Thursday, December 31, 2009

Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space

My lovely wife gave me what I wanted for Christmas, the Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space roleplaying game. I wanted to own this from the moment I heard about it. But it was the fine fellows at the Source Comics and Games that clenched the deal. A few weeks ago, they had about 4 copies of the game. I asked and Bob let me open one of the boxes even though I wasn't going to buy one at the time. Together he and I sorted through the books and studied the character sheets, deciphering the game system and came to the conclusion that this was a good game. Now I have my very own copy.

The game is written assuming the reader is familiar with the current Doctor Who series. It also assumes the reader is new to roleplaying. I think this is a smart direction with the hope that more young people will discover this fulfilling and wonderful hobby. The production quality is top of the line. Cubicle 7 did an amazing job with art and themes from the BBC show. What I liked the most about the presentation was that the game comes in a box. This was very reminiscent of RPGs from the late '80s and early '90s, like Top Secret/S.I. from TSR. Included inside is a player's manual and a gamemaster's manual, again reminiscent of the old-school games. Several blank character sheets as well as character sheets for each of the major characters of the program. There is a set of six 6-sided dice, a quick start sheet, and an adventure booklet. There are also sheets of accessories that you can use for gameplay- a sheet of tokens that are used for Story Points and a few sheets items you can use for your character's inventory. The latter seemed odd where with most games listing the character's gear on their sheet seems enough. The Story Point system has been a pretty popular feature in many games these days. There is a lot packed into the box and you can tell by the weight of it (it almost might seem the inside is bigger than the outside- wink wink).

One thing that was very interesting is the lack of hitpoints or similar way to measure damage. This lends itself to an unusual philosophy for RPGs and that is this game frowns on violence. While this fits the spirit of the television show, it may be a challenge for experienced gamers who are far more accustomed to kill 'em-and-take-their-stuff type gaming.

This is the only product out as of the writing of this post. There are three other supplements planned so far. There is a Gamemaster Screen and a bestiary of sorts- Aliens and Creatures, both to be released early February. Then in April another supplement will be published- Defending the Earth: The UNIT Sourcebook.

For whatever reason Cubicle 7 doesn't have a forum dedicated to the Doctor Who RPG at their site. I suspect it has something to do with BBC or whatever. No matter. There is a fantastic resource created for and by fans. The DWAITAS is the Doctor Who Adventures In Time And Space forums.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


I've found a way to enjoy Tarzan with my son. For the last few years I've discovered the joy of the Edgar Rice Burrough's novels. My son is too young to read yet, but he really enjoys animated television. Together we're discovering the '70s series Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle. I haven't seen many other adaptations of Tarzan (including the Disney version. I'd like to see that one, just haven't yet). The Lord of the Jungle cartoon is actually quite accurate to the novels. Greystoke is well spoken and intelligent. The show features the Mangani which are the fictional race of intelligent apes and even uses many words from the Mangani language. Through the series, Tarzan visits many of the lost cities introduced in the novels. The animation is based on the art from the newspaper strip by Burne Hogarth, Burrough's favorite Tarzan comic artist.

So far it has been a wonderful journey. I hope to see the series released on DVD someday. For legal reasons and copyright issues, that seems unlikely anytime soon.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Kick Ass

I have heard nothing but good about Kick Ass. Never read it, but I am impressed with the trailer for the upcoming film.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Panic Attack!

From Uruguay to Hollywood: Watch the Video

by Claudine Zap · December 18, 2009
Photo: Carlos Alvarez, Getty Images

Here's a fairy tale that could only happen in the movies. Man makes YouTube video. Goes to Hollywood. Gets pots of money and a movie deal. Except this story is true.

An unknown producer from Uruguay, Fede Alvarez, shelled out about $300 to create a cool video of a robot invasion in Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay. The four-minute short, "Ataque de Panico!" (Panic Attack) features ginormous (but slow-moving) weapon-wielding robots that blow stuff up.

We have to admit, it has pretty amazing production values. The Playlist gushed that the director may be the next Neill Blomkamp, who made the South African-based alien flick "District 9." With the blog abuzz, the South American short went viral, and has already been viewed on YouTube 1.5 million times.

Well, apparently nothing gets by Hollywood these days. The lucky duck told the BBC, "I uploaded 'Ataque de Panico!' on a Thursday and on Monday my inbox was totally full of emails from Hollywood studios." Long story short, a bidding war ensued. The offer he pocketed: A $30 million deal with Sam "Spiderman" Raimi's Ghost House Pictures. That's a nice return on investment.

The picture will be a sci-fi thriller set in Argentina and Uruguay. In case you're hoping to see the feature-length version of "Panic Attack!" in a movie theater, it won't be from this deal. The newly minted "it" guy says he will start from scratch.

Here's the video that got him Hollywood gold.

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