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Showing posts from 2020

Be a Grinch! (in a Tabletop RPG)

The Holidays may be almost over (for a while), and we hope you’ve all enjoyed your seasonal music and movies/specials. We here at Never Say Dice have covered the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special and the new LEGO edition a few posts ago. A common thing many of us into tabletop RPGS like to do is incorporate media into our games. After all, many of us have grown up with the blending of media and the holidays as a given. It provides us a framework to build on and a common touchpoint to the people at our tables, virtual or otherwise. One classic character featured in holiday specials and commemorated in his own song is the Grinch, the avocado-green villain with strange cardiac growth problems apparently linked to his personality. The Grinch, villain though he may be, has a slew of characteristics that would make the character an excellent one at the gaming table. Those of you not familiar with Suess-lore may really only know the Grinch from the How the Grinch Stole Christmas animated

Gifting to Gamers

Once again, the holidays are upon us. Well, this is the first holiday season Never Say Dice has been around for, but “for the first time, the holidays are upon us” would just be pretty confusing. Whether your celebrations have already begun or whether you’re in the pre-event panic GMs know all too well, we thought a simpler, briefer post was in order - so here are our Holiday Wish Lists. (Aside from the time to play the games we’d like to play, and for vaccines to magically appear for everyone. And also a billion dollars. And a DeLorean. And a Lego Millennium Falcon. And...) A : I think we’ve slowly been entering an age, both as people and as a culture, where a wish list of gifts has become exceedingly difficult. If I see an RPG book, set of dice, or video game I really want, I’m now old enough to be able to afford the purchase, unless it's something outlandish. Of course, I tend to be a bit more frugal and buy last generation’s gaming system, as we’ve discussed before in Dragons

Shareware Day

This week features a rather obscure holiday honoring something that was a surprisingly large part of our collective youths: National Shareware Day. It can be hard to imagine now, but in the days of dial-up BBSs, disk swapping, and a pre-web internet, there was an entire file sharing ecosystem supporting independent software, which included a wide variety of games. From the “Episode 1 is Free” model to the “Breaks Itself After a Certain Period of Time'' approach to "Too Weird to Release Commercially” examples, shareware was the primary way PC users got to experience new games on the . As Andy and I both grew up at the tail end of this era and were denizens of local BBSs, we got to see a lot of this firsthand, and thought we’d discuss  this strange relic of our collective past, why it’s still intriguing, and how it relates to current publishing models for both electronic and tabletop games. - B B : Andy, what were your earliest shareware experiences? A : To talk about that,

The Phantom Plain: Storytelling through Landscape in MGSV

I’ve recently come to the ending (such as it is) of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain . I’d been putting it off for a while, with a whole range of reasonable excuses. I need to play Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance first! I need to make more progress in Peace Walker - sure, I’ve made it to both endings, but not the Monster Hunter missions! I can’t hog the PS3, it’s our main household media device! And I don’t have the time for a game that size, anyway… Maybe I was scared by the reviews and references I had come across - did I want to delve into the final installment of my all-time favorite game series and be disappointed? One by one, though, they all fizzled. We got a PS4, so I was able to spirit its predecessor off to my desk for solo gaming whenever I have a chance… which meant I was able to play Revengeance ... and plow away at Peace Walker until I got sick of failing to take out that damn Attack Chopper (Custom) over and over. And finally… there was COVID. I should mention an a

Always Say "Thanks"

Those of us in the United States just completed the annual feast of gluttony as opposed to our normal everyday gluttony this week, and here at Never Say Dice we are no different. Wait. Thankfulness. I meant "here in the United States we just completed our annual feast that celebrates thankfulness (and gluttony), and here at Never Say Dice, we are no different." While we're still not coming together in a normal fashion, due to the raging pandemic, we’ve still celebrated and brought our thankfulness to the table. So, this week, Never Say Dice would like to share with you, dear readers, what we are thankful for in the realms of games, storytelling and general nerdery. Feel free to let us know what gaming things you are thankful for on our Facebook page and Twitter ! Andy : One thing this wretched pandemic has given me, as it has for many of us, is significantly more time at home. This has allowed much more time to spend playing video games. While I have no intent to get a

LEGO Life Day Playset

You may have caught our Life Day post , which goes over what the holiday is about, where it came from, and what we can learn from it. If you haven’t checked it out, you may want to give that a read first. This week, I’m updating you on the new Disney+ LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special and reviewing this latest entry into the Star Wars universe. Will this special go down in history as a classic to watch every year with your loved ones? Or will it, like its predecessor, be reviled and spoken of only in hushed tones, ultimately removed from the streaming service, and unlikely to ever be seen again? As Never Say Dice did with the original, this special has been watched so that you may not have to! I’m sure one question first and foremost in your mind is "did the stars return for this entry like they did back in the 70s?" In the original special, we got almost everyone back: Harrison Ford, Peter Mayhew, Mark Hamill, “R2D2” (I guess it was Kenny Baker? They really should have credite

The Legacy of Life Day

 "This holiday is yours, but we all share with you the hope that this day brings us closer to freedom, and to harmony, and to peace. No matter how different we appear, we're all the same in our struggle against the powers of evil and darkness. I hope that this day will always be a day of joy in which we can reconfirm our dedication and our courage. And more than anything else, our love for one another. This is the promise of the Tree of Life." - Princess Leia Organa Andy : The Star Wars Holiday Special is something of a dark legend in nerd culture. Airing only once, November 17, 1978 on CBS, it was a quick attempt to cash in on the popularity of the original movie, released a year prior. Almost universally, it's agreed that the special is a horrible abomination. Copies of it have been historically difficult to find, as it was never rebroadcast or officially released. However, you might track down a copy on a torrent site or streaming video. Personally, I’ve seen enou

The Lion, The Witch, and the Adaptation - Part 3 (ITV + Summary)

Welcome to the wrap up for this series on the adaptations of the Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe . If you missed them before, you can go back and read my reviews of the Disney version as well as the 1979 animated and BBC editions . In this post, we’ll review what little remains of the ITV adaptation and take a look at my overall rankings of the three full versions that I was able to find. Finally, we’ll take a quick look at what the future may hold for Narnia. ITV I can’t really compare the serialized ITV version to other productions, as most of it has been lost to history. That being said, I did find two existing parts on YouTube, and watched all sixteen surviving minutes - albeit in poor quality, even for 1967. It felt much like watching some of the earliest Doctor Who , once again taking me back to watching reruns on PBS as a kid. That isn’t the only time Narnia and Doctor Who are connected, but we’ll discuss that in another post. Episode 8, Parts 1 and 2 detail Aslan meeting Edm

Never Say Disc: Black Sabbath (1970)

One rainy Sunday a few weeks ago, I was stuck in traffic and listening to one of my all-time favorite records: Black Sabbath’s self-titled 1970 debut. Briefly, I lamented that I hadn’t gone into music criticism, despite my love of good music writing and Scrooge McDuck quantity of amassed unsolicited opinions records. If only I had a some kind of venue to try my hand at it...  and then I remembered that I did! Before I made it past the stoplight (it was that kind of rainy Sunday traffic) I had come up with the idea of a media review section for this blog, the name “Never Say Disc,” and our subject of its first post. Given our shared love of Black Sabbath and the fact that Halloween would fall on a Saturday this year, it was obvious that we'd need to inaugurate our new media section by talking about Black Sabbaths’s Black Sabbath . - B  Side B In my personal history of rock music, there is a specific point at which All Things Were Set in Motion, a temporal locus, if you will. An all

MDRF - In Closing

You can refer to it as the Pandemic Season, the Lost Season, or the Grass-Growing Season, but whatever you call it, we can all agree that the Maryland Renaissance Festival's absence is felt deeply. This would have been the closing weekend for this year's Festival and, while even a typical closing weekend would be bittersweet, with last goodbyes for the year shared in a mix of Halloween and Renaissance garb, it's bittersweet in a different way this year. Robbed of a real Festival, we’ve made do with digital ones and other related projects, and while these projects may continue (and so may the pandemic) only time will tell the full tale. Since we wanted to do something for the community and bring a bit of the living story to our readers, Never Say Dice reached out to a variety of workers, performers and vendors. We hope that you’ve enjoyed our previous interviews Missing MDRF (with Kim Alexander - Author at Page After Page, and Louie of The London Broil Juggling Show) and M