Archive for the ‘General’ Category


HoNoToGroABeMo Day Twelve

   Posted by: Jim   in General

[The posts for this month are reposts from the site, on which a host of hirsute individuals including yours truly would grow beards to raise money for breast cancer research. The site is defunct, but I thought I’d resurrect the game-related posts. This was originally posted on 2011-11-12.]

No vintage game today, still dealing with deer aftermath. Perhaps more tomorrow.


HoNoToGroABeMo Day One: Dot Dot Dot

   Posted by: Jim   in General

[The posts for this month are reposts from the site, on which a host of hirsute individuals including yours truly would grow beards during the month of November to raise money for breast cancer research. The site is defunct, but I thought I’d resurrect the game-related posts. This was originally posted on 2011-11-01.]

Eat that dot

I’m running a little behind everyone as I have this thing called an anniversary on Halloween, so taking time off to shave and take pictures is not considered good form. But here you are, shaved freshly at 6:30 this morning.

In honor of my sadly defunct podcast, I’m going with a vintage gaming theme this year. I suspect this one won’t be all that difficult for all the old fogies on this site to figure out.


The Return of HoNoToGroABeMo

   Posted by: Jim   in General

Back in 2007, a visionary named Kris Johnson had a brilliant idea. Earlier that year, the podcaster Evo Terra was doing daily posts showing his 5-o’clock shadow. Kris thought it would be fun to do the same, but sadly the results were barely visible. Inspired by National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo), he decided instead to grow a beard for the entire month of November and record it for posterity on his blog. And given his lack of previous success, he decided to call it How Not To Grow A Beard Month, or HoNoToGroABeMo.

In 2008, he was joined in his quest by other deficiently hirsute individuals on a website built by Bob Voegerl. And in 2009, I joined them (though in truth I can produce a pretty decent and might I say crackling manhedge). That year, Bob decided to put a little more skin into the game, as it were, and turned it into a charity contest where the beard grower who raised the most money would be declared the winner, with all the gloating privileges one would expect — the charity in this case being breast cancer research, in memory of his mother. We continued raising money and making people laugh with our facial hair until 2013, after which it sort of petered out and the site was eventually lost to the mists of the Internet.

“Okay,” you say, “that’s very entertaining and all, but what does any of this have to do with games?” Well, in 2011, in order to encourage more charitable giving I decided to give my posts a theme — namely, vintage games. And since the HoNoGroABeMo site is now defunct, I thought it’d be fun to repost them here (thanks to Bob for helping me recover the old data). So for the month of July, sit back and relax as I return to the time of the Arab Spring, the last flight of the Space Shuttle, and when Mission Impossible, Transformers, and the latest J.K. Rowling opus were all in the theaters (okay, maybe things haven’t changed that much). Hope you enjoy it!


A Month of Vintage Gaming

   Posted by: Jim   in General

You may have heard of Movember. Well, a group of us do our own little thing we call “How Not To Grow A Beard Month,” where like Movember we grow facial hair for charity (yeah, not the most challenging event), but in our case it’s breast cancer rather than testicular cancer.

So what does this have to do with games? Well, some of us think just growing facial hair for a month isn’t enough effort, so we try to blog every day for the month as well. And my theme this year was vintage games, where I would post a picture representing a vintage game each day, and reveal it the next.

November is over, so it’s too late to contribute financially, but if you want to check out my posts for entertainment’s sake, you can do that here. Hope you find it enjoyable.


Balticon Appearances

   Posted by: Jim   in Computer games, General

For those interested, I will be attending Balticon this weekend, and have more than my usual level of panels:

Saturday, 9:00 PM (New Media Track) Chesapeake, Everything Old Is New Again: Now grandma and baby can both love Battlestar, If Hot Topic weren’t proof enough, all the stuff that’s old is new. Power Rangers, Doctor Who and many anime and science fiction shows aimed at younger audiences still keep their followings as they grow up. We explore favorite franchises and how much better they’ve aged than their fanbase.

Sunday, 12:00 Noon (New Media Track) Derby Room, Lovecraft Mythos Cagefight: Who Would Win in a Fight? Moderator Norm Sherman Cthulhu vs. Dagon? Yog-Sothoth vs. Shub-Niggurath? Would the match be a TKO or won on points?

Sunday 3:00 PM (Gaming Track) Parlor 1041, Creating Aliens and Their Culture, Moderator Kory Kease – One of the most exciting elements of a campaign, game world, science fiction/fantasy series (book TV, etc.) is the adventure of meeting and discovering new cultures that

Sunday 4:00 PM (Readers Track) Belmont Room, The Heinlein PanelModerator David J. Williams – How much math do people really need to know in our Age of Computers? Should we really have to solve a quadratic equation to be eligible to vote? How necessary is it to know calculus nowadays? Is there value in learning math beyond the solving of such problems?

Looks like there’s a little something for everyone there and I’m looking forward to every one of them.

In addition, I’ll be trying to attend all of Mur Lafferty’s events, and John Cmar’s events, and Command Line, and Jared Axelrod, and J.R. Blackwell… and… and…

Somewhere in there I need to sleep, too. Whew.


Buy Playing for Keeps!

   Posted by: Jim   in General

For those who don’t follow both me and my wife, Mur Lafferty, you may not be aware that she is a prolific podcaster and writer as well. And I’m pleased as punch to announce that her first novel, Playing for Keeps, is now available from Swarm Press and launching today on

If you like superheros and in particular works that deflate the somewhat overblown tropes of the genre, then I recommend this book. Keepsie Branson is one of a group of people with apparently useless superpowers — hers is the power to prevent anyone from taking things from her. But when she is given a mysterious object by a supervillain, she and her friends become embroiled in a conflict between both “good” and “evil” — and it’s not clear which side is which. The results will change the destiny of Keepsie and her city forever.

But don’t take my (admittedly biased) word for it — go to Amazon and read some of the other reviews there. And buy a copy today, if you can!


GameOn Videogame Exhibition

   Posted by: Jim   in General

[Found at]

For those of you in the southeast of Australia, there is a major videogame exhibition going on now in Melbourne until Sunday, July 13:

The largest ever exhibition dedicated to the past, present and future of videogames, Game On has toured the world, being presented at major international cities across the globe including Helsinki, Chicago, Tel Aviv, Hong Kong and London.

Unfortunately for those of us in other locations, I couldn’t find any information on future appearances, so you Aussies enjoy it while you can. Perhaps someday it will return to London, its original home.



R’lyeh is for lovers!

   Posted by: Jim   in General

R’lyeh is for lovers!

Originally uploaded by jvsquare

When the heat goes up, the photographer gets silly…

[From Purple Pawn] Yet Avalon Hill favorite has been republished. This time it’s Blackbeard, Richard Berg’s pirate game. Players take on a role of a pirate from history, and can also act as British naval vessels hunting (presumably) the other pirates. The new version is redesigned by Richard Berg himself, published by GMT, and features simplified movement and combat, as well as more opportunities when playing as the Royal Navy. Pre-release sample art and rulebook are available on the GMT site.



Risk: Black Ops and Next Show

   Posted by: Jim   in General

One of the downsides (besides there not being stuff for you guys to listen to) to not doing podcasts for a while is that I miss out on reviewing games that this show is actually qualified to do. Seems like Black Ops would be a natural. Oh well. I’ll see about covering the revamp when it finally comes out for the public.

As far as the next show, I’m working on it now. With the recent (as in the past few months) passing of Bobby Fischer it seems appropriate to finally cover chess. I’ll be talking about my personal history, ways to get into it for novices, and ways to make it more interesting for those who either are tired of it or didn’t think much of it in the first place. If you have thoughts along those lines, drop me a line. Hopefully I’ll be recording this weekend, though with my daughter’s play and my friend’s seder, it might be tight.

And don’t worry Gygax fans, I’ll be doing D&D at some point, too. Fischer’s just first in line.