Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Ranking the Dragon Quest Games 2

Crazy Gamer here to count down the quality of the Dragon Quest games.  Here is part 2.

7.  Dragon Warrior 2- NES

Dragon Quest 2 (Dragon Warrior 2 here in the US, see my Dragon Warrior one entry for explanation) expands upon and improved upon the original in many important ways.  The story is far more complex, you have multiple characters, and the monsters you face have grown in number, type, and ferocity.  In a lot of ways Dragon Quest 2 and not the original is the grandfather of the roleplaying game.  So why does the game rank so low?  The biggest problem is that Dragon Quest 2 has largely been lost to time.  Released in 1988, in the US, the game last saw re issue as a Game Boy Color game in the mid 90's but otherwise has remained in obscurity.  The fact remains that the latter games accomplish what Dragon Quest 2 did well while looking better.  Still I recommend the game highly for those of you looking for a challenge, and who don't mind the archaic graphics. 

6.  Dragon Quest 3- NES

Dragon Quest 3 (again it was called Dragon Warrior 3 here in the states) adds another element to the series that gamers today in 2012 expect as standard, job specific skill sets.  At the outset of the game you the player are asked to create a party to adventure with from a series of classes that are common today but not so in 1990 when the game saw release.  Soldiers, wizards, priests and more were available to name and equip as you fought once again to save the world. 

By today's standards the story is weak, but it features a second world that you must rescue, however the second world throws you for a loop as it is the game world from the original Dragon Quest.  It turns out that Dragon Quest 3 is a prequel to the original and you are Erdrick the legendary hero mentioned as the savior in the first game.  This was very cool to discover for those who loved the first game so much. 

The game is lower on the list because once again the later games expand upon this concept and have better visuals and stories.  That said, players should pay respect to the game that created the rpg conventions so prevalent in later games.  Dragon Quest 3 also benefits from a more recent re issue on the Game Boy advance, go find it if you are looking for a challenge. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Consider a new candidate for president of the US!

I know where my vote will be going this November

Warhammer 101: Choosing an army

Yesterday I started my Warhammer 101 series with a basic overview of the hobby.  Today I will discuss choosing an army to play.

Ultimately you should choose an army that you like the look of.  Don't succumb to popular Internet sentiment.  If you don't like the models you won't want to paint the models and your enjoyment of the hobby will diminish.

I will also point out that you should be careful about looking for super powerful Internet lists.  They don't last long. 

What do I mean by this?  Back in 2002 I began an  Ultramarines army which I based off of the 5th Battle Company.  Over time I have added different elements, but I still use my 5th company as the core of the lists that I use today ten years later.  In the same time I have seen hundreds of "super," lists come and go.  These lists are usually highly specialized and very expensive and even small changes to the game can greatly reduce the armies effectiveness. 

Currently the 40k darling army is a Necron army known as Cron Air.  It uses as many Necron fliers as possible.  The problem is each Necron Flyer is some $50.00 dollars.  This army will set you back a small fortune and their is no telling how long the list will be super. 

I cannot stress highly enough to purchase a balanced army (which I will discuss later).  It will be cheaper and will last you as long as you play in the hobby.

Now I will give a brief overview of the current armies, starting with 40k ones.

Space Marines: This is the bread and butter army.  It is almost entirely plastic (fun to model, more variety, light, etc).  Space Marines are tough, skilled, and well equipped.  Space Marine armies are smaller in numbers and as such are cheaper to purchase.  However because they are an elite army you will have to make tough choices with what to bring to a game. 

Space Marine armies also allow many easy painting techniques to be used.
Here are some cool images to wet your whistle.
Space Marines also come in several other flavors:

Blood Angels are more close combat oriented and favor use of Jump packs.

Then you have Dark Angels which are more shooty and have more bikers.

Finally we have Space Wolves that have things like giant wolves, and viking weapons.

Regardless of type, all Space Marines are tough and effective in combat. 

Next up we have

Necrons: Necrons are similar to Space Marines in that they are tough and resilient and effective in combat.  They are essentially metal skeletons who want revenge against the universe.  Necrons are currently very popular but are likely to be reduced in effectiveness. 

Necron armies are also mostly plastic and can be effectively painted using the dry brushing method (which is both quick and easy).

Those of you who are children of the 80's may notice a homage to the Terminator.  Necrons even have a special rule that used to be called "I'll be back."

Next up- More 40k armies and then Fantasy armies!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Ranking the Dragon Quest games

One of the first console role playing game series ever released was a little series called Dragon Quest.  Now, almost 25 years later, Dragon Quest has released nine games here in the US and ten games in Japan.

I have a great affinity for this series, so I will rank them

9.  Dragon Warrior- NES

First released here in the United States in the mid 80's; this game was for many fresh faced role players (including myself) their first foray into how awesome it could be to play games with a story. 
By today's standards Dragon Warrior is simplistic with only one character, a very basic game system, and a very very paper thin story, but in the mid 80's we were transported to a kingdom under siege from the evil Dragon Lord.  Only my little blue avatar (no not that one!) stood in the way!  But, as is so often the case when you start out you stand no chance of defeating the Dragon Lord so you must fight your way up by improving your stats and equipment until you can meet the Dragon Lord in single combat.  In order to get stronger you must explore dank caves, dark forests, and haunted towns, hunting down mythical equipment as you fend off fiendish monsters. 

Role playing games today are highly interactive novels these days with amazing graphics, fully voiced dialogue, and moving scores.  But the only reason games have gotten so amazing is because games like Dragon Warrior sparked the imagination of thousands. 

I rank Dragon Warrior in the lowest spot because each game is an improvement over it in the series.  Even Dragon Warrior 2 is leaps and bounds more complex than the original.  This still a transcendent game. 

Note:  Dragon Warrior is known as Dragon Quest everywhere else in the world.  I did not in fact go crazy by billing my ranking of the Dragon Quest series and then begin with a game called Dragon Warrior.  Apparently their was a show trademarked Dragon Quest here in the US in the 80's so Enix couldn't call the game by its Japanese title.  Today that trademark has expired and games are now released as Dragon Quest.  Sorry for the confusion. 

8.  Dragon Quest VII- Playstation

Dragon Quest VII is my least favorite Dragon Quest game.  I rank it higher than Dragon Warrior only because it improves greatly on the limitations of the original.  However, by 1997 when this game was released the series had not grown as much as it could and the series lagged behind its competitors in almost all respects. 

The game itself is fine.  The story is fine, the game play is fine, the characters are fine, the music was fine and the graphics were poor.  Enix had not grown the series like they should and in a few years they would merge with Square to the betterment of the company and the series.

Dragon Quest VII is not a bad game, but it failed to use the PlayStation's technology in any meaningful way and its average story was not enough to carry it.

Tune in next time for the next two games on my list.

Warhammer 101: The basics for building an army

So you've decided to ruin your life

Oops!  Wrong blog title.


Warhammer (in this case referring to both the fantasy and futuristic versions) is a wonderful hobby.  If you put forth both time and effort you will be rewarded many times over.

But, for many beginners, you can often feel overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of everything that is involved in the Warhammer hobby. 

Sadly many gamers ignore new members of the hobby as bothersome and do not try to help the fresh faces of the game.  Alone and bereft they soon leave the hobby never to enjoy it or accomplish as much as they could if someone would have looked out for them.

I won't do that.  So here is my attempt to help people new to Warhammer with my on going series of Warhammer 101 articles.  Please remember that these articles are geared to both Warhammer and Warhammer 40k players. 

Without further adieu

Where to start?

First you need to pick a game system.  Both Warhammer Fantasy and 40k offer unique experiences.  Both have their good points and a few bad points but what it really comes down to is the following:

Do you prefer swords and sorcery, with massive regiments of foot soldiers fighting against dragons, hordes of zombies or even (gasp!) zombie dragons?


Do you prefer futuristic warfare with soldiers using big fancy guns and huge tanks who fight against alien invaders in the forms of green skin brutes, skeletal robots, or acrobatic lithe pirates?

Once this has been done- 

I would recommend going to all the nearby local stores and see what is played and when to make sure people nearby play the game you enjoy. 

Don't know where your local store is at?  Go to they have a link to a local store finder.  A more old fashioned approach would be to look in your local phone book under the "hobby," section.  Always call ahead if you use this approach.

Typically I recommend independent retailers over Games Workshop stores.  The reason is very simple, independent stores are usually larger and less crowded.  If you live near Chicago, LA, or Memphis, you might try the Games Workshop battle bunkers,  which are larger than the typical GW stores. 

You first purchase:

If the armies interest you I would go with either the Dark Vengeance boxed game for 40k or the Island of Blood game for Fantasy.

Even if the armies aren't of huge interest to you you might still want to invest in the boxed game.  In addition to getting a soft cover rulebook (the stand alone rulebook costs $75.00) you get two armies that you can clip together and play right out of the box. 

Find a bud who is also interested and split the cost! 

If neither army in the box game lights your fire then feel free to buy the stand alone rulebook and miniatures that you like the look of.  Keep in mind that in order to play you need one leader and a selection of basic troops (called core in Fantasy and troops in 40k). 

You will also need a specialized book called a Codex in 40k and Army Books in fantasy.  This option will cost more money up front but gives you a good starting point.

Remember two things:

1.  You will need a rulebook so you have to get one someway.

2.  You will need your armies individual Codex or Army book.  This may seem expensive but if you really want to understand the game these two things are essential, even before the models themselves you must have these resources. 

The good news is that these two essentials aren't like Apple products.  They get replaced about every six to seven years.  40k just changed to 6th edition this year and isn't due an update before 2017 and Fantasy was updated in 2010 so it will not see a new edition before 2015. 

Next time, we will discuss choosing an army and the tools you will need to start off.  

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Gentleman's game

By now I'm sure you're aware that I play the games Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40,000. 

Today I want to discuss competition and sport.

Now, to begin:

Both of these games are meant to be competitive, one person should win.  However people need to pay attention to their competition.

First, an example:

Imagine; the 49ers of the Joe Montana era are considered by many to be some of the greatest teams of all time.  Would you think more or less of them if they won 10 championships?  Probably most people would say they would think more of the team. 

What if they won their championships against the other greatest teams of all time, like the 70's Steelers, the Lombardi Packers, or Johnny U and his Colts?  Again you would probably think more of the 49ers.

Now suppose that the 49ers won their championships against the Peoria Panthers youth league, would you still feel that the 49ers were so great? 

Probably not. 

But Crazy Guy what does this have to do with Warhammer?

In the tournament scene today the prevailing view is to build the most powerful list and crush all that are in your way.  When you win you will be showered with adulation and applause!

But do you deserve it?

Where you the 88 49ers playing against the Steel Curtain Steelers or were you one of the greatest teams in history playing against a bunch of eleven year olds?

I know what you'll say next:  "Crazy Guy, I don't know who I'll play in a tournament, I have to play tough."


I have several answers.

First, consider your tournament.  If you are playing the super competitive 40k team tournament at Adepticon or at a tournament whose objective is to win at all costs then you can use whatever list you want.  These tournaments are all about coming up with tricky combinations.  in fact it is downright expected.

Large tournaments, play an average list that is representative of your race.  Space Marine armies based off Battle Companies, Imperial Guard armies that actually aren't all just veterans.  Empire armies with bunches of infantry and no hordes, Ogre Kingdoms without units of twenty ogres.  Play "meaner," against opponents who have experience.  If you lose, so what, nothing of consequence is at stake.  If you win what title do you get?  King of the dorks?

Small local tournaments are another proposition.  Yes, it is quite possible you will play against an opponent who uses a hardcore list but if you play a balanced list and win, that means you are all the better player for it.

If you lose, so what?  No money is at stake, you aren't going to get signed to a professional contract where you will earn millions of dollars.  You'll be out a trophy and maybe, if you're lucky, a prize or two of a nominal value. 

While I'm at it, you really should consider your opponents skill level when playing at your local store.  Sure, if you are playing against your buds that's one thing.  Against new players maybe a different tactic is needed.

Another story:

Once upon a time the Crazy Gamer was a young lad.  He went to his local game store and played a game against a regular from their Warhammer group.  The regular used his baddest toughest list and won the game against young me.  What did he get?  He won one game.  Guess what else?  The young me never went back, neither did my young friends.  The group that was at that store stopped playing and then they died.  Okay, so they didn't die, but their game group did. 

If you are playing someone new, now isn't the time to crush them.  Push yourself.  Play using the Dark Vengeance miniatures, but play Chaos and don't use the Hellbrute.  You'll challenge yourself while giving the other player a fighting chance.

But don't forget, if you lose, tell your opponent good game.  Don't complain and say "you only won cuz I played with less points," or other similar statements. 

Challenge yourself!  You'll become a better player, more people will want to play against you, and most importantly; you'll be a true gentleman. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Are you a Democrat or Republican? Are you sure?

Once again I digress from the field of gaming to delve into the world of politics.  I admit that I feel strange today, I've a desire to give a perspective that might shock you.

Ask any semi- knowledgeable adult today and they will be able to correctly identify that there are two major political parties, Democrats and Republicans.

But where did these parties come from?  Have their ever been other parties?  And most importantly how, if at all, have these parties changed over the years?

First some brief history:

The Democrats claim their heritage from Thomas Jefferson and his Democratic- Republicans who first took power in the election of 1800.  They were known for preferring isolation over trade, France over Great Britain, and agriculture over business.  In the 1830's the republican was dropped officially from their name. 

The Republicans came into being in the 1850's.  Some Republicans claim heritage with the Whigs or the Federalists but they really cannot fairly be compared.  The Republicans are the only third party in our country's history to become a national power.  Most Republicans today consider Abraham Lincoln to be the father of their party because he was the first Republican president. 

You may be wondering why neither party can claim George Washington as their founder.  It's because Washington hated the idea of political parties and is the only president in our history that had no party.  Some, wrongly, list him as a Federalist.  He wasn't.

Now, to our next point.  Have these parties changed over time?

Here is the map of the 2008 election.  Remember blue is Democrat (Obama) and red is Republican (McCain).

Now let's look at the map of the 1860 election

Notice anything?  Many of the red states in the first map our blue (Democrat) on this map, and many of the blue states on the first map are red (Republican) in this one.

If you were a Republican in 1860 you favored:  Civil rights, humanitarian efforts, you wanted society to change, and you were typically middle class.

If you were a Democrat in 1860 you favored a small Federal government, you were concerned with your business interests, and you wanted society to stay just the way they were.

My point?

The political parties have switched.  If you are a Republican today, in 1860 you would likely be a Democrat and if you are a Democrat today you would likely be a Republican in 1860.

So give someone who has opposite political beliefs from you a hug or a high five, they were part of your party one.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Ranking the Primarchs 3

Today I will finish my ranking of the Primarchs. 

5.  Leman Russ, Primarch of the Space Wolves

The last five Primarchs on my list were very difficult for me to place.  I really like all of them for different reasons.  I suppose that I could persuaded to change this portion as I can see the merit in all of them.

Anyway, Russ is considered by many of his brother Primarchs to be just like Angron, that he is nothing more than a blood mad killer.  He surely is that, but unlike his brother Angron he is playing the role that is asked of him.  He does not complain about what the Emperor asks of him, he merely does what is asked. 

Russ is also very thoughtful and introspective in a way few would ever expect.  He is quite possibly the most self aware of all the Primarchs. 

Like so many of his brothers, Russ grew up on a world that was not pleasant but rather than give in to despair he adapted to his surroundings and survived.

Russ is also one of, if not the most amusing of the Primarchs to read about. 

4.  Rogal Dorn, Primarch of the Imperial Fists.

Rogal Dorn among all the Primarchs believed in his father's dream of a unified galaxy.  He was not his father's favorite son and yet when Horus falls and declares his allegiance to the chaos gods the Emperor turns to Dorn to fortify his realm and Dorn does so without comment. 

Rogal Dorn turns the Imperial Palace, the most architecturally magnificent structure in the galaxy, into a fortress.  Unlike Perturabo who would smash beauty into pieces for functionality, Dorn is pained by each masterpiece that he has to wreck.

Moreover, as news comes of each of the Primarchs that have turned away from the Emperor; Dorn is tormented by this news.  He does not know their individual reasons why and yet he wants to give them the benefit of the doubt.  He wants to try to understand.  That his brothers are lost to him haunts him for the remainder of his life.  Dorn is one of the tragic Primarchs.

3.  Sanguinius, Primarch of the Blood Angels

Sanguinius is the only Primarch to have an obvious mutation, he is known as the winged Primarch.  He is probably the most humble of the Primarchs even though the others believed him to be the one most like his father the Emperor. 

In many ways Sangiunius is parallel to Fulgrim.  Both are artistic and highly skilled in areas beyond warfare such as music, poetry, and art.  The difference is that Sanguinius does these to honor his father the Emperor, Fulgrim did if for his own aggrandizement.

Sangiunius did have his flaws, one of which plagues his Chapter to the current Millenium.  However, unlike some of his brother Primarchs, whose flaws they either flaunted or sulked about, Sangiunius still continued to do his best to further his father's vision.

Most telling about Sangiunius' character is the fact that he had the gift of foresight.  He knew that he was going to his death when he boarded the Vengeful Spirit to battle Horus.  He went anyway, he sacrificed himself to allow the Emperor to be able to defeat the Arch Traitor.

Sacrifice, magnanimity, artistry in all forms make Sangiunius one of the best Primarchs. 

2.  Robute Guilliman, Primarch of the Ultramarines

Guilliman was a tactical genius, an architect of renown, and the author of the Imperium's treatise on war that has lasted 10,000 years.  He places so high on this list not just because of his skill or nobility of spirit, but also because of the accomplishments of his legion.

While other legions focused on conquest, Guilliman focused on building the foundation of the Imperium.  He made sure that every planet that he brought into the Imperium was self sufficient, able to feed itself, provide for its self defense and more.  Some of his more war loving brothers laughed at this, but Guilliman also conquered more worlds than all of his brothers save Horus.

Guilliman was not able to be present for the Siege of Terra, for which he never forgave himself, but he and his Ultramarines were responsible for pushing the traitors back and keeping the Imperium together right after the Heresy ended.

If the above wasn't enough to secure his place so high on this list, then let us not forget that the Realm of Ultramar, the Ultramarines home worlds, are the only worlds of the Imperium relatively free from the uber fascist government.  Ultramar is a beacon of hope against the darkness of the 41st millennium.

1.  Horus Lupercal, Primarch of the Luna Wolves, later the Son's of Horus

Before 2006 when the book Horus Rising was released Horus was simply Horus the Arch Traitor, the ultimate bad guy in 40k for those of you who are not into the background.  He would have ranked very low in this list if I had written it in 2005 or before.

That has changed.  Horus has been re-imagined to show why he was the Emperor's favored son, that before his fall he was the best of his brothers.

Horus was a diplomat supreme

He possessed wisdom without equal

A Warrior without equal

A general that all the Emperor's enemies feared

Above all, Horus was patient and benevolent, always offering the olive branch of peace before unleashing his Luna Wolves in war.

That he was so great makes his fall from grace all the more sad.  No one would be surprised that Night Haunter or Angron would turn, both being so damaged by the world on which they were raised.  Nor would anyone be shocked that Primarchs with obvious character flaws like Lorgar could be turned.

Horus was none of those, thus Horus secures his place as the greatest son and most feared enemy of the Emperor.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Crazy Gamer fixes the government

Well well, what a mess were in!  I guess I need to stop playing games and get this mess sorted out!  Without further ado I will solve the nations ills so I can get ready for Assassin's Creed 3.

We all know that the national government has three branches.  All three need some fixes and I will deal with each in turn.  Today, the legislative branch will face my withering gaze.

First let us talk about pay.  Some people are proponents of paying congress people a low salary figuring it's an honor to serve and those elected likely already have substantial income.  The other side is in order to get the best people, the job needs to be high paying.  I have a middle ground, I will pay representatives 1,000,000 and senators 1,250,000 dollars a year.  Those of you who are in the know should realize that this is a huge pay increase.  What's the deal Crazy Guy?  This new pay comes with three caveats:

1.  All government pensions for elected/ appointed officials and their staffs would be gone, forever.
2.  Term limits will be introduced.
3.  Balanced budget provision.

I'll go into my balanced budget provision right away because it is important.

First, a story.

One day a magic fairy comes along and gives you a credit card.  This card can be used to buy whatever you want.  A bunch of people have contributed money to this card, but you don't really know who they are since there are so many of them putting money in the account.  Guess what is even cooler?  If you buy a bunch of stupid things that you don't need or you spend all the money you won't be held accountable.  Do you think that you would use the card wisely?

Guess what?  The government doesn't either.

Each time a new congress is elected they tell us, "Oh we proooooomise this time we won't spend the money stupidly."

Are we really surprised when they break their promise?

In order to fix this each numbered congress must be fiscally responsible for any debt they accrue.  If the government ends its session in the red then each member of the congress (and the executive branch, and the judiciary, see later) is legally responsible for making up the shortfall.  No exceptions.  Anyone who cannot pay is removed from office and all of their paychecks for the rest of their lives will be garnished. 

Harsh?  Maybe, but you know what they say, "if you can't handle the heat, get out of the fire."

I imagine the congress will be much more cooperative with each other if it will hurt their pocket books. 

Some may argue that this policy would make lobbyists and donors  more powerful but to that I have two things:

1.  Complete election reform (see later)
2.  All congress people upon being elected must have only one bank account that will be checked every month.  By being elected the politician agrees that their congressional salary will be the only salary and if at any time they have more money than would be possible that congress person will be dismissed forever from government office and arrested for treason.  Having hidden accounts, taking cash, off shore accounts, etc would also be grounds for the above as well. 

Again harsh, but guess what?  We've done it your way for 230 some years, it's time we tried something else.

Spousal salaries will also be monitored.

Next we need term limits. 

No person may stay in the legislative branch for more than three terms.  After that they must retire.  You can be a mentor for one term at quarter salary if you have been elected three times in a row.  You would have NO vote, and NO power beyond mentoring new representatives. 


Attendance is mandatory.  If you do not have a valid reason and you miss more than one vote of which you must be a part of you will be removed.

Congress runs all year.  Hours are Mon- Fri 8:00 A.M- 5:00 P.M.  You get two weeks off in the summer and one week off between Christmas and New Years. 

You are expected to be in Washington 6 out of every 8 weeks.  The other you should be back in your district or home state.  Travel is at your expense. 

The next big sticking point is raising revenue.

Tea Party members would have it that no new taxes should be levied. 

Another short story:  If I owed my parents 10 dollars and I wanted to pay off my debt while spending two dollars every week could I pay the debt off if I only spend one dollar?  I've cut my expenses by 50% but will I ever owe my parents nothing? 

I think for most Americans we don't have a problem with taxes, we have a problem with what our tax money is being spent on.

I'll get to new taxes later.  For this section we will focus on legislative reforms I'll deal with taxes in my tax section. 

All expenses the government makes must be made public.  This must be in a simple form.  It will include: Item, cost, what it's used for, and where you bought it.

No exceptions!  I don't want to hear, "Oh were the CIA and we need to have secret stuff."  Nope too bad, no exceptions is no exceptions.  Army?  Nope sorry.  Guess what?  I don't know what makes up your tank armor, list everything as single items and we won't know what magic creations you concoct with them. 

Fear me executive branch, you're next.