My Christmas Games 2016



Every year I make sure that I have kept a game or two to play through my two weeks off over Christmas – every year I do the same thing, buy too many games and struggle to fit them all into my schedule then eventually get round to them over the holidays.

This year is absolutely no different and I have a few games that I am going to be playing – before I begin with my list though, it is important to add that I have asked MrsLuvva for ‘Watch_Dogs 2’ and as we speak there is a very “blu ray” shaped present under the tree; so I’m not going to be adding that to the list, because it could very well be something that’s not ‘Watch_dogs’!

No, the purpose of this post is to tell you the games I’m going to tackle of my backlog and have a…

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D&D all about dem dice

The Long Shot

With improvisation, I just do it. It might be a total failure but then you just throw the dice again. – Christian Marclay

Contributing to a fun experience for everyone at the table is the only real “rule” i adhere to as a D&D dungeon master. All the other guidelines, tips and tricks contained in the rulebooks and offered by Sage Advice, countless YouTubers, Twitch streamers, blogs and articles are purely optional. If they work in your game to add more fun, that’s terrific and you should totally utilize them. If not, there’s no harm done in completely disregarding them.


However, D&D remains a game no matter your approach to it, and the thing that makes it unique is the trove of oddly-shaped dice laid out on the table. Along with pencils, paper and whatever version of the rules your group prefers, dice are the only other necessary component…

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The Ultimate Gamer Christmas List



Last year I compiled two lists of gifts for gamers; one was for the cheapo gifts (perfect for secret Santa) the other was more expensive (but still pretty reasonable). And this year I’m following them up with a gift list so decadent that it will make your eyes water, so expensive you’ll sneer and so amazing you’ll want most (if not all) of the things listed.

Christmas is already expensive enough – do not read if you are a carnivorous consumer!

You have been warned!

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On The Home Front

Me Vs. Myself and I

It’s been a while since I did a real life check in, so I thought I’d get you all up to speed. The holidays are fast approaching, and with them we’ll see a new year, bringing with it the promise of a fresh start and good things to come. 2016 has gone down as one of the strangest years in recent memory, mainly because of the rash of deaths throughout the year. This isn’t something new, but our hyper connected world has made it front page news time and again. It was also the year this country voted in a complete tool of a president, so we’ll see if 2017 can remain on par with this year, though I suspect that things will be taking a downturn from here. But I digress. I’m not here to talk politics, I’m here to talk personal, meaningless bullshit. Let’s continue.

So the girlfriend…

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The more you put in, the more you get out

The Long Shot

It’s true that the more you put in the more you get out and that has to be there I think, If you aren’t really hooked on your instrument this job would be a hell on earth but if you are, it’s the best.

Internationally-renowned master guitarist Leo Kottke is credited with the above quote, and while he was referring to playing music, there’s a D&D lesson in there for both players and DM’s alike. The differences worth noting: D&D is a game, not a job, and less than total dedication isn’t going to make playing it hell on earth.

On the other hand, it can most certainly be the best, so the odds are in your favor (even if the dice sometimes are not).

The common assumption is that the bulk of the work for a D&D game lies with the DM. That’s mostly true, in large part because…

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The Christmas games rush is killing the industry!



Every year is the same; there are little to no games released in July/August and come mid-October the excrement hits the fan and, seemingly, every week has 3/4 blockbusters released. Commonly this time of year is called the “Christmas Games Rush” and it has been a fixture of the industry since the dawn of time.

The games rush exists for one thing and one thing only; to capitalise on the holiday season and to eek out a few more sales. As a business decision it makes perfect sense; people are willing to spend more money around October to December as financial reports will attest – so releasing games in that period WILL see bigger profits. Right?

Well; if this year is anything to go by, no. No it’s not. The winter games rush brings with it several massive problems for the industry that, should they go unchanged for much longer…

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LOTRO: pre-holiday news avalanche


I’m away visiting family ahead of Christmas so I’m behind on the gaming news enough to have missed a flurry of news items relating to Turbine and two of the MMORPGs that I’ve played on and off for years now – Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons & Dragons.

So Turbine has divested itself of its MMORPG business in order to concentrate on mobile gaming in future. A new studio has been created, Standing Stone Games, to house Turbine’s two major MMORPGs – the older and smaller Acheron’s Call games will be shuttered as part of the deal. I’ve not played either of those games but it’s a shame for any active players to lose their home.

I am, so far at least, optimistic about this. I feel that, perhaps, Turbine lost some of its focus of recent years and the two listed MMO titles may have suffered…

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Standing with Stones

The Order of Syncletica

fukiya Ninja PLEASE!

I’m still alive and well (albeit still unemployed) as I make a quick note of recent events and updates. I’ve been distracted by an old friend, a game I loved before DDO. More on that another time.

First off, congratulations to Standing Stone Games. I, for one, welcome our new game overlords.

You can read more about the reincorporation online, but basically, it seems our developers and producers have spun themselves off from their WB Games-owned Turbine entity and have a much freer space to develop and profit. Looks like some old hands lost over the years might also be returning.

I wanted primarily to write on Update 33 Patch 2, arriving tomorrow (Wednesday 12/21). Many course corrections and major changes to polish off the major Monk enhancements and handwrap/weapon update of Update 33.

Here are the general Monk adjustments. Items that are great (and…

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6 reactions to the new LOTRO/DDO studio

Bio Break


I’ve had a little over a day to process the rather sudden and shocking news that LOTRO and DDO are being transferred to a new indie studio, Standing Stone Games, and that Asheron’s Call (and AC2) are being shuttered next month. I don’t have a cohesive essay on the subject, but rather a half-dozen internal reactions on this move.

1. Turbine is done as an MMO studio. And it might be done for good.

Once upon a time, Turbine was a shining beacon of what an indie MMO studio could be. It was blazing out titles, with two Asheron’s Call, DDO, and LOTRO. It was on the forefront of the F2P revolution. Then it sold itself to WB, started to get out of the MMO-only business by branching off into MOBAs with the disastrous Infinite Crisis, and shrunk in both size and importance. Earlier this year it made the statement that…

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