Month: October 2017

How to win using Azathoth from the Azathoth Expansion of Cthulhu Wars

Here we go, I’m moving into the expansion boxes for Cthulhu Wars, starting with Azathoth.

In my opinion, after the high priest expansion and each of the factions, this is the one you should get.   So many cool things, none of which you “have” to use, just fun and helps expand the strategies for each faction.

This first video is very specifically just Azathoth, each video after this will explore another aspect of the expansion, that way, if you choose to use a given component, you can watch that video as a refresher.

Ok, so of course I started with Azathoth, how does he work?

Well first of all you spend 2 doom points and you have to have 8 power.  You roll a die and add 2 to determine how much power Azathoth costs you.  THEN, each other player chooses a die face between 1 and 6.  The combined value of the player’s dice is the combat power of Azathoth.  WHAT? Why would they choose high values then? Well, they get that much power PLUS, the lowest player(s) lose 2 doom points.  Its pretty crazy, you could end up engineering your loss with this move, but if you do it at the right time, it might not be that bad..plus you might have an epic GOO out of it.

Ok you say, but one kill and your GOO is dead and meanwhile everyone got a big pile of power.  Not so fast, Azathoth doesn’t die easily.  If Azathoth is assigned a kill, instead of dying you roll a die and subtract that value from his current combat power.  Sure, eventually he’ll die, but not right away, and probably not before raining destruction through your enemies!

Watch the video for the rest, but suffice it to say, Azathoth is awesome. 🙂  Next image next Tuesday!

How to manage your instagram

I thought I’d share how we manage our Instagram.   Personally, my goal is to interact with as many people as possible, and you can’t interact if people don’t see your images!

Posting

The below advice is centered around the following goals

  • The first goal for posts is to entertain the people who follow you, to interact with them, to remind people you’re still active.
  • The second goal is to create content that engages/interests/invites people who don’t follow you
  • You want to have your images show up in the Top Posts grid that shows up for a popular tag, this is like winning the lottery of exposing your Instagram posts to a whole new set of people who perhaps haven’t seen you before.

Posting Tips

  • Post things that support your theme/concept/brand identity, save other posts for a different account/personal account.
  • Step back and imagine how the dominant colors will look together, will they be boring or will they blend together? Consider introducing full color with text to “break up” boring spreads of images.
  • Every few posts try to ask a question or state an opinion to give an opportunity for your community to engage with you.
  • Post around 5-7 tags to avoid seeming like you’re spamming/greedy
  • Use 1-2 tags that have 1+ million posts, these are like lottery entries
  • Use 3-4 tags that have 50-1 million posts (preferably around 500k). For these tags it should be possible for you to get into the “Top Posts”, even if only for a short time.
  • Use one distinguishing tag that you include in all posts. For us, all of our social media includes #dorkside, and yes, every 3rd or so post is ours.

Full Color Background Text Images

  • It can give you control over your color scheme to help break up monotonous color schemes.
  • It can engage your audience to motivate them to interact with you and each other.

 

Interacting

I aggressively look for posts that look interesting to my Instagram account.  I didn’t say “me”, because I manage a lot of social media accounts, I decide on which slice of my personality I want represented in each account and I try to stay focused.  For example, I like macro images of insects, but none of my Instagram accounts like photos of them (very much, come on, this is cool and creepy, https://www.instagram.com/p/0b4fIqL2V9/?taken-by=insects_pics ).  If I’m managing someone else’s Instagram account, I use what I know of that person to guide me to finding pics.

Ok, here is what happens when I find a pic.

  • Obviously, click Like on the photo.
  • Be open to conversation.  For example, I saw a photo of delicious looking chicken on my food Instagram @DorksideKitchen, but it was from a restaurant in Mexico City, so I posted that I was sad it was soo far away, which I was.  Be authentic, be real, be chattier than you might be in real life.
  • I try to do a few a day.  It makes my account show up as active, it engages new people in something I’m interested in, it makes people who do or like things that I create curious to look at me, and I find it to be fun.

 

 

Reposting

  • Use a reposting app that helps tag the original poster, give them props
  • It exposes your followers to someone possibly new.
  • It usually flatters the person you’ve reposted which can help form tenuous or even long term relationships.

 

I’d love to hear your tips and/or advice on how we can improve our Instagram.  If you’d like help managing your Instagram account, reach out to us, I’d love to figure out some sort of collaboration.

 

Episode One: The Guy in the Chair, a new podcast covering all kinds of fandoms shot in the Millennium Fandom

This was our pilot episode, I won’t talk too much about the content other than to warn you that we give a lot of spoilers on the season premiere of Flash Season 4 and Bladerunner 2049.

We also talk a lot about the new Star Wars trailer, but come on guys, most of you have seen it too. 😉

Ok, what I wanted to talk about is where we’re filming this out of.  This is super cool guys, we’re filming it out of the Millennium Fandom bar!  This bar is AMAZING!  And we’re going to be doing a live audience.  Here is what it looked like the first episode, behind the scenes.

 

This was a lot of fun, and of course we want you to watch and subscribe, but if you want to come by to the bar, we’ll be shooting around 8pm!  Hope to see you guys there!

Creator Interview with Markiss McFadden, star of The Executor & actor/director in Hidden Vault Films

We went to Salt Lake Comic Con with only half the crew we normally do guys, and consequentially, we changed up our gameplan.  I had committed to not doing any interviews, then I met Markiss and his team from Hidden Vault Films.

Markiss gave me some time, were cool and a pleasure to work with, and just oozed professionalness, watch the interview up above, but here are a few tidbits.

Big Break?

Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

Most recent film?

Executor, a game where Markiss McFadden is an orphan who has been raised by a corrupt priest (Paul Sorvino) to be an expert assassin.  Obviously, something happens and the events of the movie unfold.  Its an awesome low budget action movie with some good pacing and fun dialogue between Markiss and the child (Aiden Wind) he rescues from a hit gone bad.  (You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/Executor-Paul-Sorvino/dp/B074N9JH3B/ref=tmm_aiv_swatch_1?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1508304416&sr=8-2 )   Don’t go into this movie hoping for a big budget film, give it a bit of time for the plot to unfold and enjoy it for a fun independent film.

Current Project?

So many!  Daywalker: Blade Origins is the most recent, viewable on Youtube here. A true to the comics adaptation of Eric Brooks as a young Blade prior to unlocking his powers and receiving all of his gadgets.  Designed as a series, over time we’ll get to see Eric Brooks (Byron Xten Smith) evolve into Blade.

Wolverine: Origins was unveiled as a sneak preview at SLCC starring James Lee Hawkins as the Wolverine, again true to the comics.  Several other projects in this series of “Fan Films” under the monicker of Hidden Vault Films. will be forthcoming.

I hope you enjoyed his interview up above, if you have a fan film you’d really like to see, send him an email, you never know where it might go.

 

 

 

 

Creator Interview – James Lee Hawkins from the fan film Wolverine: Origins at SLCC17

Wow, James Lee Hawkins is intense for such a nice personable guy!

I hung out with him for about half an hour at Salt Lake Comic con talking about his latest project, a TV series called Wolverine: Origins.

 

What do we know?

Wolverine: Origins is one of a series of fan films/TV series by Hidden Vault Films along with other projects like Daywalker: Blade Origins.  The concept of these fan films are films true to their comic book origins, in this case, a darker side of Wolverine than we have seen up to this point in a Hollywood quality film.  Wolverine has lost his memory due to the Weapon X program but has yet to join the X-men and is trying to soothe himself with drugs and alcohol.  He’s in Las Vegas, which is bound to cause trouble because at this point a certain other person (who also regenerates) owns a casino.

We know that James Lee Hawkins has been a black belt 27 years so we’re looking forward to seeing a lot of use of some traits that we haven’t always seen which is some of the martial arts training Logan picked up while in Japan.  Personally, as I stated in the interview, I’m hoping we can see some Lady Deathstrike.  I don’t think her powers and appearance are unreasonable, and really anything that emphasizes his past connection to Japan really excites me.

When is it coming out?

We don’t know! I’ll post an update when we find out!

We hope you enjoyed the interview up above, we’d  love to hear what kinds of things YOU would like to see in the Wolverine Origins series.

Check out our full Weapon X book by book review!

Playing The Phantom Society by Iello Games, a Minesweeper like game of Scottish Ghostbusters

So I’ve played Phantom Society (By Iello Games) 3 times now, I was iffy about it the first couple times but now I’m solidly in the Scottish Ghostbuster mood!

The concept

I think of the game as a competitive minesweeper.   The game assumes two teams of two players, but players can take over multiple roles, no matter what though, there are 4 colors and 4 ghosts.

 

First the players alternate putting the four different colored tiles across the board.

Then, after the ghost hunters leave or close their eyes, each of the “ghost masters” gets to place two ghosts (mines) underneath tiles of the same color.

At this point, the ghosts get to destroy rooms turn by turn adjacent to their ghosts and hoping to destroy 45,000 pounds worth of rooms before the ghosthunters manage to find the ghosts.

Part of the trick? When the ghosthunters choose a tile to destroy looking for a ghost, if they “miss”, the ghosts get the points for destroying the empty room.  If the ghosthunters are correct, the ghosts don’t get any points for it.

The Strategy

The ghosts want to destroy expensive rooms without the ghosthunters figuring out where they’re at.  They primarily do this by alternating which ghosts destroy rooms hoping that the ghosthunters can’t figure out where the ghosts are hiding.

The ghosthunters on the other hand want to identify which color ghost is destroying a room, or in some cases, which ghost “isn’t” destroying a room, and use that knowledge to figure out where the ghosts are hiding.

It is a simple game that is easy to setup and easy to learn.  The game wasn’t too exciting at first, but after a couple games it really started drawing in the players.  I think games of pure strategy like this with no random component really excite the players once they start figuring out the strategy (and counter strategy).

Whats Next?

Once you have the game figured out there are a few different rules to add different challenges to the game and help determine which group should be the ghosts and which the ghosthunters based on which group gives more advantage to the other side.  I haven’t played with these rules yet but I can see how they really up the challenge once the ghosthunters start feeling confident they can win relaibly.

 

Creator Interview – Byron Smith from Daywalker: Blade Origins

I met this amazing trio, Markiss McFadden, James Lee Hawkins and of course Byron Smith at the McFadden Family Film booth at Salt Lake Comiccon 2017, above is my interview with Byron and  below is my mini-review of Daywalker: Blade Origins

Daywalker: Blade Origins is a “fan film”?  What is a Fan Film?

First, what isn’t it?  Well, it’s not an official Marvel film, its a film set in the universe Marvel created and that a lot of fans love.

A “fan film” is something like a mix between “fan fiction” which is a non-licensed unofficial story set in a fandom and a Hollywood-quality production.  It’s the natural direction that platforms like YouTube are taking us where passionate people can make amazing things and put it out there for mass audiences to enjoy.

What timeline does the story tell?

Daywalker: Blade Origins tells the story of a young Eric Brooks.  Mostly after he’s been trained to kill vampires, but before he’s established himself as a “superhero”.  He might be slightly better trained than the average vampire but certainly not much more powerful “physically” and he’s mostly missing any gadgets or technologies that you might have seen in the Blade movies.

You also see quite a few scenes of him as a child after he has been taken in by his mentor, Jamal Afari.  This is a big component of the story, Jamal is Blade’s original mentor and someone you never see or hear about in the original Blade movies.

Kal El Smith does a good job of being “feral” and kinda angry, though whether he’s a good actor or just grumpy about having to flip tires in the Las Vegas desert will have to wait until we see him in future films. 😉

A young Eric Brooks (Kal El Smith) flipping tires in the Las Vegas desert, you’d be grumpy too, daywalker or not!

What is the tone of the story?

Daywalker is gritty, it could as easily be an 80’s gang action movie as a vampire film.  It doesn’t put an exact timeline on what you see in the film but it feels older, dated, almost like a mad max kinda vibe.  It’s an interesting feel that the movie gives us as it describes this subculture (vampires) that exist and battles just below what the rest of us know as civilization.  You definitely saw some of this in the movies, weird symbols and hidden clubs, but Daywalker hints in this first film that we’re going to be seeing a lot more of whats secretly going on beneath us human’s understanding.

Thats a lot of black leather. Here the gang leader Cyrus Cutter (Markiss McFadden) gives a speech to his vampire minions before an upcoming confrontation.

Thats a lot of black leather. Here the gang leader Cyrus Cutter (Markiss McFadden) gives a speech to his vampire minions before an upcoming confrontation.

How are the action scenes?

With a character like Blade, combat is of utmost importance, its what the audiences have been trained to expect, and in that regard, Daywalker delivers but perhaps not 100% like you’d expect.  Something that is important to keep in mind in this storyline is that we’re going to be seeing Blade get better, stronger, faster, and deadlier, but he isn’t there yet.  When you see him fumbling or struggling in fights that the previous Blade would easily step through, its a reflection of the film telling the story of Eric Brooks when he is much weaker than what he becomes later.

I know for myself a couple times I expected him to be more powerful, I had to reset my expectations though and logically I feel like they made the right call on where they set his physical/combat abilities.  It reminds me of Daredevil or even the new Spiderman movie where the comic book fans all have an understanding of where the character should “be”, but these stories are intentionally paced earlier and letting the characters develop their abilities over time.  Gone are the day of 5 minute training montages leading into fully developed stories and the big boss fight, now we’re going to be growing “with” the characters over a much longer period of time.

Byron Xten Smith as Blade

Young Eric Brooks or not, superpowers or not, they still give him a good boss fight scene

Enough of my review, check out the film, Daywalker: Blade Origins!

 

Daywalker Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/official_daywalker_fan_film

 

Want more Byron Smith?
Find him on Instagram hanging out with his buddies
https://www.instagram.com/byron_xten_smith/
Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/SUPERMANX10

 

How to win with the Tcho Tcho in Cthulhu Wars

“There was a mind from the planet we know as Venus, which would live incalculable epochs to come, and one from an outer moon of Jupiter six million years in the past. Of earthly minds there were some from the winged, star-headed, half-vegetable race of palaeogean Antarctica; one from the reptile people of fabled Valusia; three from the furry pre-human Hyperborean worshippers of Tsathoggua; one from the wholly abominable Tcho-Tchos; two from the arachnid denizens of earth’s last age; five from the hardy coleopterous species immediately following mankind, to which the Great Race was some day to transfer its keenest minds en masse in the face of horrible peril; and several from different branches of humanity.”

That was an excerpt from HP Lovecraft’s The Shadow Out of Time,  not the first mention of the Tcho Tcho, but one of the first mentions of the Tcho Tcho by Lovecraft.

Who are those those Tcho Tchos and what role do they have in Cthulhu Wars?  Lets find out!

 

Hey everyone, so I’ve been working on understanding the Tcho Tcho for a few months now and here we go.

The Tcho-Tcho are supposed to be near human worshippers of the Great Old Ones.  They weren’t created by HP Lovecraft but were instead by August Derleth then expanded upon and interconnected in Lovecraft’s works the way he often did.  They’re shorter than humans, or at least their warrior caste is, with angry red skin, and live in Burma.  They’re supposed to have been genetically manipulated by the Great Old Ones so are not-quite-human.

So how does that translate into Cthulhu Wars?   First of all, this faction is more about the cultists than the monsters, specifically, they have 3 high priests of their own regardless of whether you’re playing with the High Priest Expansion (you Should play with the High Priest Expansion), and most of their abilities center around these high priests.  Second, their Great Old One Ubbo Satha is monstrously powerful but appears shackled, it’s pretty obvious that for this faction,  they’re channeling the power of the Mythos rather than mere puppets of their faction.

They only have one type of monster but they have a lot of them.  They’re called proto-shoggoths, we’ll talk about them more when we get to the spellbooks.

So that’s a quick summary of what units they have, let’s talk about their faction ability.  Its called Sycophancy and the way it works is that when an enemy player performs a Ritual of Annihilation they choose to either get 1 less doom or to allow you to get 1 doom.   If the Tcho player wins narrowly, there is a good chance his enemies chose poorly.

The thought process should be like so.  If a player performs a ritual and is ahead of the Tcho Player, they should normally choose to let the Tcho player get 1 doom.  If the player is behind the Tcho player, they should choose to get 1 less doom.  The thought process here is that if you let a Tcho who is already ahead of you get more doom, he might end the game before you can catch up, otherwise, if you’re already ahead, you might be able to end the game before the Tcho player can catch up.  Keep in mind that the doom score can’t be assumed to just be the visible score, try and calculate 1.5 doom points per elder sign they have.

 

 

Your Opener

Ok, as the Tcho, you put your faction in an empty area with a faction glyph, this typically means you’re going to start in North America if you’re playing with a lot of other core factions.  That’s fine, it’s a good place and often makes it feel like you’re more isolated from the other factions.  Even if they’re scared of you (and they WILL be scared of you at least after the first game) they’ll often end up squabbling and be wasting resources against each other.

Ok, first turn, what do you do? You’re going to want to immediately move into another zone and build a second gate, this is a good idea in general, but crucial for you, why? Because of your third action. It’s pretty nuts, but one of your spellbook requirements is to as an action, remove your controlled gate in your start area.  Do this as your third action and take the Hierophants spellbook.

What this spellbook says is that when you earn any spellbook (including this one), immediately place a free High Priest at One of your Gates.  If you have no High Priest in your Pool, instead you advance Ubbo-Sathla’s Growth counter by 1.

So now you have two High Priests and 1 gate.  As your fourth action, build another gate.

In your first doom phase, you’re going to start with 12 power, sacrifice one high priest to get Ubbo Sathla, which is going to give you a spellbook and another high priest.
Take Tablets of the Gods, this says “when you perform a Ritual of Annihilation, you also receive 1 additional Elder Sign for each of your High Priests in play.  Then Eliminate those High Priests. This is not optional”

At this point, you could then perform a Ritual of Annihilation, giving you 3 elder signs and 2 doom points. 3 Elder signs is enough to get another two spellbooks, I recommend Soulless and Terror.  This will, of course, give you back two high priests.

Soulless says “When Captured and Sacrificed, your cultists provide 0 power (instead of the normal 1 Power).  This is going to be good persuasion to other players to take advantage of other cultists first, and going into round 2 is typically when cultists start getting captured.

Terror says “Choose one: 1) Your enemy’s Combat total is reduced by 1 per Proto-Shoggoth in the Battle. 2) Your combat total is increased bv 1 per Proto-Shoggoth in the Battle.”

So let’s do a recap.  At this point, if everything has gone perfectly, you have your Great Old One out, you have 6 cultists, 2 high priests, and 2 gates.  You’re down a little on power, but you’re up quite a bit on doom points.  IF this puts too big of a target on you, and only you know if it does or not, you could choose to forgo the Ritual of Annihilation, but I’m going to go forward with this as unless the other factions, you aren’t marauding around picking on accessible gates.

You have 2 remaining spellbooks to get, one could happen right away, when any Great Old One is Killed in Battle and the other which will be harder, when another player performs a Ritual of Annihilation or has 15 Doom.

Try to be discreet about your spellbooks, you don’t want people to realize you’re going to have your sixth spellbook probably by 3rd turn.  Also, you’re going to want to pay CLOSE attention to when other people perform rituals of Annihilation.  Not only do they activate your sycophancy but its also a spellbook, so when it happens, you need to take advantage of it.

Now how do you get a Great Old One killed in battle?  Ubbo Satha is pretty fragile in the beginning before he bloats into the giant Godzilla GOO that he becomes.  Throw him in battle, make it very known that anyone who gets close is welcome to slaughter your GOO, you won’t hold it against anyone.  This will do two things, one, it will throw them off, sometimes for the rest of the game.  I call it the “twitch”, its when people don’t actively think about something they respond off of what they know, and what they “know”, is that killing your GOO only helps you.  Sometimes it helps further encourage your isolation, which for the Tcho is a good thing.  You may get Ubbo out there and have him get killed, you may not, either way, a GOO will die soon enough whether it’s yours or someone else’s.

So at this point, you’re mostly playing the slow build game.  You want to be ignored long enough for you to build out another gate or two (keep in mind, you have 9 units that can hold gates, similar to the Dark Young of the Black Goat) and try to get off at least one more ritual.  You want to be left alone long enough for Ubbo to get big.

I didn’t go into detail how Ubbo works.  Every round after you summon him, he gets 1d6 bigger.  For me, that means he’s probably an 8 by the sixth round.  For everyone else, he’s probably a 14 or 15. 😉  You also keep resummoning him for the cost of a high priest, so that’s another good thing.  Whether he’s dead or not, resummoned or not, he will continue to get bigger, so definitely don’t forget that.

Ok, let’s talk about your proto shoggoths.  You have a lot of them, and because of that, your Terror spellbook is pretty powerful.  You have the ability to reduce your combat total by 1 per proto-shoggoth or increase your combat total by 1 per proto-shoggoth.  Which should you do?

To answer that question, you need to know how many kills your enemy is likely to make and you are likely to make.  If you have 2 proto shoggoths and your enemy is one unit with 8 dice, they’re likely to kill 1 unit and you’re most likely going to pain them.  In that scenario, you could increase your attack dice by 2, still be almost guaranteed to lose 1 and maybe both proto-shoggoths, but now you’re pretty likely to eliminate your one enemy target.  This could allow you to retain a gate or to drive someone out of a zone.  Alternatively, they’re attacking with 3 units with the same 8 combat dice.  Increasing your attack is unlikely to drive them off, they’ll still have 1-2 units left, so you may be better off reducing your enemy’s combat dice to try and save at least one of your proto-shoggoths.

To summarize, if it’s harder for your enemy to replace units than you, increase your attack dice if it’s more important for you to survive even if you lose the battle, decrease their attack dice.

Now everything I’ve described will give you a best-case scenario, whats nice is that often it might happen just because the other players either don’t know how many doom points you’re going to get or are too distracted with whoever else is even more of a threat.  After all, while you’re a threat just sitting around doing Rituals of Annihilation, the other players are a threat because to get their spellbooks they usually need to attack each other.

But what is your next spellbook and how do you finish the game?

Martyrdom.  This spellbook says “if your high priest is assigned a Killed, all other Killed inflicted to your other units become Pains instead”.  This is going to allow you to survive battles you shouldn’t, protect Ubbo once he gets big, and defend your gates.

Your final spellbook is going to be Idolatry, which makes sense as this is your most combative portion of the game.  This is what it says

Idolatry: Select an Area containing another Faction’s starting Glyph (even if that Faction is not in play). Move any or all of your Units in adjacent Areas into the selected Area.

It is for that reason that you may want to make sure your gates and units are near some of the other Faction Glyphs so that you can more easily take advantage of this movement ability towards the end of the game.  Ubbo will die multiple times, but for the price of a High Priest, he’s the cheapest of the GOOs so take advantage of that.  Also with Martyr, he may not die very often at all.

And that’s the Tcho Tcho basics.  It will probably only work once, but like the other factions once you have the way the faction plays down you can start working on counters to respond to the other players trying to stop you from executing on these strategies.

What do you need to look out for?

In the beginning, Crawling Chaos should be trying to get some easy kills off of your GOO with Nyarlathotep.  When Ubbo Satha gets bigger this probably won’t be a problem but in the beginning it’s just begging to activate his Harbinger ability.

General vulnerabilities.  You may not be giving them power, but often times factions that need to get some easy wins like Cthulhu will look at your faction as the one to help fuel their spellbooks.

Travel.  I’ve never seen the Tcho Tcho travel very far from their home base, it’s just too difficult for them to do that.  For this reason, Crawling Chaos is again a real threat as their flight allows them to attack with relatively little ability to counter.

Also unlike Black Goat with their ability to waste turns to keep their power towards the end of the round, the Tcho Tcho will likely spend a lot of their power up front and have to watch the other players have free reign of the map.

The Tcho Tcho have a lot of vulnerabilities, they are definitely more passive and are a good reminder that in Cthulhu Wars, it isn’t who controls the world that wins, but rather who brings the most Doom.

I have a question for you all, I won’t have Sleepers or Windwalkers until my shipment comes from the most recent Kickstarter.  I’ve been thinking about playing them with some stand-ins so I can finish this series of the core factions.  What does everyone think? Should I move on to the independent monsters until I get the real units, or are you all ok with me doing these videos with stand-ins?