Nextbit Robin

This morning, I’ve seen a bit of buzz about the Nextbit Robin, a new Kickstarted smartphone from the guys who made Baton.

I looked at it and thought “that looks awesome, and it makes me want to get one more than the OnePlus Two does. Thing is, I have Baton on my phone – courtesy of a CyanogenMod update and I’ve never used it, so I have no experience with this company. I’m wondering if I’m just experiencing a bit of Kickstarter fever.

I have a slight Kickstarter problem, you see, and this would be a big investment – buying a new phone outright when the old one isn’t even a year old yet. I bought the OnePlus One because I wanted to get out of the cycle of contract upgrades and buying phones that cost twice as much as they should through those contracts.

The Robin is $349 (£228), which is cheaper than my OnePlus One was (£269 last November, £219 now), but I don’t know how much use I’d get out of the flagship feature – I’ve never had a storage warning on my OnePlus One.

So my question to myself is: how much of this is going “ooh shiny?”. Backing the Kickstarter saves $50 on retail (according to the campaign), and maybe I’ll just wait for the retail package in February next year rather than prospecting a new phone now that I won’t get for at least six months.

But still… I kinda want to back it. I’ve put it on reminder so I can make a decision closer to the end of the campaign. Except for the “special SIM tray”, I’ve not seen any reason other than the discounted price to back the Kickstarter, and they’re fully funded now so they’re going ahead in any case.

#rpgaday2015

I have completed by run of #rpgaday2015 posts as I am giving up on finding one for day 27. You can find links to all of the posts below if you’re interested.

  1. Forthcoming game you’re most looking forward to
  2. Kickstarted game you’re most pleased you backed
  3. Favourite new game of the last 12 months
  4. Most surprising game
  5. Most recent RPG purchase
  6. Most recent RPG played
  7. Favourite free RPG
  8. Favourite appearance of RPGs in the media
  9. Favourite media you wish was an RPG
  10. Favourite RPG publisher
  11. Favourite RPG writer
  12. Favourite RPG illustration
  13. Favourite RPG podcast
  14. Favourite RPG accessory
  15. Longest campaign played
  16. Longest game session played
  17. Favourite fantasy RPG
  18. Favourite sci-fi RPG
  19. Favourite supers RPG
  20. Favourite horror RPG
  21. Favourite RPG setting
  22. Perfect gaming environment
  23. Perfect game for you
  24. Favourite house rule
  25. Favourite revolutionary game mechanic
  26. Favourite inspiration for your game
  27. Favourite idea for merging two games into one
  28. Favourite game you no longer play
  29. Favourite RPG website/blog
  30. Favourite RPG playing celebrity
  31. Favourite non-RPG thing to come out of RPGing roleplaying

Looking for book recommendations

Looking for book recommendations. I’ve just finished listening to Nexus by Ramez Naam, before that was Off to be the Wizard by Scott Meyer, before that Strata by Terry Pratchett, before that Firefight by Brandon Sanderson, before that Armada by Ernst Cline, and before that Dune by Frank Herbert.

Specially looking for audio books as I listen to them while cycling to work and exercising in the gym.

On the subject of audio books I’ve gone from loathing audio books to listening to then voraciously. A change in times and an extra fifteen years will do that to you, I suppose. Probably helped that I’ve been listening to excellent readers, but I do still find my concentration slips away from the book pretty easily sometimes. On the other hand, I’ve found myself just as enthralled listening to an audio book as I have with paper copies, so it does vary.

I should post more book reviews, really; get down my thoughts on some of the many books I devour throughout the year.

New routine

Dragged myself out of bed to start my new morning routine this morning. So far so good. Well, apart from the bit where one of my bungee cords came loose, got dragged through the gearing before jamming it up. Took five minutes for me to fish all the bits out of the gearing before I could get going again.

So, the routine, such as it is, is this:

  1. Get up early
  2. Go to gym to do workout
  3. Tram back to Murrayfield
  4. Walk back to flat
  5. Get bike
  6. Cycle to work

Strava tells me[1] it only took me 17 minutes to cycle to work even with having to untangle a bungee cord from my gears (13 minutes moving, 17 minutes total), so with that, the walk from tram to flat (9 minutes), and the workout (45 minutes, including 5 on cycle machine, 15 on elliptical, and 6 different weight machines), I’m well over an hour of activity even before my ride home again.

I’m also pretty happy with the commute time as it’s been taking me 17 minutes to get to work the last few times due to a wicked headwind pushing me back. That my morning commute moving time is about what my evening commute time usually is makes me happier. Also turns out that I got my personal record on getting up the hill on the way in even despite breaking down just before the hill really kicks in.

Feeling good about it, but a little drained of energy.

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. I’ve started using Strava to record my bike journeys – it’s a pretty decent app

#rpgaday2015 day 31 – favourite non-RPG thing to come out of roleplaying

Cheat answer: LARPing, but a LARP is just another form of RPG.

Cheesy answer: the relationships I’ve made, people I’ve met. My entire network of friends over the last decade has come about because of gaming. Between the people who I met directly by gaming with them to the people who I met by partying with those people, I’ve made a vast network of friends across the world through roleplaying.

When I was in the Imperial Order (way way way back in the day), I could honestly say I was talking to people on five continents on a regular basis – the only ones I didn’t have covered were South America and Antarctica. Nowadays I’m getting name-checked with seemingly every second introduction at events (“oh, you’re the No Rest for the Wicked guy, right?”). It’s an odd feeling but it promotes the community feeling of the LARP crowd (as does small-world LARP syndrome where it seems that everyone knows everyone after a few years and you get the constant “how do you know X?” questions on Facebook).

#rpgaday2015 day 28 – favourite game you no longer play

A few candidates for this one, but I think I’m going to go with Created.

Promethean: the Created was a strange game that took some effort to understand. A game of monsters trying to be human by emulating them. In the Isles of Darkness, I played Rocker, a Frankenstein on the Path of Tin struggling to communicate with other people and lashing out with violent lightning when he couldn’t find any other way to let things out. Unfortunately, being one of the smaller games in the IoD, it suffered for want of storytellers and eventually all of the games closed, leaving Rocker’s story unfinished. Still, he got some good music and lightning in before he died.

#rpgaday2015 day 26 – favourite inspiration for your game

Pretty simple, this one: song titles. When I was running my mortals game for the Camarilla UK/Isles of Darkness, I’d often use Lordi song titles to inspire plot.

Probably one of my best plots came from using “Forsaken Fashion Dolls” as the core premise and seeing where it went from there. I started with the idea that maybe abandoned shop mannequins came to life somehow and ended up with a mad scientist who had lost their daughter creating a doll replica of their child, bringing it to life, and then becoming distraught at what they’d created and running off. The doll, left to herself powered by a spirit bound into her “heart” and given the mind of an eight-year old, had reached out in her abandonment and brought friends to her in the form of mannequins she animated unconsciously. That was a rather emotional plot when players got involved.

#rpgaday2015 day 25 – favourite revolutionary game mechanic

This one I have a little issue with, as I may have said before, as every new game mechanic has a tendency to be proclaimed as revolutionary but there hasn’t been any real revolutions in gaming caused by any of them.

That said, I’m quite interested in the Mayhem deck from Planet Mercenary. They’re cards that add something interesting to the game, bits of story that can make your game better or worse either on a temporary or permanent basis. The game uses a 3d6 mechanic with one die being a different colour – if the odd die is highest, you get a Mayhem card.

Example cards can be found on the Planet Mercenary site, and I really like the ideas behind this game. Playtesting of the Mayhem deck indicates that it works well and encourages story coming from rolls as well as results, so I’m looking forward to getting my hands on it, and trying the mechanic out.

I’ve seen similar mechanics before – the most memorable of which was a storyteller who would draw a tarot card for some rolls and situations and the card drawn would influence how things went.