I want to talk about the movie Airheads. Actually, I want to talk about one scene from the movie Airheads. That’s right, that fucking weirdo 1994 movie about idiot butt rockers taking a radio station hostage to play their shit song. Starring Brendan Fraser, Adam Sandler and creepy Steve Buscemi who I’m convinced has never actually looked young. And the reason I want to talk about this film is that it represents the real treatment of Dungeons and Dragons, which was around for me both in person, and in the media, that I had grown used too.
Like a lot of people, I raced through Stranger Things on Netflix in a weekend and absolutely loved the freaking thing. Story, tone, setting, details and music all combined into a perfect warm broth of nostalgia and entertainment. I just wrapped myself up in it like a comfy blanket and enjoyed my time in that perfectly imagined world. Don’t worry, I’m not going to discuss any actual spoilers, but I will say there is some Dungeons & Dragons being played, and it’s handled pretty damn excellently. This made me ruminate again on a topic that crosses my mind every so often. How does the media, and specifically film and television, portray Dungeons & Dragons and roleplaying games in general? Are they laughing at it, honoring it, terrified of it or just ambivalent towards it? How has this portrayal changed over time? What trends does it speak to? And how does the treatment of roleplaying in these works of creativity and art reflect on the creators and the audience they’re speaking too? To answer these questions, and bore you kind folks to tears, I’m going to be taking a look at all the D&D in media I can, and waffling on about it because that is what the internet is for (well, besides porn, porn and cat videos).
Things may have been a bit quiet on the blog front, but we’re still rolling dice, chatting shit and having a laugh, but it’s time we all got together for some fun, so we are proud to announce Corehammer Fest 2016. This will be at the newly refurbished Element Games NWGC and we have plenty of activities planned. Tickets are just £5.00 and limited to 40 places, so grab one asap from the Corehammer Munitorium . Details below the poster, but all will be revealed over the coming weeks
“Comics are just words and pictures. You can do anything with words and pictures.” – Harvey Pekar
Because I’m an adult, and so is the rest of my D&D group, and that apparently means doing adult things, and having stupid adult responsibility, my D&D game only actually ends up playing about once per month. We all probably want to play more, and individually could make it happen, but as a group, it just works out that way. This leaves me with a lot of time during each month where I wish I was slaying things with sword and dagger, but I’m disappointingly not. That sorry mental state of D&D withdrawal has led me for a search of other items that can hit that certain ‘Swords and Sorcery’ sweet spot. I’m chasing that short term nerd high that will get me through to my next dice rolling, quick thinking, smooth talking and treasure plundering adventure. While I’m pretty up to speed on the state of the fantasy genre as it relates to videogames (excellent), books (saturated), film (mixed bag) and television (mostly shit), I had no idea what was going on with comics. Now I love the medium, comics are pretty damn amazing, but I had sort of fallen out of the comic scene a while back as it is somewhat exhausting to keep up with. As I thought about it though, the fantasy genre is perfect for comics. With sequential art you can create whatever the fuck you want, and then all you have to do is go out and draw it. There isn’t a special effects budget to restrict your imagination, creators can just make whatever stokes the fires of their imagination. Fantasy and comics should be a beautiful match and I was sure if I just poked around a little there would be hordes of graphic novels that could satisfy my D&D cravings. Continue reading
Once again, I am going to bravely wade into the festering swamp that is Kickstarter and pull out a few shining nuggets of pure gaming gold.
First up a little gaming mat that’s cheap as hell:
The second gaming mat Kickstarter from Ceri Designs, he returns a lot tighter with a more focused campaign. Last time was a similar deal £19 for a 3’ by 3’ full colour gaming mat. Great value, these are felt and through some sort of magic have really colourful designs on them. I got one of his last ones for X-Wing and its really bright and clear and at that price, you can’t really argue! This time the focus is on mats for a little game you might have heard of called Guildball. Last time he was quick as hell to get product out and didn’t over promise, a great way to run a campaign. He’s also really receptive to ideas, so if you don’t fancy Guildball (but you should) let him know what else you like and see what he can do.
Representation is Corehammer’s word of the week, so this project is right up our collective alley: Continue reading
If you have a hobby, you have projects. Honestly it doesn’t matter if you’re into miniatures, rpg’s, fishing, music, ridiculous cars or quilting, you always have things you want to be working on if you just had the time. Now the nature of our modern lives means we never have the time we think (or want) to move this stuff forward, which creates a backlog of unfinished, sometimes only dreamed of projects. This is the chaos of your mind. That disheveled area were wild ideas are left to roam. Now there are two methods of dealing with this chaos, especially in gaming.
- Complete each project you start methodically, focusing all attention and thinking on one thing at a time. Don’t even consider other creative endeavors until you’re at a finished stage on the previous item. When people ask what you’re working on, it will be the same thing as last time and you always complete what you start.
- Keep those dreams alive. Embrace your hobby wobbles and tangential flights of fancy filling your life with mental explorations of those things you’re passionate about. Love the chaos.
So if you can do method 1, congratulations, you’re probably a robot. Seriously, look at yourself hard in a mirror, try and remember the last time you got sick, have an expert ask you cross referenced questions about empathy with a Voight-Kampf machine, because you might not be human. If you can seriously tell me you never think about something new till you’ve finished the old, I don’t fucking trust you. This article is for the rest of us. Those that fall more squarely into method 2. It’s about the rich landscape of the mind and how planning projects, dreaming of armies/systems/terrain and games is an important part of the hobby that should be acknowledged and celebrated. Continue reading
Another cycle around the sun complete and so it’s that time of year where we kick at the dying embers of 2015 and take a minute to reflect upon the changes the year has wrought, the soldiers we lost upon the way and what lays ahead of us in the not so distant future.
Earlier this year I resurrected my hardcore fanzine Harder They Fall. I had written the two previous issues back in the early 2000’s, when my involvement in that scene was far more active. In 2015 I felt like I wanted to flex some creative punk rock muscles that had cramped up and so I recorded some punk songs with my friends Jamie and Kieron which became the Severed demo and I interviewed some other friends and Harder They Fall issue 3 became a thing. The issue sold well, certainly well enough for to convince me that doing a fourth issue might be a nice idea. And sadly that’s where we come unstuck. Life got busy again and my plans to publish another issue had to get dialled back. Anyhow, I DID manage to conduct a couple of interviews for issue 4 before I ran out of steam and rather than let them languish I figured I’d throw them up on the ol’ Hammer. First up is an interview with my old friend Jason Frye. We’ve been allies for over a decade, we’ve played in bands together and he’s patiently endured more of my belicose ranting than most. With a new Harrowed split EP with Art Of Burning Water on the horizon courtesy of Secret Law & Superfi Records I thought it was high time that the quiet man of Kent’s hardcore/metal scene had his say….
5 months down the line after the great sundering of Warhammer Fantasy Battle, and the reverberations are still being keenly felt. The End Times was the herald of the new age, and the clue was in the name. Communities split, armies were shelved or even burned on Youtube, popular WHFB podcasts ground to a halt, and a torrent of rage was directed at GW. Some of the nonsense posted on forums and social media was so ridiculous a Facebook page was created to laugh at the sheer absurd nature of the finest comments, I give you the Rage Of Sigmar. So, where are we at now?
If you can look beyond the sheer negativity attached to it, and accusations of being GW apologists flung at anyone championing it, you will find that some people are actually enjoying the new game and setting. Games are more scenario-focused, with more emphasis on the narrative and scenery, and a better scope for alliances and mixed armies. These are things that I enjoy from the 40K side of things, with the tactical objective cards, and whilst kill points/push it forward were good for learning the game or a quick pick-up, they always lacked depth. Round bases and the loss of “rank and flank” has opened up modelling options with more room for elaborate poses and basing schemes, and a dynamic looking table. Simplified rules help avoid looking up endless charts and flipping back and forth through a telephone book. The depth and synergy can be found in the warscrolls though, and as you play more games you find there are tactics with things like order of combat, direction of pile-ins, retreating, and gambling on the double turn. If you don’t believe me, head over to Youtube to check out Ash Barker’s channel Guerrilla Miniature Gaming and you’ll witness some fun games Continue reading
December, month of the best albums of the year lists. Endless lists of pretty much the same thing, with no explanation beyond “it’s cool because I like it”. So, to mix things up, we’ve got a few of the crew to give us their top 5 picks of the year, but thrown it wide open and not limited it to any one thing. The notable exception from most of these, as we haven’t had time to gather our thoughts, will be The Force Awakens, which I’m guessing everyone will be losing their shit over right now. So, get comfy, grab a brew and find out what’s been getting us excited