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Podcast: NP16 – Secondhand Pacifism

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NP16

Tonight, Jurd and Hugh tackle Gundam Wing episode 16: The Sorrowful Battlefield!

Click HERE to listen!

This Week: Heero and Zechs have a humble-off, followed by a fight to the death. Pagan has the absolute worst ringtone for a military base, and Relena is still working on the whole Total Pacifism thing.

Plus, Noin’s internal monologue is proven to be 100% exterior, and Jurd and Hugh have developed an aesthetic sense of watching Gundam Wing.

Promo: Nutty Bites

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Hugh Likes Tabletop Games: Villages of Valeria

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Hugh Likes Tabletop Games: Villages of Valeria

Villages of Valeria
Designed by Rick Holzgrafe and Isaias Vallejo
Art by Mihajlo Dimitrievski
Published by Daily Magic Games

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The Skinny – A richly illustrated, strategic Tableau building card game that is quick to learn and fast paced.

Villages of Valeria is a great little card game. Players each take the role of a Duke, competing to make their town the capital of a fantasy kingdom. Using hands of cards drawn from a central area, players gain resources, build up their towns, and recruit a variety of citizens, from butchers to arch-mages in order to have the best town.
The game is easy to learn and strategic without being overly complicated. It is played with one to five players, even including a solitaire variant. A more open take on deck building games like Dominion, players build their towns up in the open, so everyone can see what everybody else has. The really interesting mechanic, though, is follow actions. Each turn, one player decides what action they are going to take, such as building by playing a card or paying cards to gain more resources. The trick is, after that player goes, his opponents can follow up with the same action. There is usually a benefit to going first, such as a cheaper cost or a better reward, but this still adds a nice layer to the gameplay, and you have to consider your opponents’ potential action as well as your own. This also keeps the gameplay fast paced, involving players even when it isn’t their turn. A typical game usually only lasts about 20-25 minutes.
The art on the cards is also great, with a nice use of the fantasy theme, including five gorgeous player staring cards of castles in different seasons.
Villages of Valeria is a quick, fun strategy card game that doesn’t require a PHD to play, with exciting fantasy art. You can find it online at dailymagicgames.com, or ask for it at your local game store!

Podcast: CCR49 – White Zombie

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Tonight your hosts, Hugh of HughJODonnell.com, Rich the Time Traveler, Opopanax, and Jurd, battle racism while being exposed to wall-to-wall Lugosi eyes and weird handshakes.

Click HERE to listen to the podcast!

And HERE to watch the movie on Youtube!

Chrononaut Cinema Reviews is presented by http://skinner.fm and http://hughjodonnell.com, and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

Hugh Likes Fiction: Space Opera

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Space Opera
Written by Catherynne M. Valente
Published by Saga Press

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The Skinny: In this farcical and inventive Sci-fi novel, aliens arrive on Earth to welcome Humanity to the galaxy. There’s only one catch: They’ll have to prove themselves in the Metagalactic Grand Prix, the universe’s greatest song contest.

I was a big fan of Star Trek growing up, but there was one thing that always bothered me about the show. Everyone was obsessed with historical Earth culture. From reading Shakespeare to playing baseball to Bach recitals to so much Sherlock Holmes, it’s all Earth, all the time. And everything was nice and public domain, of course.
This did make sense, from a certain perspective. It connects the viewer to the characters through shared culture, and makes the unfamiliar setting of an interstellar spaceship that much more human. But I always wanted to know a bit more than than the show let on about the alien cultures. What would an alien world’s culture really be like? Further more, what would their POP culture be like? Catherynne M. Valente’s newest novel, Space Opera, makes that question its central premise.
Once, Decibel Jones and the Absolute Zeros were once the biggest band in the world. They’ve broken up, and their a bit washed up these days, but none of that matter when aliens invade Earth, looking for the greatest musicians on the planet to represent Earth in the galaxy’s greatest song contest, The Metagalactic Grand Prix. Decibel and remaining band mate Oort St. Ultraviolet get the nod, by virtue of being the only band on short list that’s still alive. Invitation to the Grand Prix is a great honor, and will give humanity the stars. But if they come in last, the Earth will be destroyed. So, no pressure.
Equal parts Douglas Adams and FM radio count down, Space Opera hilarious, tragic, and breathtakingly intelligent. Valente’s novel examines the utopian science fiction trope of the society that is not merely scientifically advanced but culturally advanced, and twists it to great effect. Continuing her style from previous work like Radiance and The Refrigerator Monologs, She once again has invented entire pop cultures out of whole cloth to both satirize and celebrate parts of our own. In this case, it is the Eurovision song contest, a post-War signing competition that functions much like the Olympics but run by record labels. As someone who likes the idea of Eurovision more than the actual glitzy performances, I expected to be lost in a sea of references, but that was not the case. Outside of a few section quotes and an explanation in the acknowledgements, there is little actual mention, and you don’t need previous experience going in.
Valente structures her novel in her own instantly recognizable style, shifting between the history of the contest and the competing alien cultures and the story of the Absolutes Zeros from their first show to the intergalactic stage. She does more telling than showing, and the non-linear style can be disorienting if that isn’t your thing, but she pays it all off beautifully in the end.
Space Opera is a glittering cavalcade of brilliantly conceived big-idea science fiction, winking satire, and bold, unflinching cultural criticism. It is very well executed, and you should probably be reading it right now. It’s available from the usual suspects.

Podcast – Nutty Bites 124: Geek Crushes

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CoverArt124

Geek Crushes are real, we all have our Waifus and Husbandos. Also, they are never wrong, and not always romantic or sexual. Listen to Nuchtchas, Tek, Hugh, XerialKiller, and Jason, gaggle like teens talking about their crushes over the years.

Click HERE to listen!

You can now support Nutty Bites by donating to the Patreon campaign, through paypal or venmo (nuchtchas@gmail.com) or through any other method. Patrons get the private RSS feed where you get shows before the main feed and you get special episodes like Nutty Bites after Dark and special bonus content; a thank you read on the podcast; and your promo or the promo of your choice played on the show.

Promo:
The BiCast

Credits:
Recorded at NIMLAS Studios
Post Editing:  Nuchtchas
Creative Commons License
Hosts: Nuchtchas, TekJason, Hugh, XK
Nutty Bites is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Contact/Feedback:
(347) NUTTY42 or (347) 688-8942
www.facebook.com/groups/nuttybites/

Hugh Likes Comics – Ghost in the Shell FCBD 2018

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Ghost in the Shell: Global Neural Network Free Comic Book Day sapmple
Written by Max Gladstone
Art by David Lopez
Colors by Nayoung Kim
Published by Kodansha Comics

The Skinny: This single issue adventure gets a lot right in this Free Comic Book Day release.

When I first heard of “Ghost in the Shell: Global Neural Network,” I was skeptical. Western reinterpretations of manga and anime have a tendency to lose something in the translation, and the less said about the live-action film, the better. But I was pleasantly surprised by this single-issue story, distributed as a teaser for an upcoming anthology for Free Comic Book Day.
Gladstone’s story could be a slice of Masamune’s original manga, or a single-episode story of Stand Alone Complex. The Major accompanies Director Aramaki to a trade conference, where he immediately gets kidnapped, and she runs into an old war buddy while tracking him down. The characterization is spot-on from the two old spies philosophically discussing their natures to Aramaki glibly critiquing his interrogator’s technique.
The art is a bit rougher, and the only real flaw of the issue. Lopez’s technical art is spot on, reproducing the Masamune’s design elements and the 90’s cyberpunk aesthetic of the original comic. The character art is lacking, however. His faces in particular feel dated, as though he were copying off a circa-1990’s model sheet. Kim’s grimy colors are atmospheric and serve the story well.
Free Comic Book Day may be past, but if you can find a copy of this one-and-done story, and the character designs don’t throw you, this is a fun little cyberpunk tidbit.

Podcast – CCRC38: The Herculoids

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Tonight your hosts, Hugh of HughJODonnell.com, Rich the Time Traveler, Jurd, and Opop, gather for some Saturday morning goodness.

Click HERE to download the commentary!

And to stream the video:

Episode One

Episode Two

Episode Three

Chrononaut Cinema Reviews is presented by http://skinner.fm and http://hughjodonnell.com, and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

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