Tigra vs. Cheetah

SUPERHEROES/ART – Tigra vs. Cheetah

Tigra vs Cheetah 01

For the Superhero vs. Superhero fight this week, we’ve got Tigra  (Marvel) vs. Cheetah (DC).  They fight because they’re practically the same character, only one is a Tiger and the other a Cheetah. One is a villain, the other is a hero.

Cheetah, by the way is specifically a Wonder Woman villain.

For more info on each character click the hyperlinks on each.

I drew this after having bought the image book GIANT-SIZE KUNG FU BIBLE STORIES anthology comic.  It had an eight page story drawn by Bruce Timm in it, and it made me want to draw girls.

This was drawn in my usual method of roughing out the drawing digitally, in non-photo blue, in  Photoshop and then printing it out to ink it by hand.

This time I used various pens like Microns, a Pentel Pocket pen, and a special felt tip brush pen, whose’s brand I don’t know.

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Rocket Racoon vs. Detective Chimp

SUPERHEROES – Rocket Racoon vs. Detective Chimp

Rocket Racoon vs Detective Chimp

This Superhero vs. Superhero match up is between Rocket Racoon (Marvel) vs. Detective Chimp (DC).  They fight because they’re both silly looking, talking animals, that taken seriously in their respective universes.

Everyone is famiiar with Rocket since he’s from the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. You’ve probably never heard of Detective Chimp though.

While Rocket’s origins are science fiction based, Chimp’s origins are magic based. And yes, he wears a deer stacker hat, smokes a pipe, and wears a coat. He also has a bit of an attitude, similar to Rocket.

I became aware of him reading Shadowpact Comics.  Which were basically the pre-New 52 version of Justice League Dark.

You can read more about each character by clicking on their hyperlink.

This drawing, like the one I did two weeks ago, was roughed out digitally.  Although this time when I printed out the nonphoto blue lines, I printed them out 5% darker.  That way I could see the lines better when I inked it.

I was hoping that the blue line wouldn’t show up like with the last drawing.  Unfortunately it did show up.  You can’t see it if you’re not looking for it but it’s there.

Next time I’ll try decreasing the line brightens by 1% to see it shows up.

This drawing was inked using a Pocket Brush Pen.


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Dark Superheroes

SUPERHEROES – Dark Superheroes

Dark Superheroes

I was under the impression that the “dark superhero,” trend was dying off.  With animated shows like Teen Titans, Legion of Superheroes, The Spectacular Spider-Man, Batman: Brave & The Bold, and The Avengers: Earth’s Mightest Heroes, I thought we where now in an era where superheroes could be cool without being “dark.”

Then I read the news that Bruce Timm was going to be making some Justice League animated shorts, exclusively for the Machinima website called Justice League: Gods and Monsters Chronicles.

This sounded great, until I read in the description of the shorts. It’s going to have a “darker” version of Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman.


So I drew the cartoons above.

It was all drawn digitally.

And yes, if Batman gets any darker, the only thing visible on him will his eyeballs.


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Ghost Rider vs. Atomic Skull

ART/SUPERHEROES – Ghost Rider vs. Atomic Skull

Continuing the “Superhero versus Superhero” theme that my friends and I started years ago, I drew Ghost Rider (Marvel) vs. the Atomic Skull (DC):



Atomic Skull versus Ghost Rider Drawing

They fight because they both have flaming skulls for heads.  Only the Atomic Skull’s flaming head is radioactive, not hellfire.

I drew this by roughing out the drawing digitally on Photoshop, then I printed out the rough drawing as non-photo blue on 11×17 paper and inked it with my Pocket Brush pen. I spotted the backs using my “Special Black” Copic marker.

I then rescanned the drawing in and the non-photo blue didn’t even show up, which was awesome. I wasn’t sure it would work as intended.

I liked doing the art this way. I don’t like inking digitally.  It’s nowhere near as fun as doing it with a real brush.


EB in the comments below wanted to see the rough drawing I did for this piece so I’ve added it below.

Thanks for asking EB!

Atomic Skull vs. Ghost Rider Rough

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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:


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.


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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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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