Have a spare €250 (plus airfare?)

Yesterday, Robin Laws posted about a gaming event in Germany called The Kraken at Schloss Neuhausen (NE of Berlin) in October.  Three days with meals included for €250 or so!  That is a heck of a deal.  And the panels are mostly in English.

Of course, flying to and from, if you’re not already in the area, isn’t exactly chump change.  But Germany in October?!  Man, I’d love to be there.

Humble Science Fiction Book Bundle

This is a heck of a package that is heavy on the classics: Roger Zelazny, George R.R. Martin’s Wildcards, Alfred Bester, Isaac Asimov! In the case of Zelazny, it has both short story collections and the third series of Amber books that were written by John Gregor Betancourt, which I haven’t read. I started reading Zelazny’ The Last Defender of Camelot, and I’m so happy that I did because I had forgotten what an incredible wordsmith that he was. I was re-reading his Amber series last year and I honestly don’t think that it represents his best work, but people will like what they will like.

(personally I copy them in to Dropbox and can load and read them from my desktop, laptop, phone, or tablet)

The bundle is available for both Kindle and ePub formats, is DRM-free, and is available for the next eleven days, so basically through the end of the month. The charities for this bundle help support SFWA’s The Givers Fund, the Challenger Center for Space Science Education, and the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital’s Extra Life fund. Currently the highest tier for all the books is only $15.

https://www.humblebundle.com/books/scificlassics_bookbundle

Bundle of Game Design books!

This bundle is more oriented towards video games, which is fine, it’s just not my particular field of interest (at the moment).  But it does contain one excellent book that is within my interests: Mike Selinker’s Kobald Guide To Board Game Design.  This is a book of essays by well-known game designers, such as Selinker himself, James Ernest (Cheapass Games), Richard Garfield (Magic the Gathering), Jeff Tidball (Pieces of Eight, Cthulhu 500), Matt Forbeck (Marvel Heroes Battle Dice, Brave New World and Lord of the Rings RPGs), Lisa Steenson (Lords of Vegas, Key Largo, Pirates of the Spanish Main), Andrew Looney (Fluxx, et al), and many others.  LOTS of good information on many aspects of board game design, including what makes a good gateway game, how lessons from film making can help design games, personal reflections on trials and tribulations, observations about how to build prototypes, etc.  I thought Andrew Looney’s flowchart on how he creates games was an excellent reflection on a good methodology.  He also suggests using lab books for jotting notes and observations.  It was quite interesting to learn that not only is his background in computer programming, but that some of his code is on the Hubble Space Telescope.  That is quite awesome.

Available for the next 18 days.

https://storybundle.com/games

More things to spend money on!

Bundle of Holding is a dangerous place.

Until the end of January, they’re offering a Nest of Spies, including second edition Spycraft, Classified, Spione, and Covert Ops.  Remember the Victory Games release of the James Bond 007 RPG back in the ’80s?  While that was an officially licensed product, eventually the license went away, I think Victory Games also went away.  Classified is a re-release, and presumably update, of the JB007 RPG with the serial numbers filed off.  I’ve bought the bundle and am really looking forward to looking over what they’ve done with it over an upcoming flight to DC.

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/NestOfSpies

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

BoH is also offering a massive collection of Champions 5th edition: in fact, it’s two bundles.  Both bundles are available for the next 11 days.  As usual, and like the Nest of Spies bundle, they’re split in to two collections.  The Champions collection consists of the following:

Starter Collection – $19.95

  • Hero System Fifth Revised Edition
  • HERO System Sidekick
  • Champions: Superpowered Roleplaying
  • Champions Universe (for Fifth Edition)
  • Hero System Resource Kit

Bonus Collection

  • Conquerors, Killers, And Crooks
  • VIPER: Coils of the Serpent
  • Millennium City
  • Champions Battlegrounds
  • Everyman
  • Stronghold
  • Millennium City University
  • The Stronghold Files, Volume 1
  • The Tablets of Destiny

The Ultimate Champions bundle is:

Starter Collection – $14.95

  • The Ultimate Mentalist (5E)
  • The Ultimate Energy Projector
  • The Ultimate Brick
  • The Ultimate Vehicle

and

Bonus Collection

  • The Ultimate Martial Artist (5E)
  • The Ultimate Metamorph
  • The Ultimate Skill
  • The Ultimate Speedster
  • Hero System Vehicle Sourcebook (5E)

For about $50 for all four Champions bundles, that’s a gobsmackingly huge amount of material….

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/UltimateChampions

Neil Gairmen book bundle!

I really wish they had an ebook of the book Good Omens, which he co-wrote with Terry Pratchett, but no such luck.  Regardless, there are A LOT of really good books here!  And in an unusual addition, one of the bonus books recently revealed, was his book Ghastly Beyond Belief.  Very rare.  Humble Bundle claims it was never published, which is not entirely correct, apparently there was a very limited press run and the books fetch a ridiculous price.

The bundle is available for another six days or so.

https://www.humblebundle.com/books

Just what I need — another web site selling bundles of stuff that I’m interested in

This company is called Story Bundle and they sell book and comics collections. A current collection is called Women in SciFi, it’s curated by Kristine Kathryn Rusch and features books, novellas, collections, and songs by the likes of Vonda McIntyre, Cat Rambo, Nancy Kress, Linda Nagata, Catherine Asaro, Judith Tarr, and others.

This deal is available for another 11 days. There are two differences between this site and others. First, there is no charity. The funds are divided between the authors and the site, and you control the split. Second, they wisely have them available as a single downloaded zip, so much easier to get all the content. Everyone gets a single file of MOBIs and Epubs. So that’s pretty convenient.

$15 gets you everything. Just how many more of these bundle sites are there?!

https://storybundle.com/scifi

An interview with Steve Jackson of Steve Jackson Games!

Not that other Steve Jackson, the fantasy writer. Slashdot did what might be better known as Reddit’s Ask Me Anything, Slashdot has been doing it for far longer than Reddit was a gleam in its creators eyes. The resulting email interview was posted on Friday.

And here it is:
http://interviews.slashdot.org/story/15/08/13/1344216/interviews-game-designer-steve-jackson-answers-your-questions

I used to read Slashdot extensively but for the last year or so I only read the first page, so I missed the post where people proposed questions. The questions that get modded up the most get forwarded to the interviewee, so it’s the things that are of the most interest to the community that are answered.

Reboot the Suit: A Kickstarter to properly conserve Neil Armstrong’s moon suit

There’s a Kickstarter going on to preserve Neil Armstrong’s suit that he wore on the moon, apparently the Smithsonian’s budget is mainly operational and special projects like this are not funded except through independent sources like grants or Project Kickstarter. The Kickstarter sought to raise $500,000 and has made that goal and are looking for more to extend preservation to other space suits, like Alan Shepherd’s.

One of the backer rewards is the files to 3-D print a replica of the suit’s glove. A lot of gamers are also science geeks of one sort or another and I thought that some of you might be interested in participating.

1996 edition of Deadlands Collection available from Bundle of Holding

It’s a heck of a collection, we had a lot of fun hours playing this game. Very interesting dice mechanics.

Here’s what’s bundled:
For just US$7.95 you get all six titles in our Starter Collection (retail value $30):
Weird West Player’s Guide (retail price $7.50): The core book for players, with the original rules and setting that started it all. [Note: Deadlands has been adapted to several rules system. This revived offer re-presents the 2004 revision of Pinnacle Entertainment’s flagship 1996 game and its supplements.]
Marshal’s Handbook (retail price $7.50): The Game Master’s guide to the Weird West of 1876.
Fire & Brimstone (retail price $3.75): The Blessed folks of the Weird West — Baptist Bible-thumpers, frontier rabbis, soapbox evangelists, and wandering Buddhist monks.
Hucksters & Hexes (retail $3.75): The soucebook for magic (and poker) in the Weird West.
Rascals, Varmints, & Critters (retail price $3.75): Scores of Deadlands desperadoes, abominations, and freaks.
Smith & Robards Catalog (retail price $3.75): A full range of weapons and equipment, plus New Science gizmos and rules for fantastic devices and the madm– um, geniuses who create them.

And if you pay more than the threshold price of $15.63, you’ll level up and also get our entire Bonus Collection of seven more titles (retail value $25.50):

The Agency: Men in Black Dusters (retail price $3.75): One of the highest-rated Deadlands supplements, this training manual documents secrets the Agency (a secret service of the Weird West) doesn’t want you to know.
Book o’ the Dead (retail price $3.75): The secrets of those who have passed beyond the veil — and back. New rules for generating undead heroes, as well as over 50 new mystical Harrowed powers.
Canyon o’ Doom (retail price $3.75): The native peoples call it the House of Stone and Light. In its shadowed depths, unnatural things wait. An epic 128-page adventure.
The Collegium (retail price $3.75): The intrigue-filled association of mad scientists in the Great Maze boomtown, Gomorra, and their newest, least stable steamtech inventions.
Ghost Dancers (retail $3): The sourcebook for Native American Shaman characters, their powers, and the Happy Hunting Grounds where mad spirits dwell.
Law Dogs (retail $3.75): About law enforcement, and the enforcers who have to be as ruthless as the outlaws they pursue.
Lone Stars (retail $3.75): The Texas Rangers sourcebook!

The bundle is available for another five days.

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/Deadlands2015

It’s the 50th anniversary of Nuclear War!

No, not some alternative universe RPG, this is the card game created by Doug Malewicki and published by Flying Buffalo. It is a very simple card game where each player is the head of a country and trying to rule the world: first through propaganda, and then pretty much inevitably, through nuclear war. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game won solely through diplomacy. And if you ever get to a game con that Rick is running a game of Nuke War at, you’ll see 20-30 people in a single game blasting the crap out of each other! It’s quite a sight.

But here’s the beauty of it: more often then not, there is no winner! If war begins and the last of your population is destroyed, with your dying gasp you press the ‘Launch All’ button as a bit of final retribution and wreak vengeance upon the person who destroyed you, or upon the world in general. And if they’re eliminated, they also get their final retribution, and so on….

Two additional games were made: Nuclear Escalation and Weapons of Mass Destruction. Since the Kickstarter has doubled its initial goal, WMD will be reprinted. And I learned from this that there is a smartphone app (for $1), both Android and iOS, that Claudia Christian, AKA Commander Ivanova from Babylon 5, will tell you the results — in her Russian accent. What could be better than a Russian telling you how many million people were killed as the result of a nuclear strike?!

The Kickstarter has one final week to run and $42 will get you a new edition of the game with shipping.

(sorry for the lack of anything here, I’ve been off to Germany and the Czech Republic and am working on a new edition of Zombie Cafe along with a anti-spy game that should be interesting if the mechanics work out)

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