Wednesday, 29 June 2016

What happened to the world? Opinion Piece

It's been a while since I've written a political opinion piece, but it occurred to me today, that I've got a lot to say about this, and as always, this is my best platform.

What happened to us, the western world?

When was it that being extremist was the norm? Because to me, that is how it seems.

I remember back when we had the 7/7 London Bombings, the general attitude at the time was that extremism is bad, that by being open with each other and embracing community we would give 2 fingers to the extremists.

Let's fast forward to the past few years:

The left vs right discussion has turned to the extreme, where Conservative voters are branded extremists and called Fascists to their face by other extremist liberals.

Films, videogames, television is being tarred almost unanimously by the 'misogyny' brush, leading to bloody GamerGate, which became labelled and adopted by extremists, which in turn was combatted by yet more extremism until people got bored and stopped caring.

No we have Brexit, and how apparently the rational response to anyone who voted leave is to attack them with personal insults, demand they pay for any cost increases and blame them for their decisions made during the voting process.

How did this happen? In just a few years everything became extreme, to the extent, extreme is normal now.

Look at the movements with social reform, there are essentially only two camps, those who agree with safe spaces, and fascists.

I mean really? Where's the middle ground? Oh wait, there is no middle ground any more, because rather than keeping our fucking heads, we've adopted the bullshit dogma "if you're not with us, you're against us", or worse still "if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem".

Life doesn't work that way, things are never black and white, it's always shades of grey, but somewhere along the way we've forgotten that. We've become so cemented in the belief that OUR camp, that OUR point of view is 100% right, that anyone who even questions us as to why is physically attacking us.

I know that chances are no one reading this will fit into the above category, and if they do, they will not realise it and will insist until they are blue in the face that they are not.

But what is the answer to all of this?

Can we fix the world?

Should we?

I don't know, but I do know what I am going to do.

I'm not going to engage in mud slinging. I'm not going to assume that someone who thinks differently to me is a terrorist or hate monger. I might laugh at them behind their backs and think that their ideals are bat-shit crazy, and/or redundant, but I will remain respectful with at the very least, a degree of decorum.

If one thing these recent years have taught us, it's that extremism just breeds even more extreme-extremism, and I for one don't believe that, that is the right way forward.

Until next time, stay safe, and most importantly, be excellent to each other!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

DaffCon 2017 - Override, Moonstone & You!

Greetings friends!

So today I had a chat with the some significant people, and together we came up with an interesting proposal...

At DaffCon 2017 i'll be attempting to run the world's first First Law: Override tournament!

This will be alongside a demo table filled to the brim with Moonstone!

Oh yeah, for one glorious weekend both Override and Moonstone are coming together under a single roof!

The tournament is going to be something simple, a 3 round event for Starter Forces (think 300Nt, similar to the forces we used at DaffCon2016) so if you have yet to do so, you can get playing for only about 3-4 models!

It is also important that the event needs to be story driven, that the missions make sense and are easy to play. For this reason, I will be writing up a story theme to go alongside the missions picked.

I will also very likely create some new missions. The ones you see in the book today are the revised versions of the originals created back when the game was first born. I think at the very least Assault on Precinct 313 should have a place in this event (one side, complete with at least 1 Exo Suit has to storm the opposing stronghold which comes complete with auto turrets and other defences). The goal of the Attackers is to access the defender's base, the goal of the Defenders is to keep the Attackers out.


But that's not all, as I mentioned before, we'll also see demos being run all day long if Moonstone. By then we are hoping to have the main game Kickstarter completed, but without production completed, but who knows.

This is going to be a lot of work for our two man team to do, so I may be looking at bringing in assistance from others, almost certainly anyone who has agreed to the Override Ghost project, but also maybe seeing if we can recruit some Moonstone Goblins between then and now.

After all, the hardest part of DaffCon this year was keeping the enthusiasm and attention going for 2 simultaneous games with only 2 people. Very little chances for downtime, and that gets very tiring, very quickly. So if you are reading this and want to sign up to the Override Ghost Project, then let me know! If you want to help out Moonstone - I'll need to get back to you on that!


Anyway, I'd love to hear your thoughts, is an Override tournament something you would be interested in?

Until next time, stay safe and be excellent to each other!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Friday, 24 June 2016

The Black Sheep - A First Law: Override short story - Part 1

The Haustan Foundation had always been good employers. In a world rife with corruption and double dealing, it was the Haustan Foundation who were always the ones in the digi-pad news, with articles covering the latest charity gala, or public service they had held to aid the struggling workers of Honos. Ever so often the Foundation would find itself presented with less than favourable press, it was after all based out of Anchorage Falls, a location most well known for the bonded labour that was enforced by other, less charitable, organisations. But even during trying times such as those, the Foundation always remained a positive influence on the world, it always ensured that it's employees were paid a fair wage, and that a healthy percentage of it's annual profit was reinvested back into the city's most deprived areas. It was for this reason that Bradley Markov held a great amount of pride in his position within the Foundation.

Bradley was a Shell Tester. He worked on a production line within one of the Foundation's many factories that manufactured their own range of 'Compliance Mechanicals', a small robot device which was cable of assisting it's owner in a wide range of tasks. It also took orders directly from it's owner and was built with an improved version of the First Law programming chipset making it incapable of harming it's owner, or anyone the owner my cross paths with. Compliance Mechanicals came in a range of different forms, some of them bipedal, others more like crabs, or even dogs, but it was their usage that interested most of the foundation. Ranging from military, to culinary, there was almost nothing the Compliance Mechanicals could not do. Outside of the brochure however, Compliance Mechanicals had a different name, Link-Bots.

It was Bradley's job to apply a range of pressure, impact, and temperature tests to the outer shells of the mechanicals. As long as the read outs were in the agreed levels, then the mechanicals were sent out for distribution. If the readings were off, then the machines were sent back to the production line. Faulty mechanicals were not disposed of, it was deemed that such an action would be a waste of resources, resources that could be better spent in other avenues of investment. Instead they were recycled and resided, sometimes into other Compliance Mechanicals, sometimes into the very machines which in turn built the Mechanicals. Very little was wasted in the process outside of the energy in the production itself. The issues present in the production process was less to do with waste material, but more the life threatening danger that it posed to those who operated the production line.

Two weeks earlier one of Bradley's friends had been operating the sixth Compliance Tester. It was yet another stage in the production line to ensure that the Mechanical's First Law chipset was not faulty, and that the previous step in production had not caused a malfunction. The Tester was called Roger, he was an old man, his skin pale and thin, with blackened fingers from years of manual labour. When Roger spoke, he did so with a rasp in his throat, a symptom of the burned tissue that lined his throat following a previous accidental industrial fire. The machine before Roger was humming with life, the Mechanical, a small humanoid machine with a ball like head and tiny grasping hands, the latest in the Foundation's Child-Assistant range, lay motionless awaiting it's next command.

Roger swiped across the digitally projected display to the commands that were suitable for this part of the production process. His fingers danced across the commands:


The Mechanical did not respond.


The Mechanical did not respond.

Roger's fingers moved across the display once more, his digits spelling out his own unique series of unusual commands, the sort that would be unlikely to be caught through basic programming, but could prove a problem when exposed to someone unpredictable like a child.


The Mechanical sprung to it's feet, a whir of pistons and robotics. With a thrust of powerful legs the machine launched itself at Roger, tiny cylindrical arms with equally tiny pronged grasping claws reaching for his face. The Mechanical was showing no signs of aggression, nor anger towards Roger, it was merely performing the task that had been assigned to it by it's temporary owner, Roger.

It was not the first time that Roger's commands had triggered a violent response from a Mechanical, and as the elderly man shrieked in fear, it was Bradley who rushed to the old man's aid. Putting himself between the Mechanical and Roger, Bradley weathered a flurry of kicks and scrapes from the small machine as it reached and grabbed, desperate to fulfil it's latest order and 'Get Roger's Nose'. Once the Mechanical had been properly restrained, it's programming disabled, and in it's entirety returned to the production line to have it's chipset re-worked, Bradley himself was sent to the factory's resident nurse.

Bradley had always hated visiting the nurse. It reminded him of his time in school, of sitting outside the headmaster's office after getting in trouble for some real, or imagined, wrong doing. The problem was, Bradley's visits were almost weekly. The nurse swore she would see him almost every week, but there was little Bradley could do about it. Whenever he saw someone in trouble, he just had to help them, even at the risk of his own life. Sometimes he wondered why others were not like him, how when there was an accident on the production line it was him, and him alone who rushed to help without a second thought. Once he even asked the nurse for a psych evaluation, to try and quantify why it was that he felt this need to help others around him.

"You're just wired that way" the nurse had said, almost blushing as she did. She told him about her own daughter who was a terraformer, how no matter how dangerous an environment may be, her daughter just saw it as a challenge that needed to be overcome, and woe betide anyone who warned her otherwise, especially her worrying mother.

"I wish I was there to protect her" Bradley answered, almost overcome with empathy for the nurse and her family.

The nurse had smiled and gently patted Bradley on his head, complete with close cropped hair which Bradley kept that way out of convenience more than fashion.
"I know you do..." The nurse replied.

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Rings of Blood & Nostalgia

Greetings friends!

I mentioned yesterday about a game called Ring of Blood. This was a bit of an off the cuff comment that I expect only one person to have understood.

So now, allow me to fill in for the rest of you what I was talking about.


Back in the day of me and my friends playing Games Workshop games, this would have been around 1999 to maybe 2000 at the latest, we had an idea for a game, something that was so silly it might have just worked.

This idea was an Arena style game called Ring of Blood.

The idea of the game was that you had a board, this board was divided up into spaces. Placed on this board you could place a single 'monstrous creature', so Trolls, Ogres, Ratogres (my personal favourite) and they would fight it out in an MMA style show-down.

Now, I am really struggling with how the game played out, but if I remember correctly, each player had a deck of cards. Each card had an 'Action' present on them, for example; punch, claw, move, grapple, bite, etc. Every turn you would draw some cards into a hand, and you could play one (or maybe two) cards.

The aim of the game was simple: deal enough damage to KO the opponent (there may have also been an option of knocking them out of the arena, I forget).

And that was it! At the end of the game you earned XP and could cash it in for upgrades in the form of equipment, stat buffs (say +1 to Claw Attacks) and if you were Demonic or Rat based, you could also get mutations.

I can not put into words how much fun this game was, or at the least, how much fun I remember it being.

At some point I would love to revisit this. Who knows, maybe that can be another project we'll see in the future for Goblin King Games...

Until next time, stay safe, and be excellent to each other!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Revisiting Ready Player One

Greetings friends,

So I was reading yesterday that Steven Spielburg is moving ahead with his movie adaptation of the book Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.

Based on this, I was reminded of my review I wrote after listening to the audio book for the first time, but more importantly, I was reminded of roughly this time last year, when I decided I was going to give the book another chance, and relisten to it.

For those who will remember my previous review, I really enjoyed it to begin with, but as the book went on I got more and more annoyed with Cline's style of writing, how rather than be imaginative about something, when he had to 'create' something, he just instead pulled something out of the 1980s, and said it was like that. In other words, just using other people's works rather than being creative himself.

Mostly though however I took issue with the ending. I know it's not good to spoil, and so: SPOILER WARNING:
The lead kid gets a girlfriend and stops playing videogames.

I said at the time, and I still believe that this is either a deliberate, or subconscious play on the traditional (offensive) stereotype that all videogame playing geeks are "fat, lazy, sofa dwellers" (quote from Peaches Geldof), and the only reason they play games is because they can't get laid.
- Maybe this was the case with Cline himself, who knows, maybe when he met his wife/husband/life partner/whoever, they were not supportive of his hobbies and so he gave them up, or maybe he actually was using videogames as a replacement for human interaction, when in reality 'all he wanted, was to be loved'. I don't know, but I see no reason why his girlfriend (also a prolific videogamer) and him couldn't keep playing videogames together. You know, like how my wife and I do. Those who play together, stay together! Now that would have been an ending that is celebrating geek culture, not a form of self-flagellation.

So I revisited the book, and with the knowledge of the end and what happens to all the characters, I found so much more, sometimes hidden within the text, other times hiding in plain sight. Most of it was just economical nonsense, such as hating on 'the big companies' all the while loving the company who owns the OASIS, and the CEOs of it, which in itself is a multibillion dollar company and two of the richest men alive. So in this case, either the lead character, or (as I am inclined to think) Cline himself, is a hypocrite.

Then there is the lack of realism in the world itself. Apparently there is a total lack of fuel, most of all being oil. This has caused the global economy to crash. Ok I can buy into that.

So along comes the OASIS, provided by these guys, including a game console, a VR headset, and a set of haptic gloves. All of which costs only $0.5!

Ok I call bullshit here! Providing that sort of hardware for half a dollar? Fuck off! Remember we are talking about a world that has a serious lack of oil. What are electronic hardware made of? Something that is an insulator most of the time, so... Plastic! What is plastic made from? Oh shit! Oil! And no subscription fee? To keep a virtual world with high quality content alive? Fuck-no! I've played those 'free to play' online games. They are shit, unstable and full to jack of gold selling spammers. That's why I play World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy 14, both require subscriptions, and both are all the better for it.

Next we have the references. The continuous references.

You know, after listening to Ready Player One the first time, I then went on to listen to Neuromancer by William Gibson.

It was like a breath of fresh air. Suddenly I was reminded of what it was like to listen to a SciFi book steeped in a virtual world that was actually imaginative and innovating, rather than just imitating. To write something as a knowing nod every once in a while is something! It's amusing, entertaining, and let's the audience feel part of the 'in' crowd. Doing it every bloody paragraph is just lazy writing.

Last but not least, we had the lead character. Every single time he encountered a hurdle, be it needing to play a certain game, or knowing the dialogue of a certain film, by total coincidence, he was an expert in that particular game and/or film.

In internet culture they have something called a Mary Sue, a character who appears to have no faults, or if they do, these faults never impact on the story. The challenges encountered, the characters are always experts in their fields. In fantasy it may be in magic, combat, black smithing, AND habidashery. In this, it's that he never encounters something that he is not an apparent university graduate on. On the few occasions he does encounter something that he should have trouble with (actual physical combat) then he has a giant fucking mech which he just so happened to have won in an earlier challenge.

Again, this is lazy writing.

Just once I would have liked to have the lead character out-trivia'd by someone else, or in any situation where he wasn't smarter, wittier, faster than someone else, and more importantly, not always so fucking smug about it.

I suspect that what we are looking here is some sort of victory/power fantasy for Cline. The lead character represents him, someone who can't bring anything to the table beyond an obscure knowledge of '80s pop culture references. So instead of just dealing with that, Cline has attempted to create his own world where these totally useless skills make him not just a hero, but a pseudo God!

After 2 hours of giving this another shot, I turned to my phone and said "Enough!" Shut it off and deleted the audiobook from my phone.


Don't get me wrong, I wanted to like this book. Something that is vaulted as one of the modern classics of geek literature, but it wasn't. It was just bad. Like the crew of Ecto1 despairing at the health inspector as he shuts off the containment unit (see I can do it too), I just knew that whoever thought this, and by proxy, the film adaptation, was just a bad idea.

Now excuse me while I jump into my virtual delorean and drive off to a party so I can have a random shape shifting-light dance off with my significant other. Why? Will this forward any story or narrative? Of course not, but people will think it's cool...

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

The End (In Sight) #Moonstone

Greetings friends!

So you may have seen over the past couple of weeks a few posts being written here about a certain theme.


Well, for those of you who haven't, I've been talking a lot about the Firespitter Miniature KickStarter that at the time of writing has roughly 1.5hrs left on it's campaign.

That's right, after 2 weeks of excitement, anticipation, and of course, anxiety, the first Kickstarter by Goblin King Games is coming/has come, to an end.

I've had a heavy investment in this for a while, remember that the lead dev helped me co-write Override, and while I have had little to no involvement in the creation of the Firespitter miniature, I have done my best to provide help and support to my friend.

I don't want to get gushy, but as I've said before, I love working with this guy on our games, and having a selection of games that we can play together which we designed is fantastic! If only we still had our Ring of Blood rules still (maybe that should be the next venture? Re-write Ring of Blood!) but that's the thing. I joke around about being a cynical bastard etc, and to varying degrees, I am. And while this guy is my co-designer, he's first and foremost my friend.

This was why my heart was in my throat with the Firespitter Kickstarter. It's why I wrote the blog posts, why I reached out to literally every contact I had including Gamer's Lounge, Flock n Awe, Tabletop Gaming News, countless more podcasts, and even Wayland Games (some of these attempts were more successful than others). I wanted to see something succeed, from which I had personally seen the love, attention, and significant financial investment, that had gone into it.

I have no idea really how much I helped the campaign, or if what I did drove up pledges, or actually drove people away, but I had to do something, to help my friend reach the goal of funding and beyond. It was the least I could do.

So how has it done?

Well at the time of writing we have just passed the £5k mark. For my USA friends, that is over $7,300!

I'm amazed! I am so happy for my friend, and I can not wait to see how this translates moving forward.

I hope to be as involved (from an assistance and chronicling stand point) as possible between now and shipping, the idea of getting models made has fascinated me, and the idea of seeing this quantity of our own custom design done - it's mind bottling!

Anyway, I should really let you get going - after all you probably need to pledge if you haven't yet! So until next time, stay safe, and be excellent to each other!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Saturday, 18 June 2016

A Long Night Online

Greetings friends!

How weird is this, a blog post from me on a weekend?!? Crazy, I know.

Anyway, last night I was supposed to do some work on the Override rulebook. This however didn't quite go as planned.

Read: I didn't do it.

Instead, I spent a good 4 or so hours playing the MMO Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn (ARR).

This is a game that I have loved playing for the best part of 2 or so years, ever since the reduxed version ARR was released, replacing the truly awful original 1.0 version.

The thing is, despite loving playing it, it's a game I've never played past the first trial boss, Ifrit. For those who knows the game, this is only around level 20 out of the base 50 levels (or 60 with Expansion Heavensward - which I've owned since they released it).

Probably seems strange, if I live the game, why stop? Is it because of the forced dungeon encounters that require you to team with random people in order to progress the story? Surprisingly, no it isn't. But it is for my wife, who I love role playing with in this game.

Well the last time we played was roughly a year ago, and I thought this week: "fuck it!" and decided to just push ahead and level.

My goal is to reach the new expansion content and unlock the Machinist class, which I'll be honest, along with the new race, was the only reason why I bought the expansion when it came out.

Currently I am level 26, and the mission content I am on is level 22, so I'm a little ahead, which is fine as it just means it's easier that way. I expect I will hit level 50 long before I actually reach the new expansion story, but that's ok, because I'm loving playing the game. The freedom of running through the forests and deserts on my black steed, of stopping off in taverns and inns while it rains, to grab supplies and pick up new missions, before setting out under a bright moon to slay yet more beasts and monsters.

But I suppose that's just me, I love the set up of MMOs, and FF14 captures that perfectly for me.

Until next time, stay safe, and be excellent to each other!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Friday, 17 June 2016

A Moonstone Battle Report - Sunnyshire

Located on the coast, the Goblin Pirates of El Capitano's troupe regarded the Gnome settlement of Sunnyshire as an easy snatch and grab. They knew that Moonstones had sprouted overnight within the town limits, and before dawn, those Stones would be theirs.

The Pirates expected the town to be largely unprotected, and as such were heavily surprised to see that the Gnomes within had mobilised a militia against them.

The Gnomes moved first, snagging the Stones available to keep it out of the dirty mitts of the Goblins.

Meanwhile the Goblins pressed their own position, while on their far flank the Firespitter and Beaky Bobby attempted to out manoeuvre their foes.

Quickly it became apparent that the Gnomes had the upper hand, their position was better defended, and it was from their location that they were able to reach most of the Moonstones from a safe distance from the Goblin ranged weapons.

Attempting to even the odds, the Shaman, Shabbaroon darted forward, determined to bring the walking dread that was Firespitter to bear on the enemies, but he was far from fortunate. With a dance and a whirl he performed the rites that would summon his Goblin ally to his side. The wind blew, but no Goblin appeared. With a stomp of his feet the Goblib cursed in his tongue as the spirits of his ancestors let him down.

Shabbaroon didn't know what hit him, as he fell on his back gasping for breath, a thick crossbow bolt sticking out of his chest. From the other side of the town El Capitano gazed with anger, the bolt had been fired by the Gnome archer known as Quarrel.

Amidst the confusion, Billy the Gnome rode his Goat mount hard into the flanks of the Goblins, at such close proximity, Firespitter became unable to swing his flame thrower and bring it to bear on the Gnome militia member, who in turn with a fell swoop sliced the head of Beaky Bobby clean from his shoulders before spinning full circle and riding towards El Capitano to help finish off the troupe of Goblins.

As the Gnome known as Young Jack crept towards yet another Moonstone, it appeared that the Goblin Pirates were in too much of a disadvantage, there would be no chance of a comeback from this.

From behind a town building, the Goblin Seasick Steve stumbled forward, swinging his harpoon high above his head, he brought it plunging down on Young Jack. Injured but alive, Young Jack retaliated and with a parry and thrust silenced the drunk Goblin.

Both Young Jack and El Capitano eyed each other, they had both seen the Moonstone that pierced the ground between them, and both, with the aid of Billy, rushed to the stone.

Billy attacked El Capitano, his attack well planned and aimed, but El Capitano was no green gilled land-lubber, who partied the attack away with ease, and with a critical hit brought his cutlas down on Jack's neck seriously injuring the little Gnome and forcing him to drop his Moonstone.

In response Billy followed suit, his own sword slicing down towards the Goblin Captain.

El Capitano spun with a flash of steel, his cutlas parrying away the second attack and followed up with a strong thrust right into Billy who in turn was taken out of the fight.

In a single round, the tables had begun to turn, the strong defence of the Goblins was falling despite the Sage Advice of Gradock and Mamma Gimble's Mother's Love.

From atop the buildings, the first glimmers of light began to pierce the night, both sides knew they had only moments. The Gnomes needed to take down El Capitano, possibly with Quarrel putting a crossbow bolt through his chest, and the Goblins knew they had to grab what stones remained and flee for the safety of their ships.

At the absolute last moment, it was El Capitano who reacted first, grabbing the dropped Moonstones, he spun on his heels and fled for safety.

The end result was a single stone advantage win to the Goblin Dominion, thanks almost exclusively to the incredible performance of El Capitano!


Mamma Gimble
Young Jack

Beaky Bobby
El Capitano
Seasick Steve

I wanted to take a moment here to talk about some of the interesting points from this game:

Gnome Synergy.
Gnomes have an incredible synergy, one that seems to be more common with Goblins, but unlike Goblins who need to use their abilities, the Gnomes' are always on.

Abilities like Gradock's Sage Advice which prevents the opponent from replacing Called Bluffs is very, very, strong. It doesn't mean that he succeeds where he shouldn't, but on about 4 separate occasions it stopped me from applying a Catastrophe.

El Capitano.
This guy was the star of the show, but it wasn't because of the model himself, but more because of the meta-game involved in melee combat. Every time he was locked in combat, I was able to predict what Tom would play from his attacker, and not only totally mitigate that damage, but allow a high damage repost in return. It was for these reasons along that he was able to single handedly take out the Gnomes who died, and figuratively carry the Goblibs to a victory, which at the half way point, neither of us thought was possible.

Hope you enjoyed these little bat-reps, and until next time, stay safe and be excellent to each other.

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Thursday, 16 June 2016

What draws our attention?

Greetings friends,

You know, I was thinking today about how strange it is that one person can really love something, while others do not.
- Yes, I know I am talking about a subject that most pre-schoolers can grasp, but just bear with me.

Take me and my gaming partner Tom for an example; we both enjoy a lot of similar things, but we also have preferences. Tom's preference is Fantasy over SciFi, mine is SciFi over Fantasy. Tom loves Game of Thrones, I am not really a fan. I love most things CyberPunk, Tom doesn't really see the appeal.

Similar things are true with my wife and I. We both love videogames, I love First Person Shooters, she loves Dragon Age.

This is something that I find so fascinating, the idea that two people who can share so much in common, but be almost polar opposites on certain preferences.

But why is this? It can not be because something is 'Good', while another is 'Bad'. If this was the case, then liking something or disliking it would be universal, but it isn't. Instead, for some reason certain things causes one brain to start producing "I like this chemicals", while another does not.

But really what are we looking at here?

Part of this must be related to schema and the prejudices that we all inherently hold. For example, there was a TV show that my wife started to watch semi-recently (apologies, I forget it's name) but it was something that from the trailers looked very 'High Fantasy', with Elves, and Wizards, and all that sort of stuff. Things that my schema tells me I do not enjoy all that much.

So I saw this trailer, my brain goes "nah, this isn't something for you", and I switch off. I don't intend to watch the show and my life goes on.

About a week or 2 later, my wife says that I should watch it, saying it is something that I will like. This is the woman I've been married to for nine years, who knows me better pretty much better than myself, telling me I'm going to like something I think is high-fantasy - a genre that is only second in dislike to me than 1920s Prohibition Gangster.

So I humour her, I watch the show, and as soon as the opening credits begin, suddenly I am interested. Why? Because of the pretence that is shown. I realise that this isn't a Tolken-esq high fantasy TV show, but instead a Post-Apocalyptic show with a fantasy twist, where the fantasy world inhabited is a ruined Earth, where these before mentioned Elves and Wizards are making their homes in the shattered remains of famous Earth landmarks, and they themselves are evolved/mutated descendants of Humans themselves.

So I watch it, my mind opens up, and I allow myself to enjoy it, and I find that I do enjoy it.

It's as if there were switches in my brain, some Dislike switches, and some Like switches (much like YouTube, or Comment Up/Down Voting). It sees Fantasy and Elves, and the Dislike switches are flicked, but then it sees PostApocalyptic Earth, and a MASSIVE Like switch is flicked, overruling the previous Dislike Switches.

I find this interesting.

It's clear prejudice, and something that we all do, we are seeing something, and based on the limited knowledge we have, we are pre-judging it. We are saying "this has X in it, so I will probably not like it", or "this has Y in it, so I probably will like it".

The very concept of this intrigues me so much. How much of this is down to our own experience? How much is based on early influences?

I would love to say this is down to personal experiences, and that our brains are wired to say that you and your personality are going to be tuned to certain radio-stations more than others, but I look at how I act around my daughter, and how her tastes are developing, and I remember how my own childhood was, and I have to start doubting just how much of this is the case.

So when I was younger, my Dad was a huge Star Trek fan, he watched the Original Series growing up, and Next Generation was something that we watched every single Wednesday on BBC2 at 6pm without fail. We must have watched every episode they ever aired. I'm response however, the only Star Wars film we watched together was Return of the Jedi.

Fast forward to modern day, and if people asked me to pick between Star Wars and Star Trek, I'd pick Star Trek. If you asked my what m favourite Star Wars film was, I'd say Return of the Jedi. This is clearly not a coincidence.

But then we move onto CyberPunk, a genre which is my absolute favourite (but not my favourite Franchise, that is, and always be Aliens). I can not trace my love of CyberPunk back to anything, other than perhaps the videogame SNATCHER. Much like how Aliens was to me and SciFi-Horror, SNATCHER was like that to me and CyberPunk. It seemed so fresh and original, and it's been a love of mine since. Sure my father also enjoyed the game, but there were lots of games that he enjoyed which I did not, so that can't be it.

So what was it about SNATCHER, CyberPunk, and NeoTokyo which caught my eye, what was it about this dystopian future that caught my attention and allowed me to fall in love with it?

One answer I can only begin to use to explain is how it was SciFi, something that was already flicking my YES switch, but that the rest was totally new to me, I didn't have a schema for Japanese influences, or cybernetic integration concepts, so therefore my brain was required to generate new schema on the fly, and therefore categorise something that it was unable to do so normally. After all, yes it was SciFi, but it was nothing like Star Trek or Star Wars or Buck Rogers or anything like what I had seen before, and yet my brain was still flipping YES switches.

I guess if I'm honest, I'll never figure this out. It's like the answer is on the tip of my tongue, only millimetres out of reach.

Who knows...

Until next time, stay safe, and be excellent to each other!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

A Moonstone Battle Report - Brightdale

The moon was high over Brightdale as the weary travellers returned from their long journey. None at Brightdale knew of where they had been, or why they had returned so late, but the sight of the Goblin invasion force on their quiet town was enough to rouse their spirits into action.

That, and the large amount of Moonstones which had grown all within easy reach of the travellers.

The Goblins were not happy, lead by the insane shaman, Shabbaroon, they advanced on the travellers. They had come to Brightdale seeking Moonstones, and Moonstones they were going to get.

The Human travellers were prepared for the invading Goblins, forming a wall to protect their stash, they bunkered down and braced themselves against the oncoming swarm of manic creatures.

The Goblins themselves were equally prepared, bringing with them none other than the deadly Firespitter, ready to spew forth it's deadly flame.

The Humans progressed, grabbing what easy to reach stones they could, but they held their positions.

The Goblins, driven by their thirst for Stones, grabbed what they could before pressing an advance on the town of Brightdale.

Gertrude the Faerie Hunter took point, and readied her Blunderbuss, anticipation for the coming fight building in her veins.

The Goblins advanced, with Rook pressing across open ground.

With a zip of magic, Rook transpositioned himself with none other than The Firespitter, while El Capitano, Crusty, and Seasick Steve joined the Goblin front, determined to bring cutlas to flesh.

The Humans held their ground, while Eric the Squire proceeded to assist Flintlock in loading his rifle, and taking shots at the advancing menace.

Flintlock's target was the menacing Firespitter, who was soon peppered with shots from Flintlock's trusty rifle.

Firespitter was finally in range of the Commonwealth travellers, and with mighty hands it raised it's cannon towards the towering Gutchgot.

Pressing the fire trigger, the fuel travelled through the pipes of Firespitter's device, before to a terrible surprise, a loud hiss was heard emanating from the barrel.

With an almighty explosion, the barrel of fuel burst, showing lit fuel in all directions and covering both Shabaroon and Crusty in it's liquid death.

Desperate to not let his fellow Goblins run in fear, the great El Capitano lurched forward to engage Gutchgot, knowing that if he could fell such an imposing enemy, the odds between both troupes would be evened.

BANG! Another rifle shot resounded on the Goblin's ears, and Shabbaroon fell to the floor, his insides spilling.

Gertrude moved forward, and raised her Blunderbuss against El Capitano, her shot echoing across all Brightdale. El Capitano, now mortally wounded, had little he could do to save his own life, but with a swipe of his cutlas sliced open Gutchgot's belly, bringing the mercenary to his knees.

In a vain attempt to even the odds, knowing that it was Moonstones they had come for, Crusty moved forward towards Flintlock and tried desperately to steal the rifle man's Moonstone. The Goblin failed, and with it's she'll intact, fled the scene.

As the first light of the day struck Brightdale, the Commonwealth raised their heads high. Their town had been invaded by the Goblin Dominion, but through grit, determination, and a lot of luck, they had held their own and won the day.

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Tuesday, 14 June 2016


the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions.

Greetings friends!

So today I fancied talking a little about something that has a major influence on me, my life, and a lot of those who are close to me. It's also something that the past couple of days has been pretty well mentioned in my social media feeds.


Oh yes! The big V-Word!

The thing that only a couple of years ago apparently nearly brought about the deaths of so many people, and as we speak is currently being blamed for so many actual deaths.

But what are videogames to me? I do not mean this in the literal term, we all know of them as interactive media etc etc etc.

No I mean what do they mean to me.

If you hadn't guessed from the post title and earlier definition...

To me they are catharsis.

While others go out drinking, or play football, I play videogames.

It all started with the Commodore, moved onto a long list of Sega Consoles, before finally reaching the PC, and there it remained largely exclusively.

Now most of you will know that I enjoy both playing and designing tabletop games, and as great as they are, tabletop games are unable to provide me with the same catharsis as videogames. Quite the opposite in fact. Where videogames strip out my stress, I find tabletop games (despite being a great fun time) add to my stress.

A big part of this for me is escapism. Last year I was Mad Max, roaring my Black on Black across the Great White, before donning cyber interfaced guns and taking on international terror threats, followed by exploring a deep underwater research site in a post-apocalyptic world, before then developing the time travelling powers of a teenage girl and trying to save my best friend.

This year alone I have re-connected the fire of embers, followed the soul of that bastard Simon across English countryside, slain countless Uruks, shouted obscenities at Tracer while resurrecting comrades in a German accent, ran across the rooftops of the City of Glass, taken a double barrelled shotgun to the meaty faces of countless demons, and before the year is out, I'll be augmenting my body with Sarif-tech, running away from crazy demon-worshippers with nothing but a cam-corder for light, and maybe even venturing into the Unknown and Unexpected.


In my previous post, I made a mention of burn out. And I honestly believe that videogames are one of the things that save me from this. I do not mean from tabletop games, but from life itself.

I honestly believe that if it was not for those hours I spent as a teenager deliberately torturing space colonists as The Alien, or slicing up Dark Jedi as Kyle Katarn, then I wouldn't be the sane man I am today.

Not only are videogames an escapism for me, but they are also my form of relaxing, and my number 1 form of removing stress.

No matter how shitty life gets, I always know that booting up Quake4, Aliens:CM, or Bulketstorm, grabbing my rifle, shoving it down the throat of a Strogg, Alien, or Mutant, will always leave me feeling a shit-tonne better!

For those moments I can be the cold hearted killer that lives within us all; The Beast. I can pull out a sword, gouge it into the belly of my enemies and dance in the spray of blood that splashes across my face. I can take to wheel of a dune-buggy on an alien world and mow down untold numbers of giant rat-like creatures, I can sprint across the rooftops of Harran being chased by zombies and feel free from the trappings of normal life.

What's more, I can bring others there with me!

How many times have I remembered fondly the swarm of zombies that my wife and I faced off in the recent Resident Evil games, or escaping the collapsing towers of Dying Light, or delving into the dark filled dungeons of World of Warcraft?

...What can I say? I love videogames!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Monday, 13 June 2016

Ups & Downs

Greetings friends!

I figured it was time that I gave you all an update on how things are going on Chez Loxley.

So I'm tired. I am very tired.

To begin with, those who followed along last summer will remember something similar happening, I basically do not do well in heat. Other people love it, they bask in the sun and feel fantastic. I don't. I get heat stroke and have to lay down. I also don't get burned, but it's no good spending days in bed where you want to do nothing but sleep in between the occasional gut-chuck.

I've also been very busy, or at least that is how it has felt.

So this week saw the beginning of the Moonstone Firespitter KickStarter campaign (if you haven't backed yet, here is the link but I would hope that if you follow me, you would have followed by now). As you might imagine, this has actually been quite a busy time for me and everyone else in Goblin King Games. Yes you heard that right, I'm officially part of the team.

So what have I been doing?

Well other than working I've been getting the downloads page ready for yesterday (Sunday)'s update. This by itself took about 2 hours and taxed my over-heated brain a lot.

I've also been sorting out podcast interviews, writing blog posts (including those you have seen and some you may not have as they haven't been published by 3rd parties yet).

Plus I've also been burning the candle on both ends with videogames, namely Witcher 3 and the new Mirror's Edge Catalyst.

Don't worry, I'm not looking for sympathy, everything that I have done has been by choice, so no matter how tired I am, it's all very much my own fault.

Ok, but what have I wanted to do?

Well truth be told, there is little difference here, but one thing that I have been wanting to do, but have really struggled to, is working on the Override franchise.

There's a few things that I've really wanted to do recently, including as follows:

Main book: I still need to update this to officially be the latest version. I've had updates sitting on my to-do list for literally months now, but I've never gotten around to them.

Supplemental: I really want to put some rules to paper for the supplemental rule set - Attack at Rapture Farms.

Book 2: I really want to get to work on getting this put together. There's a name, rule set, everything!

Code Black: As with everything else, I really want to commit to paper everything in Code Black.

So what is holding me back?
Well there are a couple of things. Following on from DaffCon I was beginning to feel the effects of Burn-Out, and as is traditional for me following these sort of things, I have pretty much distanced myself from all things burnout related.

Also I have wanted to help support Goblin King Games. This has been a great help for my burnout, as focusing on a different game has allowed me to use a different part of my brain to that which I use for Override.

All in all however, I do feel like I have neglected my game.

That is not to say that Override has been benched. Far from it.

Just this weekend we received our first application for the Ghost Program from friend if the game Gaz.

So where am I now?

Well I want to get the Firespitter Kickstarter completed, which in roughly 1.5 weeks time it will. Before then however I really want to get the updated rulebook completed so it can be analysed and critiqued.

Once done I will then be looking at 2 possibilities.

The first is to get original artwork completed. Through Goblin King Games, some fantastic contacts have been made who I want to see if I can utilise myself. If I can get maybe 6 pieces of art one (one for each Organisation in Override) and done over 6 months (which will aid in spreading the costs) then I'll feel a lot happier with where the state of the game is. Also by then the Trade Marking should be completed (it's paid, just needs to sit on the Trade Marking Journal for a period of time).

Off the back of this art, I'd like to look int getting some models made. Something like 6 multipart models for each Organisitation (so 6 heads, 6 sets of arms, 6 torsos, and 6 legs complete with weapon selections).

You might be wondering why am I suddenly talking about models being made? Well it's simple really: what I dream is of a world where both Moonstone and Override could be handled by a singular company and the pull from both can complement and not compete with each other.

By this time, the follow up Moonstone Kickstarter should be underway or completed, allowing for another Kickstarter in Override so that a good quality book complete with stater sets can also be produced.

Yes it's a pipe dream, but one I do see as a possibility.

Anyway, I've waffled on for long enough.

So until next time, stay safe and be excellent to each other!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Firespitter Kickstarter for Moonstone

Greetings friends and welcome to a very special blog post!

Oh yes, the day that many of us have been waiting long and hard for has finally arrived…

That’s right! The Firespitter Kickstarter is live here!

Now for those of you who don't know, Firespitter is a 32mm scale model for the upcoming wargame Moonstone. This is the game I have spoken at great lengths both on Hobby Sofa and thus very blog as:
“The future of character-driven skirmish games”.

Now first things first, this Kickstarter is not like your usual one, we are not talking about any of the big names using the platform to act as a pre-purchasing system. Oh no! The designer of the game, and the miniature in question, is a brand new startup company going under the name Goblin King Games (if you don't get the nod, shame on you).

This model is a limited boutique model, if you want it, grab it now, as it may never be seen ever again.

So here’s the model itself, a beautiful sculpt by the incredibly talented Tom Lishman, and will be brought to life via the moulding-press (is it called that? Who knows!) of Hysterical Games.

But don't think that this is some impersonal creation designed by committee. Oh hell no! The original concept art (which looks pretty damn similar to the final result) was done by the creator of Goblin King Games, Tom Greenway, and at every stage of the sculpting and test moulding process he was present overseeing the work to ensure that this model not only lived up to it’s potential, but was everything that he dreamed it would be.

I think it is safe to say that it has surpassed everyone’s hopes, as the end result is truly something. I've been most fortunate and lucky enough to see it for myself in the flesh, and I cannot wait for you to see it for yourself once the Kickstarter is building some steam and the professionally painted version is unveiled.

But wait!” I hear you ask “what’s that dude in the bonus unlock up top?
Well that is Baron Von Fancyhat, the first miniature to be sculpted for the opposing faction. Fancyhat is an addon for the campaign that with hope will be unlocked. As someone who is not normally a fan of ‘human fantasy’, even I love this model. I genuinely cannot wait to get my hands on both Fancyhat, and of course, Firespitter.

By now you should have a good grasp of the world that the game itself, Moonstone, is set in. It’s not your traditional Tolken-esq world. We don't have frolicking elves!

Oh no! Moonstone instead takes inspiration from European Folklore, something less Grim-Dark, and a lot more Brothers Grimm.

In this game Humans, Gnomes, and Giants, face off against Goblins, Faeries, and Trolls for control of their valuable resources known as Moonstones, but these are not your traditional fairies found dancing at the end of your gardens, they're vicious tricksters who are cruel and cunning. And if all goes well with this Kickstarter, it is with hope that you will get to see all of this in time.

On a similar note, I have been given the prestigious honour of being able to unveil to you all the recently completed concept art for an up and coming Goblin, known as Seasick Steve!

Seasick Steve is a character that I am very fond of, partially because I actually came up with his appearance. The idea of a drunk Goblin, dressed up as a pirate and struggling to maintain his balance with the use of a harpoon.

Much like the Firespitter model, who you know is only moments away from blowing himself up with his candle-helmet only inches away from his fuel barrel, Seasick Steve is only one swig of foul grog away from toppling over and impaling himself on his own harpoon!

Anyway, I think I have rambled on long enough! So go! Check out the Kickstarter, and if you’d be so kind, maybe put in a pledge for your own copy of these wonderful models!

Until next time, stay safe, and be excellent to each other!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley