Friday, 28 March 2014

Daleks Vs. Daleks Vs. Daleks Vs. Daleks V. Daleks

Risk: The Dalek Invasion Of Earth doesn’t just rebadge the classic empire-level wargame to let you play multiple warring Dalek factions, it adds the Doctor trying to stop you. Risk variants often change gameplay and add intereting complications, so I expect it will work quite well.

But this would mean, for me, wanting to lose...

And it has a plot, complete with an ancient Gallifreyan MacGuffin, as explained on the back of the box. It bears a passing resemblance to Remembrance Of The Daleks, but that only had two Dalek armies trying to kill each other...

A huge insane five-way Dalek civil war could make for some interesting adventures, possibly enough for a seasonal arc. Seemingly monolithic enemies fighting amongst themselves can be a lot of fun, especially when the heroes get to aggravate the conflict and try to defeat all of them. And of course it would let you bring out strange variant Daleks, assorted superweapons, and a number of Dalek leaders displaying different kinds of madness and fanaticism.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

The Silver Surfer

... is a classic 60s Marvel superhero, so why am I talking about him here?

Because Dan Slott and Michael Allred just launched a new series featuring him, which as Slott discussed in advance, takes the character in a decidedly Whovian direction.

“He’s this lone guy on a board. And one of things that happens in his first adventure is he meets a kindred spirit. He meets an earth girl. And it’s - there’s someone on the board with him. It really is about how the best way to see the universe... is with someone.”

1000 Posts

Something of an achievement in sustained geekiness. I hope I have provided entertainment, encouragement and inspiration along the way.

Beaten slightly by that other blog. And seeing what I did there, how does this one break down by category?

Leading the field easily at 512 posts is the completely unhelpful catchall Doctor Who category. The Doctor himself only manages a mere 159 tags, behind the idea-friendly Adventures (279), History (221), the all-important Mad Notions (210) and Characters (190) which often include him too, and just beating Monsters by one tag. (Hooray! The Doctor beat the monsters!) Writing makes 150, which contains both my stabs at writing and posts about writing when I quote people who know what they’re on about. DWAITAS, which I keep for official-ish games stuff and/or actual rules stuff like statblocks, hits 140. The likely-to-go-up-in-autumn Episodes tag is the last to pass a hundred with 105. Science comes close with 83, and so on down until Skywatch and Actual Play tie for last with 17. I really must do more Actual Play transcripts...

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

"Do you wanna come with me?"

For my 999th post(!) it’s the 9th anniversary of the 9th Doctor.

Yes, the 9th anniversary of Doctor Who is a few months after the 50th anniversary...

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Gallifrey, looking behind the curtain

Mark Gatiss on the way Gallifrey appearing on-screen can lessen its mystique.

This goes all the way back to An Unearthly Child cutting specific references to the Doctor and Susan’s origins, and fan reactions to the satirical Westminster/Oxbridge hybrid Gallifrey of The Deadly Assassin and the like. As Steven Moffat has noted, do we really want the mysteries solved?

The visuals of classic era Gallifrey didn’t help, of course - the robes, collars and skullcaps remain pretty cool, but everything else was always a bit Flash Gordon On Stage.

(Speaking of, Trial Of A Time Lord makes an interesting comparison to the trial called by an off-brand Time Lord that same year on the West End. How’s that for a non-canon spinoff?)

Compare the reveal of historic Skaro in Genesis Of The Daleks a year and a half earlier, played totally straight with an equally obvious Nazi analogy, and where the stark design works for the story. Even that led to Dalek stories being trumped by reappearances by Davros for more than a decade.

Now Gallifrey looks as grand as Coruscant in the Star Wars prequels - and that still risks getting boring if overexposed. At least now the guards have better costumes.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Prisoners Zero To Fifty Have Escaped

A brainstorming session (at least it became a brainstorming session and I hope that was what the original poster had in mind) for the most dangerous prisoners in the universe. Bad people, not so bad people, people capable of bad things, and people bad things happen to. All stuck in one little prison starship...

Friday, 21 March 2014


I’m currently painting a batch of miniatures.

Including some Heresy, Hasslefree and Crooked Dice ones that just happen to coincidentally resemble characters from Doctor Who.

But also a selection from Reaper’s Chronoscope range, seemingly dedicated to making miniatures of anything they fancy.

Modern? SF? Fantasy? Superheroes? Pulp? Westerns? Steampunk? Horror? It’s all here, and generally in very nice sculpts too. And, oh yes, time travellers as well.

I snagged a few in metal and a few in their Bones plastic recastings, despite having no actual use for them (or miniatures in general) while I was ordering a couple I did need for something.

(And their latest Bones Kickstarter set includes large modern terrain pieces, such as a police box...)

You could pick a random number from the catalogue and have your time travellers meet just about anyone in the line. (Skipping the gratuitous kink figures.)

Including Doc Holliday and Socrates, who the Doctor has already met!

The companions face the threat of an alien warrior!

A robot assassin seeks the man with two hearts!

Discover the secret of Professor Kraken!

Can they trust the alien advisor? Can they afford not to?

Join with a revolutionary hero of 19th century California!

And try to stop the Tool Bots dismantling the TARDIS to fix one minor fault!

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

DWAITAS Anniversary Hardback!

On PDF, initially!

Free first chapter preview!

I believe this is the first RPG ever to have John Hurt on the cover!

A boxout full of technobabble terms!

Sea Devils!

The WHOmobile in the gadget section!

Colin Baker fronting Chapter Six!

Advice on Doctor-Lite Stories, Two-Parters and Specials!

Adventure hooks one per Doctor!

Both Karen Gillans!

Kate and her dad!

Friday, 7 March 2014

Henry VIII is not as scary as a dinosaur.

How do you top the Daleks? Don’t try. Go a different route.

If you ran a huge epic space adventure last week, run a creepy little haunted house story next week. or a Big Emotional Story. Or a musical. Anything except a slightly less huge epic space adventure. The wide variety of options the Whoniverse provides is your ally. And then, in a few weeks’ time, you can run another huge epic space adventure without the players comparing it so closely to the last one.

Inspired by, of all things, a series of cereal adverts in which an idiot is unable to resist eating cereal when he needs to be quiet, dooming himself and an innocent bystander. They started hiding from an allosaurus-type in a ripoff of Jurassic Park, then screwed up first contact with aliens, then were caught by the French Revolution and are now being pursued by an annoyed king with a crossbow. An annoyed king with a crossbow may be dangerous, but he’s no allosaurus. Diminishing returns for sequels, and a failure to grasp the sorting algorithm of danger. Yes, it makes a change from power creep, but I find it too jarring...

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Marked by a Google Doodle for her 208th birthday, the poet, author, campaigner against slavery and child labour, and inspiration to Emily Dickinson and Edgar Allan Poe among her many other accomplishments.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Titan Comics' first Doctor Who series

Miniseries for Ten and Eleven, with creative teams announced on the preview covers. I know the writers Nick Abadzis from Deadline, particularly the “road movie” strip Hugo Tate, and Al Ewing from 2000AD, notably the comedy gorefest Zombo.

It is a bit early for comics featuring Twelve, I guess. (Although they come out in late July, so not that early...)

And the classic Doctors are busy starring in audio plays. But maybe we’ll see Nine or even a War Doctor story somewhere along the run? They have at least some plans for earlier Doctors too, apparently. (In related news, the short DWM run of Nine comics, featuring Gareth Roberts’ dry run for The Shakespeare Code, is to be reprinted in their collected run. Which is nice.)

It naturally has me wondering what I would do with a miniseries (five issues, likely to cover about as much ground as a TV two-parter I’d guess) about a specific Doctor - including the tendency to focus on the differences for the specific era and play them up. Will the Ten story feature romance, animal-headed aliens or pop culture gags, and will the Eleven one be timey-wimey? All IDW’s Eleven comics and most of DWM’s came out while he was the current incumbent, without the hindsight of having seen his era to the end.