Well, we only ended up doing one episode this year, contrary to my hopes last fall. But production of the next show is well underway, and it's as different from the Diplomacy show as that one was different from the shows that came before it. Once it's done, I'm going to release it in a brand-new format that, I hope, will make the show much more watchable, without sacrificing any show quality. You'll know what I'm talking about once you see it.
I'm hoping that 2010 will be the year I can actually bring some regularity to this show's production schedule, enough so that I can say "I make a TV show about games" without feeling obligated to qualify that with some statement about its near-nonexistence as a regular series. I do indeed have a plan for making this happen that is better than "OK, let's just work harder at it." But, in the interest of not jinxing myself, I'll save further yapping about any new process for when I actually deliver something.
To tide you over, please enjoy this historical confection that PeterB over at TLeaves dug up. Wargames! A unique and intriguing hobby.
Sorry if you've been having a sad time trying to access (or, for some of you, post to) The Gameshelf lately. The jmac.org webserver has been acting very wonky for reasons I haven't sussed out yet. I beg your patience in the meantime.
For your troubles, please enjoy this vaguely game-related tidbit, which I shall feel free to cut-n-paste over from my personal blog:
Deletionpedia is a machine-generated website, built entirely from Wikipedia articles that have been deleted. It itself is not a wiki, even though it copies Wikipedia's page layout. The result is somewhat fantastic.
Its current featured article is this exhaustive list of all the weapons found in the tabletop wargame Warhammer 40,000, complete with what appears to be meticulously fan-made illustrations, many with labeled parts and exploded views. Someone put a hell of a lot of work into this. While I can see why the WP hivemind would give it the boot (WP is famously tolerant of nerdwank, but still has its limits), I'm oddly relieved to know that it's preserved elsewhere.
And there will be a lot of pages like this guy's, a short biography of "a British-based Starship captain, commentator on society and volunteer ticket collector on a steam railway". Or the sad tale of List of Films with Monkeys in Them, which was cut down before it could even grow past three items.
The list of magical things goes on, preserved forever. I am glad this exists.
Jmac and guest host Joe Johnston take a look at some fairly recent wargames.
Memoir '44, an accessible yet rich modular game of tactical engagements between Allied and German forces in World War II.
Gnostica, an abstract wargame played on a shifting deck of Tarot cards. Players use colorful Icehouse pieces to represent their forces.
The players on the show use my copy of the Aquarian Tarot, which, with its pretty but low-key imagery, is my favorite deck for gaming. I marked up this deck with Gnostica stickers [pdf link], which helps tremendously in remembering all the cards' powers and point values in this game.
Warsong, a very deep, story-driven wargame released for the Sega Genesis video game system in 1991. I spent much of the summer of 1993 playing this, and now you too can while away the hours on your computer through a Sega Genesis emulator. Finding the ROM is an exercise left to the viewer cough cough.
I did not like this episode as much as a the previous one, mainly because our regular director, Joe Constantine, had to miss the game shoot. (We currently split the show's footage collection over two shoots: one for games, another for the host segments.) Lee Stewart, who usally does camera, did an admirable job filling it as director for that shoot, and I took over camera duties. My camerawork was rather mediocre, though -- check out the vertigo-inducing focal plane misplacement in some of the Memoir '44 shots -- and I didn't get to play any games!
I need to position the cue cards closer to the camera -- that's why I keep looking to the side -- and have a better idea of what I'm going to say. Until then it's the Umm uhh uhhhhm show, at least during my monologues.
Other than all these technical complaints, I think that the episode content is pretty good. And hey, we used the green screen correctly for the first time (for that intro bit with me yelling at the camera). Looking forward to having more fun with that later.
This episode looks a lot better than the previous one, don't you think? It was entirely shot in the SCAT studio with an excellent crew. It actually doesn't make use of a "board-cam" we rigged up to continuously film an overhead shot of the table during games. Maybe I'll edit some of those shots in later, but Joe Constantine did such a good job directing the player-cameras that I didn't really feel the need to do the extra work.
I also mention The Interactive Fiction Competition, a.k.a. the IFComp, as an aside before the first segment. If you want to see (and maybe help judge) the latest efforts from the amateur text adventure creation community, do have a look.