What's Shiny Right Now? May 2016 Edition

One of the advantages of being in grad school part time, from a gaming perspective, is it is awfully good at keeping me laser-focused on whatever game we are currently playing. Of course it does so by keeping me so busy that there's little time for anything else. For those keeping track at home, I'm enrolled at Brandeis University for my Master's Degree in Strategic Analytics. I'm learning all about data science, data mining, big data, predictive analytics, etc. 

Right now I'm between semesters, with the next semester starting up next week (and running for ten weeks). With Port Henry having at least a skeleton (with a lot more mapping than required, but maps are a hobby) I've had a little bit of time to do a bit more noodling around in reading and thinking gaming thoughts.


I've done a little variety in my reading. As my previous class ended, I reread the audiobooks of The Passage and The Twelve by Justin Cronin, in preparation for the final book in his vampire apocalypse trilogy due out next week (The City of Mirrors). I've also listened to the audiobook of H. W. Brands' American Colossus - The Triumph of Capitalism, 1865-1900. While most people think of either Victorian London or the American Old West in that period, I find myself thinking more of the Gilded Age. Rampant capitalism, steam-driven elevated trains, the Chicago Fire, etc. I also just began George R. R. Martin's A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, taking place nearly a century prior to the events of A Game of Thrones

I enjoy listening to audiobooks. I get at least an hour daily listening to them in my commute and typically another 45 to 90 minutes walking/jogging. 


There's a few television shows I've managed to stay caught up in - over the past year it's been The Flash, Arrow, Shameless, and Game of Thrones. I was doing ok on Legends of Tomorrow and The Walking Dead but fell behind on them. A friend in my gaming group has introduced me to the rather twisted Adult Swim animated Rick and Morty, though I've only scratched the surface of that. I saw Captain America: Civil War and will be seeing my imaginary girlfriend Jennifer Lawrence in X-Men: Apocalypse when it comes out (she's not imaginary but our relationship is). I recently got around to watching Deadpool and much to my surprised really enjoyed it. Now I might need to check out the comic book. I remember not particularly caring for him when he first appeared in New Mutants.


Hopefully we'll manage at least a bit of a run in our Port Henry Icons game. The PCs all have some rather neat backgrounds with neat villains I'd like to exploit. So I'm trying really really hard not to give in to the siren call of the next shiny game. Though regretfully we had to postpone last night's regularly scheduled game, giving me more time to think about the shiny.

In all likelihood we'll keep with Icons at least through July, unless we decide it isn't working. That certainly possible - my track record with superheroes is rather so-so. 

What I've been thinking about is a game with characters building one or more communities/organizations. Pendragon is a good model for this, though I'm uncertain Arthurian legends are precisely what would work for us. A Song of Ice and Fire has an interesting house construction system - it might make sense to have the group make a noble house. I'm also pondering the idea of adapting some of the Pendragon domain management to RuneQuest

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