Thursday, November 21, 2013

Loaded Dice Cast Season 3 Episode 10: Return of the Yub, Yub

In which our intrepid heroes Dubs, Kevin, Vince and Derek engage in a semi-live podcast (Derek was still in Seattle) with one live audience member, Andrew.  We discover that when you only have audience member heckling you, they're not so much a heckler as a member of the podcast, and so, Welcome Andrew!

We tried out a new format this time to get to the topic a little quicker.  Let us know what you think.  And what is the topic you might ask?  Well, Kevin has a bee in his bonnet about Ewoks.  They simply don't get the respect they deserve and it is all Jar Jar's fault.   Kevin takes us on a Caravan of Courage into the world of the Ewoks and we discuss whether or not they have an important and awesome role to play in Star Wars, or if they are just better edited out.  Within the podcast we begin to illuminate not only these important ideas, but also the brave defiance of the odds that Kevin has mounted in order to ensure that he is (presumably) not a virgin.

Our review this week was a double dose of moviegoing, with Ender's Game and Thor 2 discussed and arbitrarily rated.

With Thanksgiving looming like a deadline from the Emperor, we discuss what we are thankful for, Nerd edition, 2013.  

As always, we hope you hate it!


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Loaded Dice Cast Season 3 Episode 9: A Stiff Drink

We're coming to get your brains!  We have none of our own!  Kevin, Evan, return guest Ryan, and blast from the past Matty G rises from his grave!  Together, we discuss the ever present Zombie genre.  It looks like the Walking Dead is really hitting its stride this season, and with Halloween just passed, we take a moment to survey the post-apocalyptic landscape.  We discuss, both in the draft and outside of the draft, what do Zombies really mean?  Is the genre dead, or undead?  Fast or slow?  And the best tropes that exist.  Laughs are had by all, and we drink our fair share of winter beers.

Additionally, Evan provides a fantastic review of the Fate Core RPG system that he, Kevin and wife-unit have been using to run a modern-zombie campaign.

Special bonus game this episode:  Drink every time Kevin says "like" or "narrative".

Show Notes:

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Kevin Is Right: Captain America: The Winter Soldier Trailer

This one is just a quick hitter because I just watched the new Captain America: The Winter Soldier trailer and I am pumped.   Check it out below:

Wow.  There's so much to love here in such a small package.  (Yes, you may insert joke here).

First and foremost, it looks like Marvel will be cribbing liberally from Ed Brubaker's amazing run on Captain America (November 2004 to October 2012), which for my money is one of the best runs in a comic, ever.  If you want to read the books before seeing the movie, that's the place to start.  The Winter Soldier is the title of one of the best Brubaker's arcs, and it looks like the plot beats that characterize the arc are central to the film.

The high points all appear to be represented.  On the surface, we have the mystery of who is The Winter Soldier.  (We won't spoil it here).  However, even within the trailer we see the layers of subtlety of theme being peeled back.  The genius of Brubaker's run on Captain America is that he didn't utilize Captain America as just another super hero, or even as a sort of jingoistic American power fantasy.  Instead, Brubaker's run was a meditation on what it means to be American in the 21st century, and the tension between the legacy of the idealized American past, particularly "The Greatest Generation" and the realities of an ever-changing, frightening and menacing world.  The use of Captain America was a lens in which we could envision how "Old America" would view "New America" and thereby reconcile the two rapidly diverging ideas, and the nexus at which our American ideals converge upon our American realities.  In this case, the tensions between pre-emptive warfare and our idealized sense of justice, and even more subtle meditations, as manifested in Cap's suit which appears to have eschewed the more idealistic, symbolic Red White and Blue for a an approach that can be simultaneously be described as practical and stealth, or perhaps sneaky, covert and, even Anti-American.  I'm sure the symbolism that the only sign of America left on Caps' costume, the star, is also featured within the trailer on the Winter Soldier's metallic arm, will not go unremarked upon.

On top of this substantive work, we see some of the other special sauce that's going to make this All-American burger so tasty.  The character list is impressive.  Natasha Romanov, "The Winter Soldier", Nick Fury, and Robert Redford as Alexander Pierce, who appears to be directing S.H.I.E.L.D. (even I don't understand this mystery, but it looks awesome), as well as The Falcon, who not only is a fantastic and underrated companion character to Captain America, but looks to be given a phenomenal character design for the movies.

I also want to commend the first 30 seconds of this trailer in particular.   I felt it was a bold move to lead your action movie trailer with a relatively quiet character moment between Romanov and Rodgers.   The gamble paid off in a big way, though.  The acting and interplay between Evans and Johansson is extremely engaging and playful, and yet the end beat of the scene is the sort of heroic moment that immerses you in that Captain America feeling.  I have to confess that after that 30 second clip, I had to readjust my expectations.  I was ready for a movie to start, and, sadly, only had a trailer.  Ultimately, that scene served to give me the intangible feeling of quality which really shaped my impression of the rest of the trailer.  Something whispered to me "Don't worry Captain America fanboy, we'll take good care of you, we understand."

Despite their excellent track record, I've never been this excited for a Marvel movie.  Sure, it's just a trailer, but this one may end up ranked with the first Iron Man film in terms of quality, if this trailer is any indication.  Obviously, too soon to tell, but boy do they have me excited!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Loaded Dice Cast Season 3 Episode 8: Beyond Two Many Beers

Coming at you with the booziness, Loaded Dice Cast is back!  Prompted by the new game Beyond 2 Souls, marketed as a movie more than a video game, The Loaded Dice crew attempts (drunkenly) to examine the convergence of traditional forms of visual narrative with video games.  Vince drinks the brown, Dubs uses bud heavies as cough syrup, Evan, predictably, gets fancy, and Kevin forgets to eat dinner but remembers to pound 7 beers.  A certain liquidity overtakes the conversation, but we get some cool stuff out of it.

In the beginning of the episode, Kevin talks about his experience at NY Comicon 2013.

The draft this week covers a theoretical Loaded Dice Kickstarter, where you, dear listener, fund our hookers and booze habit, and receive dubious prizes in return.


Show Notes:

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Kevin Is Right: Why Your Kickstarter is Bullshit

Over the course of the last year or so, we here at Loaded Dice have really changed our tune on crowdfunding.  Indeed, we discussed the issue in a lot of depth in a recent podcast on the subject.  Suffice to say that we have gone from very excited about the possibilities of democratized crowdfunding, and the empowerment of participating and patronizing the projects that you wish to see come into the world, to a sort of wary feeling of disillusionment, fueled by the myriad delays, disappointments and occasional outright frauds which have come to pass over the course of the last 18 months or so.

The problem with kickstarters is that they can prey on a group of unsophisticated "investors" who have wallets that are both loose and fat.  In place of the traditional model of video game investment, which relies upon the tried and true concepts of business plans, legal vetting, budgeting, and a bunch of other stuff you learn in business school, developers are allowed to tug on the strings of nostalgia and empowerment fantasies to sell you rainbows, ponies, unicorns and wishes. None of the vetting that goes with taking a potentially good idea to market is required, and often, it is not even begun until the money is already in hand.

I wanted to deconstruct what I felt was a typically problematic kickstarter video, the primary "elevator pitch" of most, if not all,  kickstarters, for the purposes of exposing the manipulations.  I have chosen the recently fully funded (and fully stretch goaled) Mighty No. 9 kickstarter.  I want to emphasize that although it is of necessity that I have singled out one particular kickstarter video, it is not because this one is particularly more egregious or terrible than the rest.  My goal is merely to use it as an example to demonstrate a wider pattern of the manipulations and illusory promises that are typical of this sort of pitch.  Mighty No. 9 just happened to hit many of the high notes.  Oh, and Dubs is kind of enthusiastic about it, so it's always fun to shit in his cornflakes.

Analysis After the Break....

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Loaded Dice Season 3 Episode 7: Happy Endings

A Wild Live-Cast Appears! While enjoying football in Geoff's basement, Geoff, Kevin and Dubs broke out into a discussion about happy endings. Well, endings in general, at least. Dubs felt inspired by the ending of Breaking Bad to do a retrospective and analysis on what makes an ending good, and what makes an ending worthy of nerd-rage within the context of beloved television series.  We do not get into spoilers for Breaking Bad, but are pretty Spoiler Heavy on LOST, Star Trek, and some other older series.

Amidst the government shutdown in the US, we draft better reasons for the Nerd Party of the United States to shut down the government. We may have hit an all timer in terms of offensiveness on this one.

Kevin and Dubs provide a review of the new Cuaron movie Gravity as well, to warm us up.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Loaded Dice Season 3 Episode 6: A Tree Grows in the Holodeck


This week Loaded Dice asks the most important question of all: Is Star Trek's Holodeck an existential nightmare machine, or merely the greatest masturbatory aid of the 24th century? Our expert panel of Dubs, Kevin, Derek and Vince survey the relevant issues of sentience, consent, talking fleshlights, memory, creation, violence and identity while perusing various examples from the Star Trek canon including Voyager's Holographic Doctor, Hologram Moriarty, the mating habits of Lt. Worf, and the e-brothels of Quark's bar.

Additionally, our draft segment features the stuff of nightmares. Nerd nightmares.

To warm up on the topic of the creation and destruction of sentient life, Derek enlightens us with a review of the Peter Molyneux God Game fittingly entitled, Godus.

Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Loaded Dice Supplement: The Boozeroom

This is a new experiment for us!  Loaded Dice's first supplemental podcast, an in depth review and analysis of Season 2 of Dubs and Kevin's favorite escape into intellectual snootiness, Ivory Tower hindsight sniping, delightfully unrealistic and witty dialogue, and manys the booze reference, HBO and Aaron Sorkin's "The Newsroom".  In true Loaded Dice fashion, there's only one name this splinter cell podcast could have:  The Boozeroom

Fair Warning:  This is a review of the second season.  Here Thar Be Spoilers!

Dubs and Kevin kick it Charlie Skinner style, with a glass of brown liquor and some high brow conversation laced with profanity for effect.  

Subjects tackled include:

Stories gone bad:  How does news go wrong, and how is it made right?  The thematic thrust of Season 2.
The Failures and Improvements of the Treatment of Female Characters in Season 2
Character Arcs, Particularly Maggie
No, Seriously, How Awesome are Charlie Skinner and Sloan Sabbith.  (There's an I in there, right/)
What did Leona's Big Scene Mean?
Will and Mac: What Does it Really Mean?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Loaded Dice Cast Season 3 Episode 5: A Cold Day in Hell!

Loaded Dice is back with a story to tell! In this week's episode, Kevin, Evan and Dubs welcome brand new castman, and noted nerdsman, Ryan to the group, not only because he is an excellent and thoughtful speaker, but boy howdy has he played his fair share of Diablo. Which brings us to our main topic of the night. Blizzard announces the closure of the Diablo Auction houses, most notably their somewhat groundbreaking Real Money Auction House. We discuss the implications to gamers, consumers, publishers, and the mortality rate of loot pinatas in the guise of demonic creatures.

The topic this week is complemented by a draft featuring the most coveted of all Diablo lootz: The Most Splendid Trousers of Them All! We draft the attributes of these trousers and how they are used to alleviate our petty frustrations and personal failings.

Kevin provided a review of not only Warmachine, but the experience of attending a Warmachine League at his Friendly Local Gaming Store.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Cool Beans 9/2

So this week's Cool Beans was going to start with a hilarious video of a prank that Simon Pegg pulled on the cast of Into Darkness. Then Paramount was a bunch of dill weeds and pulled it.
But, the Internet is a big place. Enjoy

Continuing with the theme: hilarity in space.
Here is Space Drunk, the first alcohol inspired sci-fi flick.

Pax is over, but Rev3 is this releasing their coverage.
Which includes this pretty funny video featuring everyone's favorite question.

One of the coolest games that I saw from Pax is Super TIME Force.
A hyper-pixel Contra style game from Cappy.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

In Games of Boards, You Teach or You Die

Edit: Many readers have voiced concerns over my portrayal of Sansa Stark and the kind of gamer she would be in real life. After taking a step back and looking at the article, I think those concerns are justified. I don’t stand by misogyny in any form, and most certainly wasn’t trying to make it an issue with this article. In my fervor to link my article’s main idea to Game of Thrones , I didn’t realize the problems I could cause. Please know that they weren’t intended. Our podcast has been known to decry the sexist attitudes prevalent in the gaming community and it is certainly not my intent to contradict that. I’m sincerely grateful for everyone’s honest feedback – it helps me get better at this. I apologize for the mistake. -Vince LoadedDice

Teaching a board game to a group is not easy. Different people learn in different ways, and to successfully communicate the rules of a new game, it is critical to accommodate the various learning styles present at your table. If you don’t, you’ll end up with bored, cranky, and upset players who will end up hating your game (and possibly you). In this article, I will present a hypothetical scenario and walk you through it. It’s like one of those “choose your own adventure” books you loved so much back in the days before you discovered masturbation.


You’re sitting down to play Dominion with three friends. They have never played the game before and are depending on you to teach them. Before we do anything else, let’s take a look at our players.

The Kinesthetic Learner - this person learns best by doing things. He will get bored if you try to lecture him on how to complete a task or require him to read directions. He would much rather get his hands dirty. In fact, he excels at on-the-job training. Let’s call him...Jon.

The Auditory Learner - this person learns best by listening. He would be perfectly happy if you told him everything he needed to know about a task before he attempted it. This player is very good at remembering things people say. Let’s call him...Tyrion.

The Board Game Newbie - this person is a bit of a wild card. Her learning style is not as important as her previous experience, or lack thereof. All she has to go on is her knowledge of simple games like checkers, Sorry!, Candyland, Monsters and Maidens, Come-into-my-castle, etc. She is famously bad at games with complex rules. Let’s call her...Sansa.

Quite the assortment. Well guess what-you need to teach them the rules of Dominion, get them playing AND having fun in a very short period of time. Let’s go over the Do’s and Don’t’s of teaching this game.
(Note: knowledge of the rules of Dominion is not necessary to understand the rest of this article. In fact, if you pay attention, you might end up learn a few rules along the way.)

DON’T start by reading the rules out loud. This will appeal to only one player at this table. Can you guess which one? I’ll give you a hint. He’s short and loves to fuck. While Tyrion might learn a lot from listening to you babble on about Action phases and Buy phases, the rest of the table may actually get dumber. Imagine watching a PowerPoint presentation where the presenter reads every slide word for motherfucking word. Not only is this boring, but it's an insult to player's intelligence. Do the same thing to your playgroup, and Jon will quickly get bored of your jargon, while Sansa will be intimidated by all the big words you’re using. Nice job. Now half the table is angry and frustrated.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

3D Print My Loves: Why 3D Printers Are A Not Too Distant Geeky Savior

Recently, I have been tossing through different 3D printer models, and communities - even though I don't own a 3D printer yet (despite desperately wanting one for a few years now). The catalyst for my parousing? The Friday Makerbot Mystery Builds, from the gang at Tested. The Loaded Dice crew have also been talking about geeking on a budget, our most evergreen topic, since we are a bunch of dudes who will sometimes break the bank for our nerdy passions. This reminded me of some thoughts I had months ago about the future of toys, and gaming.
So I try to be a stickler when it comes to keeping all of the tiny plastic pieces of my board games together. Though it seems inevitable that some Napoleonic soldier from Risk always goes AWOL, or a Ticket To Ride train never makes it's way the final destination, Boxville. Every time it happens I wish I could replace that runaway piece. That's when I started thinking "Well damn, a 3D printer would be awesome for that. Too bad I don't have the cheddar to won one." Then I thought about how so many small board game companies have to opt to spend a lot of money on manufacturing game pieces, or use generic ones for economic reasons. From there I began my dive into the 3D printed nexus, and holy crap is there a lot of brilliant stuff out there. Like this Catan board, these Star Wars: X-Wing minis bases, or this set of freaking rad Torn Dice. Trouble is the printers still go for a high price - the cheapest being more than $1,000 (Well out of my price range). You also have to pay for the raw plastic to print which adds up.

So what's the up side?

Friday, August 30, 2013

Cool Beans 8/26

Let it be known that science is really cool.
Now, check out this really wild transparent speaker constructed by smart people at Harvard.

So the whole of the nerd world flipped out after Mr. Ben Affleck was announced as the new Bat.
Personally, I don't see the problem, but then again I thought Man of Steel was kinda shit.
So, I guess I'm not super invested in the franchise.

In other Batman news, Arkham Origins Blackgate, the 3DS & Vita title has a trailer now.

Season 3 Episode 4 Kick(starter)ed In The Balls!

Podcast Powered By Podbean

Welcome to Loaded Dice Cast!  A show about friends getting drunk and debating the various hotbutton issues of nerd and geek culture using a lot of swear words!

Prompted by recent debacles with such games as Mechwarrior Online, Code Hero and The Doom That Came to Atlantic City, Loaded Dice re-evaluates crowdfunding a year after we first took a look at the topic.  It turns out we are no longer as sanguine as we once were.

Derek champions the virtues of lighting your money on fire, while Kevin spends his time being butthurt and feeling burned.  Dubs and Vince alternate between perplexed amusement, and the sort of Schadenfreude that can only be truly appreciated by the sort of smug sons of bitches they are.

Additionally, the review this week is on the relatively successful Kickstarted Digital TCG SOL FORGE

In the draft this week we discuss Battfleck and the upcoming desperate cash in cross-over movie.

Show Notes:

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Kevin is Right! Football: The Secret Best Gamer Hobby

What if I told you about half of my gamer friends ignore the best game there is?  It is a game that has more strategy than Magic, more tactics than X-Com, more excitement than the most tense dice rolls in D&D, requires more physical skill than Starcraft, and despite being over 100 years old, challenges the top minds in the game to bring out new innovations all the time.  Now, what if I told you that game was football?

Some of you get it.  There are some of you that don't.  Every year, right around this time, I fall right off the edge of the traditional nerd Venn diagram.  I have friends say to me, "Dude, I don't get it."  I start cosplaying as my favorite football player, and start breaking down film instead of watching MTG Draft videos.  Do I miss being a nerd?  Not even a little bit.  The reason is this: I'm in full-on nerd out mode.  Let me show you the game for jocks and meatheads in a whole new light.  Let me show you the game of football.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

What Happened to Mechwarrior Online?

Heady Times for Robots

You should have been there, man.

Mechwarrior Online, published by Infinite Game Publishing (IGP), and developed by Piranha Games Interactive (PGI) was not a splashy AAA title with a huge marketing budget when it was announced in November 2011.  It was going to be free to play, and used a grassroots strategy of exposure to the press, targeted advertisements, and the strength of the battletech/mechwarrior brand to get the word out.  

I've mentioned it on the podcast before, but as a huge fan of giant stompy robots, particularly of the Battletech variety, I will never forget the moment when I first saw the banner ad, attached to the Penny Arcade Report article about modeling the mechs, and found out that I could be part of the closed beta.  The ecstasy was palpable.  Finally, a convincing, online multiplayer, beautifully and lovingly rendered modern Mechwarrior!  I had been waiting for this moment since my mid-teens, when AOL cancelled Multiplayer Battletch: Solaris.  I had prepared for this moment by reading the mostly god awful licensed novels, filled with the sort of  fetishistic descriptions of lasers melting armor that George R.R. Martin reserves only to describe comestibles.  I could not throw my $60 at "The Founders Program" fast enough.

An example of when you can, pretty much completely, judge a book by its cover.

I was not alone in my revelry.  Indeed, I was exceeded by the individuals who volunteered to make it rain to the tune $120 to become "Elite Founders" within the ranks of IGP's independent kickstarter-like funding program.  Indeed, they made 5 Million fucking dollars off of it.  The times were heady.  Mech Romney was not only president, he was a king.  The enthusiasm was grand.  Communities were popping up, with ridiculous vim and vigor, wanting to stomp around in robots, pretend they are the great houses depicted in the works of great literature mentioned above, and shoot mans in robots-erm, excuse me, Mechs.  The forums were frothing with joy.  People were loving it. I was screaming about how awesome the game was on the podcast.  To sum it up succinctly, I had never seen a more enthusiastic pre-launch community for a game.  Like I said, heady times.  

Off With Their Heads!

I'm telling you now:  This community is now in open rebellion against PGI.  Hostility is set to maximum.  Accusations of "LIES!", boasts of "Holding PGI Accountable" and outright jabs at the competence of the developer occupy the permanent and public banners that represent forum user signatures.

What caused everything to change?  Find out after the break.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Doctor Who Now?

The time has come for Matt Smith to leave the TARDIS for a final time. Most fans are already aware that the Doctor will now be regenerating into Mr. Peter Capaldi. Personally I am not troubled with the choice, even though I was hoping they might do something more surprising, like when the Watcher became the 5th Doctor. Sadly my idea of River Song becoming the 12th are over, for now. Some are also saying Capaldi is a ruse, which I don't think is the case at all. Why? Well he is a respected actor and I don't think the BBC is into pulling peoples chains. Personally, I wish they had left it under their hats until the actual reveal in November for the 50th Anniversary special (Look at my face. Do I look bothered? Yes, a little), but my guess is that it is that between the rapid growth of the brand, especially in the USA (the land where spoilers and reveals abound), and the summer Who drought, they wanted to keep people engaged. The rapid growth of Doctor Who might not be the best thing though (It feels like a nerdy pre-crash housing market but, so instead of houses it's Time Lords, Super Heroes, and Internet Memes).

 It has taken a long time for the Doctor to sink it's claws into the greater American pop culture, unless everyone was screwing with me when I talked about Doctor Who during Tom Baker years as a kid.
Those years were great though. Crazy adventures, crazy aliens, crazy robot dog, crazy scarf. Watching that show was a blast. Mostly on account of the very refined story and fabulous high end effects, I kid, really the titular Doctor Who was truly the keystone to the series for me (I guess that's why he got top billing). At that point the only Doctor I knew was Tom Baker but, since then I have come to enjoy several of the others. All for their unique creations that embody the doctor. So I look forward to the new.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Cool Beans 8/5

America isn't the only game in town when it comes to Super Squeal Syndrome.
I would actually like to see this, since I find international heroes to be really interesting.  

This might be an ad for the next iPhone OS assistant.
Also don't fuck your phone. Seriously, this looks like it might be pretty good.

The idea of celeb walking a con floor by incognito cosplay is fantastic.
Bryan Cranston even went to his panel as Walter White mask.
But check out Adam Savage rocking the floor as Ackbar.

Ever wonder what it;s like to work the customs desk in a 1980's dictatorship.
Wonder no more by playing Papers, Please.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Loaded Dice Cast Season 3 Episode 3: HAPPY BIRTHDAY LOADED DICE!

Podcast Powered By Podbean
Holy shit, we've been podcasting for a year now! Look at that! Our little podcast is growing up! This podcast, featuring Evan, Derek, Dubs, and Kevin celebrates the one year birthday of Loaded Dice Cast! Party horns, Whiskey chugging and dick jokes abound. We also get in a pretty great conversation about the phenomenal summer movie Pacific Rim. We manage to talk about the deep visual and textual symbolism of robots punching monsters, and, perhaps more impressively, at no point do we slip into Freudian discourse. I guess we are growing up.

Oh, we also draft inappropriate 1st birthday party themes for our podcast, so....probably not.

Hope you enjoy, and thanks for sticking with us through a whole year!
P.S. Remember to reach out to us with your topic and draft ideas. Derek has those card hunter beta keys just burning a hole in his pocket!

Podcast Notes:
Kevin's Article on Pacific Rim
Evan's Article on Zombies
Mighty Titans Hobbies and Games

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Holy shit guys, guess what? Today is the first birthday of Loaded Dice Cast. Time to chug the brown liquor in celebration of the anniversary of this slime covered corner of internet audio coming bursting into the world, genetically endowed with the basic traits of poor audio quality, explained jokes, a slightly over the top fascination with dicks, and friendship. So, hooray!

Well, it's been hilarious, from what I can remember.  I'd like to thank everyone who has given us a listen, read or share over the last year.  We've had a great time, and although, we would probably be doing this sort of nonsense even if no one listened, you people give us meaning and make the whole endeavor infinitely less pathetic.

We're proud to still be standing.  What we lack in audio quality and subtlety, we like to think we make up for in persistence.  We hope to be bringing you dick jokes, nerd topics, and booze fueled rants about nothing in particular for many years to come.

If you would be so kind, feel free to leave a "Gift" (of the imaginary, flight of fancy, hilarious joke description) for us in the comments section.  What would you give Loaded Dice Cast for its first birthday?

For those of you feeling nostalgic, here is our very first episode, in all of its malformed glory:

Podcast Powered By Podbean

And now, let's celebrate!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Cool Beans 7/29

Freaking nerds, you gotta love'm.

I have have no shame about the fact I love Jackass. So to put it simply, I am super excited
that Knoxville will be up to some Bad Grandpa mayhem this october.

A comic about Brooklyn, how hip.
This is only a few pages but it does have promise in it's four color style.

Really cool interview with Alexey Pajitnov the man who helped us all improve our spacial
reasoning. If you love video games you need to take a moment and watch this.

Holy online multi-player Batman!
Just a quick look and run down of Arkham Origins multi-player mode.

Trask Industries - Solving tomorrows problems today.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Zombies: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Zeds

At long last I return to the land of the living after not having internet access for weeks. Which means, I am long overdue to write some deep and meaningful nonsense. 

I love zombies, and as with many fans, it all started with watching Night of the Living Dead, 28 Days Later, and Shaun of the Dead in high school and college. I've been spending the last several days eagerly pounding away at my mouse and keyboard to TellTale Games' The Walking Dead based on the much beloved comics (and from what I hear there is a TV show by the same name as well  - though I only watched the first season, and yes I'm sure that makes me a heathen in some circles.) So why the fondness for the flesh devouring masses? Simple. They give us stories that look at the hardest things we can imagine,
despite them being in front of us on a regular basis: the end of the world, extinction, morality, compassion, anarchy, society, grief, and more. This is what makes the genre worth a damn. It is not about cheap thrills and colossal moments of mayhem as the most recent blockbuster zed film World War Z would offer up (Read the book, it's by Max Brooks, you'll like it [Yes, that Mel Brooks one that made Space Balls]). It is the moments when you realized that you have only enough food to feed half your group, the children are wasting away, but the watchman needs food to protect your outpost; someone might have been bitten the last time you had to tangle with the shambling devourers, so choices must be made; maybe some group of yahoos with bigger and better guns are hunting you down for supplies. 

Where does it come from though? 

The idea of zombies has been around for some time. There is reference to the undead in some of our earliest texts and even more in our folklore. The most common folkloric tales are those of the voodoo style zombie; often an African slave in life damned to continue as one into un-death and never rest. Their entrance into media might be with the Cabinet of Doctor Caligari a German expressionist film, and the novel I Am Legend the much remade tale (though they are more vampiric) . It isn't until we get to the most modern zombie tales that are based around the work of George A. Romero (who is said to have drawn inspiration from 
I Am Legend when creating Night of the Living Dead) that zeds take on a heavier cultural weight. The starkness of the grim fates portrayed on the screen to those seeing war footage from Vietnam, and then the violent fate of the lead Ben; not by the gaping maws of zombies, but the pervasively ignorant assassination from a white posse. This also being a few years after Malcolm X's murder, and on the heels of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s as well, made the subversive content echo. 

Enough with the history lesson already, mister. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Season 3 Episode 2: "I Can't Finish." That's What Cheese Said.

Full boat tonight, boys. But this is no rising tide. Dubs, Derek, Vince, Evan and Kevin end up having a discussion all about something which they lack: Character. You're swimming in the shallow end of the pool.

Vince has a problem: he's not reaching completion. Completion of Skyrim. This is because his characters suck and he gets sick of them. And so, the rest of the Loaded Dice Crew attempts to restore find his manhood, and we do that by creating a new character. A better character! Vince goes on a blind date to meet his future adventuring partner, Patyna, in our draft.

This, of course, leads to a deeper discussion on what makes up a good character within the context of gaming. Is it about projection? Consequence? A bunch of dick and fart jokes? We contemplate all the mysteries that you, no doubt, have been wondering about this whole time.

We also have a review of Rogue Legacy, provided by Derek, in which Dubs reaches his final form via our rating system.

Download this episode (right click and save)


Mighty Titans Hobbies and Games!

Pacific Rim Review

Vince's Legacy Tournament Report at Mighty Titan

Vince is Bad at Legacy

This past Sunday I played in a Legacy Magic tournament at Mighty Titans Hobbies and Games in Landing, New Jersey.  It was the store's first Legacy tournament ever.  Because there was no established metagame, I expected a lot of "fair" decks to show up, such as RUG Delver, Maverick, Deathblade, Goblins, etc.  This in mind, I sleeved up an old-school mono black list known as The Gate.

The Gate

3 Abyssal Persecutor
4 Dark Confidant
4 Gatekeeper of Malakir
4 Vampire Nighthawk

2 Go for the Throat
2 Umezawa’s Jitte
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
3 Cabal Therapy
4 Hymn to Tourach
4 Innocent Blood
3 Duress
3 Bitterblossom
2 Liliana of the Veil
1 Darkblast
17 Swamp
2 Wasteland
1 Bojuka Bog

2 Dread of Night
2 Manriki Gusari
2 Thorn of Amethyst
1 Engineered Plague
2 Nihil Spellbomb
1 Perish
1 Darkblast
1 Dystopia
3 Surgical Extraction

The plan is simple: blow up the board with all your removal and grind out card advantage with Dark Confidant, Umezawa's Jitte, and Bitterblossom.  As you can see my sideboard was prepared for enemy equipment and combo, The Gate's two biggest weaknesses.

Round One - Jeff playing U/W CounterTop with Helm/Rest In Peace

Game 1- I keep a greedy one-lander with some one-drop action, and don't see another swamp until he lands Jace, The Mind Sculptor.  Did I mention this deck sucks against planeswalkers?

Game 2 - A bit more competitive, I lead with hand disruption in the form of Cabal Therapy and Hymn to Tourach, but I run out of gas, Jeff gets the Counter-Top combo online, and I'm dead in the water.  0-1

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Kevin Is Right About Movies: Pacific Rim

I'm 31 years old.  This means I was shitting my pants when Return of the Jedi came out.  Literally.  Diapers.  I often listen, wistfully, and not without jealousy, to people ten years older than me talk about some magical day in 1977, when they took a jaunt to the movie theater and saw Star Wars on the big screen for the first time, and how their life was changed. I look back with a palpable, dripping bitterness on May of 1999, when "The Phantom Menace" robbed me of what was to be my "Star Wars" moment.  However, I'm going to make a bold statement here, and it is not made lightly or without contemplation as to its import.  On July 15, 2013, Pacific Rim was my Star Wars.

I'm not a man prone to hyperbole, because as we all know....

So let's take a moment to quantify what I have said; to give it shape and form apart from the naked grandioseness from which it is born and likely floats within the reader's head.  Although Star Wars hardly needs an introduction, I am referring to specific aspects which made it unique.  For one, Star Wars was a remarkable spectacle.   It was visually unlike anything that had proceeded it.  Surely, there had been science fiction, space ships, action, and sword fights all depicted upon the screen, but no one had put together the sort of action sequences and convincing aesthetic on such a grand and engrossing scale as did a pre-turkey neck George Lucas and the scrappy, upstart effects house Industrial Light and Magic.

This guy could make a movie.
Also, Star Wars presented more than just visual effects. It presented a fully realized universe which challenged our imagination to play within it, and discover its' secrets.  The mythos captured the imagination of several generations-and for good reason; when you watched Star Wars you felt as if you were in the middle of history, as surely as if you had come upon the battle of Waterloo.  You felt as if there was a universe with a past, and a future, and that future was filled with the consequences of the present, and the present was filled with the consequences of the past.  Further, most effectively, should the camera turn suddenly, instead of seeing a sound stage, and a befuddled visionary/future-turkey-neck sitting in a director's chair, you would merely see more of that universe.  Dirty, dingy, and ripe with possibility.

Finally, Star Wars was a magical combination of unique and familiar.  George Lucas would be the first to tell you that he is standing on the shoulders of giants (harf harf obvious fat joke.)  The classic hero's journey, the films of Akira Kurosawa, WWII propaganda films, and the science fiction and adventure serials of the 1930s are all plain as day to see within Star Wars.  In a way, they are comforting, classic.  Friends along with us on the journey, giving us context from which to interpret what is around us.  And yet, 31 years later, I'd do anything to hop into an X-Wing and go explore the Outter Rim.  Not because I would find it familiar, but the opposite.  It will be strange, and new, and filled with things I've never seen before.  One quick pint at the Mos Eisley Cantina tells me that.  Surely, this is a fantasy, but one born out of the compelling originality of the Star Wars story, and its singular place in pantheon of film-born universe building.

So how does this all apply to Pacific Rim?  Find out after the break.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Season 3 Episode 1: I am Vinz, Vinz Clortho, Keymaster of Gozer. Volguus Zildrohar, Lord of the Sebouillia. Are you the Gatekeeper?

Podcast Powered By Podbean

Welcome to Season 3! Hey, we made it! Step on in, close the door. You're letting out the air conditioning. Here's a beer. The podcast is now -officially- shorter! Congratulations, your attention spans have been appeased, and as Neville Chamberlain taught us, appeasement is always the answer! We have secured listenership in our time!

As to the content: Because they are wildly unambitious and generally useless, Derek and Geoff join Kevin to discuss the meaning of the word Nerd, particularly as it has started to cross over from a culture that was defined by its outsider status to one that has reached mainstream acceptance and adoption as a means to gain status (that's how nerds call people posers). We struggle with issues of gatekeepering, undesirables, self-identity and navel gazing, while wildly careening in and out of coherence and sobriety.

Our draft poses the question: If you were casting "This Is The End, Part 2", to take place inside the Loaded Dice Bunker, with an eligibility pool of all the nerds of all time, who would you hole up in the Winchester with until this whole thing blows over? Derek actually makes a pick that gives Kevin a stroke. He also provided a great review on the free to play game Card Hunter, a charming fantasy TCG/Tactics mash up that is currently in beta. Now is your chance to get in on the ground floor.

Show Notes:

Card Hunter

Portlandia Nerd PSA

Beginner's Guide to the X-Files

Listen to this episode

Friday, July 12, 2013

Kevin Is Right!: A Beginner's Guide to The X-Files

If you were to ask me how I met my first true love, I would tell you a story about a gruesome baby corpse unearthed in a baseball field, riddled with every genetic mutation known to man, and the legless, armless, toothless mother, strapped to one of those rollerboards that mechanics use to look under cars, who birthed it.  Although, appealing as this particular woman sounds, she is not, as you might have guessed, the first girl I ever kissed, but, instead, merely the subject of an investigation performed by the object of my teenage affections: 

Recently, as I mentioned in this article, one of the most cherished intellectual properties from the 90s has made a bit of a resurgence, in the world of comicbooks: The X-Files.  Based on the success of our Beginner's Guide to Star Trek, and working up a well of enthusiasm brimming with a teenage hormonal cocktail, the likes of which have not been seen since 1998, I wanted to provide a similar missive to help you figure out if The X-Files is the nostalgic 90s franchise for you.  I, for one, want to believe it is.  And as we all know....

So now we set about our task of curating a television show which, inevitably as a consequence of its age, carries with it some sour notes along with the sweetness.  And thus, we must squeeze the juice and distill into a potent cocktail, enjoyed like a finely aged whiskey.  

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Loaded Dice Cast Season 2 Episode 12: Sometimes a Sword Is Just a Sword

Woo hoo! Loaded Dice in the house with Evan Kevin Dubs and Derek! We start with a review of Endless Space, which is a really satisfying indie 4x in SPAAAAAACEEE. Think Civ with cool space ships. Next, we move on to a discussion about Loot in gaming. Kevin attempts to wax philosophical and rage against the skinnerbox. At this point I'm struggling about whether to make a Simpsons reference or an X-Files reference in this space, so I will, instead, in the grand Loaded Dice Tradition, completely flub the opportunity in favor of an inferior meta joke. Hooray for bad writing! This segment flowed rather naturally into our draft in which we reveal that our true loot desires are less about sweet swords and armor, and much more about relieving petty frustrations and satisfying purile fixations. Finally, in honor of the worst movie of the summer, we have a discussion about the relevance of Superman to a modern audience. If this episode causes a anarcho-communist uprising against the United States Government as a result of Kevin's impassioned pleas on the extremely serious and intellectually heavy subjects of video game loot and Superman, we apologize, this isn't what we most of us wanted.

Show Notes:

Kevin's Superman Article

Listen to this episode

Monday, July 1, 2013

Ghostbusters lesson 74: Fuck ghosts, fuck slime, fuck copyright laws.

     The Ghostbusters are amazing, they save the world, they wear fashionable jumpsuits, Peter Venkman is on the top five list of my heroes right up there with Bill Murray. 

     For the kids the movies were fun, and the older kids who are at times called adults can enjoy the adventure aspects that thrilled them when they were five, and reciting the lines they have been yelling with their friends from their times in OshKosh B'gosh jumpers to years later when they wear a whole wardrobe bought with their own money.

     These older kids can also enjoy all of the dark and sexual humor in the Ghostbuster movies they may not have caught when they were 5 years old and wondering if they could fit a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in the VCR when the movie was done. 

     Humor such as when Ray Stanz gets a blowjob from a ghost.

     Or that other sexual experience with the nether dimension.

     Remember that pink slime from Ghostbusters 2, the stuff that when you were coated with it could make you either the happiest person in the world (for reference of how happy please refer to the image of Ray Stanz.) or into a raging psychopath? Well, Egon Spengler fucked it. That's right, our favorite straight laced quiet scientist once had sex with some psychomagnotheric slime to see how it would react to the positive emotional response of his firm love making.

Egon: [talking about the mood slime after the yelling at it] We're running tests to see if we can get an equally strong positive response.
Do you really think that once he knew how to make more slime
he would settle for just that small beakers worth?
Peter Venkman: What kind of tests?
Ray: Well, we sing to it, talk to it, and say supportive nurturing things to it.
Peter Venkman: You're not sleeping with it are you Ray?
[Ray doesn't answer, but stares intently at Egon]
Peter Venkman: [noticing Egon, teasingly] You hound.
Winston: It's always the quiet ones.
Egon: [clears throat, and hastily changes the subject] How 'bout the kinetic test?

     Yup, that happened, and to bring that thought one step further. Since Egon did not go into a homicidal rage, and he seems not be wearing any walking brace the experiments was an arousing success.

     Which brings up a very good question, and one I never thought I could pose while conscious. 

     Once you have had sex with psychomagnotheric slime, once that act with a force that is used to open dimensions and allow ghosts to pass to our realm is over, what happens to that slime?

     Does Egon flush it down the drain? Nah, that doesn't seem like his style, he is a scientist, he likes to see what happens to things, the fucker straightened a Slinkie for god's sake. Does he put it in a beaker and label it "Very good mood slime"? Maybe, maybe somewhere in the firehouse there is that one beaker no one touches.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Cool Beans 6/24

Conan ran the floor of E3 to find out what the next gen systems have to offer.
Conclusion, Booth Babes.

As some people might know the actor Jason Mewes (Jay) had serious drug issues for years.
This is an really cool short about part of his struggle based on one of Kevin Smith's anecdotes.

More Jason Mewes? Sure.
What if Batman and Robin were harder assed gun toting vigilantes?
And what if Jason Mewes was Vicky Vale?

So some big stuff happened this week as far as gay marriage.
I don't care what your opinion is, but I have to recommend this video, since I gaffawed at it.

Adam Savage sits down to palaver with David Chang of famed Momofuku.
This is a little bit on the long side but it is wonderful, inspiring, and full of MSG.

So I didn't notice this in the film myself, though I wish I had.
Yeah, they CGI'd a few frames of Christopher Reeves into Man of Steel.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Kevin is Right: Comics Preview: X Files Season 10

An old love and a new love have collided for me, and I'm very excited about it.  If you someday aspire to be a reasonable and respectable human being, worthy of the rare gift of life bestowed upon you and deserving of the admiration and respect of other organisms, you have watched and love The X-Files.  If not, please make one of two choices:  1) Jump off the nearest bridge so as to stop potentially polluting the gene pool.  2) Grab a Netflix account, start watching, and thank me when you're done.  These seem like your only two options from where I'm sitting.

In any case, now that we're all on the same page, (having eliminated all the tasteless scum from the face of the planet,) I wanted to let you know that, whatever your feelings on Doggett, Reyes and I Want To Believe, you can now breathe easy.  All indications are that the X-Files you fell in love with is back, albeit using a different medium, the Comic Book.

IDW Publishing, following in the footsteps of other well received continuing, canonical stories (such as Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 8 and 9) has launched, this month, X Files Season 10.  This series represents the continuing, allegedly canonical, adventures of the two greatest characters (both in terms of nuanced charm and raw, visceral sex appeal) world literature has ever known, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully.