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Posts by Db0

Fedora Shaming

So, fedora shaming is an interesting thing for me to watch grow in popularity. Especially because of all the people associated with fedoras or hating on them. It’s double interesting because I happen to own one.

I bought a fedora back in early 2007 on a lark, as a cheap accessory to my outfit, for my escapade to the night at the local goth dive. I don’t remember anyone wearing hats in there, especially not fedoras and I certainly never saw it outside during the day. So I thought it would be fairly unique while I was using it in the dark and foreign environment of a gothic club (to look more mysterious I guess).

I kinda liked the look. I wore it in Wacken Open Air 2007, where I met my future wife (who liked it more than I did :D ), and wore it on occasion, such as the occasional night club outing. But I kinda stopped once I stopped going out so much, since I was using a bicycle most of the time, which doesn’t really fit the look (not to mention that wind is inconvenient).

Still, when I don’t have to use my bicycle, I would now and then like to wear it1,  but the recent blowback against fedora wearing makes me very cautious about doing so. Not so much because pop culture tries to shame people using it,  but more because wearing one seems to mean that you’re a particular type of person.

And don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I don’t want to be seen as an asocial dorky white guy, world knows I used to be one long before I ever even knew what a fedora was, it’s more like, I don’t want people to think I’m a MRA/PUA creeper using the hat like a plume to attract attention.

But is it that the people who would like the hat, are that sort of people? Or are people who like  the hat avoiding it, much like I am, because of the negative connection?

To an extend I blame internet culture for all this. There’s a strong element of shaming of everything that is not “normal”. Instead of celebrating new trends, we do the opposite. The impression I get from lurking in popular online communities feels very similar to a high school social ostracism of the aberrant.

And the frustrating thing is, you see this on all sides. People are as quick to shame the nerdy, the asocial and the fedora, as they are to shame the fat, the queer and the women. “Only jocks allowed” so to speak. Which is weird to see since the internet used to be the bastion of the nerd.

And the fedora-bashing theme is kinda interesting because it’s become like a universal thing to shame. Jocks shame it, tumblr social justice warriors shame it, hipsters shame it, horrible anonymous communities shame it. I don’t think it’s possible anymore to upload a picture of yourself of wearing a fedora, without becoming an instant object of ridicule by many people.

I get that many people are shaming some common archetypes among fedora-wearers, such as the “nice guy”, the “creeper”, the “libertarian scumbag” etc. But does it make sense to shame the hat instead of  the behaviour? Because other than that, I don’t think it’s bad at all that some people choose this particular accessory to experiment with. Sure, many may look ridiculous in it, just as many look ridiculous in 3-piece suits, or shorts.

I just wish we would let people express themselves in any way they choose and constructively help them improve their looks, rather than making them feel ashamed for trying and give up. I’d much prefer a world where fedoras, punks, hipsters, flamboyants  etc, as well as intermixes of all of the above, can get along with the currently acceptable “normal” looks, rather than force everyone into the same cookie-cutter appearance.

But if we’re going to keep shaming, can we at least do it to the “suit & tie”, AKA the most boring and uninspired look in all of human history?

  1. currently it’s sitting in my cellar, fighting for its life against a moth infestation
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How to make custom markers for card games

In ActionI’ve recently started teaching/playing Doomtown:Reloaded using some proxies I’ve printed out and one of the few things that are kinda annoying in the card pool, is that there’s a significant amount of card effects which one has to track manually because either the originating card was an action that was discarded, or because it’s an effect from a deed or spell which has to remain in its original location, and cannot be used to track the effect.

So for example, one of your dudes moves to Charlie’s Place and grabs +2 bullets, then a few plays later they’re hit by a noon Blood Curse, and after an amount of maneuvering later, you end up in a shootout. Now you have to remember that +2 bullets and that -1 bullet effects, plus any Sun In Yer Eyes and so on,that you may get in the shootout itself before calculating your bullet bonuses. And finally at the end of the turn you also have to remember that -1 influence from Blood Curse as well. Let’s just say that is can easily lead to mistakes…

Now, Doomtown:Reloaded will come with more than influence, control and ghost rock counters. It will also come with a bunch of double-sided generic counters which you can use to track other effects, such as the aforementioned ones (and generally shotoout effects are fairly easy to remember since they last so little), but you’d still have to remember that the green star is a blood curse, and the grey skull is an extra bullet etc. Still leaves room for mistakes.

A few weeks ago, I was at a Android:Netrunner game night, and one player had this cool little plastic tokens that he created to add custom markers, instead of using his own cards, such as parasite tokens on cards instead of his parasite card, or personal workshop tokens to remember which of his cards are still in the workshop, and so on. It was a really nifty idea but I thought that it was a wasted potential in Netrunner because it has very little things one needs to track manually1 other than the occasional Femme Fatale marker or Uroboros effect which are few and short enough not to cause any issues.

In Doomtown however, where noon-long effects are fairly common2 these kind of tokens are a great idea. So using the information that it’s simple coin capsules (used by collectors mostly) I researched a bit online started preparing.

For my Coin Capsules, I went with the 20mm ones from Unicorn, which at 12 euro for a 100, means 0.12 cents each. Not bad for simple plastic. Their size is fitting for a 10cent euro coin, which I felt was sufficiently large to show the card art in the marker, without being so large that it obscures the card itself or leaves no space for other counters.

(Here I’m going to explain how I prepared everything from the start. If you just want to see how to simply print your own based on what I made, skip to the “Making your own custom markers” part.)

Once they arrived, I opened the card art and took a screenshot of the area I wanted to make into a marker, I passed that into GIMP, made a perfect circle selection of exactly the area I needed, then cut that into a new image (to remove the rest of the art), resized it to 60 px (which prints out to roughly 21mm) and finally created a white image in gimp at A4-paper size, and pasted the resized marker in there.

I repeated the procedure with 14 other cards3 that I felt created resident effects often enough. This created a double row of markers 7-wide +1 marker on the side which I didn’t need so many of. Finally I copy-pasted that double row 4 more times, to get 4 of each marker in the same page and thus have enough to use on the rare occasions where I get to use multiple of that effect in the same turn (or if my opponent is running some at the same time)

I finally exported from GIMP in .pdf format which would make sure the images print out at exactly the dimensions I put in the paper.

Making your own custom markers

2014 - 1So if you want to make your own markers using the ones I’ve already prepared, first you need to get yourself some coin capsules. You can prolly buy them in any hobby story, or just use the same item I got on Amazon. Afterwards print out my A4 page with the markers and cut them.

Since you can create each marker double-sided, what I did is put two different markers per capsule’s side. I chose cards which are unlikely to be together at the same time in multiple numbers, so as to avoid having a situation where I needed 2 from one side and 3 of the other side.

My pairs were:

  • Blood Curse 1/ Blood Curse 2 (The two different effects of the spell)
  • War Paint / Unprepared (Value difference of 6 means unlikely to be in the same straight flush draw structure)
  • Sun in Yer Eyes / Stakes Just Rose (Same Value)
  • Pinned Down / Make the Smart Choice (Value difference of 5 means less chance to be in the same straight flush draw structure)
  • Bad Company / Hiding in the Shadows (Same Value)
  • Rumors / Charlie’s Place (Influence Reduction tends not to me used in the same decks which care about boosting their bullets)
  • Yan Li’s Tailoring / Morgan Research Institute (Spell/Gadget decks unlikely to run deeds at 3 value)
  • Kevin / Kevin (just double sided solo marker for Kevin’s Ability)

Feel free to make your own pairs if you think something is more appropriate.

When putting the images in the capsule, you’ll notice that one side will not fit exactly, while the other will have space remaining. This is normal since the capsule needs some space to lock itself in place. To put the 21mm marker in the 20mm space, I simply used a 10cent coint to squeeze it in, and while I lost a little bit of circumference it’s not noticeable at all on the final marker. And the extra size on the larger size ensures the image is held into place on the capsule’s face, rather than just falling to the bottom.

This was my end result

Complete Look

I think the result is pretty neat, and in a mock setup I’ve done, the custom markers fit very comfortable among all the other cards and normal markers. Of course one has to have the art memorized to know what each custom marker does, but after a few plays that should be fairly easy. I do think a good improvement might be to include a small icon on each marker’s art that is like “+2 bullet”, or “-1 influence”,  or “turned into draw” etc. Maybe something for the future or someone better than me could arrange it and share the results with everyone (I can provide my GIMP sources on demand)

To cover all of Doomtown:Reloaded’s important resident effects I used only 29 capsules so far, so I’m left with 71 more. More than enough to re-use for other games, or for new Doomtown:Reloaded abilities as expansion come out.

  1. This is actually one of my favourite designs. I find that the way they’re dealing with increasing or resident effects to be brilliant! Basically what they do in ANR is that almost any effect which stays at the table is always represented with a card, and any variable changes on top of that is represented with a marker upon the card which explains the effect itself. This way one can always understand the state of the game just by looking at the state of the cards on the table, even if they just tuned in to the game.
  2. fortunately we got rid of card memory shenanigans
  3. of which blood curse was one I did two times with two different art sections, to keep track of the two different spell effects
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“I can get along with left anarchists…”

In yet another chapter of ‘anarchists don’t get along with “Anarcho”-capitalists but the latter are in denial’, I just saw this post on reddit, which made me laugh internally.

I suggest reading it in whole, but the last part is what did it for me

Me: My advice would simply be to be upfront about the fact that left anarchists and capitalists can’t get along. That’s what most left anarchists do.

ACap: Well I give the benefit of the doubt to statists

Me: Well great. The trouble with giving the benefit of the doubt to people, and trusting that they fit into an narrow and unprecedented category of anarchism you’ve invented, is that you’ll end up looking like an idiot.

ACap: Except that it’s the official definition.

Me: Boo hoo. Left anarchists ruined your “official definition”.

ACap: They didn’t ruin anything, they are quite irrelevant really

Me: I can’t believe an anarcho-capitalist just said that.

Indeed.

Categories: Anarchism

The Propaganda of Civilization

Errant Signal once again posted an excellent video about how a theoretically politically neutral game like Civilization, nevertheless provides and reinforces a political paradigm through its mechanics. Watch below the well-worthy video.

I couldn’t agree more about the message here. Even while being a huge Civ fan since the first game, it always bothered me how much “status-quo” politics a “neutral” game like civilization nevertheless managed to cram in its mechanics and presentation. From the simple fact that Anarchy has always been used as a synonymous to political chaos/vacuum, and never provided in any way, shape or form as part of the political evolution for your civilization, like Fascism or Democracy, to the fact that, as the video mentions, all civilizations start effectively as nation-states rather than city-states, or nomad tribes.

Some might claim that all those things are just an expedient game at making a video game, but isn’t it convenient that all those “shortcuts” manage to always promote a game in which a modern state is the end result before “world domination”?

Civilization is the perfect example of what “politically neutral” means in reality: The reinforcement of the status quo.

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My guide on how to play classic Doomtown with a Reloaded meta.

Now that a lot of the cards of Doomtown:Reloaded have been spoiled, I’m seeing a lot of people expressing an interest in teaching their friends how to play Doomtown by using the new rules but old cards, since those are what is available. Many simply prepare normal Doomtown decks, and simply stay within the rules of deck construction (no more than 4 cards of the same suit & value) as well as using the new casualties and avoiding card types which are not available, such as Events and Improvements.

While this goes a long way to approach the feel of the new game and see how the new rules play out, unfortunately the costs of deeds and dudes, as well as the availability of various spell effects can easily throw the delicate balance out of whack compared to what one will experience when playing Doomtown:Reloaded using only its own card pool. It is still quite easy to build degenerate decks using Doomtown:Reloaded rules that are boring or impossible to play against.

So, in this post, I wanted to provide my own personal home-rules on how to tweak your deck construction and costs in card in classic Doomtown, to get an experience that more closely approaches what you’ll find when playing Doomtown:Reloaded. This is all completely unofficial and merely approximation of what is available in DTR. I don’t guarantee perfect results, but I hope you’ll find it useful both when teaching new players or when you check things out as returining ones

Deck Construction

  • No more than 4 cards of the same suit and value
  • No events or improvements.
  • No more than 5 production out of town. No more than 1 control point out of town.
  • All In-Town deeds should have control points (and optimally, abilities as well)
  • No more than 1 spell that reduces influence (i.e. you can put 4x Blood Curse in your deck, but not also 4x Babble On)
  • No more than 1 action that reduces Influence
  • No card effects which prevent movement to specific locations, or prevent targeting dudes, or prevent call-0uts.
  • No card effect which provides ghost rock without being a job or requiring your dude to be outside your home in some fashion (that means, no original Blackjacks outfit)
  • No card effect which provides Victory Points
  • No card effect which can ace or discard dudes without it requiring the dude causing it to be in the shootout, or in the same location. (that means, no Ezzie)

Cost/Upkeep tweaking

  • 2 Ghost Rock blanket discount for all in-town deeds. This means that Pony Express would cost 3.
  • All dudes with 2 or more influence have at least 1 upkeep. (I.e. a dude with 2 inf, 0 bullets which costs 4 and had 0 upkeep, now costs 4 and has 1 upkeep.)
  • All dudes with 2 or more stud bullet or 3 or more draw bullet, have at least 1 upkeep.
  • Any dude who has a combined stud bullets and influence of 4 or more, requires at least 2 upkeep if they don’t already.
  • All spells cost 1 Ghost Rock to bring into play
  • All deeds with abilities provide their ability to their controller always. Never just the owner.

Let me know how your experience with decks made and played under these home rules feel.

 

 

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How I got involved in the design posse of Doomtown:Reloaded

I don’t know how many remember from my posting about it in the past, but I’ve been a huge Doomtown fan ever since I first started playing it back in 1998, in episode 5 of the first cycle, using common cards gifted to me from the FLGS clerk and a starter-home (literally. It was a starter box with the home card printed on the back).

My love for Doomtown is in fact what led me to start developing an OCTGN plugin to play it online, which was my first involvement with OCTGN around 3 years ago which eventually led me to develop my most popular creation plugin for it, Android: Netrunner.

Ye Ole Snakebite - Reloaded. This is one of the cards I helped tweak to be more universally useful in the new meta.

Ye ole Snakebite – Reloaded. This is one of the cards I helped tweak to be more universally useful in the new meta.

It was that renewed interest around that time which made me try to get the original Doomtown storyline in order. Because of this effort I was approached by Tim Meyer, and invited to help implement a Doomtown revival project working under the fan label of Harrowed Entertainment Group. We worked together for a while on story and design for that project even even though ultimately that effort didn’t pan out, it was not a bad experience and we worked well together. Tim went on to continue with more Doomtown-related projects while I went to continue coding more AEG, and later on FFG, games for OCTGN.

Then, around 2 years later, at around the summer of 2013 a certain Mark Wootton contacts me out of the blue with an offer I could never refuse:  Becoming part of the rebooting of Doomtown as an ECG!

It seems Mark had heard my name from Tim from our previous work together and told him I would be an asset, so I was asked to come on board voluntarily as one of the “old faithful” players :). I couldn’t believe it! Not only was one of the best card games ever coming back to life in the format everyone had been asking for, for years, but I was being asked to part of that effort. Christmas had come early!

I cannot be sure what exactly Mark saw in me, but after the first tumultuous months of early initial design planning, there was a definite split in the roles each volunteer would take, and myself along with Eric Jome were assigned to the Design team, to work alongside Mark in figuring out which mechanical elements of the original game to keep, which to tweak and which to drop altogether1.

And thus is comes to be that a year after that, not only is Doomtown: Reloaded finally announced like a wish-come-true, but beyond my wildest dreams, I’m sitting in the actual design team of my most favourite of games, actually crafting future cards and having a say in current and new mechanics!

Who woulda thunk it!?

  1. I won’t go into details on those aspects as this is a subject for a completely different post
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Epic Pythonista

A random google search pointed me to this, which is kinda cute :)

Divided by Zer0 is an epic Pythonista (one of the 4% most active Python users) who spends a lot of time commenting on issues between pushes. Divided is a fulltime hacker who works best in the morning (around 11 am).

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For those time where you need some of the achievements made by women throughout history.

Here’s an info-bomb of women’s names and contributions for when that random dude online challenges you to post some names of women scientists, architects, etc that were ripped of my their male colleagues.

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“Capitalist market economies have more or less eradicated poverty”

Bender "Oh Wait, You're Serious"So, someone just said that to me with a straight face after a long and fairly ridiculous argument. The image you see on the side pretty much describes my reaction before I decided there’s definitely no reason to waste any more time on this.

Sometimes I have to wonder in which reality some people are living in…

 

Wundergeek lays down the smackdown!

Go read case 2241453247 of what happens when a feeeeemale attempts to criticize men objectifying women in geek culture.

Keep on being awesome wundergeek

 

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