Rants, Updates and more of The Challenge!

I know it’s awful of me, but when I heard the story of Jewel Shuping, my first thought was this old Homestar Runner SBEmail.

My prayers have finally been answered…

Anyway, this is an important day for me. I’ve realized that it’s time that I need to finally admit that I’m transwealthy. If there are any doctors out there who would be so kind as to treat me for the crippling condition of Finance Integrity Disorder, please leave a comment on this post including your bank account information. Your act of compassion will help me realize the dream of being the wealthy individual I know I should have been born to be. Sadly, until I can find a doctor stupid compassionate enough to treat me for this debilitating condition, I’ll have to make due on my own industriousness.

Seriously, though, I’ve got a few really great stories locked in for the Cirsova Anthology, but there’s room for plenty more! I’m updating the FAQ.

Now I’m wrestling with some of the “hows” of publication and distribution. I really want to go with CreateSpace, I really do. I’m just baffled by how terrible its design tools are for amature designers. I mean, it’s really terrible. City at the Top of the World on Lulu turned out beautifully and was “You Have to Burn the Rope” easy to do cover layout for. But just playing with CreateSpace I can see how there are so many godawful looking self-published book covers out there. It’s almost like they WANT their clients to put out a lousy looking product. Now, keep in mind, I’ve mostly been messing around with it for the new Medicide album Supernova Black, but I’m just staggered by how bad the design wizard is. Now, I know what you’re saying “do it in inDesign”. Well, I HAVE inDesign and kind of know how to use it, but CreateSpace only offers pdf templates. I know this shows what a useless design newb I am, but I have no idea how to use these. Every serious graphic design project I’ve done, the publisher/manufacturer offered .indd templates that could be used as hidden layer in inDesign. Amazon probably used inDesign to make their pdf templates. Why they can’t make them available to their clients as inDesign template files the way that Oasis or United Record Pressing do is beyond me.

But Lulu is more expensive and their distro is kinda weak. I want this to be available for cheap on Amazon, and CreateSpace may be the only way to do that.

On a completely different note, I got a chance to teach some more folks how to play The Challenge. It plays 6 people really well! Once I had a handle on rules, made some firm judgments on the cloudier aspects, and had two people at the table who had played it before, it went along swimmingly. There was a lot of back and forth, and most of the folks enjoyed the cutthroat nature of the game. A couple magic items kept making the rounds, with one character killing their owner and taking them only to be killed in the next turn or so. Eventually, one player ended up with a Fighter with the Magic Shield, the Flaming Sword and the Magic Amulet, meaning it couldn’t be hit without rolling under the attack card on a d6, its sword attacks always hit and negated thieves’ Hide in Shadows, and it couldn’t be targeted by spells. Even though I was in dead last, my fat hobbit wizard was able to dispel the Magic Amulet, survive an axe to the face and then charm the fighter who still had the sword & shield. Having the flaming sword in my party DID pull my thief out of thiefspace, but it was worth it. I managed to get another kill before the game ended to make a narrow comeback, having only 4 points more than the 2nd place player. I’m really loving this game!

In some ways, it reminds me of Coup, in that players judiciously choose their targets to try to maintain some sort of parity; dogpiling one player early on can end the game prematurely, and if you haven’t racked up enough points, you’re going to want to go for someone else to both keep the game going and lower another player’s score while adding to your own.  Since the game is substantially longer than Coup, alliances tend to form and break repeatedly any time someone gets some prime magic items or has enough corpses in their score pile while still having most of their party.  No point in attacking the guy with three characters and no kills, go for her, she’s killed 5 guys, has 3 artifacts and taken no losses yet!

So yeah, I’m taking my recommendation up a notch and saying that you need to get this.  The Challenge makes for a great party game, especially if you’ve burned out on all of those Resistance and Mafia variants.