4 Reasons Why “Amazing Spider-Man 2″ is Now my Favorite Spider-man Movie.

MOVIE – 4 Reasons Why Amazing Spider-Man 2 is Now my Favorite Spider-man Movie.

4 Reasons Why Amazing Spider-Man 2 is Now my Favorite Spider-man Movie 04Finally got around to watching Amazing Spider-Man 2. It’s now my favorite Spider-Man movie and this post is all about the four reasons why.

I didn’t get to watch Amazing Spider-Man 2 in theater even though I wanted to.  I recently bought the Blu ray version and watched the movie. It was a long movie.  I ended up watching it in two parts, only because I watched it at night, it was really late and I  had to get up early the next day.

I stopped it at the hour and thirty minute mark and really didn’t want to stop the movie.  I was really enjoying it.

I finished watching the movie the next night.

Why the Movie Isn’t Great

Before I begin though, I wanted to point out the “elephant in the room.” This movie is NOT the best told Spider-Man movie.  That honor belongs to Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2.

I’m not saying that Amazing Spider-Man 2 is the greatest Spider-Man movie, I’m saying it’s my favorite.

4 Reasons Why Amazing Spider-Man 2 is Now my Favorite Spider-man Movie 01Amazing Spider-Man 2 has one critical flaw that practically ruins and taints the movie, namely, the Green Goblin.

The very fact that he’s in it at all ruins the movie.  Not because he’s a bad villain, but because he’s shoe horned into the movie at the end in such an awful way that it ruins the movie.

The movie is about two hours and thirty minutes long and the Green Goblin is in it for about ten minutes.  It’s incredible that in those ten minutes he pretty much manages to single handedly ruin the movie. It’s very disappointing.

However, there’s two hours twenty minutes of perfectly fun movie here.  If you focus on that instead of the crappy ten minutes of Goblin, then you’d see where I’m coming from.

Why it’s My Favorite Spider-Man Movie

Alright, so if the movie isn’t perfect, why is it my favorite?  Why is this my favorite instead of one of the Raimi movies? After all, it seems like the majority people like the Raimi movies and hate the Mark Webb ones.

Well, here are my reasons:

1. Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker

4 Reasons Why Amazing Spider-Man 2 is Now my Favorite Spider-man Movie 03I really like Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker.  I found him much more likable and relate-able than the Sam Raimi version.

In the Raimi version, Peter is a buffoon.  He’s a big clumsy goof.  He’s an awful lot like Jar Jar Binks.  People like that Peter because he makes them laugh and you feel bad for Peter.

In the comics though, Peter is never a buffoon.  If you read the very first Spider-Man comics drawn by Steve Ditko, you’d see that Peter is a smart, normal guy, who happens to be really into and really good at science. Because of this, he’s picked on by Flash Thompson and his girlfriend Liz.

Not only that but because of the way he’s treated, Peter in those comics is often an angry, emo, vengeful guy, who sometimes comes off as a jerk. Flaws he has to get over.

In the Ultimate Spider-Man comics Peter is written by Brian Michael Bendis as a normal but brilliant, kid who’s into science.  He’s not a goof or buffoon and he’s very likeable.

In The Amazing Spider-Man 1 and 2 Peter is portrayed by Andrew Garfield as a normal, and brilliant guy who also seems a bit anti-social since he doesn’t seem to have friends.  People seem to think he can be taken advantage of. As can be seen in that scene where the pretty girl tries to get him to do her boyfriend’s work.

He’s not a goofball, he’s just an “ordinary Joe.” I like that about him. We also see that he’s brilliant because he develops web shooters after becoming Spider-Man, in the first movie. Which is just like in the comics.

The Amazing Spider-Man movies also did something I thought was smart and necessary to Peter. It rebooted the series so he could be younger.

Peter works a bit better as when he’s younger. If he’s still in high school or even a freshman in college.  The Peter in Spider-Man 2 has just graduated high school. He’s still young and trying to figure out his place in the world.

Garfield’s performance is fun, sincere and believable. He’s also a very funny and sometimes awkward guy.

Peter is shown to be a good person, and a very smart guy.  This is a Peter I can identify with and he also rings true to the Peter from the comics.

I will also add here that his relationship with Harry Osborn is really nice in this.  There’s some really great tension in the movie between the two of them but you can also see that they’re friends.

I think that was done really well.

2. Emma Stones Gwen Stacy

4 Reasons Why Amazing Spider-Man 2 is Now my Favorite Spider-man Movie 06Not only is she pretty, she’s smart too.  Smarter than Peter in fact.

She’s also funny, courageous and very confident.  She has goals and seems like someone who’s going places.

From the moment she first came on screen in Amazing Spider-Man 1, you start to like her.  Emma Stone does a wonderful job portraying her.

You can tell that, if Peter wasn’t in her life, she’d still be okay.  She doesn’t need to be in any kind of relationship.  She doesn’t need to be saved from her life.  She has a great life from the start.

She just happens to also be attracted to Peter and you WANT her to like him.

3. Peter and Gwen’s Relationship.

4 Reasons Why Amazing Spider-Man 2 is Now my Favorite Spider-man Movie 05Spider-Man comics really worked best when they’re a combination of romance comics and superhero comics. Amazing Spider-Man 2 really captures this.  Amazing Spider-Man 1 also did this well though.

The relationship between Peter and Gwen really works in this movie. First, it works because, as I’ve said above, both Peter and Gwen are likeable people to begin with.  When they get together you understand why they like each other.

You can see that they complement each other.  They have he same interests, they make each other laugh, and they generally have a good time together.  Their relationship feels sincere.

It’s nice to see them together. You like them together.  It makes the movie fun.

There’s nothing false of forced about their relationship.

4. The Portrayal of Spider-Man

4 Reasons Why Amazing Spider-Man 2 is Now my Favorite Spider-man Movie 07I think Amazing Spider-Man 2 has the best portrayal of Spider-Man in any movie.

From the first moment I saw him on screen I couldn’t can’t help but smile. First, he looks the part.  His costume looks great.

Second, as he swings through the city, you can tell he’s having a blast being Spidey. He’s also hitting as many comic poses as the animators can cram into every shot.

Not only that but you get the thing that was missing in the Raimi movies, Spidey’s banter. As he’s going around preventing crimes all over New York, he’s cracking jokes.

It screams Spider-Man.  This the Spidey I always wanted to see in the movies.

There’s even a scene where he’s modifying his webshooters in order to help him confronts the movie’s villain.  This is classic Spider-Man. This is the kind of thing Spidey did in the comics.

He also protects little kids and tries to give other people confidence.  This is the most likeable portray of Spider-Man there’s ever been.

More Good Than Bad

4 Reasons Why Amazing Spider-Man 2 is Now my Favorite Spider-man Movie 02For all these reasons, Amazing Spider-Man 2 is now my favorite Spider-Man movie.  Most of the movie is full of what I wrote about above.

I didn’t write about Jammie Fox’s Electro.  He’s a decent villain and a good foil for Spider-Man to fight against.  The best part of the Electro scenes is how they emphasize how cool Spider-Man is.

He just let’s Spidey be Spidey, and in that respect, he’s  a great villain.

The Rhino is a good bad guy for the same reason.  He makes Spidey look cool.

The bad guys just make the good stuff about Spidey in the movie come out more.  Like I said at the beginning of the article, the weakest link in the movie is the Green Goblin. It felt rushed and taints the way you perceive the other good stuff in the movie.

Have You Seen It?

What do you think? I know this movie gets  a lot of hate from people.  I understand their frustration, but I also can see past the flaws.

Have you watched this movie? If  you have, what do you think?

If you haven’t, why not?

Sound off on the comments below.

 


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3 Characters That Should Be in a Guardians of the Galaxy Sequel or Other Marvel Cosmic Universe Movie.

MOVIES – 3 Characters That Should Be in a Guardians of the Galaxy Sequel or Other Marvel Cosmic Universe Movie.

3 Characters I Want to See in a Guardians of the Galaxy sequel or Other Marvel Cosmic Universe MovieAfter I finished watching Guardians of the Galaxy, there were three cosmic superheroes I left wanting to see. You’ll see who they are and why I want to see them in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in this post.

I went to see the Guardians of the Galaxy movie with my eldest son and really enjoyed the movie.  It was fun to watch.

That said, if I was to say the movie had a flaw of any kind, it would be that it didn’t have any superheroes in it.  Don’t get me wrong, the protagonists were heroes, they were cool and all, but they weren’t superheroes.

The one character in the movie that I would consider a superhero was Groot.  He had all those plant powers and stuff, but all the other guardians where just action heroes, not necessarily superheroes.  They didn’t have powers like Groot.

The movie left me wanting to see cosmic superheroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Characters like Silver Surfer.  But alas, the rights to Silver Surfer belong to FOX.  Seeing him in a Marvel movie, isn’t going to happen.

Fortunately, he’s not the only cosmic superhero in the Marvel Universe.  And there are three particular Marvel Universe cosmic superheroes I specifically want to see.

They are:

Nova

3 Characters I Want to See in a Guardians of the Galaxy sequel or Other Marvel Cosmic Universe Movie 02This one is such an obvious one.  Guardians was practically screaming “Where’s Nova?!”  As we saw in the Guardians movie, the Nova Corp is a peace keeping intergalactic police force. The Nova Corp. is supposed to have access to the “Nova Force,” which gives it’s officers super powers.

Nova, is a human being who gets the powers of the Nova force and joins the Nova Corp.

Where were these super powered Novas in the Guardians movie?  I don’t know, but the more I watched the movie the more I wanted them to show up.

I definitely want to see them in the next Guardian movies or in their own movies.

Quasar

3 Characters I Want to See in a Guardians of the Galaxy sequel or Other Marvel Cosmic Universe Movie 04Quasar is like a cross between Green Lantern and Superman.  He’s got these “Quantum Bands” that are pretty similar to the Green Lantern’s ring.  They’re able to create constructs out of “Quantum energy.”

He’s a very powerful character, and very similar to Superman in moral code and power.

Again, watching Guardians, I couldn’t help but think that Quasar showing up would be really cool.  He would have been too powerful a character for the first Guardians movie, but having him show up in the sequel or giving him his own movie would be awesome.

Adam Warlock

3 Characters I Want to See in a Guardians of the Galaxy sequel or Other Marvel Cosmic Universe Movie 01Arguably, Adam Warlock IS in the Guardians movie.  At least his Cocoon is.  It’s an “Easter egg” in the collectors collection.

Adam Warlock, is a synthetic being. He was born in Cocoon and sometimes uses it to heal himself.

He’s got crazy cosmic superpowers that boarder on magic, but traditionally he uses the “Soul Gem” (one of the Infinity Gems) on his forehead, as his power source.

Adam Warlock is sometimes an antagonist and sometimes a protagonist.  He’s a very chaotic figure and it would be fantastic to see him in a Guardians sequel or in his own movie.

Since his cocoon is already in the Guardians movie and because his comic history is so tied up with Thanos and the Infinity Gems, I think he’s got the highest possibility of showing up in an upcoming movie.

3 Characters I Want to See in a Guardians of the Galaxy sequel or Other Marvel Cosmic Universe Movie 03

Who Would You Like To See?

Those are my three characters.  There are many more cosmic characters in the Marvel Universe I didn’t mention but the ones above are the ones I was to see most. What do you think?

What about you? Do you have a Marvel cosmic character you want to see? sound off in the comics below.


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The One Thing That Would Make The GOTHAM TV Show Epic.

TV SHOW – The One Thing That Would Make The GOTHAM TV Show Epic.

The One Thing That, If They Do, Would Make The GOTHAM TV Show Epic 02Lots of people seem to be very excited about the TV show Gotham. Lots of people, except me. That said, there is ONE thing they can do to make me excited to watch it. This is an article about that one thing.

In social media, I’ve made it clear that I wasn’t very interested in watching the new Gotham TV show. Everything I’ve seen or read about it doesn’t seem to interest me.

Thing is, I’d LIKE to be excited about it.  It’s another show based on a superhero comic. But there’s no superhero in it!

Below is some videos that previews the show, and explain what it’s about. You can watch them, if you want, so you can understand what I’m going to be talking about here:

My Thoughts on the Show Based on the Preview

The One Thing That, If They Do, Would Make The GOTHAM TV Show Epic 03The show looks well produced, well acted, and well written.

BUT, from what I can see so far, the first thing that sticks out here and the worst thing about this show is that it DOESN’T have Batman in it. Bruce Wayne is eight years old and traumatized. He seems to be a side character in the show.

What does this show seems to be about? Basically, what I got from the video above is that the show is Smallville for the Gotham villains. Or maybe The Sopranos or Breaking Bad for Gotham villains.

Which actually makes it sound  interesting enough, except the video really emphasizes the police procedural aspect of the show. Which I could care less about, and it’s the one thing I don’t understand most.

They try to emphasize how this good cop, Jim Gordon, is going to make a difference in Gotham city. Which, if he manages to do, there’s no point in Batman showing up to save the city.

So really the show is about how this good cop can’t really do anything. And if he manages to succeed in doing something good, it would actually cause even worse villains to come into power, making the city worse.

This means the show is about how Jim Gordon, messed up and failed Gotham city. Why would I want to watch that show?

As a superhero nerd, when I hear the title “Gotham” for a TV show, I don’t think “Police procedural” or “Smallville for villains,” I think, BATMAN.

I’ve been thinking hard about the premise of this show. The way it’s being sold, doesn’t appeal to me one bit. BUT what WOULD make me WANT to watch this show?

I came to one conclusion.

The One Thing That Would Make the GOTHAM Show Epic

The One Thing That, If They Do, Would Make The GOTHAM TV Show Epic 01More of a Bruce Wayne Focus.

They can keep the Jim Gordon stuff and the villain stuff BUT as a superhero nerd, what I want to see is an emphasis on young Bruce Wayne. This is actually the perfect time to really focus on him.

This would be when he first starts getting the idea that he should become a vigilante. Early in the show, by the first, second or third episode, the idea to become one should take seed. That way the rest of the series could be about his obsession to become one.

I want to see young rich Bruce Wayne:

  • Learn to fight – he hires one or many of the best fighters in the world to teach him to fight. Either as Bruce Wayne or using an alias.
  • Learns to become an escape artist – Don’t know how but he needs to.
  • Learns gymnastics – He kinda need this too.
  • Learn  engineering, gadget making, chemistry, etc. – Lot’s of way for him to do this.
  • Learns guerrilla warfare – Maybe he joins a military school or hires a mercenary to teach him all he knows, or maybe Alfred is ex-military.
  • Learns Detective work – This is when it starts fitting in more with what is already in the Gotham TV show. He can learns detective work from Jim Gordon somehow.
  • Learns to be a Hacker – This is ideal so that he could actually start messing and thwarting villains without revealing who he is by doing it in cyberspace.

All this stuff is set up for the ultimate point of all this stuff, young Bruce Wayne would be like a proto-Batman. A kind of “Robin-in-training.” He hacks and occasionally goes out into the city and does things in secret to help the police catch the bad guys, even as a kid.

The One Thing That, If They Do, Would Make The GOTHAM TV Show EpicWhich is cool because is lays the foundation for why he doesn’t see a problem training Dick Grayson to become Robin. He remembered what he used to do when he was younger.

Gordon would only know him by his hacker name “DK” or “Dark Knight” or some other Batman like nickname. Gordon thinks Bruce is an adult, but he’s just a really smart kid, doing things to help him out.

That way, Bruce is doing Batman type things, which makes any success that Gordon has much more successful. And for superhero nerds like me, we get the secret joy of seeing a young Bruce Wayne be cool and Batman like.

And as the show goes on, you see the actor grow up and become more and more Batman like.

THIS would be the thing I want to see in this Gotham show. The young boy, Bruce Wayne, training and secretly helping the cops do good. Making Gotham safer, learning and failing, but slowly becoming a badass at a young age.

That would be cool, and I think that’s what seems to be missing in the trailers and previews that I’ve seen of Gotham so far.

I think that’s what Batman fans watching the show really want to see as well.

Are you Going to Watch GOTHAM?

What do you think? Would you like to see that in the Gotham TV show? Do you like what you’ve seen so far and don’t want to see what I suggested.

Do you think it looks fine the way it is? Let me know. Sound off on the comments below.

Also, if the stuff I’ve written happens in the show, let me know so I can start watching it because I’m not going to be watching this show based on what I’ve seen so far.


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6 Secret Awesome Things Nerds Know About Playing Tabletop Role Playing Games That You Don’t.

ROLE PLAYING GAMES – 6 Secret Awesome Things Nerds Know About Playing Tabletop Role Playing Games That You Don’t.

6 Secret Awesome Things Nerds Know About Playing Table Top Role Playing Games 05If you don’t know anything about Tabletop Role Playing games (TRPGs), you’re missing out.  You may or may not be familiar with Role Playing Video Games, but even if your are, TRPGs are actually quite different.  In this post I will explain what TRPGs are and give you six reasons to give them a try.

The Geek Shall Inherit The Earth

TRPGs seem to be the last hold outs of the big “nerd pastimes” to go mainstream.  Nerds knew how cool science fiction was and were mocked for liking it, before it went mainstream. We also knew how cool video games were and we were made fun of, before they went mainstream. We were totally into superheroes because they were awesome but we were considered juvenile for liking them and now they’re mainstream.

Nerds knew how great anime was to watch, and now it’s totally mainstream.

Lately, the nerdy side of board gaming has started to make it’s way into Target and Barnes and Nobles.  Games like, Ticket To Ride and The Settlers of Catan have gotten into people’s radars.  Nerds knew how fun these games and games like them are, and they’re slowly becoming mainstream.

This leaves TRPGs as the last to go mainstream.

You May Be Influenced By TRPGs Already

6 Secret Awesome Things Nerds Know About Playing Table Top Role Playing Games03You may already have one foot in the TRPG door.  Many other games have taken elements from TRPGs and have incorporated them in their gameplay.

Pretty much any video game that has the initials RPG has been influenced by TRPGs.  Japanese Roleplaying video games like the Final Fantasy series for example, RPG video games like Skyrim,  as well as MMORPGs, like World of Warcraft.

Even something like Fantasy Football, has elements of TRPGs in them.

So if you’ve played any of those games, you might already be familiar with some of the TRPG experience.

Also there are some celebrities that are known for having played TRPGs, like Vin Diesel and Stephen Colbert.

6 Secret Awesome Things Nerds Know About Playing Table Top Role Playing Games 01Nathan Fillion tried out a game of the Firefly TRPG at Gen Con once. Even the director of the Disney movie Wreck-It Ralph , Rich Moore, plays TRPGs and currently has a gaming group that plays Dungeons & Dragons.

So what’s the secret that they know, that you don’t? After all, nerds play them and therefore they must be totally awesome right?  I mean, we have a really good track record of liking awesome things.

Here’s the six secrets you should know:

1. They’re Like Nothing You’ve Ever Played
6 Secret Awesome Things Nerds Know About Playing Table Top Role Playing GamesTRPGs are difficult to explain to anyone who hasn’t played them. I tried to describe them to my brother-in-law once and I think I just confused him.

The ideal way to understand what it is, is to play a game.  Since you can’t do that reading this, I’ll try to describe them as best as can.

TRPGs are like games of pretend with rules.

There’s usually a designated player, often called the Game Master, or referee, who runs the game. They’re in charge of coming up with scenarios and stories, knowing the rules, adding conflict, playing characters that interact with the other players around the table, and generally making sure everyone is having fun.

All the other players around the table control one character. They’re job is to be the protagonists of the story or adventure that’s being told.

The goal of the game is to have fun.  The Game Master is not trying to beat the players. The players are not trying to beat the Game Master.

It’s more like a big improvised story everyone around the table is creating, and the rules of the game are there to throw in random factors that make the story unpredictable and exciting.

They’re like no other game out there.

The closest thing I can compare them to are multiplayer choose you’re own adventure books with limitless choices.

If you’ve played video game RPGs, imagine a MMORPG or a game of Skyrim, with no boundaries or pre-scripted reactions to choices you make in the game.  More on that below.

2. They’re Social

6 Secret Awesome Things Nerds Know About Playing Table Top Role Playing Games04

Girls (still) play D&D. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GejuzuLgpbU

Contrary to popular belief TRPGs are very social experiences.  Often people who play TRPGs are portrayed as lonely people with no friends. But in order to play TRPGs you often need, if not two people, then a small group of people. Typically around five or so.

It’s as social as playing a tabletop board game.  Even more social in fact than, inviting friends over to play video games at your house.  Especially since TRPGs require you to face each other and to speak to one another.

This is one of the things that makes playing TRPGs over Skype, Google Hangouts, chat or forums, difficult. TRPGs work best when you can physically play them with friends around a table or in your living room.

3. They’re Creative

I first started playing TRPGs in High School. My friends and I would get together and come up with characters and their backstories.

We’d world build and come up with interesting relationships between our characters.  We’d do this so much that we even started branching off into creating worlds outside of the game.

Two of us, my friend Damon and I, even started writing “Novels” and short stories based on ideas we came up with that were unrelated to our games.

We would have never done that if we hadn’t been playing TRPGs to begin with.

TRPGs actually started giving us the skills we needed to come up with creative ideas.  It taught us collaborative storytelling, character building, and world building. It inspired us to write.

It also gave me drawing inspiration. I would design our TRPG characters and I would even try my hand at drawing comic book representations of things that would happen in our games.

Over the years, I’ve found the skills I learned playing TRPGs to be invaluable in my career as a creative person in animation and comics.

4. They’re Not Digital

TRPG only require imagination, some paper and per6 Secret Awesome Things Nerds Know About Playing Table Top Role Playing Games02haps a few dice. If you have the basic rules for the game you want to play, you’re ready to go.

Digital RPGs require a device of some kind, some kind of computer, console or hand held digital device. None of which is bad.

If fact, digital RPGs have an advantage over TRPGs in their visual spectacle, in their ability to play them solitaire, and their accessibility.  They’re also very immersive in themselves.

That said, TRPGs have the advantage of endless possibilities and being even more immersive.

Unlike digital RPGs where you can only do or say what is coded into the program, TRPGs have the advantage of endless freedom.  The reason for this is the Game Master.

In digital RPGs, the rules of what can be done is arbitrated by a computer program. If you wish to do anything that the game is not programed to do, you can’t do it.

In a TRPG, the rules are arbitrated by a person. If you do anything in the game not specified in the rules, it’s up to the Game Master to decide whether you can or can’t do it.

This simple difference is huge. It’s the diference between doing a paint by numbers activity and learning to paint.

Also while a digital RPG allows you to work within the framework of it’s game world, a TRPG allows you and you’re friends to CREATE the world game from scratch.

5. They’re Incredibly Fun

6 Secret Awesome Things Nerds Know About Playing Table Top Role Playing GamesI suppose it should really go without saying, but the whole point of playing any game is to have fun.  TRPGs are exactly that, they’re just so darn fun.

The combination of creativity, social gathering, and endless possibilities, makes TRPGs one of the most unique forms of fun you can ever have.

Although I should say, perhaps more so than any other type of game, the people you play TRPGs with are important.  Because these types of games are so social, a good or bad group can increase of decrease the fun of a game.

6. They’re Addicting

I have a confession to make, I’m writing this post because I’m suffering from TRPG withdrawal. Ever since I played my first game in high school, I’ve been hooked on TRPGs.

After playing my first game, I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  I couldn’t wait for the adrenaline rush of the next game.  It was really that immersive an experience.

I didn’t act out anything physically when we played.  It was all in our “mind’s eye,” yet I had felt as if I’d been through something.  I craved more.

That craving never went away.  It was so fun.

Over the years since my first game, I’ve played and Game Mastered many TRPGs.  Although I must admit, I’ve read the rules of more TRPGs than I’ve played.

Since these games are so immersive, fun, creative, social, and full of endless possibilities, it’s difficult NOT to get addicted.  And really, it’s definitely a addiction worth having, since it’s so full of positive benefits.

If You Want to Play

If what I’ve written here, makes you curious about playing a TRPG, I wish I had an easy way for you try one out, but I don’t.

The best and ideal way to play one for the first time is to find an existing TRPG group where you can learn to play by playing.

Or find a friend that already knows how to play and convince them to run a game for you.  Those are the best ways to learn to play.

That said, if these aren’t options and you just want to jump in a try one for yourself, or if you simply want to read the rules of a TRPG to see what they’re like, here are links to some FREE TRPGs you might want to take a look at:

  • RISUS – The most basic TRPG I’ve ever read.  Super easy to understand. The rules are only five pages long.
  • Dungeons and Dragons Basic 5th Edition rules – The newest and most streamlined version of the rule for Dungeons & Dragons since the original edition.
  • FATE Accelerated – This is a simple introductory rule set for people who are interested in trying out TRPGs for the first time.

TRPG Gameplay Example

If you want an example of how fun and entertaining TRPG can be like, the webcomic artists of PvP and Penny Arcade have recorded audio and visual sessions of their games.

They’re the funniest things listen to.  Although they can be a bit explicit, they’re still a very good ways to check out what a TRPG is like.

Ark of the Mad Mage, Pt 1

Ark of the Mad Mage, Pt 2

Ark of the Mad Mage, Pt 3

Ark of the Mad Mage, Pt 4

Ark of the Mad Mage, Pt 5

Ark of the Mad Mage, Pt 6

Ark of the Mad Mage, Pt 7

Ark of the Mad Mage, Pt 8

And if that’s a bit too much you can always watch these two episodes of Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop, where he and a few celebrities play the Dragon Age TRPG:

 


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Five Amazing Female Super-Spies of Sci-Fi and Fantasy.

BOOKS / SUPERHEROES – Five Amazing Female Super-Spies of Sci-Fi and Fantasy

sexy woman holding gun  silhouette

Female super spies are awesome. This post is about five of them and I didn’t write it.

My wife Alesha Escobar, author of The Gray Tower Trilogy, knows a bit about female spies. The protagonist of her book is one.  

There are a lot of female spies in fiction but not very many are fantasy or sci-fi based. Today Alesha is going to share some of her favorites in these particular genres. This means Modestly Blaise  is not going to be on the list. 

Okay, that’s enough from me, here’s Alesha…


She will karate chop your mad scientist and out-magic your evil warlock. Science fiction and fantasy stories provide great settings for the mysterious and intriguing character of a spy. I’ve jotted down four of my favorite female spies in particular who’ve wowed me with their wit, courage, and bad-assery.

 

1. Agent Carter

agent-carterPeggy Carter graced the pages of several Captain America comics.

She’s a skilled shooter, trained fighter, and had helped the French Resistance sabotage Nazis during WWII. I enjoyed her character in Captain America: The First Avenger.

She wasn’t a primping damsel in distress that needed Captain America to carry her away from battle. She fought the baddies alongside Captain and could match enemy combatants step-for-step.

I thought her Agent Carter One Shot (short) film was awesome and not too far off from some of the real life female spies of that era. I’ve already got my popcorn ready for her upcoming TV series, Marvel’s Agent Carter.

 

2. Black Widow (Natasha Romanova)

natasha-romanovaThis biologically and psychologically enhanced super-spy can roll with the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D on any given day.

She’s got a team of scientists who supply her with gadgets like her Widow’s Bite bracelets (which deliver an energy blast) and her uniform’s synthetic fabric that allows her to cling to walls and ceilings.

What I find so fun about Black Widow’s character is that besides having to hold her own among superheroes, her best asset isn’t a forged weapon, but her mind.

She’s had a tough life that’s taught her to use her wits and ingenuity in order to survive (which is a must for the super-spy).

Whether it’s extracting vital information during an interrogation or obtaining secrets, Black Widow knows how to get the job done, and she does it with style!

 

 

3. Emma Peel

emma-peelMad scientists?

Who can resist?

Emma Peel is partner to fellow spy John Steed where they foil dangerous plots and encounter the bizarre.

What’s cool about Emma is that she’s a genius, awesome at chemistry, and an expert fencer. Many of us remember this character from the popular ’60s TV show.

Whether you’ve read the comics or watched the movies (I’ve seen the one with Uma Thurman as Emma), I just think there’s a part inside us girls that roots for being an accomplished woman and a super-cool spy that has to deal with mad science experiments and shady villains.

Or is that just me?

4. Sydney Bristow

sydney-bristowI’m a huge ALIAS fan.

I once went on a show binge with my grandma.

It was epic.

To me, Sydney is the “emotional” spy, the one who reminds us that amidst a sweaty and painful fist fight, that there’s a girl who wants to go on a date or be able to tell her closest friends what she really does for a living.

I liked the turmoil, the romance, and I especially enjoyed the fringe science/paranormal bent when the show delved into Milo Rimbaldi and his Renaissance prophecies surrounding Sydney.

If you haven’t seen ALIAS, I will come to your house and berate you, and then I’ll sit with you and watch it with you, because I am a good friend like that.

 

5. Isabella George

Isabella-gray-tower-trilogyThis WWII-era female spy from my fantasy series, The Gray Tower Trilogy, is like Agent Carter with dangerous magic mixed in.

Isabella George is a trained wizard, a dropout from the prestigious but aloof Gray Tower, who agrees to aid British intelligence in one last mission before retiring.

She has to bring down a rogue alchemist who has whipped up a deadly plague for a secret Nazi experiment, and the cost of failure isn’t pretty.

She’s already got to deal with her cover being blown, outsmart a vampiric warlock who’s stalking her in order to steal her powers, and uncover the secrecy within her own past.

There are of course several more amazing characters who could be added to the list (please feel free to comment below with listing your favorite sci-fi/fantasy spies). I hope you enjoyed reading about some of my picks, and I’ll leave you with the exciting new book trailer for The Gray Tower Trilogy (with the spy Isabella George).

Also, don’t forget to support The Gray Tower Trilogy’s current Thunderclap campaign! I’ve joined forces with author Devorah Fox to bring you all a special fantasy book event. Your single click of support will be added to nearly 100 supporters who’ll spread the word.

 

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CLICK AND SUPPORT THE THUNDERCLAP CAMPAIGN

 

 


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Three Reasons to Play “Star Realms” Deck Building Game.

BOARD GAMES – Three Reasons to Play Star Realms Deck Building Game

Three Reasons to Play Star Realms Deck Building Game 05Star Realms is a deck building game that can be played on iOS, Android, and as a physical game over a tabletop. Today I’m going to give you the three reasons why the game is worth playing.

There are a lot of deck building games out there. A deck building game is a card game genre made popular by the card game Dominion.

Deck building games all share one common game mechanic. You start out with a very small deck of cards (about 10 cards or so) and throughout the game you acquire more cards using these starting cards, often from a community pool of cards in the center of the table, thereby “building your deck” as you play the game. This is done to achieve whatever the winning condition of the game is.

This general game mechanic has spawned multiple types of deck building games. One such game is Star Realms.

When Star Realms was published, it became a huge hit. So much so that, the demand out weighted the supplies. It is extremely difficult (as of the time of this writing) to get a tabletop copy of this game.

But that’s okay, if you really want to give it a try, there’s an Android app available and a iOS app as well.

I’ve played a lot of deck building games. I own five tabletop deck builders and have downloaded three other deck building game apps for my iOS device. I didn’t see why I should download, yet another deck builder.

What did this one have to offer that the other ones didn’t already do? But since this one was such a big hit, and since I heard an interview with the designer on the Little Metal Dog show podcast. I thought I’d give it a try.

I downloaded the Android app of the game and boy, am I glad I did. At first, when I played the game I didn’t see how the game was any different from another game app I own called Ascension Chronicle Of The Godslayer. It played almost exactly the same.

But the more I played it, the more I started to see why the game had become so popular.

Below I will give you the three reasons why you should pick up a copy.

(The Amazon links are affiliate links. Thanks for  your support)

It’s Inexpensive

First, as far as tabletop deck building games go, this one is by far the least expensive. For $15.00 you can pick up a copy and you’re ready to play the game against a friend. You only need the one game to play two players. That’s a lot of game for a very low price.

It’s one of the lowest priced deck builders on the market.

Not only that but the Android app is free.

To unlock the higher difficulty modes and all the bells and whistles of the full game, you need to spend $4.99. But if you simply want to, learn to play, try the game out, play against the easy computer AI, and play the first part of the Campaign mode, you can’t go wrong with free.

I’m assuming the iOS app also has the same model.

Even at $4.99, the game is worth the price.

Easy to Learn

Three Reasons to Play Star Realms Deck Building Game 01The game is very easy to pick up and play. The object of the game reduce your opponent’s life points (in game terms, his “authority”) to zero.

As with all deck building games, you start with a small deck of ten cards. You draw five as your starting hand of cards and with it you can either buy cards from the center of the table, attack your opponent’s life points, or do both.

Any cards you purchase go immediately to your discard pile. Once your turn is done, you discard all the cards you played AND the ones in your hand that you didn’t, into the discard pile. Then you draw another hand of five cards from your deck and wait for your next turn.

If you’re deck runs out of cards you shuffle your discard pile (which contains any new cards you bought) and you create your new deck from it.

Rinse repeat, until you opponent is out of the game. Simple.

I happen to own two other deck building game with almost the exact same simple game play as this one. The biggest difference between those games and this one is that, I get this game.

What I mean by this is, I get the way the combos in this game work. There something about the way the cards in this game work together that really makes sense to me.

It’s Deep

Three Reasons to Play Star Realms Deck Building Game 04The game has four factions. Each faction has a theme. One is all about attacking, one is about building currency and life points, one is about getting rid of cards, and one is about building a swarm of ships.

The trick to playing this game is to try to create a synergy of cards that work well together within the limited amount of random cards that are available to purchase.

The designer, who is a Magic the Gathering Hall of Fame inductee, likened the process to drafting Magic cards in a Magic the Gathering draft game.

I’ve only played Magic this way once but I have to say, it resembled that way of playing Magic, quite a bit.

The more you play the game, the more you understand each faction and how it plays. It gives so much replay value to the game knowing how all the cards work, and deciding what the best cards to get are at the right moments.

It’s really fun, and very challenging.

Final Thoughts

Three Reasons to Play Star Realms Deck Building Game 02This game is so worth getting. I didn’t realize how much fun I would have playing it.

It’s also very unique as a deck builder because most deck builders aren’t about directly attacking your opponents.

If you haven’t played a deck building game before, this once is an ideal introduction. It’s also a ton of fun to play.

If you’ve played Magic before and want to play something similar but without the collectible aspect, this is the game to get.

Give it a try.


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The Pros and Cons of AVENGERS: ASSEMBLE Animated Cartoon.

ANIMATION – The Pros and Cons of AVENGERS: ASSEMBLE Animated Cartoon

The Pros and Cons of AVENGERS ASSEMBLE Animated Cartoon 04Is Avengers: Assemble better than The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes? This was the question in my mind when I first started watching Avengers Assemble, on Netflix streaming.

I now have my answer but before I can give it, I have to go through the pros and cons that make up the show.

I need to judge it on it’s own merits.  There’s a lot to like about the show and there’s a few things that could be better.

This is tricky thing to write for me since I met and have become acquainted with the character designers of the show.  They’re a bunch of great hard working guys.

Saying any cons can be taken as an insult. I don’t meant it this way at all.

I’ll try to be as objective and even handed as I can be about the show.  I’m going to begin with the cons and then move on to the pros in order to end this in a positive note.

After that I’ll answer the question. I will say this before I begin though, I did enjoy watching this show.

Cons

Inconsistency


I think perhaps the worst thing about the show is it’s inconsistency.  I’m not sure exactly who this show is for.

On the one hand, the look of the show is such that it seems like a serious comic books show.

On the other hand, it’s often really goofy, silly and comical.  Sometimes at very inappropriate times in the story. This causes moments of peril in the show to lose their drama, taking away all tension, causing me to lose engagement.

So is this a serious show with comedic moments or a silly show with occasional dramatic moments? Well, neither, because is doesn’t do any of those thing very well.

Once in a while a comedic moment is truly funny and I laugh, but most of the time it just seems forced.  Like they HAVE to add humor.

Yet, I haven’t watched an episode that really pulled my emotional heart strings.  I can tell it wants to but it fails to do so.

And there are episodes that are really great to watch, and then there’s other’s that are simply just there and don’t do anything for me.

There’s an occasional episode where the story attempts something unique and deep.  Then there are the episodes where the moral is so obvious, heavy handed and preachy that the characters literally say something like, “Today I learned that I shouldn’t lie.”

So is this a show for kids? Then why does it look like it’s a more serious show? Wouldn’t it be better if it was more cartoony looking so it would appeal to them?

And if it’s for teenagers or older, why is it written so heavy handed and preachy?

It looks similar to animated shows like Young Justice and The Legend of Korra , but the feel of some episodes come across like an episode of Super Hero Squad .  Sure, I’m exaggerating. It’s not THAT bad. I’m only saying it to make a point.

The bad guys where inconsistent too.  When new bad guys are introduced, they would take out the team single handed, but then they join The Red Skull and suddenly they can be taken on by one or two heroes.

It’s just really inconsistent.

The Characters

Okay, this shouldn’t be a con.  I mean, it’s got Ironman, Captain America, Thor, The Hulk, Hawkeye, Black Widow, and Falcon. They’re great characters, but, I can’t really say I cared much about them.

In the first few episodes of the show, none of the characters had a unique personality.  They where all the same.  Their dialogue could have been interchangeable.

Every character was snarky.  Including Captain America.  Every bit of dialogue was a quip.  It was meant to show wit but what it did was make everyone unlikeable.

Around the fourth episode, this stopped and the characters started to come into their own.  I ended up liking them a bit more.  By the time the season ended, they where much better.

Still, the character I like least on the show is Ironman. I find him really unappealing.

The relationships between the characters never seemed genuine. It always felt superficial. Thor and Hulk always tried to prove who was stronger and Hawkeye and Hulk always fought over cookies. Ironman and Captain America argued about technology, and Falcon felt like the new guy.

That’s it.

The show never really got deeper than that. All the relationships where shallow.  I couldn’t help wishing for more depth. More drama, more…of a soap opera.  The best superhero stories are soap operas.

Oh, and I’m sorry but some of the characters in the villain group The Circus of Crime in episode “Crime and Circuses” were just dumb. I’m looking at you Human Cannonball.

Pros

All those cons may make you think I don’t like the show.  Truth is, I did enjoy it.  The problems I’ve pointed out above are said because I like the show and want it to be even better.

So here are the pros…

The Designs

The Pros and Cons of AVENGERS ASSEMBLE Animated Cartoon 03I like the designs of the show.  As I’ve stated above, I’ve met the designers and Jeff Wasmester is an acquaintance of mine. I love it when I see a drawing on the show that is obviously his.  He’s such ridiculously good artist.

My favorite design is Ironman.  He just looks darn cool.

The show just has a good feel to it.

I congratulate the design team on the look of the show.  It’s tough to work in that heroic animated style without making the characters designs look dull.

Avengers Assemble doesn’t have that problem.

Fun Stories

The Pros and Cons of AVENGERS ASSEMBLE Animated Cartoon 06As many cons as there may have, the stories in this series are actually really fun to watch.  There’s some really good stuff in here.

Some of my favorites kinda run the gamut between fairly serious and comedic.

 

 

They are:

  • Hyperion – The Avengers basically fight Superman. Good stuff. Hyperion is so awesome. Too bad he’s never this powerful again on in other episodes.
  • Depth Charge – The Avengers fight Attuma, the master of the ocean (why not Submariner?).  Attuma is pretty powerful in this episode, he’s never this powerful in any other episode again.
  • Doomstroyer – Oh man, this one is over the top, crazy powerful Doctor Doom.  A lot of fun.
  • Hulk’s Day Out –  Probably the best of the lighthearted comedic episodes.  One of the few. Good character based episode as well.
  • Planet Doom –  Great alternate earth story of a world taken over by Doctor Doom.  Some of the coolest character designs on the show too.
  • Mojo World – Hulk and Hawkeye end up in War World….uh, no that’s DC,…I mean “Mojo World.” There’s a touch of Planet Hulk in this episode.
  • The Ambassador – Probably the best episode in the series.  I loved this one. Capt. America has to protect Doctor Doom from the other super villains.  Great stuff.
  • All-Fathers-Day – This one is just a good comic book fight story.  Odin show up and lots of fighting occurs. But the fighting is very cool. Another good character based story.

So yeah, there’s a some fun stories worth watching in this show.

Better Than Avengers: Earth’s Mightest Heroes?

Now, there’s the elephant in the room to address.

Having watched both Avenger: Earth’s Mightest Heroes and Avengers: Assemble, is Assembled better than or as good as Earth’s Mightiest?

No. Not even close.  Earth’s Mightest is still a better written show.  Avengers: Assemble wouldn’t make my top ten list of best animated superhero shows.

But it’s definitely better than Ultimate Spider-man and Wolverine and the X-Men.  I’d consider it the third best Marvel animated TV series. Which is pretty good.

Still, it’s very odd because there’s a scene in the episode “Molecule Kid” where  they do a flashback and the character designs look like they did in Earth’s Mightest Heroes.  So are they implying that Avengers: Assemble is a continuation of the Earth’s Mightest? Because they absolutely feel like completely different shows.

It’s confusing.

Worth Your Time?

Is this show worth watching?

I say yes.

I liked it.  I really wanted it to be as good as Earth’s Mightest but it’s not.  It’s its own thing.  That’s okay.  What’s here is worth while.  I can’t wait to see next season.

You should give it a try and make up your own mind.

If you’ve seen the show, what do you think?

If You Liked Reading This You May Also Like

 8 Reasons Why AVENGERS: EARTH’S MIGHTIEST HEROES Animated Cartoon is the Funnest, Easiest Way to Learn About the Marvel Universe.

 

 

 


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Three Reasons to Play “Terror in Meeple City” (previously called “Rampage”) a Review.

BOARD GAMES – Three Reasons to Play “Terror in Meeple City” (previously called “Rampage”) a Review

Three Reasons to Play “Terror in Meeple City” (previously called “Rampage”) a ReviewTerror in Meeple City is a board game where you play a monster who destroys a city, fights other monsters, and eats people. Very much like the old Midway video game Rampage.

In fact it was called Rampage until it was sued by Midway for causing brand confusion. People actually thought the board game was based on the video game.

That said, if the theme sounds like fun to you, you’re definitely going to like this game.

I bought this for my five year old son as a reward for behaving himself in school. Since then, I’ve played it with him, my seven year old daughter, and my three year old son. Besides the fact that the game is really fun to play, today I’ll be giving you three reasons to play Terror in Meeple City.

Let’s get started.

(Some of the links here are affiliate links. Thanks for your support)

Great Components

Three Reasons to Play “Terror in Meeple City” (previously called “Rampage”) a Review 01

Photo courtesy of Boardgamegeek.com

If you happened to be walking by a group of people playing Terror in Meeple City, you’d probably stop and stare wondering what game was being played. The game looks like no other game. Not only that but they’ll stop to wonder why you’re destroying the game.

You basically build a little city out “Meeples” (the pawns in the game) and some really chunky board tiles. Once you’re done doing that, you then destroy it with your monster.

The artwork on the board is great and every other component that isn’t a board or a card, from the bystanders to the monsters are made out of wood. This is great considering how much abuse these components take throughout the game.

Simple to Learn

Three Reasons to Play “Terror in Meeple City” (previously called “Rampage”) a Review 02

Photo courtesy of Boardgamegeek.com

Terror in Meeple City is very easy to learn. On your turn you can do two of four things. Move, destroy a building, throw a car, or use “super Breath.”

This is a dexterity game so that means you’re actually doing physical things to the board. When you want to try to destroy a building, you literally drop, a monster onto the building to knock it down.

If you want to move, you flick a disk that represents your feet. Where that disk lands is where you’re monster moves.

To throw a car you put the car piece on your monster and flick it off to where you want it to go.

And to use your “super breath,” you put your chin on your monster’s head and blow on what you want to blow on.

You earn points on how much you destroy, how many people you “eat,” how many other monsters you beat up and if you accomplish some of the goals in the special cards you get at the beginning of the game.

The game is very simple to understand.

So simple in fact that, as I’ve said above, I’ve played it with my three year old. That said, we don’t play with the secret cards when I play with him because he can’t read thereby making his “secret card” not so secret if I had to tell him what it did.

But the game plays just as good without it. It’s still fun and we have a good time.

Great Replay Value

Three Reasons to Play “Terror in Meeple City” (previously called “Rampage”) a Review 03

Photo courtesy of Boardgamegeek.com

At first when you start playing the game, it seems pretty straight forward. There doesn’t seem to be much to it. I’ve found as I’ve played it more and more that this isn’t exactly the case.

The more you play it the more little nuances you begin to find. Different way to use your actions. Little strategies you start picking up. And the Secret power and objective cards really make a difference in how you play as well.

There’s more to this game than you might originally think. That and the fact that it’s fun and simple gives this game a lot of value.

I highly recommend it.

Looking for Good Monster Fun

I really like this game. When my kids ask me to play, I happily agree to do so. It’s just fun and I don’t have to hold back. It’s a dexterity game. It’s very trick as it is.

Everyone is a pretty much on equal footing when you play. You just have to try to figure out the best way to destroy stuff.

This is a great game for kids or adults. I highly recommend it.


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Four Reasons to read Brian Michael Bendis’ First Five Year Run on Avengers.

COMIC BOOKS – Four Reasons to read Brian Michael Bendis’ First Five Year Run on Avengers.

Four Reasons to read Brian Michael Bendis’ First Five Year Run on AvengersI’m going to give you the four reasons you should check out the first five year run of Brian Michael Bendis’ Avengers. As well as a list, in order, to read them. Along with an explanation of why you ought to, without spoiling anything.

Why am I focusing only on the first five years of Bendis’ Avengers run? Well, mostly because I didn’t read the later part of his run. Not yet anyway. So I really can’t talk about them in.

Alright so let’s get Started…

He Made the Avengers Cool

I’m sorry but, as a kid, there was pretty much NOTHING that made me interested in reading the Avengers. I used to look at them and wonder, “Who are these losers?” They looked like a poor man’s Justice League.

I used to read Spider-Man comics mostly, and some X-Men comics. That was pretty much it.

Captain America seemed like a joke to me. Ironman wasn’t techy enough for me to like. If he had looked more like an Anime mecha, I would have been all over it.

Thor talked funny and it was hard to understand what he was saying. His universe was too weird and he wasn’t very “Norse.” Scarlett Witch and The Vision where “C” list characters that seemed to be there to fill in the roster.

Antman and Wasp? Lame.

There was nothing about the group that I found intriguing. Then I read Bendis’ House of M

I’ll write more about that below in my recommendations, but I will say this, it was the book that made the Scarlett Witch interesting to me.

This led directly to the Avengers Disassembled storyline which ended up being a great introduction to the Avengers.

I liked them, A LOT. Especially Captain America. Turned out, he was totally awesome.

The story was so brutal and dramatic that it really made you empathize with them. You wanted to follow up on who they were and what they did next.

But then they reintroduced the Avengers in New Avengers: Breakout doing something with the group that they should have done a long time ago. Instead of the “poor man’s Justice League,” Avengers became truly the Marvel Universe’s Justice League.

They took the most popular Marvel Characters in the Marvel U and one or two who weren’t, added a made new superhero that was effectively Superman, and made them the Avengers. Captain America, Wolverine, Spider-Man, Ironman, Spider-Woman, Luke Cage, and The Sentry.

And they were COOL. I mean, how could you not read this book? From that point on, you get hooked.

The Characters

The stories told with these characters were exciting but what really set these books apart are the characters themselves.

The two characters in the team that where considered “C” list characters, Spider-Woman and Luke Cage, became the break out stars of the team.

But over all, it was an all-star cast. You WANTED to see these characters interact and go on adventures. And the new character The Sentry, was a fascinating new superhero.

With “the power of ten exploding suns” he pretty much is one of the two Supermen of the Marvel Universe. The other one being a little used character called Blue Marvel.

But since this is the Marvel Universe, The Sentry had all kinds of horrible, psychological issues. This of course made him fun to read.

In general, it was tough not to like this group of characters and it’s so much fun to read about how they interact with one another.

It’s Addicting

It was so much fun to read about them in fact, that I couldn’t get enough. I started picking up every tradepaper back of their adventures I could get my hands on.

The stories are fun, exciting and addicting. They’re real page turners and you really end up involved emotionally with these characters.

This is exactly what superhero comics is all about. The way these books read are the reason we read superhero comics in the first place.

It’s Epic

The stories that Bendis tells with this team is pretty epic. Things don’t stay the same for too long. The team changes splits up and comes back together in different ways through out the five year run.

Epic storylines like, House of M, Avenger Disassembled, Civil War, to it’s even more epic aftermath, The Ultron Initiative, The Venom Bomb, the Secret Invasion, the Dark Avengers and finally The Siege.   It’s an over the top insane epic ride.

Through it all, the stories stay really personal and character based while sill being grand in scope. It’s pretty amazing.

Where to Start

So if all this sounds right up your alley, I made a list with links to where you can purchase the books either in print on digitally. I’ll also give you some small spoiler free thoughts on each book.

Just to be clear, the blue header links and the picture are links to the print book on Amazon and they’re affiliate links (thanks for your support). The links under “Digital Comics Link” are links to Comixology (they are not affiliate links):


House of M

This is where it all kinda starts. The events in this story set up the events in the New Avengers books. That means, even though it’s not about the Avengers, it’s still a really good story, and it’s good to know what happens in it.

Digital Comic Link:

https://www.comixology.com/House-of-M/digital-comic/15722

 

 


New Avengers Omnibus, Vol. 1

This is the ultimate, “get me started” volume. It contains about 40+ comics. From Avenger: Disassembled to New Avengers #31 and more. It’s the most hassle free and cheapest way to get caught up.

Digital Comic Link:

https://www.comixology.com/Avengers-Disassembled/digital-comic/19671

https://www.comixology.com/New-Avengers-Vol-1-Breakout/digital-comic/14691

https://www.comixology.com/New-Avengers-Vol-2-The-Sentry/digital-comic/16133

https://www.comixology.com/New-Avengers-Vol-3-Secrets-Lies/digital-comic/17988

https://www.comixology.com/New-Avengers-Vol-4-Collective/digital-comic/19462

https://www.comixology.com/New-Avengers-Vol-5-Civil-War/digital-comic/20286

https://www.comixology.com/New-Avengers-Vol-6-Revolution/digital-comic/22496

Civil War

This is the only non Bendis book on the list. I didn’t read the Avengers tie ins to this story either. That said, you need to read this because the events set up Avengers stories in New Avengers and Mighty Avengers.

Digital Comic Link:

https://www.comixology.com/Civil-War/digital-comic/19456

 

 


Mighty Avengers, Vol. 1: The Ultron Initiative

After Civil War, certain things change in the Avengers universe. There’s two Avengers teams. These are the stories that occur under Ironman’s Avengers.

Digital Comic Link:

https://www.comixology.com/Mighty-Avengers-Vol-1-The-Ultron-Initiative/digital-comic/15741

 

 

 

Mighty Avengers, Vol. 2: Venom Bomb

The stories of Ironman’s Avengers continue in this volume. The two teams come together in this one.

Digital Comic Link:

https://www.comixology.com/Mighty-Avengers-Vol-2-Venom-Bomb/digital-comic/23265

 

 

 

New Avengers, Vol. 7: The Trust

The last of the stories featuring the other Avengers team. These stories directly set up the invasion that occurs next.

The version I won compiles Vol. 7 – 10 in three volumes.  I couldn’t find a link to those versions of the books. Seems like they’re now out of print,  so instead I’m linking to the individual trade paperbacks.

Digital Comic Link:

https://www.comixology.com/New-Avengers-Vol-7-The-Trust/digital-comic/23264

 

 

 

New Avengers Vol. 8: Secret Invasion, Book 1

Digital Comic Link:

https://www.comixology.com/New-Avengers-Vol-8-Secret-Invasion-Book-1/digital-comic/24002

 

 

 

 

New Avengers Vol. 9: Secret Invasion, Book 2

Digital Comic Link:

https://www.comixology.com/New-Avengers-Vol-9-Secret-Invasion-Book-2/digital-comic/24643

 

 

 

 

New Avengers Vol. 10: Power

Digital Comic Link:

https://www.comixology.com/New-Avengers-Vol-10-Power/digital-comic/26360

 

 

 

 


Mighty Avengers Vol. 3: Secret Invasion, Book 1

Things get deeper into the invasion. Secrets get revealed.

Digital Comic Link:

https://www.comixology.com/Mighty-Avengers-Vol-3-Secret-Invasion-Book-1/digital-comic/24003

 

 

 


Mighty Avengers Vol. 4: Secret Invasion, Book 2 (v. 4, Bk. 2)

You get to find out even more secrets in this volume.

Digital Comic Link:

https://www.comixology.com/Mighty-Avengers-Vol-4-Secret-Invasion-Book-2/digital-comic/24659

 

 

 

Secret Invasion 

The final battle happens in this comic.

Digital Comic Link:

https://www.comixology.com/Secret-Invasion/digital-comic/16145

 

 

 

 

Dark Avengers, Vol. 1: Assemble

After the invasion, things change yet again for the Avengers. The Avengers become…well very different.

Digital Comic Link:

https://www.comixology.com/Dark-Avengers-Vol-1-Assemble/digital-comic/16806

 

 

 

Dark Avengers, Vol. 2: Molecule Man 

The new very different Avengers have to deal with the huge threat of Molecule Man.

Digital Comic Link:

https://www.comixology.com/Dark-Avengers-Vol-2-Molecule-Man/digital-comic/18204

 

 

 

Siege

The grand finale of this long Avengers Saga that began with House of M. To be honest, it was a bit weaker than I would have liked for a finale, but the journey was great and worth taking.

Digital Comic Link:

https://www.comixology.com/Siege/digital-comic/17991

 


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Six of the Best Superhero Tabletop Role Playing Games

SUPERHEROES/ROLE PLAYING GAMES – Six of the Best Superhero Tabletop Role Playing Games

Six of the Best Superhero Tabletop Role Playing GamesThere’s a TON of Superhero Tabletop Role Playing Games (RPGs) out there. I own quite a few. I thought I’d point out six that are worth taking a closer look at.

These are by no means the only ones worth looking at. Just a few of the good ones.

If you’ve read my blog enough, you know I love the superhero genre and I also like tabletop RPGs.

I also, occasionally run games. When a person does this, they are usually called a “Game Master” or GM for short.

Some tabletop RPGs are “crunchier” than other. Which is to say, they have more complicated rules. Others are not so bad. Some take more effort to GM, others take less because of the rules and resources available. Some are even easy to improvise.

Some games allow a lot of versatility in character creation and gameplay. Others are more restrictive.

Below I take all of these things into account.

 

Champions Complete

Champions is the granddaddy of the superhero tabletop RPG genre…well…sort of. I should say, it’s the granddaddy of the versatile, character generating, superhero Tabletop RPG genre.

Champions Complete is the latest 6th edition of the HERO system rules in one books.

Versatility

When it comes to character creation you can create anything you can imagine. The sky’s the limit. The HERO system is especially designed to be the most versatile rpg out there. Its deep.

As far as versatility of superhero play and how well is simulates comics, it’s good but not great. You can’t get too creative with your powers. If you want to do a crazy stunt that fudges the boundaries of your powers, you pretty much can’t do it. If you didn’t buy the ability, it’s off limits.

Crunch – Very High

This system is deep, the basics of the system is actually very simple, but it’s very glandular. It can make for some slow deep fights.

The character creation can be a huge burden. Lot’s of math, lots of looking stuff up. We’re talking hours per character.

It’s best to buy the computer program that helps you generate characters, if you’re going to be using this system a lot.

GM Friendliness

As I said before, the gameplay system is deep. It will take a lot of work to really learn it so that it plays fast. Character creation is just too much work. Which means inventing characters on the fly is out. Hours of prep work will be needed.

However, the Champions source book is an encyclopedia of superhero ideas and resources worth owning even if you’re not planning to run this system.

 

Mutants Masterminds

Mutants and Masterminds (M&M) might as well be called “Son of Champions.” It’s a slightly less math intensive version of the HERO System. Although the M&M is a superhero system, only.

It’s based on a slightly streamline version of the D20 system.

Versatility

M&M is just as versatile as Champions. Any superhero and power you can think to create you can create. The sky’s the limit.

As to the versatility of play in how it captures the comic book feel, it’s quite good. Players get “Hero points” which can be spent on “stunts” that allow them an occasional, one time only, extra power or rules brake when the story or moment calls for it.

This makes the M&M game feel more superheroic .

Crunch – High

The game play system is simple in theory. However there’s a lot of small crunchy rules to keep track of.

It’s much easier to make supers in M&M. However, it’s still not fast. Character creation takes quite a bit of time and there’s still a bit of math and looking up powers involved.

GM Friendliness

Again, because of the time it takes to make characters, it’s difficult to make characters on the fly. However, the best thing about M&M is that it had the DC Universe license and you can get source books with stats of the DC heroes in them. In fact, this is the version I own and I love it.

Source books for running different superhero genres in M&M are great too.

 

Super Powers Companion (Savage Worlds, Second Edition)

Like HERO System, Savage Worlds is meant to be a complete and versatile system. It’s also meant to be a faster and simpler playing game.

The Superheroes Companion is a source book for Savage Worlds that helps you play superheroes in the system.

Versatility

In order to cut down on complexity, the versatility of the types of characters and power that can be created using the Superheroes Companion isn’t as robust as in Champions and M&M. That said, it’s not bad at all.

However, it does capture the heroics of superhero play very well. Players get points called “Beanies” that are awarded to the player by the GM or other players which can be used to do superheroic stuff and break rules.

Also, the inclusion of “exploding dice” just takes it over the top. “Exploding dice” is when you roll the highest number on a die and when you do, you get to roll it again and add the extra number to the roll.

Crunch – Medium

Character creation can take about 30 minutes or less in the system. Almost no math required.

Fighting is fast, furious and fun. Everything is very straight forward. Super easy system to learn.

It’s one of my personal favorite systems.

GM Friendliness

One of the few systems, that I know of, which require almost no prep time. You can easily make characters up on the spot.

Fights are really fast. The system is super easy to learn. It’s really a great system to GM.

 

BASH!

BASH! was especially designed for kids and for education. It was designed to be simple enough for almost anyone to pick up and play.

Versatility

It’s not quite as robust as Champions and M&M but it’s quite good. Character creation is quick and easy.

As some other games above, BASH! has what it calls a “Hero Point” which every character is given at the beginning a session. It allows rules breaking to simulate heroic action. It also includes type of “exploding dice” that occurs when doubles are rolled.

Crunch – Medium

The game play system is simple but it’s very math heavy, requiring multiplication. The reasoning for this is to teach math calculations to kids as the game is played.

It’s not as bad as it sounds. I kinda found myself looking forward to the math. It’s very helpful.

Character creation is very simple and fast.

GM Friendliness

Very easy to improvise. Characters can be created on the spot.

Resources for the game are a bit limited, but a lot of them are free.

Not as many resources in the system to help a GM come up with story ideas.

 

ICONS

A simpler superhero game from the designer of Mutants and Masterminds. This is the pick up and play superheroes game based on the FATE system.

Versatility

This game is not meant to have a versatile character creation system. It’s simply supposed to be fast.

You randomly roll up a character, and in about fifteen minutes, you’re ready to play. There is an optional point buy system but it’s not fun as rolling up a character. The powers here are limited.

However, the gameplay is VERY open. It’s a very versatile system in that it allows players to really play out their powers in a very limitless way.

Crunch – Lite

The game is based on the FATE system. It’s really a very lite system. Easy to pick up. Easy to understand.

GM Friendliness

This is a very easy and fun system. It’s unique and expressive. You can play this game without prep time. Characters can be created on the spot.

Resources for story and adventure creation aren’t very robust.

Still, this is a great system. Especially if you just want to get a game up and running fast.

 

Prowlers & Paragons

Prowlers and ParagonsProwlers & Paragons (P&P) is the game I just recently became aware of. The art for the game really caught my eye. It’s the best things about the books.

That said, it’s also a pretty good system.

Versatility

Like Champions and M&M, character creation in P&P is very robust. You can make anything you can think to make and you can do it relatively quick.

This systems emphasizes, storytelling over rules. This makes it very easy to simulate superheroic situations you might find in comics.

It has a points systems called “Resolve” that is awarded to players many different ways. The “Resolve” points can be use do to, many things that play up the heroic aspects of characters in play.

It also has an “exploding dice” system, that only make the game that much cooler.

Crunch – Lite

P&P is very rules lite. It’s meant to be more about the story than the mechanics. The mechanics are there mostly to enforce creativity.

It’s easy to learn, and easy to play.

Character creation is simple. Almost no math required…almost.

GM Friendliness

When the players are inputting as much story into the game as the GM, it can only make the game easier to run. This is much more a collaborative storytelling session than it is the GM having to come up with everything.

Characters can be improvised on the fly. There’s plenty of resources and idea generators in the book to help create adventures.

Great superhero game system.

What’s Your Favorite System

Do you play superhero tabletop RPGs? What’s you’re favorite? Let me know in the comments below.

 


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