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Game of Thrones, Season 8, Episode 1 Review

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on April 21, 2019 by boccobsblog

Got

The Wall That Martin Built
A review of Game of Thrones, Season 8, Episode One.

By Ben Baer

The man who created the narrative should wield the pen. If you would take a man’s story, you owe it to him to look into his eyes and hear its final arc. And, if you cannot bear to do that well, then perhaps the story does not deserve to be told.
These are the thoughts that come to mind as we see the final season premiere of Game of Thrones. A television show that has become a phenomenon and, like many creative ventures in the fantasy and science fiction realm, has grown to Balerion sized proportions causing its creator to lose control of the reigns. George R.R. Martin wrote a master work of fantasy, but it has yet to be completed. His intricacies of foreshadowing, the appropriation of historic events into his narrative (such as the Black Dinner), and resonating lines such as Ned Stark’s thoughts on execution made a wonderful tale. Then, like a horde of white walkers, the fandom came for it.  They tore through every plot point and scrutinized every novel; they tore through the wall of foreshadowing and predicted, early on and very accurately, who the true heir to the Targaryen line would be. Perhaps it is these acts that have seemingly placed Martin into a writer’s paralysis. Whatever the reason, the show for the past two years has suffered from the absence of Martin’s source material, and the premiere of the final season exemplifies this absence.

Horn Blast One… Brothers Returning to the Watch

Game of Thrones has a complex cast of characters, which is the most compelling part of Season 8, episode 1. Everyone seems to be drawn to Winterfell, where we anticipate a final climactic battle.  It is also very interesting to see how the opening sequence has involved. A vast map that once spanned continents is now focused on the intricacies inside these locations. All of these characters and their story arcs have been building to fewer and fewer places. No one would have dreamt during season one while riding with the khalasar that someday Dany would find her way to Winterfell.

There is also a striking parallel plot structure between this episode and the very first episode.  The episode begins with Daenerys entering Winterfell like King Robert long ago. It also ends with Jaime Lannister interacting with Bran, but in an obviously inverted dynamic.

There is a strong amount of dread and mystery developed in the scene where the young lord is stapled to the wall in a white walker fire swastika of doom. This symbol has been left before, and leaves a solid enigma for the viewers to contemplate. If you wander into the fandom there are a number of theories regarding this, including some who have said it is a recreation of the Targaryen crest; what this could possibly mean has intriguing implications.

Horn Blast Two…. Enemies Approaching

While there are some enigmas to contemplate, this episode also has various obvious moments of pandering to fans. For example, there was the scene where Dany and Jon recreate How to Train Your Dragon by taking a leisurely ride, despite the fact that there is a horde of enemies approaching. Let us also not forget that the Night King has at his disposal surface-to-dragon zombifying spears!

This episode was also filled with inconsistent and irrelevant characters. Everything which occurs at King Landing now seems insubstantial, especially when it contains the scenery-chewing character of Euron Greyjoy. We are left with Cersei’s line about, “ If you want a whore buy her. If you want a queen…,” apparently wait for about 30 seconds. Their whole relationship development has been painful to watch.

Speaking of Greyjoys, who cares about them whatsoever? Go to Winterfell; don’t; set sail for Asshai; let the Iron Islands sink into the sea- this arc is stale. Another superfluous story line for fan service is the dilemma of Bronn. This sellsword has been impishly fun to watch from the days he kicked a knight out the moon door and was promised a castle, but squeezing him into this premier seems like another simple fan service. It was also a cheap excuse to squeeze in nudity, which HBO has had to seemingly had to leave out lately due to the inconveniences of having to cover actual plot.

Horn Blast Three… The Others

The place where a lack of source material becomes most obvious is in the clumsy dialogue upon which the exposition has become so dependent.  As said before, we had lines in the first season which were literature: “He who passes the sentence should swing the sword…,”  as well as, “A mind needs a book like a sword needs a whetstone.”  This episode has not one, but TWO different jokes about people’s balls. In fact, the first testicular crack is delivered by Tyrion himself, and it is almost as if the show has become self-aware of its own inadequacies as Sansa says to him, “I used to believe you were the cleverest man alive.” Perhaps he was more clever when the writers were more capable.  Jokes about gonads aside, the entire episode is filled with other groaner lines.  Whether it be a joke about blue eyes, tongue-in-cheek lines about Bran’s powers, or whining about not having elephants, much of the dialogue comes off like the nineties sitcom version of what is actually a rather gritty narrative.

The Wall Comes Down

Criticism of the dialogue aside, one can take heart that this saga is reaching its end.  It will be captivating if the show finds the shock and tragedy which won over its viewers in the past. Westeros has taught us that it is an unsafe world. Knowing that this is the last season, we may say goodbye to a number of characters before the last episode and that can have the potential to be both captivating and heartbreaking.  One can hope that at some point we will see this band of characters fight a desperate last stand at Winterfell versus the Others.  No matter what happens, night gathers and the end of our Watch begins. We are the watchers. We shall pledge to watch the next episode, and all other episodes to come until our Watch has ended.

Disney+ Looks Amazing

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on April 15, 2019 by boccobsblog

Disney+

Recently Disney released several details about their upcoming streaming service, Disney+.

According to a Disney press release:

Disney+ will offer ad-free programming with a variety of original feature films, documentaries, episodic and unscripted series and short-form content, along with unprecedented access to Disney’s incredible library of films and television series. The service will also be the exclusive streaming home for films released by The Walt Disney Studios in 2019 and beyond, including Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame, Aladdin, Toy Story 4, The Lion King, Frozen 2, and Star Wars: Episode IX.

Disney+ will launch in the U.S. on November 12, 2019 for $6.99 per month. The service will be available on a wide range of mobile and connected devices, including gaming consoles, streaming media players, and smart TVs. Visit DisneyPlus.com to register your email and be kept up to date on the service.

I’ve combed through the entire lineup and highlighted a few nerdy shows and movies:

Live-Action Series

The Mandalorian – The first ever live-action Star Wars series, is written and executive-produced by Emmy®-nominated producer and actor Jon Favreau, with Dave Filoni (“Star Wars: The Clone Wars”) directing the first episode. The highly anticipated series features an all-star cast including Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano, Carl Weathers, Giancarlo Esposito, Emily Swallow, Omid Abtahi, Werner Herzog and Nick Nolte. Set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order, the series follows a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic.
Timing: Available at launch

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier – Anthony Mackie will return as Falcon and Sebastian Stan will reprise his role as Winter Soldier in the new Marvel Studios series. Timing: Year One

Loki – Tom Hiddleston will reprise his role as Loki in the new Marvel Studios series. Timing: Year Two

WandaVision – Elizabeth Olsen will return as Wanda Maximoff and Paul Bettany will reprise his role as The Vision in the new Marvel Studios series.
Timing: Year Two

Marvel’s Hero Project – The series, produced by Marvel New Media in partnership with MaggieVision Productions, reveals the remarkable, positive change several young heroes are making in their own communities. These young heroes have dedicated their lives to selfless acts of bravery and kindness, and now, Marvel celebrates them as the true Super Heroes they are.
Timing: Available at launch

The World According to Jeff Goldblum – Through the prism of Jeff Goldblum’s always inquisitive and highly entertaining mind, nothing is as it seems in this new series. Each episode is centered around something we all love – like sneakers or ice cream – as Jeff pulls the thread on these deceptively familiar objects and unravels a wonderful world of astonishing connections, fascinating science and history, amazing people, and a whole lot of surprising big ideas and insights.
Timing: Available at launch

Marvel’s 616 – An anthological documentary series from Marvel New Media in partnership with Supper Club that explores the intersection between Marvel’s rich legacy of stories, characters and creators and the world outside your window. Each documentary will dive into the rich historical, cultural and societal context that has become inseparable from stories of the Marvel Universe.
Timing: Year One

Animated Series

Star Wars: The Clone Wars – The Emmy® award-winning animated series will be returning with twelve all-new episodes exclusively on Disney+. This will mark the return of classic characters Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Padmé Amidala, as well as fan-favorites Ahsoka Tano and Captain Rex.
Timing: Year One

Marvel’s What If…? – Marvel Studios’ first animated series, taking inspiration from the comic books of the same name. Each episode will explore a pivotal moment from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and turn it on its head, leading the audience into uncharted territory.
Timing: Year One

Films
Avengers: Endgame
Captain Marvel
Iron Man
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace
Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope
Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Star Wars: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens
Star Wars: Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (animated series)
The Sword in the Stone
Thor: The Dark World
Tron (1982)

Television Series
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy (animated series)
Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man (animated series)
Star Wars Rebels
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (series)
The Simpsons

Disney+ will launch in the U.S. on November 12, 2019 for $6.99 per month.

 

 

Tolkien Movie (2019)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 13, 2019 by boccobsblog

tolkien-poster

A biopic on the early life of J.R.R Tolkien is in post production. The film is set to be released on May 10th. Not much is known at this point as the film seems to have no official website and very little social media presence. The director has several films to his credit, but all are Finnish. I’m a bit worried by the writer selection as they are virtually unknown.

The trailer is short, but it seems like the film will highlight Tolkien’s time as an orphan, his years at Oxford, his service in World War I, but will largely revolve around his romance with his wife Edith Bratt.

I’ll post more when I hear something. I remain hopefully optimistic.

Details
Director – Dome Karukoski (some Finnish stuff )
Writers – David Gleeson (smh), Stephen Beresford (Pride?)
Starring – Lily Collins (The Mortal Instruments), Nicholas Hoult (Mad Max: Fury Road)


Learn More About Tolkien:

J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography
The Oxford Inklings: Lewis, Tolkien and their circle
Bandersnatch: C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings

 

 

 

Gary Con XI Event Registration

Posted in Conventions, Dungeons and Dragons, Limitless-Adventures.com, Uncategorized with tags , , on February 6, 2019 by boccobsblog

garycon

Gary Con is an annual game convention celebrating the life and works of Gary Gygax, the Father of Role Playing Games. We do this by doing what he loved so much in life, playing Games! Join Gary’s children, friends and fellow game enthusiasts as we celebrate a life well-played.

Gary Con will my first con 2019. I was unable to obtain a vendor table, so Mike and I will be running seven 5th Evolution adventures. Event Registration is open now.
Limitless Adventures will run the following events:

781     5th Evolution: Conflict in Carbide City    Thr at 2:00 PM       Forum A (Back)

785     5th Evolution: Mystery in the Sahara      Thr at 2:00 PM        Forum A (Front)

784     5th Evolution: Dusk Playtest                   Fri at 6:00 PM         Forum A (Front)

782     5th Evolution: Tunnel of Terror                Fri at 6:00 PM         Forum A (Back)

786     5th Evolution: Mystery in the Sahara      Sat at 2:00 PM         Forum A (Front)

783     5th Evolution: Tunnel of Terror                Sat at 6:00 PM         Forum A (Back)

780     5th Evolution: Conflict in Carbide City     Sun at 10:00 AM      Forum A (Back)

I hope you can join us for some 5th Evolution!

 

Waterdeep: Dragon Heist

Posted in D&D 5e, D&D Fifth Edition, Dungeons and Dragons, Uncategorized, Wizards of the Coast with tags , on September 18, 2018 by boccobsblog

Im a bit disappointed that we’re still in the Forgotten Realms, but I’m willing to give this adventure a try. According to WotC:

A fantastic treasure trove is yours for the taking in this adventure for the world’s greatest roleplaying game.

Famed explorer Volothamp Geddarm needs you to complete a simple quest. Thus begins a mad romp through the wards of Waterdeep as you uncover a villainous plot involving some of the city’s most influential figures.

A grand urban caper awaits you. Pit your skill and bravado against villains the likes of which you’ve never faced before, and let the dragon hunt begin!

Waterdeep: Dragon Heist is available in hardcover for $43.91.

Attack Dice!

Posted in Crowdfunding, Interview, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on September 5, 2018 by boccobsblog

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Today we sit down with John Jacobs of Attack Dice, LLC to talk crowdfunding, dice, and zombies.

What can you tell both of my readers about Attack Dice?
Attack Dice was founded by two longtime friends, Emil G. Palisoc and John S. Jacobs, who first started gaming together back in the mid-1980’s. Like many gamers they dreamed of becoming owners of a gaming store, Emi and John made it a reality in 1996 when they opened Sanctuary Games & Books in Jacksonville, Florida. The store was a local success until they decided to sell it in 2007. After selling the store, Emi and John moved on to “real life stuff” as wives and children entered the picture but we did make sure to keep gaming whenever we could.

Fast forward to November 2011, we began further development on a dice game concept we came up with in 1998.  This concept was reintroduced because with our busy lives, it was hard to find a lot of time to game. We needed to have something we could play with minimal setup time, but it also had to still be engrossing and entertaining. After some refining and play testing, When Zombies Attack! was born. In January 2012 we took the plunge and founded Attack Dice LLC.  On June 1, 2012 When Zombies Attack! was released, the first game we published using our proprietary TrioDice Game System. Our second game, Dungeon Attack! was successfully produced via Kickstarter in 2014. We also have several other game concepts in the development pipeline.

 

Trio

Trio Dice

 

 

I understand you have a new game currently being funded on Kickstarter?
Yes, we currently have our third TrioDice powered game called Roach Party! funding on Kickstarter. Roach Party! was actually the first game concept we came up with back in 1998. Like our other two games, Roach Party! is easy to learn, fast to play, affordable, and a whole lot of fun! We really had a good time developing the game and are excited to get it into the hands of our backers. We would love for your readers to come join us on this Kickstarter, you can find it here.

RP

How does Roach Party differ from your earlier games?
That’s a good question, all of games are powered by our proprietary TrioDice Game System, but they all do have a different playstyle and feel to them. When Zombies Attack! is our most competitive player vs. player game where you are directly competing against the other players in an effort to escape a zombie apocalypse. Dungeon Attack! is a far more co-operative system where players must help one another in order to survive the perils of adventuring in dark dungeons filled with fierce monsters. Roach Party! is a hybrid between the two, you are definitely directly competing against the other players but you do need to utilize some cooperation to ensure that the building is free from the infestation and not condemned.

What sets Roach Party apart from other dice games on the market?
Honestly, I think our TrioDice Game System, is the greatest strength of all our games, including Roach Party! It’s easy to learn and once you learn it, the same basic dice mechanics carry over to our other games. This dramatically cuts down on the need to learn a totally new system each time you pick up a new release. Even though each game has the same basic dice mechanics, they do have a different play style and strategies you must employ to be successful, although it never hurts to have a little luck on your side. Also, we limit the number of components you need to play our games. This helps to keep the cost of the game down and eliminates the need for players keep up with too many pieces that are easily lost or damaged. Of course, I may be a bit biased, but most importantly, I believe that our games are a lot more fun to play with a group of friends than other dice games on the market.  At the end of the day, you don’t really remember the game so much as you remember the great time you had playing it with your friends.

What was the most difficult part of creating Roach Party?
I think that this applies to every game that any one has ever created, and that is the need to be very open and accepting of critical feedback and use it as an opportunity to improve. It’s very easy to dig in your heels and dismiss this type of criticism, but if you are honest with yourself you will step back and try to view this feedback you will find that there are some very good suggestions that will help improve your final product.

What’s your desert island game of choice?
Attack Dice games of course, but I’m assuming you don’t want me to state that obvious answer so I will answer without choosing them. If I am on a desert island with other people with lots of time on our hands, I would probably want a copy of Dungeons & Dragons, it is the system that introduced me to the world of gaming and will always be one that I love. If I am alone, I might just want a pack of playing cards, there are a lot of things you can do with a simple pack of cards.

What’s next for Attack Dice?
Next up, we have plans to publish a new revised and expanded edition of Dungeon Attack! Unlike many publishers, we do plan to offer an upgrade kit for those who already own a copy of Dungeon Attack! and will only need the new material. Beyond that we have plans to do a similar treatment for When Zombies Attack! as well as new dice games based upon the Cthulhu Mythos and Superhero genre. Stay tuned true believers, we have a lot of fun stuff to share in future!

The 31th Season of the Bristol Ren Faire has Ended

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on September 4, 2018 by boccobsblog

On the border of Illinois and Wisconsin sits the country’s best renaissance faire.  The Bristol Ren Faire has been transporting people back to 1574 for 29 years. I have personally attended this faire over 25 times since the early 90s and have never had a bad experience. Bristol has nearly 200 artisans, amazing food (to include vegan, GF, and vegetarian options), rides and games, music and plays on 16 stages, and more bars than you can shake a tankard at. Now we begin the long wait until next July…

 

All photos courtesy of Arcadya Photography