Saturday, January 03, 2009

Prison Break

Well, as some of you already know, I'm laid low by food poisoning, which is, to say the least, slowing me down a bit.

Fortunately, this has happened after New Year's festivities, like this one where you can hear me singing the hanger very very loudly. Yeesh, what a big mouth. And, yes, I sound better when I'm sober.

One of first delights I've been able to enjoy (other than the ability to lay on my side rather than face down) has been to watch the most recent episode of the excellent Batman: Brave and the Bold series, titled "Day of the Dark Knight". In it, there's a scene where Batman and Green Arrow, notoriously competitive with each other, are foiling a prison break together and trying to take down as many escapees as quickly as possible.

For a second, I didn't get it: since when do prisoners get to wear hats? Then I understood, almost all the prisoners were supercriminals from the 1960s live-action Batman series (with a few from previous episodes of Brave and the Bold)

I spotted:

Shane
Egghead
King Tut
The Minstrel
The Mad Hatter
Ma Barker
False Face
Louie the Lilac
Shame
Clock King
The Black Widow
Marsha, Queen of Diamonds
The Siren
Bookworm
Felix Faust
Kiteman

Now THAT made me feel better.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Fate's Tower

In a previous post, Absorbascommando Steven Mitchell challenged me to make a Heroclix map of Dr. Fate's Tower, which I deemed impossible.

Naturally, I start worked on immediately.

As Fate fans will know, Dr. Fate's Tower has, in recent years, been portrayed as having architecture reminiscent of Escher's "Relativity". Now, the rules of Heroclix don't even take into account things like windows and doors that close, or make a distinction between crawling over rubble at noon and walking through a dark alley at midnight. So you can imagine, representing something as wacky as Fate's Tower is a tall order. One good thing, though; the Tower doesn't even have doors and windows.

Not only is the Tower's architecture wacky, but it changes (and the first person who says, "Just like Hogwarts!" is fired). Plus, like the Escher piece that inspired it, the architecture is relative; it's different for each person standing in different parts of the Tower.

Yeesh! That's impossible.

Here it is anyway.

Dr. Fate's Tower



There's lots of standard occult bric-a-brac for decor, but none of it in meaningful in gameplay. This one is all about the bizarre layout, folks. There basically two different section in the map: the "floor" and the "chambers".

A bottom level, indicated by the giant ankh in the floor is where the figures start. "Above" it (really, just ... "elsewhere") are the "chambers" and the stairs that connect them. There is no direct, permanent connection between the chambers and the floor. Figures on the floor treat the chambers as (undestroyable) blocking terrain, and simple ignore the staircases. So the floor is kind of like a maze (it's a series of passages with no defined rooms).

Conversely, the chambers are kind of like catacombs (a series of rooms connected by individual passages). The chambers and stairs are self-contained, with undestroyable walls.

Each chamber is marked with a number of glowing symbols that designate the room. The symbols themselves aren't significant, just how many of them are on the chamber floor. For example, the chamber in the upper left corner is a "2" room. Why does this matter?


Well as we used to say when I was a kid, "Here's the tricky part"...

Each player rolls a die at the start of each of his turns. Whatever number is rolled, the chambers marked with that number are suddenly considered part of the floor, with no walls surrounding them. At that point, your figures can just walk into the room from the floor (or vice versa).

Of course, your opponent is also doing the same thing each turn, so you can't count on your perspective remaining the same from turn to turn.

It's a very difficult environment to plan a fight in. With your and your opponent's perspectives on the board changing with each turn, you have to be extremely flexible and spread your team around to take advantage of opportunities that the changing board provides. It's not really a fair environment for either player... but at least it's equally UNfair.

One bright spot is that if you have a character on your team with Probability Control, they can use their power that turn on your "floor roll" if it doesn't turn out the way you wanted. That gives characters like, well, like Dr. Fate an advantage.

Characters with superspeed and long-range would probably do well, because they can quickly take advantage of the changing architecture of the map. No use suddenly being able to see an opponent if you can't reach them to make an attack. The flip side is that when such opportunities do not arise, those expensive abilities are completely wasted because the characters are trapped in most cramped quarters.

Does your team have what it takes to prevail in Dr. Fate's Tower? Do you?

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Facebook's Finest

Fans of the following Facebook pages:

Batman: 164,813
Superman: 125,900
Green Lantern: 6,381
The Flash: 3,258
Wonder Woman: 1,442
Supergirl: 871
Green Arrow: 502
Aquaman: 480
Power Girl: 328
Martian Manhunter: 321
Captain Marvel: 298
Vibe: 78
Hawkman: 57
Robin the Boy Wonder: 1
Vixen: No page
Geo-Force: No page
The Phantom Stranger: No page

Discuss.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Shield: Destroyed By the Worst Villain of Them All

We've spent lots of time talking about how boss the Shield was, and how keen it is that he's returning.

But I bet you've been wondering how a fantastically cool character like The Shield met his end. Was he killed by a villain, like his colleague, the Hangman? Did the company that published him fold?

Well, both, in a sense. He was "killed" by the worst villain in all of comicdom. And not outright. No, he was slowly poisoned by his treacherous foe, evanescing into limbo. And his publisher did fold... to the pressure toward cheap titillation of teenage hormones.

Yes, the Shield was undone by that most terrifying force in the four-color world, the symbol of solipsism, the scion of sensationalism, the shill of thrill, the sultan of the surreal:


ARCHIE ANDREWSEverything's Archie, you know.


Archie, as long-time readers of my blog will know, is my bete noir, symbol to me of the opiate power of comics used evilly to warp the perspectives of readers, lulling them in a dazed state in which the always unhinged Archieverse opens it jaws of surrealism to swallow up their every sense of hope, meaning, and being, subsuming them in the All That Is Archie.

What red-blooded American can look at these words and fail to weep?

"Dusty is almost heartbroken at having to leave you boys and girls we have come to know and love so much -- and me, well, I don't feel so good myself."

My gods, it's like watching Bambi's mother get shot in an endless video loop!


Even in defeat, the Shield is gracious, calling Archie a golden lining. YES; the gold lining the pockets of the cynical sharpies who sold you out, Shield. Who sold out patriotism for pre-pubescent pandering! Who sold out your war against America's enemies for teenage teases in tit-tightened sweaters, and sweaty-palmed punks who think of nothing but slaking their gross apetites for fresh girls and grilled flesh, stuffing it all down the insatiable maw of ... Archie.

But the Shield's grace cannot hide Archie's omnivorous evil:

"he's made himself famous from the Atlantic to the Pacific, in fact in every corner of the world (!!!!)"

Because... Everything Is Archie. Shudder.

"He's going to take over the Shield G-Man Club and call it the Archie Club. ... Take it away, Archie."

Of course he's just going to ...take it over. And rename it after himself. Everything Must Be Archie. Whatever it is, whatever you want; take it away, Archie. How can people prate on about feckless incompetent amateurs like Darkseid when there's ARCHIE, for pity's sake?!?!?

Through the existential horror, I can barely bare to read Archie's words, for fear they might sap my will like a Riverdalian anti-life equation.

"Think of taking over so many hundreds of thousands."


Yes, you automatically belong to Archie. Turn over the cards that represent your former identity; surrender yourself to Archie. In exchange for your very soul, we will imprint upon you the Mark of Archie, so that all may known that you are of the Body, that you are one with Landru/Archie.

My gods; the little bastard even stole his COSTUME.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Clixy Klordny Gifts!

Look what I got from Totaltoyz for Klordny!


Dr. Thomas Wayne, wearing his Bat-person masquerade costume:

Shoulda worn THAT to the theater, Tom.

As my friend Chris said,

"What's his special power? Getting shot?"

No, wise-acre: healing. He was a doctor, remember? He's on the dial of the old veteran paramedic.

And this eye-popper:

The Golden Age Aquaman
Yellow gloves are the key.


The Golden Age Aquaman is a tour-de-force of subtle symbolic power.

The message in a bottle? Well, that's how surface dwellers communicate with Aquaman. And note the piece of a battleship that Aquaman punched a hole in. Yup, that's the Golden Age Aquaman, alright. He even came with a character card that has Superstrength listed as "punch a hole in a battleship".

His dial is the 70 point Aquaman (jl101).