Redemption, Part 1

I feel strongly that “Shut up, Toral” should replace “Shut up, Wesley” as one of TNG’s bedrock memes. I get that he’s a victim in all of these power games to some extent and that he has mentors who refuse to help him understand his situation because they’re using him as a means unto an end.

But shut up, Toral.

I’ll try to make fewer “Game of Thrones” jokes in part two, I swear, but while “Redemption” is an oft-overlooked episode, it laid down so much that Deep Space Nine did structurally and canonically.

It’s more than just a prototype for another series, it’s a clever way to tie in several (relatively) long-running plot threads into a conflict that has stakes for our characters and the larger world.

For those of you who don’t know the story about Denise Crosby’s reappearance: clone, doppleganger, or long lost twin? Place your bets!

The Beige and The Bold is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and other podcasting platforms. It updates Sunday nights at 12:00 PM ET / 11:00 PM CT.

Last Time, on this comment: Garak has lots of context, but no agency. He is a very big archetype, but he isn’t relatable. He’s fuckin’ consistent, but his character arc only twitches slightly upward in the last scene of the damned series.

And now, the conclusion:

Garak is efficacious, don’t get me wrong, he gets shit done. But given that his motivation is to GET BACK TO CARDASSIA, he’s fucking god-awful at it. Not in that he refuses to shoot people or slit throats to get what he wants–though he’s inconsistent at that (like when he lets the Cardassians go in “Cardassians”). No, this genius, wheels-within-wheels mastermind doesn’t come up with a single fucking plan to get himself back to Cardassia. He lives at the pivot point of the fucking galaxy and sits there hemming trousers while looking across the Promenade at Quark who’s swimming in the opportunities available. The one time he has a chance in hell of getting back into the good graces are after he panics, blows up his shop, and then stumbles ass-first into boss-daddy’s half-baked return to glory.

He does have internal conflicts that he struggles with Garak has a conscience and he fights it. He’s a smart enough man to see the benefits of Federation society and the flaws of Cardassian society. So much so that after a certain point he doth protest too much when he says the opposite. It’s great stuff.

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This is a reddit post that I went all-in on so now it’s also a blog post.

Quality is subject to taste, so “best character” is subjective. Despite a literal interpretation which implies an objective truth, each person’s best character is actually their favorite character. Changing someone’s mind on this isn’t a matter of debating established fact; it’s a matter of contradicting what fundamentally appeals to someone and even if you’re invited, it’s a presumptuous thing to do.

But if we imagine that there’s an objective basis for character quality, we have to separate it from the subjectiveness of writing, acting, and directing, insofar as those things do not affect how effectively the story expresses the character’s qualities.

A quick search around the internet doesn’t reveal much about objective measuring of what makes a good character. This means that the internet hasn’t quite reached ‘peak internet’ yet, but it also means that this discussion requires creating broad versions of what measures do exist and then applying them to Star Trek characters.

Agency versus Context

Characters have agency, a place within the story that drives them to interact with the story. Neelix is considered a flawed character because he doesn’t have a place within Voyager’s overall story. He’s crammed into whatever space fits and suffers because of it. Captain Picard, however, fits into the specific story of “Best of Both Worlds” very well in that he’s a natural choice for the Borg to target and he has goals and the agency to move towards them. Even after he fails and is assimilated, he still fights the Borg, even if that fight is a simple as a single tear.

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The Game Awards for this year are out. The Game Awards are an interesting thing. I don’t pay attention the Emmys or the Golden Globes, so its weird to have an awards show I’m invested in.

The categories break down about the way you’d expect. There’s obviously Game of the Year, which doesn’t sound too special when you remember there are two hundred gaming websites willing to call anything “Game of the Year.”

Then there are the types of categories that fit under ‘story’ and ‘production.’ The first one covers best direction, best narrative, and best performance while the second one includes things like art direction, score, and audio design.

Best Direction is an interesting one because it’s more than just the direction of the visuals and performances; it includes the game’s overall vision. On a scale of Minecraft clone to Hotline Miami, how original are the game’s mechanics, tone, and themes?

With the exceptions of A Way Out and Detroit: Become Human, nominees for Direction are all sequels, so maybe “original” isn’t the right word. Execution is a factor. After years of lackluster Spider-Man games, Marvel’s Spider-Man is included because while we’ve known how to make a good Spider-Man game since 2004, we just waited 14 years to do it.

Then the awards are broken down by genre or platform. VR/AR and mobile games each get their own categories. There’s too many genres for me to list all of them, but the categories are comprehensive.

I’m not listing nominees or my faves because you can get that shit anywhere. That said, I’m hoping Battletech takes Best Strategy Game because it was far more solid than I expected and I trash talked it a lot.

There are also publisher categories which reward indie studios, indie debuts, and games produced by high school or college developers. That’s a relief because the board of The Game Awards is a list of top-tier video game companies. Ubisoft, Microsoft, and Steam are a representation of the types of companies whose members sent on TGA’s board. Steam and AMD seem like a minority share of the board and the only ones who’d lobby to support independent games and I’m glad they’re doing it.

There’s also community awards and ongoing game awards, which are there solely to reward YouTubers and No Man’s Sky. It’s reasonable to recognize YouTubers like Ninja, but I feel like there should be a distinction between something like No Man’s Sky—which did not release the game they said they would and finally released that game years later—and whatever Overwatch and Destiny 2 are doing to earn the title of ‘ongoing’ games.

Do lootboxes count as “ongoing content that evolves the player experience over time”? Wait. Is this whole award ironic?

The last broad category is esports, which I know nothing about. I might look up some of the best esports moments of the year because I’m sure they’re exciting, but it’s a whole other world that I don’t know anything about. If you do, let me know.

The game awards will be December 6th and you can vote by registering on their website or by Twitter, Facebook, Discord, or even some of those fancy in-home voice assistants.

The Game Awards

Ularon: It’s important to feel their—
Rulah: Hrah! Busy punching, Teacher. Hrah!
Goblin: Skreee!
Ularon: As am I. The Drophan-Bo technique combines one’s mind and body with the timing and mindset of the enemy and—
Ularon: pfurgh!
Rulah: Ularon?
Goblin: Shah!
Rulah: Fire fist!
Goblin: Skreee!

(Most) Every Wednesday, I make a brief development blog on my card/board game, Dead Parents Dungeon (DPD). It’s a fantasy-themed, light-hearted game about families and dungeons.

Progress: Second Rules Draft

The Turn
Each turn has two phases: the Village Phase–where families search for rumors, raise their children, and plan for retirement–and the Dungeon Phase—where adventurers look for rumored dungeons and fight the monsters inside.

The first part of every turn is creating babies. Adventurers with a free space in a lower generation of their family draw one baby card from the baby deck and put it into a free space below them. Free spaces that are in a higher generation are filled before free spaces in a lower generation.
Then, players take actions, starting with the first player. During each player’s turn, they may take one of four actions. Some cards may create additional actions late.

Train – A player may play an Adventurer card from their hand onto a baby in their family. That adventurer keeps the baby card—and its die—underneath the Adventurer card.
You cannot train a baby if there is an untrained baby in a higher generation in your family.

Retire – The player plays a retirement card and chooses an Adventurer from their oldest generation. They then remove the retirement card’s cost from their family’s hoard and place them into the monster discard pile.
The chosen Adventurer transfers all of their baby cards to Adventurers of the next-younger generation in any way they see fit.
This retiring Adventurer is placed on the retirement card, and the family tree shifts, just as if that character had died.
Then, check for victory. If a player’s total points from all Retirement cards is greater than or equal to 10, they win the game.

Rumors – The player plays a Rumor card. Then all players bid monsters for the right to send their adventurers into the dungeon. Then, for each winning bid, each player marks one of their adventure as going into the dungeon. Those Adventurers cannot interact with any other Village Actions this turn and are not affected by any Village Actions.
If a player has played a Rumor card, after the Village Phase there will be a Dungeon Phase. Only one Rumor card can be played per turn. If there are 6 or more players, a second Rumor card can be played, but an Adventurer can only enter one Dungeon per turn.

Go into The Village – Take a card from the Village and replace it with the top card of the Village Deck or draw 2 cards from the village.

Last Card Type: NPCs. NPCs give abilities while in the Village and can be removed with an action, often times, to be replaced with a card from a player’s hand.

(Most) Every Wednesday, I make a brief development blog on my card/board game, Dead Parents Dungeon (DPD). It’s a fantasy-themed, light-hearted game about families and dungeons.

Progress: Second Rules Draft

I rewrote the rules again to try to align everything to how it ought to be. I’ll add those new rules–with notes–over the next few weeks. I’m going to start with Setup, then The Turn, Dungeons, Combat, and finally Looting.

The Setup

Shuffle the Village Deck, the Monster Deck, the Baby Deck, and the Deck of Family cards.

Each player draws and plays a Family card.

Each player starts with a hand size of seven cards. Each player draws 5 village cards, then draws monster cards until their hand is full.

This is a core rule. When a player has fewer than their hand size in cards in their hand, they draw up by drawing Monster cards until their hand is full. Don’t draw if you’re in the middle of something a card is telling you to do. If you are instructed to draw cards, draw those cards and then discard card until your hand is at your hand size again.

Then the top three cards of the Village Deck are turned face up and laid out beside each other by the Village Deck. These cards comprise The Village.

Players then play Adventurers to fill out the roles on their Family cards. They have to play a Theytriarch first and have at least one Adventurer in one generation before the play an Adventurer on a lower generation.

Example: Arthur draws the Dorgin Dynasty as his family card. The Dorgin Dynasty has a Theytriarch with one descendant who in turn has one descendant. Arthur then draws five Village cards and two Monster cards.

Arthur has two Adventurer cards in his hand, a Ranger and a Fighter. He has to play one as his Theytriarch. He plays the

Ranger has his Theytriarch. He may then play the Fighter in the next generation of his family.
If a player doesn’t have any Adventurer cards, they may take an Adventurer from the Village and play it as their Theytriarch.
Players then compare the luck numbers of their families. The player with the Adventurer with the highest luck number among all Adventurers is the player who goes first in the first turn.