price for sub-par goods and the consumer base laps it up!

But it goes on; look at release dates for KickStarter, where missing a deadline is considered so normal that some games companies; Pulp Monsters make light hearted jokes about missing deadlines as on 25/09/14 when in an update they said:
Obviously the stuff ain't gonna show on your doorstep in the next 4 days

This line was made just days before the product was due to be shipped with pretty much zero updates prior to this informing the consumer of these delays.

How have things become so bad that companies are happy to make jokes about missed deadlines and ship metaphorical shit to our doorway and people line up every time to receive it?

It seems to me that there is pretty much only one company out there who is remotely decent and that is Mantic, that is not because they produce good quality, but because they produce mass market cheap-shit and it is advertised as such. In other words you know what you are getting from the word go.

But even Mantic are not blame free. Let us not forget the KickStarter for Dreadball where they ballsed up their shipping so bad that the game was available for purchase from bricks and mortar retailers before those who kick starterd the game had received theirs. Yup that's right, if I wanted I could have gone to my LGS and bought a copy of the game and been playing it before those who's hard earned cash had made the game possible and a reality.

Then there's the company who less than a year ago I was championing; Cypher Studios who currently are the owners of the game Hell Dorado.

Now I really like the rules and models for Hell Dorado, but back in January of this year they started shipping out their KickStarter for the expansion Inferno. To date, roughly 10 months later there are still backs across Europe who have yet to receive their product.

On top of that for the entire of the year they have released only a single model for the game and if you want to play any of the new stuff from the expansion? Well you had better hope you were in the KickStarter and didn't live in Europe as the rules book for Inferno is still not available for general release outside of the U.S.

Here we are not only seeing a lack of respect for the consumer but once again a lack of respect for the product itself.


Now I am sure to many of you these are just necessary evils, or perhaps the many faces of the wargaming beast, but for me they are unacceptable.

We currently are lucky enough to live in a Free Market where something succeeds or fails largely down to what the consumer purchases (the consumer being a wide group of people) with this in mind the only reason these companies have been able to get away with these shameful practices are because we the consumer have not held them accountable but instead unzip out wallets every single time even though we know we are also removing our trousers and bending over a table at the same time.

Sadly for me this has been a long time coming, but I can no longer endorse such behaviour by referring to myself as a member of that community.

The only way we can ever make companies responsible for their unacceptable behaviour is by hitting them where it hurts and that is their cash flow and not giving into what is clearly the first world disease of Shiny Syndrome.

Maybe I am alone here; maybe everyone who reads this disagrees with every single word I have said in which case I hope you enjoy your games.

Truly I actually do. I would never want someone to spend time and money on something they did not enjoy, and I would hope you shared the same opinion, which is why with hope you understand why I no longer can allow myself to be party to something that offends my own morals on a daily basis.

Take care and stay safe.

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Richi P Does #GeekShave for Prostate Cancer UK

Greetings friends!

Tomorrow is the 31st October; Halloween!

More importantly it is the last day of October!

From Saturday I will be doing something I've never done before and am quite excited over.

I am of course talking about my own version of Movember which I am calling #GeekShave!

So traditionally for Movember men of a variety of ages and backgrounds do their best attempts at growing the best moustaches that they are able, for me and many like me however growing a wide variety of facial hair styles is not an achievement.

Now for those proud beard wearers out there the opposite is quite true: being clean shaven or a variety of it is a greater achievement.

In my case I have had one of a variety of facial hair styles for the past twelve years to the extent many of my friends including my very own wife herself do not know what I look like completely clean shaven!

So where as others often shave their head for charity I am doing similar but with my chin, lips, cheeks and just general all over face.

No doubt by now you too are equally enthralled by this idea and you want to know how you can help out?

Well there's two easy ways;

1). You can donate via my justgiving page

2). You can do a #GeekShave yourself for Movember and help raise money for one of many worthwhile charitable groups.
- I picked Prostate Cancer UK for reasons I will not go into here, but there is absolutely no reason why you can not chose any charity of your choice!

So what do you say? Will you lend your support to a great cause and have some fun at the same time?

Throughout the month of Movember I will be running my weekly streams at and publishing these streams afterwards to my YouTube channel where I will be sure to show off what has been shaved off that week, or likewise you can join in and provide support for something that will actually feel quite emotional for me.

Let's not of course forget that to encourage the generous donations I have added stretch goals to my campaign!

Yup the more money I get in donations the more I will shave off!

If I raise between £0 - £49 I will shave my chin leaving me with a biker beard for a month
£50 - £99 Off come the cheeks, leaving me with a moustache and side burns
£100 - £199 Off come my beloved sideburns, leaving me with a Hulk Hogan
£200 upwards I will shave off everything!

But there's more: If I get a single donation of £100 or more, not only will I shave off my entire beard for you, but you get to choose what style I grow it back in. I will keep that style for the remainder of November.

So what do you say? Help me prove that not only are Geeks not all dirty neck beards, but some of us are willing to shave ours off for a good cause?

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Some personal disclosure

Hey everyone.

Just a short post from me today.

So yesterday I wrote a piece about how in a very vague way I am leaning towards leaving the wargaming community.

I would like to very quickly tackle part of why that is now, but without giving too much away.

You see as of Monday my family and I entered what for us is a very dark time.

I'm sure what we are going through is very much unimportant to a lot of other people, but it is crippling for us, so bad that I can not discuss it here for fear that if I put it down into words I will be unable to stop myself from crying, and right now that is not what I need to do.

Instead I need to be strong and positive, because while me and one other person is aware of the bleak situation, there is one other person in our lives that we need to put first and make sure that no matter what happens this bleakness does not effect them and they can come out of it positive with the same amazing and happy nature that they have gifted us with for the past few years.

No matter what happens this time has a deadline stamped on it. In four weeks time we have to some how pull a miracle out of a hat, there is no alternative other than perhaps treading water but we can only do so for so long.

I hope that in four weeks time (or less) I can look back with relief and explain to you all what happened and how now things are either better, or at the very least survivable, but until that is done I am not able to do so.

Please note, until then I may lash out, I may attack or taunt, I may be pretty damn miserable and I will almost certainly hate myself for doing so. There will be an aspect of truth in everything I say; after all my dissatisfaction with the wargaming world is a real thing, but please do not think this is at all personal to any of you.

Thank you for your time.

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

My Future with the Hobby

Greetings friends!

It's been a while since I've posted here and that is largely down to me being stricken for the past three weeks with a number of sickness related issues.

I've wanted to write about a number of things including but not limited to: the video games Alien: Isolation and Evil Within, more thoughts and plans for First Law: Override and even more besides including how my studies are coming for my looking resit exam and what developments and lies are being told regarding the online movement that is GamerGate.

Sadly however due to sickness I have not had the energy to do any of this and instead this half thought out nonsense post is all you are likely to get for the rest of the week - maybe even longer.

This time spent away from many of my usual online haunts largely focussed around wargaming has given me a lot to think about where I see things going.

Yes it's one of those posts, but all the same I think it extremely important that I share this with you all.

In the past year I have bought only a handful of miniatures; these were all for the game HellDorado.

I have also painted that small handful along with some of my outstanding Malifaux models I have now owned for going on 18 months.

I have played not a single game with any of them.

A large reason for the lack of use is down to me and other people. It is true that a couple of years ago I used to play a lot of games this was largely due to two factors; my time spent as a henchman for Wyrd and the close proximity of my good friend Tom.

Around the same time I stopped being a henchman, Tom also moved away so it was no longer convenient to meet up and play. Plus there was the malaise that set in following my issues with Wyrd.

Of course I was able to scratch my gaming itch with Internet based CRYPTS testing, but last December that was stopped as it had largely filled it's purpose and was becoming more problematic for time than it was worth.

Around the time of this year's summer I started work on First Law, but already I am beginning to get a little defeated by the scope of it. It's a game that I would love to play, but it is becoming more and more apparent that I am pretty much alone there.

Back when I did the unpublished game designer guide I spoke about one of my first rules for game design; Have Fun, and I have to ask myself if I am having fun.

I don't know.

I'm enjoying framing the world, and I do think that if structured correctly a "choose your own sci fi coop strategy RPG adventure" would be just what I am looking for: but what is the point if it's only me playing?

My other games including CRYPTS was something that others were interested in including my awesome wife, I knew that as it developed I would always have games available. First Law does not appear to be the same.

Now I enjoy creating games, don't get me wrong! But First Law is a massive undertaking requiring judgements of when to use a scalpel and when to use a chainsaw (for example: in order to keep a unified theme/feel and make terrain easier to source, should I set it only on a single planet and not a whole host of them? Does adding space combat enrich the game or detract?) and I don't think that I, by myself, am in a position to even begin tackling these issues and the reward will not be anywhere near the effort required.

Then there's my involvement in wargaming in general.

Like I said; I haven't spent any money in roughly a year. There are some games that I do really enjoy playing and I can play at home, things like Star Trek: Attack Wing and I am looking to try out the Batman game, but I can get a lot of enjoyment out of these without spending money especially Batman thanks to the availability of stat cards online and my already exhaustive collection of Heroclicks I have at home.

So really I'm left wondering what the point is.

My blog has become less and less about wargaming because I'm just not doing it. Most of what remotely interests me is old news and even what does interest me I don't buy it and don't play, so any discussion would be largely vacuum based theory crafting, and that's hardly interesting to anyone.

What is still interesting me and enthralling me to no end; my time with videogames.

As you with hope know; I've started doing the occasional weekly stream over twitch. So far I have played through the entire of Outlast: Whistleblower (you can catch that on my YouTube channel) I have also done the first (2?3?) chapters of Evil Within and a few random levels of Alien: Isolation.

This has been extremely fun! I've been able to play what are essentially single player games, but do so in a multiplayer environment; capable of chatting with friends, give opinions on things as well as share jokes and memes.

It goes back to my earlier question: who am I doing this for?

I'm this case I am playing games and streaming because I'm enjoying it. I know I'm not the next Pewdiepie and I'm not trying to be, so I don't have any pressure to be entertaining or keep to a regular schedule, instead all I have to do is have fun when I want to!

Anyway, I think I've kinda talked myself into the ground here, I don't really know if I have or had a point, but if you can see one I hope you will share with me whatever it was.

Take care

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley