Pixel Scroll 4/22/18 The Inevitable Filer Recursion: A Meteorologist In Florida Named “Pixel Scroll”

(1) GONE OVERBOARD. Polling geek site FiveThirtyEight analyzes BoardGameGeek’s top rating for Gloomhaven: “Players Have Crowned A New Best Board Game — And It May Be Tough To Topple”.

…A new game now tops those rankings: It’s called Gloomhaven, and it’s the current BoardGameGeek No. 1, having taken over the top spot this past winter. The game has won scads of awards, including more than a handful of Golden Geeks and a Scelto dai Goblin — the goblins’ choice. Its place atop the BoardGameGeek list cements its status as a flagship of the current golden age….

In Gloomhaven (which retails for $215), “players will take on the role of a wandering mercenary with their own special set of skills and their own reasons for traveling to this remote corner of the world. Players must work together out of necessity to clear out menacing dungeons and forgotten ruins.” The game’s website likens it to a “Choose Your Own Adventure” novel. Just don’t forget your swords or spells. Childres attributes his game’s success, at least among the hardcore denizens of BoardGameGeek, to the way it improves on the appeal of the roleplaying of Dungeons & Dragons, in which crawling dungeons can become rote. In Gloomhaven, you have special abilities that you can use over and over, and once you use them, you can watch them make cool stuff happen. It’s heavy on the fun stuff, rather than the grind of repetitious orc slaying, and as the BoardGameGeek leaderboard shows, gamers are appreciative.

(2) ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED. ConStellation 9 in Lincoln, Nebraska says funds raised this weekend put John Picacio’s Mexicanx Initiative over the top.

(3) DPP DELAYED. The German SFF event Phantastika 2018 has been cancelled, and taken with it this year’s Deutscher Phantastik Preis ceremony. Event organizer Mike Hillenbrand told an interviewer the award will still be given, at a time to be determined:

MH: …The DPP will be back this year, and we hope to get a grant as well. The joke is that we already had a name sponsor and several category sponsors for the award ceremony, and last year we had well over 600 guests at the ceremony – and I think the DPP is too important to call it off. How, where and if there will be a ceremony, but of course we have to discuss with the editors of phantastik-news.de and then someone will make known. Soon. 🙂

English version via Google Translate.

(4) BID ‘EM UP. Nate D. Sanders Auctions is taking bids on this item til 5 p.m. April 26: “Stephen Hawking Signed Book From 1973 — One of the Scarcest of Signatures”.

Stephen Hawking book signed from 1973, shortly before Hawking was not able to write his name due to ALS. Hawking signed this book, ”The Archaeology of the Industrial Revolution”, along with several other members of the Institute of Theoretical Astronomy at Cambridge University, on the occasion of an employee leaving his job as a computer operator. Hawking signs the half-title page, ”Stephen Hawking”, in stilted, but legible writing, below the signatures of other faculty members and below the gift inscription, ”With gratitude and best wishes from the friends of the IOA computer staff.”

It was at the Institute of Theoretical Astronomy at Cambridge where Hawking, as a research scientist, made some of his earliest scientific breakthroughs regarding black holes and quantum mechanics. Also in 1973, he published his important first book, ”The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time” which is now considered a classic and has been printed many times over. It was also at this time that ALS was overtaking Hawkings physically, and he would be confined to a wheelchair by 1975.

(5) BLACK PANTHER IN CHINA. Carl Slaughter says: “In this man on the street survey, Chinese people really open up about the Black Panther movie.  Easy to read subtitles with grammatically correct translation is a major bonus.” The takes are of varying sophistication.

(6) NO BUCKS, NO BUCK ROGERS. The Verge’s space reporter Loren Grush has written a story about commercial spaceflight — with emphasis on commercial: “Product launch: a trip to the Taco Bell Space Station”. It’s satire, but is it so far from Delos Harriman’s efforts?

Over my headset, I hear the flight controller counting down on the launch live stream.

“T-minus five minutes to liftoff.”

I don’t think my heart has ever pounded this hard. I’m strapped into a seat inside one of SpaceX’s SpriteDragon™ capsules, sitting on top of a Pepsi™ Falcon 9 rocket. And I’m just 300 seconds away from my first trip to space. With every second that ticks away, my nerves send an electric shock throughout my body. I’ve never been more exhilarated or more petrified….


  • April 22, 1953 Invaders from Mars was released.

(8) GOTTESMAN OBIT. Star Trek fan Regina Gottesman (1948-2018) died April 17 reports Fanlore. A fanwriter and fanzine publisher, in 1982, she was nominated for a FanQaward. In a bio written at that time Gottesman said about herself:

She was involved with the New York STAR TREK conventions (The Committee Cons) from their inception, has worked on Lunacons (this year she edited the Program Book), and has attended many cons, both media and sf. TIME WARP was her first “official” ‘zine experience’, and, although no longer associated with TIME WARP (as of issue #6), she now co-edits COMLINK The STAR WARS and Media Letterzine, and has started her own’ zine, ERRANTRY….

(9) WINDOW ON GREEN TOWN. Atlas Obscura would like to show you around “Ray Bradbury’s Waukegan”.

Spend an afternoon visiting Bradbury’s greatest muse—the town now known as Green Town.

Ray Bradbury is a towering legend in the world of science fiction and horror, a man among the greats of American literature. Whether his stories were set in futuristic dystopias, nightmarish carnivals, or abandoned Martian cities, in Bradbury’s mind they all happened in Green Town—the pseudonym he gave to Waukegan, Illinois— his hometown.

Come see Waukegan, Illinois, through the eyes of Ray Bradbury with the Atlas Obscura Society Chicago. You’ll get a peek into the mind of the author as we are guided to places that toe the line between his life and his fiction. Walk the streets that both Ray and his characters walked, while seeing the places that molded the mind of one of the most creative authors of the last century.

(10) MOMENTUM. John Seavey’s Storytelling Engines: How Writers Keep Superhero Sagas Going and Going! comes out May 16. Here’s what readers will learn:

Every continuing series has an engine…

This engine is a collection of ideas, characters, and settings that help writers to generate good stories. STORYTELLING ENGINES examines comics from Fantastic Four and Superman to Spider-Woman and Dial H for H-E-R-O to find out which parts of that engine make a series easier to write, and which parts make a writer’s life miserable!

  • Why did Alfred the Butler have to die?
  • How did the Comics Code create Eclipso?
  • What do Aquaman and Thor have in common?
  • How does Conan the Barbarian resemble Mystery Science Theater 3000?

Find the answers to these questions and many more in STORYTELLING ENGINES!

(11) POETRY JUDGE. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association has named John W. Sexton as the judge of its 2018 Speculative Poetry Contest. The contest opens June 1st. More details can be found here.

John W. Sexton was born in 1958 and lives in the Republic of Ireland. He is the author of six poetry collections, the most recent being the imminent Futures Pass, from Salmon Poetry. His earlier collections include Vortex (2005), Petit Mal (2009) and The Offspring of the Moon(2013). He also created and wrote The Ivory Tower for RTÉ Radio, which ran to over one hundred half-hour episodes from 1999 to 2002. Two novels based on the characters from this series have been published by the O’Brien Press: The Johnny Coffin Diaries and Johnny Coffin School-Dazed, which have been translated into both Italian and Serbian. Under the ironic pseudonym of Sex W. Johnston he has recorded an album with legendary Stranglers frontman Hugh Cornwell, entitled Sons of Shiva,which has been released on Track Records. He is a past nominee for The Hennessy Literary Award and his poem “The Green Owl” won the Listowel Poetry Prize 2007. Also in 2007 he was awarded a Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship in Poetry. (Photo of John W. Sexton courtesy of Niall Hartnett.)

The contest chair is Holly Lyn Walrath:

The SFPA is honored to have Holly Lyn Walrath as our 2018 contest chair to coordinate this process. She is a writer of poetry and short fiction. Her work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Fireside Fiction, Liminality, Eye to the Telescope, and elsewhere. She is a freelance editor and volunteer with Writespace literary center in Houston, Texas. Find her on Twitter @HollyLynWalrath or at hlwalrath.com.

(12) DEADPOOL SCOOPS. ScreenRant guides you to “25 Deadpool Easter Eggs And Secrets Only True Fans Noticed.”

(13) WIN BY A HEAD. NPR’s Jason Sheehan likes the new Scalzi: “In ‘Head On,’ Killer Robots, Dogged Gumshoes … And A Very Important Cat”.

I love that the entire plot of John Scalzi’s newest novel, Head On, hinges on a cat.

I mean, it’s such a stupid idea. It’s a gimmick that’s been played straight, played crooked, played backwards and forwards in so many stories that there’s just no trope-life left in it. Cat as McGuffin. Cat as material witness. Cat as embodiment of damsels in distress. It’s the literary equivalent of Scooby Doo and the gang pulling the rubber mask off old Mr. McGillicutty the groundskeeper because he was the pirate ghost all along.

And I love that Scalzi did it anyway. Mostly because he found a new way to use it (in addition to all the old ways in which he absolutely uses Donut the cat) which, in conforming so literally to the defining nature of science fiction, somehow makes it seem new and fresh. The #1 thing that defines science fiction — that separates I, Robot from War and Peace — is that technology (no matter what it is) must play a pivotal role in the development of the plot. Read: It ain’t enough just to have spaceships, the spaceships have to matter, get it?

(14) THAT OTHER FIRST LADY. Dear to many fannish hearts: “The master blender who is Scotch whisky’s First Lady”.

Rachel Barrie is one of the few women ever to hold the title of Scotch whisky master blender.

In her 26-year career, Rachel has sniffed or sipped 150,000 different whiskies.

She is a trailblazer in what was traditionally a male-dominated industry, having held the coveted title since 2003.

As arguably the most prominent woman in her field, Rachel can reasonably be described at the First Lady of Scotch whisky.

(15) FIAT LUX. The BBC considers the question: “Is ‘bisexual lighting’ a new cinematic phenomenon?”

The under-representation of bisexuality on screen has been debated for a number of years, and some have seized on bisexual lighting as an empowering visual device.

Reflecting this, the Pantone Color Institute named Ultra Violet as its colour of the year for 2018, referencing the influence of “Prince, David Bowie, and Jimi Hendrix”.

But is it really a tool to represent bisexuality, or are people reading too much into neon-tinged stylisation?

(16) THIRD ROBOT THEME. “Europe’s Mars rover takes shape” — it can wheel-walk out of sand traps that ended Spirit. They’re building three: one to stress-test, one to send, and one to test fixes on. Chip Hitchcock asks, “Wonder if anyone’s hoping it will be used for signaling as in The Martian)?”

So, here it is. Europe’s Mars rover. Or rather, a copy of it.

This is what they call the Structural Thermal Model, or STM. It is one of three rovers that will be built as part of the European Space Agency’s ExoMars 2020 mission to search for life on the Red Planet. And, no, we’re not sending all three to the Red Planet.

The STM is used to prove the design. It will go through a tough testing regime to check the rover that does launch to Mars – the “flight model” – will be able to cope with whatever is thrown at it.

What’s the third robot for? It stays on Earth and is used to troubleshoot any problems. If mission control needs to re-write a piece of software to overcome some glitch on the flight rover, the patch will be trialled first on the “engineering model” before being sent up to the Red Planet.

(17) TO BOLDLY MEDDLE. This is funny. See the image at the link. (Because it might not be polite of me to gank an image belonging to a Deviant Art artist. I’m not sure.)

A repaint of the Galileo shuttle as the Mystery Machine. Now comes the question of what those Meddling Kids would be in the Trekverse.  Velma, of course, would be a Vulcan but I’m not sure as to what the rest would be.  Any ideas?

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Andrew Porter, Andrew Liptak, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day JJ.]

75 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/22/18 The Inevitable Filer Recursion: A Meteorologist In Florida Named “Pixel Scroll”

  1. (2) ConStellation is my local con. I didn’t go because of various conflicts, but I’m pleased to hear that they were able to raise so much for the initiative.

  2. I’m all in favor of purple, but people who are in the color business should know the difference between violet and ultraviolet. Even if they do think “serenity” is a color.

    Here in 2913, they’re working on computer monitors that can actually show ultraviolet: the bees demand it.

  3. (1) GONE OVERBOARD. That’s a lot of money, wow. But thanks for the heads up. I’m not really hooked up to board game/RPG/dice game news, despite enjoying and playing a lot of them.

    (5) BLACK PANTHER IN CHINA. They (Asian Boss) also did this in South Korea:

    (17) TO BOLDLY MEDDLE. Groovy! 🙂

    (15) FIAT LUX. Wut. Oh good grief, magical colors don’t magically represent me. You know how to show someone’s bi? Have a character show attraction to more than one gender, or have them flat-out say they’re bi. It’s really not that tough. Show me purple (or red/blue or red/blue/purple) and I’ll think, “They liked those colors for this shot.” I won’t think, “Wow, there must be a bi character lurking about somewhere – cool, it’s like seeing myself in this movie/TV show/ad.” Ever. Gaahhhhhh.

    Although this thread amused me. 😉

    ETA: Pre-true (2nd) 5th! So close, and yet so far.

  4. You want pixels?
    I want the scroll!
    You can’t handle the scroll!

    [ETA: I suspect someone’s posted this, or a variation on it, before.]

  5. I used to be a meteorologist in Florida–at Cape Canaveral, no less–but I was never named or called “Pixel Scroll”.

  6. 1) Gloomhaven is a great game, but the retail price is actually $140.00. Anything over that is dealers holding you hostage to the as yet unsatisfied demand.

  7. Wow, I’m a bit surprised that Gloomhaven is doing that well. My brother (a massive board-game fan) backed the kickstarter, and it is a big and complicated game. I’d expect something like that to have a more narrow appeal. It’s basically “role-playing light”. Of course, role-playing games have been having a come-back of late, so maybe it’s not too surprising it’s doing well. But it’s definitely not something I’d recommend to the casual gamer. My tastes tends more toward things like Pandemic and Ticket to Ride–relatively simple but engaging and fast-paced. But Gloomhaven was ok. I’d play it again, but I don’t think I’m going to save up to buy my own copy.

    It’s also one of the new breed of “legacy” games–games which you modify as you play them! These are a big hit right now, but I have concerns about their complete lack of replayability–the modifications you make in each game are permanent, and there’s only a fixed number of them, so once you’re done, you need a new copy of the game to start over. That said, I’ve very much enjoyed the couple I’ve played. Pandemic Legacy (which I believe was the former BoardGameGeek #1 before Gloomhaven took over) was outstanding. Whether it was worth the money for a game you can only play 12-24 times, I’m not sure, but since I wasn’t paying… 🙂

    Paying over $200 dollars for a game you can only play a limited number of times, though, is even scarier. But on the bright side, Gloomhaven is big and complex enough that you should get a lot of playing out of it.

  8. @rochrist: Of course, the retail price is only meaningful if you can find it for that price. 😛 From what you say, and prices at Amazon.com (and out-of-stock somewhere else I looked; really not sure who carries this sort of thing online – Fun Again Games is going out of business, apparently), it sounds like a supply/demand issue?

    @Xtifr: Friends of mine who’re big into board games but not role players started playing the Pathfinder “role playing light” stuff a few years ago (at least, that’s how it was described to me; I don’t mean the Pathfinder RPG…hmm, the adventure card game, maybe???), so I see the market for “role playing light.” Anyway, I have similar concerns about “legacy” games and have zero interest in paying them for those reasons. I didn’t realize Gloomhaven was that sort of game – gak! Thanks for the heads up. I haven’t had a chance to read much about it yet, but it sounds like I should just back away. 😉

  9. BoardGameGeek has an annual bracket elimination tournament called “Geek Madness”. It’s not 100% final yet, but Gloomhaven seems set to win it this year, which is actually kind of unusual for the #1 ranked game – I haven’t gone back and researched how many winners were #1 ranked when they won, but I think it’s not many.

    I am a little surprised to see BGG getting all this attention outside of hobby gaming circles.

  10. I have been thinking of buying Gloomhaven for along time. I think this made the decision for me.

  11. 15) For me, the only “Bisexual lighting” that’s ever really worked, is the background coloring in the penultimate scene of Korra, and that’s because it was very much deliberate. And then about thirty seconds later, they went as blatant as they could on a TV series that was going to Russia and China. And then the creator had to flat out say that yes, they are bi, and they are in a relationship. And then they did a sequel comic that followed the relationship further.

    And alright, there’s Janelle Monae, who is awesome, and also very deliberate about the lighting she’s doing.

    But, I can understand the desperate need, the burning desire, to have SOME confirmation that We Have Representation. And yeah, that’s gong to lead to assumptions reminiscent of the most annoying traditions of slash fandom

  12. Hey there, Rose Embolism. See if you can remember to spell your name like that <--- or your comments are going to keep going through moderation as "first comments." And I'm turning in for the night, so it'll be a wait for me to fix them!

  13. 1) Gloomhaven sounds fun, if fiddly, but if your D&D game features “the grind of repetitious orc slaying” then you’re doing it wrong.

    10) I wish they wouldn’t.

  14. @Xtifr FiveThirtyEight’s summary chart for Gloomhaven does say it’s a niche product, but shows that those relative few that have rated it tend strongly to give it the max score of 10. Other games to which they compare it appear to have ~3-10 times as many people rating them.

  15. I’m gonna have to take partial credit for this title, being the first to notice the Florida/meteorologist connection. Which finally taught me how to spell meteorologist, so we have not scrolled and pixeled in vain.

    (2) Yay! Bueno!

    (13) Can confirm, cat is both important to plot and extremely cat-like.

    (15) Bwuh? Isn’t it just 80’s revival? And “this year’s color” isn’t ultraviolet, dammit; I can see it. And Prince used a different shade — more purple. Hmph. These kids today. Unless it’s actually being shone on or near bisexual people or characters, I’m gonna have to NOPE this.

    (17) Can’t think of any easily-terrified, permanently-high races in TOS, so that lets out Shaggy.

  16. Bandwidth is limited to nonexistent here in 1823

    Not true. You can get hatbands in all sorts of widths.

  17. 1) $215. Yowch.
    My local roleplaying game group are also big board gamers. I am not, and unfortunately am terrible at board games, so we don’t play much, because I almost always am dead last, and take this…badly.

    2) Excellent!

  18. Paul, but Gloomhaven is a cooperation game if I have understood it correctly.

  19. @ Ghostbird:

    I’d say that “the grind of repetitious orc slaying” is only wrong if the group isn’t enjoying it. If they are, it’s probably right.

  20. @Hampus I do better with cooperative games than competitive ones, its true. One game my group HAS played recently together is one–Spirit Island.

  21. @Ingvar

    I debated whether to add that, but I decided the context was enough. People do enjoy all kinds of things though so, yes, if everyone’s having fun then you’re playing D&D right.

  22. @ Chostbird:

    I’ve been surprised oh-so-many-times by people who don’t get that RPGs are what the group make from it, and worry that they’er “playing it correctly” (not ideal, but at least not causing massive problems) or snooting down at other groups who “clearly doesn’t play it right, and thereore should be shunned and laughed at” (very much not cricket, that is).

    Recently (as in the last 10-15 years?) I’ve mostly played GURPS, but the same things apply.

  23. 15) As everyone knows, bisexuals are invisible (except on September 23), so can only be seen under ultraviolet light. That’s why bisexuals are so often spotted in nightclubs – they often have UV lights fitted in order to be inclusive.

  24. O.Westin, <snork!> So *that* explains it. Here, I thought that bisexuals vibrated at a higher frequency or something….

  25. I almost never go to nightclubs. Yet I really don’t seem to be invisible.

    I think this is a silly conspiracy theory (As someone else noted, if everyone lit thus starts indicating ALOUD that they have at least a flirtatious interest in someone of a gender they have not previously expressed interest in, then I’ll believe it), and yet, I like the colour/lighting in question even if there’s nothing “ultra” about it, and people have spun clever jokes off it, so I guess it’s a win.

  26. I don’t mind board games that do RPG-lite, though I tend to plan for long or more intense board games differently than I do for pulling out 7 Wonders or Lords of Waterdeep.

    A friend of mine pointed out that if you own a lot of games in the first place, there are likely ones you haven’t pulled out more than 4-5 times, so a game you CAN only play 12-20 times isn’t as weirdly out of whack cost- or play-wise as all that. (And I knew a person who put dot stickers on their game boxes to note how often played for just that reason, to catch the neglected ones. Some did only have 2-3 stickers, though he conceded that they weren’t new, or ones he hadn’t enjoyed.)

  27. I actually just spent a very pleasant weekend with a visiting friend, during which we mostly played board games, including my first attempt at Eldritch Horror (spoiler: We lost. Sorry about that, entire world that’s now engulfed in unspeakable horror).

    I have kind of mixed feelings about especially the really big, time-intensive games (like Gloomhaven, or Eldritch Horror, or Mage Knight, or the recent Conan game) — I like the idea of having played them, but when faced with the prospect of spending 30-60 minutes setting up the board, then another 2-3 hours of actual gameplay, then an additional 30-60 minutes tearing down, I find myself starting to gravitate towards my Steam account …

  28. (13) WIN BY A HEAD

    I finished this last night. I’ll probably do a proper review at some point but basically I think it’s as good as Lock In and is generally very Scalzi, so those are recommendations to you then go for it, if not then don’t.

    Most importantly though – yes, the sequences with the cat are hilarious.


    Certainly pricey but I can see my gaming group getting it. We’re currently playing the various Pathfinder card games (as mentioned by Kendall) and one of those with all the expansions approaches the cost of Doomhaven. We spilt the cost between several of us so it comes back down to being reasonable for something we’re going to get a lot of use out of. Obviously it has to be your sort of thing and ideally you need a settled group to play it though.

  29. In the world of MMO gaming, I dropped SWTOR for various reasons (including the damn Bootcamp partition) and switched over to Guild Wars 2. I’m still acclimatizing to the new game and am unsure if I’ll stick with it–the graphics seem strange to me.

  30. Gloomhaven: a reprint should put the price tag down to the original retail, about 120 to 150 dollarish. There is an expansion for it later that year and a reprint should come before that.
    Its a cooperative campaign game and is designed to be played somewhat regulary for a year or two, and it has enough stuff in it to actually do that. So the price is justified imho.
    Its a niche game, yes, but it’s absolutely tailermade for that niche and I think thats why its no. 1 for now. Unlike FiveThirtyEight I doubt it will stay there that long though. Too many games are coming out now…

  31. And speaking of the end of the world, I might be finishing Stone Sky today; and right now it feels like it’ll be at the top of this year’s ballot for me.

    Afterwards, maybe I’ll take a bit of a break from Hugo reading; decisions, decisions.

  32. @Ultragotha —

    The Magpie Lord is on sale right now for $1.99.

    I will second a rec for most anything by Charles, though my personal favorite is Think of England.

  33. I have to say that I was more skeptical of the idea of “legacy” games before I played some. The limited number of times you can play them is definitely offset by the amount of fun they add to the base game. And compared to various other forms of entertainment, the hours-of-entertainment-per-person-per-dollar isn’t too bad. It’s way cheaper per hour than going to see a movie in a theatre, for example. Probably in the ball-park of pay-per-view.

  34. In addition to that, many of these games have sticker kits, either from the game maker, or from third parties that although reuse.

  35. 1) I like board games, but I’m not going to pay that much for one no matter how good it’s supposed to be. I’ll stick with Talisman, TYVM.

    2) Yay!

    15) I’m sorry, sexuality isn’t a color. The way to represent bisexuality in visual media is to show people being attracted to more than one gender. More importantly, to do so in such a way that the audience won’t flip automatically from “default straight” to “oh, that character is gay”. But that’s work.

    @ rochrist: Still not paying that much for it. 🙂

    @ Kendall: Talisman was one of the early “RPG lite” board games; I’ve been known to describe it as “D&D with all the boring stuff taken out”.* You don’t have to generate a character, it’s already there on your card; and there’s no actual role-playing in the game itself — you just follow a path and have random encounters/adventures along the way. If I ever get my set out again, the first thing I’m going to do is go thru it and remove the Dragon extension, which was a total waste of money because it seriously unbalanced the game.

    @ Paul: I’m notoriously terrible at dice rolls, so I prefer my board games to use other randomizers for luck (drawing a card, etc.). But I’ll still play games that use dice, I just don’t expect to win. 🙂

    * “Boring” is used tongue-in-cheek there. I’m easily bored by RPGs, but I rather suspect that’s been partly a function of the groups I’ve tried playing with.

  36. 15: But is it really a tool to represent bisexuality, or are people reading too much into neon-tinged stylisation?

    Um… no, it’s a joke, which people are latching onto partly because bisexuality is so underrepresented onscreen. If something has decent representation, people are unlikely to search for coded and hidden indications of its existence. (Although as far as I remember, in Atomic Blonde Lorraine is canonically bisexual.)

  37. The important thing about KJ Charles is, when is the sequel to “Spectred Isle” arriving?!

  38. @Lexica: “If something has decent representation, people are unlikely to search for coded and hidden indications of its existence.”

    For sure. That’s how it used to be (and occasionally still is) with gay characters, but now, a lot less less coding and secret signs.

    @O. Westin: “15) As everyone knows, bisexuals are invisible (except on September 23), so can only be seen under ultraviolet light. That’s why bisexuals are so often spotted in nightclubs – they often have UV lights fitted in order to be inclusive.”

    Okay, other than not understanding the September 23 reference (birth of Augustus? first version of Mozilla Firefox released?), this made me LOL. 🙂

  39. Thanks for the heads up (@ULTRAGOTHA) & recs (@Contrarius & @Lenore Jones) re. KJ Charles’s books. I’ve been meaning to try something from Charles, given recs here and at Tor.com. The Magpie Lord is one of the ones I’ve seen mentioned.

  40. It was Lurkertype who recced Charles, not me. I haven’t read them myself.

  41. @Hampus Eckerman: The cooperativeness of it is the main thing that interested me about it.

    @Lenora Rose: “A friend of mine pointed out that if you own a lot of games in the first place, there are likely ones you haven’t pulled out more than 4-5 times, so a game you CAN only play 12-20 times isn’t as weirdly out of whack cost- or play-wise as all that.”

    That’s an interesting point. One thing that this doesn’t address, though, is that it sounds like (correct me if I’m wrong) basically no one else can play it once you’re done, either. If I can’t decide “meh we’re done with this, let’s find it a good home or sell it online,” that kinda sucks.

    Now, someone mentioned stickers to “undo” things, which, I guess yay? But it’d be nice if companies would just use non-destructive ways of doing this progressively-change-the-game stuff, though.

    Shoot, this old “RPG lite” (to merge two threads) we used to play – I forget the name – did this. Your character progressed, but you kept track on a piece of paper, or something. Scenarios got progressively tougher, but this didn’t require permanently modifying game pieces. I dunno, it still feels like a gimmick to me, to make a game that you have to modify. They should use removable sticker-ish things or something.

    NOTE: I admit I haven’t played one of these, so maybe the awesomeness of individual examples would overcome my doubt and fear.

    @Joe H.: May I suggest, if planning ahead for it at least, setting up before meeting to play, for the ones that take a long time to set up? We’ve had occasional “let’s play X, which takes forever to set up, on day Y,” which helped. Granted, there’s still tear-down 😉 but IMHO that’s not as bad (usually not requiring everything to be fiddled with in quite a precise way as setup).

    @Lee: We have Talisman (some edition thereof)! I don’t really think of it as RPG lite, but hmm, maybe I’m not sure how I define this. 😉 I almost named Red Dragon Inn: Battle for Greyport as RPG lite, but I don’t know if that fits, either. (For those familiar with Red Dragon Inn, this isn’t that; it’s basically “what happened before the adventurers hit the tavern to celebrate.). BTW I highly recommend Battle for Greyport. 🙂

  42. @Lurkertype & @Lenore Jones: Apologies! Gak.

    But hey, this gives me an excuse to check the box (I should do that when leaving long-ass comments, shouldn’t I), sooooooo it’s all good??? 😉

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