For my last movie of 2018 I ended with a bang and sneaked a matinee in yesterday, and it took me five minutes to complete fall in love with this movie. Visually it’s the most arresting and imaginative animated film I’ve seen in ages. The characters are engaging and likable. The tone is fun overall but offers moments of sincerely affecting emotion and drama. It’s both a love letter to and a gentle parody of comic books in general and the Spider-Man character in particular.
I don’t want to say much more because you need to experience this film cold to get the full effect — and you should do that as soon as possible.
I haven’t done one of these in a long time — too long, so I’m going to try and get back into the habit of talking about books, movies, TV shows, games, comics, and whatever else catches my attention in a good way.
Today I’m posting about a game my wife and I received from our friends Dustin and Cathy: Kill Doctor Lucky by Cheapass Games. Basically, this is Clue in reverse: the players creep around a mansion trying to murder Doctor Lucky.
The game mechanics are pretty simple so it’s a fast game to learn, but the strategy factor is high. Being within line-of-sight of other players can prevent you from doing anything, including attempting to murder Doctor Lucky. Other players also essentially help protect Doctor Lucky from murder attempts, but in doing so drain their own resources — but a carefully played round of protecting Doctor Lucky could leave a crafty player in a good position for an unblockable murder attempt of his own.
And then there is the cat/dog NPC option that complicates things further. And the variant scenario that has the immediately deceased Doctor Lucky rising from the grave as a revenge-driven ghost who hunts down his killers. And an alternate board that gives you more rooms to explore. You get a lot of game for your money.
Another slowish week. It was a three-day weekend at Robin Hood’s Faire, but damn, was it a good weekend. Well, except for the fact it ended with a contact lens sliding up into my head and refusing to come out until I was halfway home. Good times.
The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Blades of Glory: Got a little work in and I’m within arm’s reach of the 50,000 work mark.
Action Figures – Issue Seven: The Black End War: Second draft finished, third draft in process.
Action Figures – Issue Eight: Crawling from the Wreckage: Second draft finished.
Action Figures – Issue Nine: Rough plotting in progress.
This year’s show, unfortunately, wasn’t terribly successful from a financial perspective. Sales were below last year’s, for both me and my tablemate J.M. Aucoin, but I got to participate in four panels over the weekend, and those were a lot of fun — and educational, for the attendees and for me. I picked up a few new techniques and learned some new approaches to writing, which I’ll never complain about.
Nor will I complain about the fact my last sale of the weekend was to a young girl who walked away hugging her new copy of Action Figures. That made an otherwise slow day totally worth it.
Speaking of Action Figures…
Action Figures – Issue Six: Power Play and Action Figures – Live Free or Die: Edited, formatted, awaiting cover art. Speaking of which, check out this color rough of the back cover art, which features Megawatt Quantum, who plays a prominent role in book six. I thought it’d be fun to portray her in the style of a WWII-era pin-up girl, a nod to her penchant for retro fashion. Tricia has some fine details to add but this is basically what you’ll be seeing on the back of book six.
Remember, folks, I am making a small number of advanced reader copies available, so if you’re interested, drop me a line and let me know. I can give you full details then, but I’m looking for people who have read the entire series to date (book six pulls heavily from other events in the series, especially book one), can read book six before it’s released to the public in late February/early March, and will post a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and/or their own personal websites, so serious inquiries only, please. ARC readers will get a finished copy of the book when it’s released in their preferred format.
Action Figures – Issue Seven: The Black End War: First draft finished.
Action Figures – Issue Eight: Crawling from the Wreckage: First draft in progress. Arisia took up my weekend so nothing got done on this or anything, but I hope to get back to it soon.
Action Figures – Issue Nine: Rough plotting in progress.
The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Blades of Glory: Rough plotting in progress.
Taking a minute or two out of my first full writing weekend in a month and a half (yeesh) to let folks know about a cool now board game I picked up this week.
The game is Letters From Whitechapel, which is based on the Jack the Ripper murders. One player controls Jack as he hunts down and kills “the Wretched” (a gentle term for prostitutes) over the course of five nights, while one to five more players assume the role of investigators tasked with capturing Jack.
If you’re not bothered by the admittedly morbid source material, I’d recommend this game — especially if you’re a fan of Fury of Dracula, which uses a similar game mechanic. The player controlling Jack moves around the board surreptitiously, while the investigator players have to find clues the reveal his escape path so they can determine where his hidden lair is. Jack wins by killing all five Wretched and returning successfully to his hideout. The investigators win by arresting Jack as he tries to evade capture.
Along the way, Jack can throw investigators off with false clues and redirect them as they patrol Whitechapel with taunting letters — which are based on the actual letters Jack sent police during his murder spree. Several elements of the game likewise draw from history; the game board is based on a map of Whitechapel at the time, certain key spots on the board correlate to the locations of the actual murders, and the investigators play the actual police officers and detectives who worked on the case. Fun and educational!
I haven’t been as good about keeping up on this as I should have been, so in the interest of getting the new year off to a good start, I’m going to throw out a quick list of cool things I’ve discovered recently.
I’m going to start with the Worcester Writers Collaborative, a group I recently found and joined for its New Year’s Day group dinner. Long story short, I’m usually not comfortable around strangers so attending this gathering was a big step outside my comfort zone, but I met some cool people and I’m looking forward to joining future get-togethers.
Castle Panic. One of the many games my wife and I got for Christmas. It’s quick and easy to learn, light, fun, and surprisingly challenging. Veronica and I have played this several times since we got it, and we’ve had some real nail-biter sessions.
Descent – Journeys in the Dark. Another game, this one a board game-style dungeon crawler. It took me a while to digest the rule book and our first game was definitely a fumble-through, but once I got used to it I found the quests move along quite smoothly. Veronica and I are in the middle of a campaign-style game, which takes about 20 hours to complete and, thanks to the branching storyline, can be replayed several times with different individual quests.
Macallan. Single-malt Scotch. I like it. Scotchy Scotch Scotch.
A quick post today, and probably my last at least through Christmas — and the giving spirit is the sort-of theme of this entry, which focuses on a couple of things tangentially related to me.
First is a new podcast series The Writer’s Blueprint by Jonathan Krieger, a friend of a friend, and the debut episode features an interview with me. The series is about the challenges of becoming a full-time working author and will feature, along with author interviews, tricks and tips for getting your writing out there. Go give it a listen!