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Hack For More

WEEK 15: 6/17/04

by Edward McEneely
Jun 22,2004


Hack For More

WEEK 15: 6/17/04

Erich's back! But Seth's wife needed him home, so no gaming! Arrrgh!

That alone would have been enough to somewhat derail Erich's triumphant return, but then my car refused to start. I handled this with my usual grace and retreated into a black depression until---for no apparent reason---the damn thing started up again, after forty minutes of trying. Go figure.

See, it's the little things like this that can really screw up an evening; by the time I got to Erich's it was already nine o'clock. Ordinarily, I would have just called the whole thing off, but right now I owe RPG.net both this column and another filler column to replace the one I burned two weeks ago. So, into the Edmobile I hurtled, and then the Edmobile hurtled over to Erich's, where he very kindly presented me with a copy of GURPS Weird War II, which he had picked up for me in Houston. (I have a stylistic commitment to overlong sentences, as you may have noticed.)

Erich had lots to say; while in Houston, he had managed to snag some of his family's stash of legos (NOTE: Erich has lived a large portion of his life in Texas, but like me, he was born in Illinois), enabling him to build the fearsome Boat of Car. (Frankly, if you don't get the reference, you probably aren't much of a geek. I grew up in a "classical-music only" household, and I know what it is. Educate yourself!) It's a marvellous sort of land ironclad armed with three muzzleloading pivot guns (or perhaps Dahlgren rifles?), two in bow wing mounts and one in a cherry-picker style rear turret. Erich promises me that soon he will have battle reports ready, with real photographs, so those should be pretty worthwhile.

Laura entertained us with an expose (not literally---sheesh!) of the lingerie (needed the spellchecker for that one) modeling trade in Kilene Texas---which she was not professionally associated with, but her family has military ties, and apparently Kilene is near an army base---and I read the quote list from the BrikWars fight, doing different voices for different minifigs, and all were entertained.

The evening ended fairly quickly, mostly because of my intense lateness, so we said our goodbyes, promised dire harm to Seth if he didn't show next week, and headed our separate ways.

This gave me a chance to look over Weird War II, which is the sort of book you like a friend to get you: it's neat, but not the sort of thing you'd get on your own. As I'd just finished re-reading Foucault's Pendulum (for the uninitiated: like The Da Vinci Code but well-written and very good), I was even in the proper mindframe to read the book. My brief prognosis: a little too American- and German-centric for my tastes (I mean, there's like, ONE British piece of equipment in the whole book; it's not like they were the only Allied power physically extant during any point of the war, or anything... [to call me a rabid, unrepentant anglophile doesn't begin to even scratch the surface]), and more of an introductory primer---as any book its size dealing with the whole of World War II necessarily must be, of course---than a definitive guide to weird happenings, but it does have WWII mecha construction rules, which is nice, because even using the bug-ridden GURPS Vehicle builder is likely to take decades off your life. And that's just actual building time.

I like the idea of the GURPS World War II line, and I'm sorry to see it go, but I must admit to not supporting it; (I tried to end up writing the Their Finest Hour sourcebook---or got to the proposal stage, anyway, but I don't really know how to write an outline, so that sank me, thus preventing my entry in the game-writing world. Cue violins.) I'll probably wait for Fourth Edition to come out and then buy as many 3rd Edition books as I can, then get sucked into 4th Edition and do the same thing all over again. (Rant: Why do so many wrong things with 4th Edition, though? More art and higher production values equates to higher cost and longer production time. I'm poor and I have a short attention span. A built-in setting is the last thing GURPS needs. It's just a waste of pages, or worse, something that will pump the size and cost of the main rules up. But I'll buy it anyway, like the sucker I am. It'll just take longer to do, because it's more expensive, and I can't afford the outlay as easily. Sigh.)

Anyway, this column has tried to make up for its lack of actual topic by being even more rambling and nonsensical than normal. We hope you didn't notice; thank you, and good night.

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