“A Princess of Mars” Theatrical Release

Science Fiction lovers rejoice! Edgar Rice Burroughs’, “A Princess of Mars”, is being adapted for a theatrical release by Walt Disney studios and is slated for a 2012 release. Simply titled “John Carter”, this big budget adaption of the pulp classic looks amazing based off of this recently released trailer:

Now, this version should not be confused with the 2009 direct to dvd release “Princess of Mars” by independent film studio The Asylum. That titled tried to modernize the tale, casting John Carter as an army sniper in Afghanistan and making numerous other changes to the plot and locations throughout the film. This was all in an attempt, I believe, to cash in on the money machine that was Avatar.

I won’t go into too much detail on the plot of the original story, but suffice to say it is an excellent and enjoyable read. Burroughs was one of the masters of pulp action and “A Princess of Mars” embodies the genre very well. If you have not read the tale yet then do so now. If you have already read it then read it again in anticipation of the new movie.

First Look – Lego Heroica

In case you might have missed it, Lego recently released a new series to their line of game sets – Heroica. These four box sets each contain the rules and material to play a basic board game in the spirit of such titles as Heroquest and Talisman. This is a great product line to introduce a number of gaming concepts such as heroes vs monsters, rolling dice, keeping track of hit points/gold/loot, navigating obstacles, and more. While the rules straight out of the box are definitely designed for the younger crowd, with a little tweaking (which I will get into later) this can be expanded upon to make a nice little customized gaming experience.

So what do you get in the box? Well, for starters Heroica used a special d6 for all rolls. One side is a shield which when rolled yields a special results (additional movement, additional damage, special ability triggered, etc). The other 5 sides are contain a split result with one half of the die face being either a sword or skull (used in combat to indicate either damage taken or damage dealt) while the other half of the die face has a number of dots between 1 and 3 (used in movement). Modified one-piece Lego micro-figs are used to represent both the players (Heroes) and the monsters (goblins, werewolves, etc). There is a weapon rack which acts as the “store”, holding extra gold coins and weapons. The players also receive their own rack where they can store loot and track hit points.

And finally, there is the game board itself. The board design utilized colored 2×2 pieces with one point in the top center to simulate the path that the heroes can take. Each individual square counts as one move and takes the player’s through multiple environments including forests, deserts, caves, castles, and more. Some of the “rooms” have a great deal of detail to them including furniture and other cosmetic pieces. The best part is that these are standard Lego pieces and as such you can dig through your box of blocks and probably create a few yourself.

My wife and I have played through a couple of the box sets (we own 3 of the initial 4) and we both loved every minute of it. We decided to play using the default rules first to get a feel for things before trying to house rule anything. While things proceeded rather smoothly a couple of omissions did crop up. We also took some notes on elements that we would want to house rule at a later date. I will be working on compiling everything into a formatted document and will post it here once it is all done. In the meantime, here are a few things that we saw that needed to be changed:

  • Remove instant kills. It really sucked the possibility of any tension out of the game when Amy killed the end “boss” just because she rolled a sword on the d6.
  • How many actions can you do in a turn, ie can you move AND fight or just move?
  • How is ranged combat handled? Do I just roll at any time?
  • How do you activate non-combat related special abilities on your character/equipment? Do you roll anytime during the turn?

If you enjoy board games or have a little one you want to get into gaming, this is the perfect entry point. I’m looking forward to sharing some of my modifications including additional weapons/armor, using standard-size mini-figs, and additional adventures. In the meantime get to building and enjoy yourself some Lego Heroica!

Robert E Howard Days 2011 Panels Part 2

Here is the second batch of videos from several of the panels that took place at this year’s Robert E Howard Days gathering in Cross Plains, TX. You even get to hear me asking my question at 8:25 in the part 1 Howard Fandom panel video. These videos are not mine, but those of a fellow attendee, YouTube user warriorphotog36. Make sure you swing by and give him props on his channel.

 

Women in Howard’s Work

 

Part 1

Part 2

Howard Fandom with Damon and Dennis

Part 1

Part 2