"Roll dice and kick ass!"

Snapshots from JMcL63's lands of adventure (Go to Blogger to find RD/KA! in all its fully-illustrated technicolour glory- jmcl63.blogspot.com).

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Ulrika the Vampire: the trilogy complete

John McLintock
Scotland
Glasgow
Lanarkshire
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High hopes

The first volume of Nathan Long's Ulrika the Vampire series- Bloodborn, which I reviewed back in 2010, exceeded expectations sufficiently to ensure that picking up further volumes was a no-brainer for me. Volumes 2- Bloodforged, and 3- Bloodsworn, were duly added to my Warhammer Fantasy fiction bookshelf last year. I didn't know what to expect from these books but my hopes were pretty high after the first volume. Would Nathan Long be able to sustain my interest and excitement as he further developed the tale of the tragic destiny of one of my favourite characters in my favourite fantasy world?

Vivid characterisation

Freshly blooded and still bearing emotional hallmarks of her human identity- a proud young women of position, mature beyond her years by virtue of her martial experience, Ulrika chafes under the yoke of her new elders and betters- the Bloodlines: creatures for whom a year passes in the blink of an eye; who have nothing better to do than bicker, scheme and intrigue while human generations live and die as pawns in their powerplays, and as their prey and cattle. Among these, her new kind, Ulrika finds herself cast down to the status of a mere infant. Intrepid and independent she instinctively rebels against this subservience, launching herself on a quest to survive without surrendering to total damnation.
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Mon Oct 7, 2013 5:46 pm
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Thrillseekers!

John McLintock
Scotland
Glasgow
Lanarkshire
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At the mercy of the machine?

Me old mucker, Gav

Gav and I spent a day at Alton Towers last week. This was a bit of a turn up for the books: the trip had looked likely for September; I’d never hitherto been on a roller coaster; and I last rode a fairground ‘flyer’ ride back in 1991- a specific date I remember because it was just after my arrival in Glasgow at the dog end of Glasgow’s year as European City of Culture, and the fair was one of the popular attractions of that year. I also remember that ride because all I could think about while I was on it were the nut and bolt upon which my safety depended, and the physics of shear stresses: the ride reminded us all of both often enough to be sure. That sucked all the fun out of things for yours truly I can assure you dear readers.

Anyway, long story short, Gav persuaded me to go to my first theme park. And so we were off on a 30-hour red-eye coach round trip from Glasgow. Twenty-plus years since I crapped-out on a regular fairground ride, heading off to ride ultra-modern roller coasters? I confess I was a bit nervy but, as Gav pointed out when I quipped the heading above, roller coasters are safer than buses. Which is true, yadda, yadda, yadda.
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Fri Jun 28, 2013 12:01 pm
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Infiltration: the game that almost got away

John McLintock
Scotland
Glasgow
Lanarkshire
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Feel the hype, sigh
The social media advertising for Infiltration passed before my eyes registered but ignored, a disinterest no doubt prompted by its being set in FFG’s Android universe: Android — “a board game of murder and conspiracy set in a dystopian future” about which the consensus is that its attempt to marry narrative to a competitive boardgame failed because of the clunky complexities of Kevin Wilson’s design methods (as seen in, eg. Arkham Horror or Descent, whose heavy status-tracking and bean-counting mechanics are exactly what would suck all the fun out of playing a co-op against a pseudo-narrative solitaire engine) — was one of a handful of later FFG releases enjoying certain novel features sparking an initial interest which quickly waned when I realised what I’d be buying. That is to say: a big box of toys and other shiny stuff thrown together into the interminable clunk of too, too many cards and counters presided over by a rulebook both poorly organised and frustratingly vague.
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Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:03 pm
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Black Hearted Press: classic supernatural re-imagined and sociopathic Significant Others

John McLintock
Scotland
Glasgow
Lanarkshire
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A small confession
When, last month, I wrote thanking “John and David of Black Hearted Press for the small gesture of faith they showed in an unknown blogger” I was talking about the free review copies they’d given me of comics published by their Glasgow-based independent comics publisher, Black Hearted Press. There I was just sitting quietly in the Scotia when Jim Stewart- of The Astounding Ganjaman fame, pointed this guy in my direction, telling John (for John Farman it was) that I was someone he should talk to. The next thing I knew I had 3 free comics and an article to write. My introduction to David Braysher soon followed, and a fourth comic had been added to the pile of what was my first officially commissioned review.
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Sun Oct 14, 2012 2:50 pm
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Sisters, doing it for themselves #2: the comics, and more!

John McLintock
Scotland
Glasgow
Lanarkshire
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Great piss-up, but, well, y’know?
So, the crew at Team Girl Comic managed to stage a launch event for their 5th issue which exceeded all expectations, their own above all. But you can’t judge a comics collective by its ability to organise a great night out in the pub, especially here in Glasgow, where successive generations of teenagers have known that a simple bottle of Buckie is the secret to a good night on the bevvy. No, ultimately TGC must stand or fall by the quality of their comics. With 5 issues containing 94 strips and cartoons by 21 contributors across a total of 160 pages there’s more than enough of TGC available definitively to make that judgement.
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Wed Sep 26, 2012 6:22 am
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Wargames, politics and ethics #2: Politics? You can run, but you can't hide

John McLintock
Scotland
Glasgow
Lanarkshire
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Broad-brush polemic ruffles feathers
A book I picked up on sight from a recommendation on the WW2 SS Counter Colours thread, Ronald Smelser and Edward J. Davies II's 2008 scholarly study, The Myth of the Eastern Front: the Nazi-Soviet War in American Popular Culture was going to become an article even as I first read it – avidly – over xmas last year. Researching for this series- in which The Myth of the Eastern Front was going to feature centrally, I found the military hobbyists' inevitable internet hot flushes in its wake. Inevitable? In response to an academic tome?

The biggest invasion of the biggest war in history: a lot there to forget

Yes, because The Myth of the Eastern Front is part analytical historical deconstruction, and part broad-brush polemic against the 'romancers'- promulgators of an idealised vision of the Wehrmacht and the SS as honourable soldiers fighting a 'Lost Cause' against the Red horde. Smelser and Davies root this mythology in the Wehrmacht's 'last campaign': the ex-generals' postwar years of networking and spin aimed at rehabilitating the image of the German armed forces on the Eastern front.
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Thu Jul 28, 2011 1:13 pm
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My first (and last?) game of 'España 1936'

John McLintock
Scotland
Glasgow
Lanarkshire
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A long time coming

Regular readers will be well aware that I'm not a negative reviewer as a rule. It's too easy to find negativity on the web, and the first editorial decision I made way back in 2005 was that I wasn't going to contribute to it here at RD/KA!. Also, when I review anything, I've paid for it and therefore have a good reason to want to like it. Every so often though, something comes along which disappoints me sufficiently to prompt a distinct lack of enthusiasm to which I cannot but give vent. Antonio Catalán's game of the Spanish Civil War- España 1936, is a case in point. 

Dust off and dust-up
España 1936 is a game I bought on sight when I saw it in Static Games, an FLGS: the subject of the Spanish Civil War interested me and the box ad-copy showed nice-looking components. It then joined my collection of dust-gatherers, where it stayed for a good three years. Only recently, with Liam's newfound enthusiasm for strategic boardgames, did I begin to think that I might finally get a chance to bring España 1936 to the table. My thinking was this game would serve as a useful bridge between Labyrinth and Twilight Struggle on the one hand, and games like Unhappy King Charles! on the other.

And so, on Wednesday night Liam and I sat down to have a go. Five hours later, I'd won the game, but España 1936 had lost the vote of confidence.
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Sat Jul 16, 2011 3:02 am
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The long dark night of the dice rolls #1: a little light relief

John McLintock
Scotland
Glasgow
Lanarkshire
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I've been following some of the blogs here lately and have noticed a few are reposted from externally-hosted blogs. In for a penny I decided, so here is my first posting of RD/KA!@BGG. Enjoy! goo

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Ivanhoe, Ivanhoe and yet more bloody Ivanhoe!
I mentioned a week past Tuesday that I've played hundreds of games during the months of my depression, nearly 600 in fact. Still getting back into the swing of things here at RD/KA! as I am, I thought I'd run through some of the highlights of that epic series of games, and cast a quick eye over some other games which I've bought recently.

The impressive statistic of nearly 600 games played since last September is put in its proper context by the fact that more than half of those were games of Ivanhoe. My neighbour Liam (last seen swigging wine at Sioux's gallery launch in May last year) came round on xmas eve keen to play a game to which he'd taken an instant liking way back in October 2009. We played a 24-game session. And so began a marathon run of 325 games, all but 9 of which were played in the 6 months up to May. That's averaging 14 games/week, in a couple of sessions each week. Whew!

I've written before about how much I like Ivanhoe. I still like it, but I never would've imagined that there could come a point when I'd be scunnered at the suggestion of playing again. That point came sometime in May I seem to recall, when we played 12 sessions. Luckily something came along to break Liam from his obsession with Ivanhoe before I broke down completely!
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Tue Jul 5, 2011 2:58 am
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