I Had That! #46: Trig Star Award

I was not a good student in school. Though I was considered “gifted and talented” nobody was courting me when it came time for college, nor did they have a reason to. And it wasn’t because I was intellectually bored, it was because I was pathologically lazy. My gift and talent was for finding the absolute bare minimum and rolling with that.

Math class was especially bad for me. Looking back now I know that I had a succession of bad math teachers, and got convinced that math wasn’t my thing and I was no good at it. In tenth grade I took Geometry with Ms. Stott and did not fare well. 11th grade Algebra wasn’t much better. When it came time for my senior year, I had no plans to take a math class at all, since Algebra was the highest required class.

The same Ms. Stott, who knew how I’d struggled in Geometry, taught Trigonometry, and urged me to take it. “You’ll need it in college,” she said. “You can do it. I’ll help you out.” For some reason I relented.

Trig was exactly as opaque to me as everything else had been, and the supposed help from the teacher was not forthcoming. It was miserable, until I had a revelation: to graduate, I didn’t need to pass this class. I already had the credits, GPA, and math courses I needed. So I stopped trying. I didn’t do homework (which probably was not an alteration in behavior; this wasn’t all on Ms. Stott), flunked tests, paid no attention in class (though I was not disruptive). Ms. Stott noticed, and wasn’t happy, even when I explained what I was doing and why.

One day we had an out of class exercise. Some land surveyors came by and, on a cold day out in the baseball field, showed us how they used trig in their every day jobs. The next day we had a contest sponsored by them. I still remember the problem: “A surveyor is hired to find the distance of a thrown shot put at a tournament. Given these angles and such, determine which athlete won the tournament.” My first impulse was to answer, “The surveyor is getting paid to do this, so maybe he’s the one you should ask,” but instead I decided to give it a shot. I noticed that there seemed to be enough information to use the law of sines, one of the few things I remembered from the time in the class when I was trying. So I used that and banged out some numbers.

I was the first to bring the completed sheet to Ms. Stott. “This should be good,” she said, visibly rolling her eyes. She looked at the paper and the eyes stopped rolling.

“You son of a bitch.” she said. Those exact words. I was right. I had won the contest. She had to give me the above “Trig Star” plaque.

I continued my strategy and received an F in the class. I graduated anyway.

My first time through college I avoided math as much as possible. Despite more or less teaching myself out of the book in the on class I did take and tutoring other students, I still assumed I couldn’t do it. Later, after I realized I was good at math and enjoyed it, I took a college level Trig course. I had no idea how I could not have understood it before. There are, like, six things you need to know to pass the course, and they all play off each other. I aced it and now have a B.S. in Math Education.

When did I get it? 1986, senior year of High School. Yes, I went to Riverdale High School, no I did not hang out with Archie and Jughead.

Do I still have it? You damn sure know I do.

Posted in Geek Stuff | Tagged , ,

2014 in Review

So here’s 2015. For me personally, it was better than 2013 (it would be hard not to), but for the country in general, maybe not so much. This is the year Back to the Future 2 takes place, so that’s a thing. Ahem. Anyway.

Let’s look back and see how this thing shook out.

One of the biggest changes for us was finally getting cell phones. We’d been relying on a cheap burner for a while, but it started to die and the message was hitting home that life would be a little easier if we’d just cave, so we did. I’ve enjoyed having it for the camera, texting, and for Twitter, which is the most use I get out of it. I guess there’s also the “phone” thing, but honestly, that’s one of the features I use the least.

Unity Games is at the beginning of the year (usually — it hasn’t been announced for 2015 yet, and may not be) and the biggest story there was that the Big Nerd Box finally sold. I only came down a little from what I wanted, but more importantly, it is gone. I swore it wouldn’t make it to March and it didn’t.

We’ll talk more about this later, but in January I made a list of ten movies to watch for the year. For a normal human being this would be no big deal, but for me…well, I got half of the list done (actually more than half, but I haven’t talked about the sixth one yet). Still, that made for a more movieful year than most (discounting 2013’s Harry Potter marathon), especially when you add in other movies I actually saw in the theater!

I started a new Sunday feature this year, I Had That!, in which I talk about material objects of my youth. It’s intended to go for 52 entries, though I’ve missed a couple of weeks. It’ll be over soon and may (I haven’t decided yet) be followed by a similar thing. It’s been pretty well received, and fun to do. Speaking of regular features, a bug at Delicious put the end to This Delicious Week, at least until they fix it or I come up with an alternative.

Musically, this year was a void. While last year I at least discovered Janelle Monae and Chvrches, this year there was almost no new music in my life. When I got my phone and the ability to load it up with tunes for the road, I put on it the greatest hits of 1986 and it’s more or less stayed like that. I made only token attempts to rectify this.

Similarly, reading non-comics (and, eventually, comics) took a back seat this year to not reading, and when I did read stuff it was depressing state-of-the-plutocracy books by Matt Taibbi and Chris Hedges. Again, this topic of reading we’ll talk more about in a moment.

I still watched a fair amount of TV, which I’ll talk about in an upcoming post, but an interesting story there was my beginning and, not long afterwards, ending an attempt to re-watch The X-Files, a show which, sadly, just can’t compete anymore. The other interesting (I guess) TV-related story is how that upcoming look at TV in 2014 won’t include Doctor Who. Beyond that, though, the biggest TV story for me was this.

Politically, 2014 was a banner year for Asshole Culture. The big losers this year were woman and black folks, for the umpteenth year running. Elliot Rodger went on a killing spree because women wouldn’t have sex with him, a problem that was then billed as the fault of all women. Then came “GamerGate”, an embarrassing movement of shrieking men seemingly upset that women dare to exist.

Hobby Lobby got its sincere (yet factually incorrect) beliefs validated by the Supreme Court. On June 6th I screamed about another mass shooting and I honestly can’t even remember which one that was; that’s where we are now with those. And then there was the seemingly endless parade of police-killed black men, with its attendant police worship. We also got into fights about airplane seats. And it was revealed that the CIA tortured people, to which Americans yawned, “good!”

On a brighter note, we bought some trees!

  

I experienced a bit of notoriety around May, when some fool named Paul Ingrisano decided he had trademarked the “pi” symbol and print-on-demand t-shirt company Zazzle temporarily agreed with him. Apparently my description of these antics as “ridiculous asshattery” were eminently quotable. Eventually Zazzle was forced to realize they were acting like idiots and rightly told Ingrisano to go hang.

Last year was our 20th wedding anniversary, but health issues kept us from taking the trip we intended, so we made up for it this year with a trip to London and Paris. We had a great time, saw all the expected sites, as well as some new ones, and we even brushed up on our French!

Last year I thought I was going to get a comic story of mine published. That turned out to not happen as I thought, though it may still (and there’s other news on that front), but I did write a short gag strip which was drawn for me by Jon Morris, House Blend:

Not having enough gaming in my life, in 2014 I made it to my first Gen Con. It was an exciting, overwhelming experience and, despite a fun time, a little too much for my delicate sensibilities, so I’m not sure a repeat is in the cards, but it’s now something I can say I did. I also went to Trashfest again, as well as ConnCon.

In October, nearly an exact year later, I had another weird allergy attack. Same thing, and I’m still on allergy meds. I’ll hit up an allergy doc as soon as I can get off of them for two weeks, but I’m really hoping this isn’t going to be a regular Fall event.

In a Benadryl haze I came up with possibly the greatest superhero ever, The Living Lighthouse, drawn here by pal Dave H:

My peeve of the year, brought about by GamerGate and other trash people, was comment sections. Over and over and over I wondered why we continue to essentially leave pools of stagnant water around and then complain about mosquitos. There’s some evidence people are starting to address this.

There were also plenty of boardgames and videogames (I’ll be talking about these, as well as movies, TV, and comics, next week). Too many, in fact. Way too many. Although I stopped posting daily this year, it often alarmed me that I had little to talk about other than games I played. Didn’t I used to read books and comics? Didn’t music used to mean something to me? Didn’t I used to build with Lego and go Geocaching and do things other than play games?

My goal for 2015 is to get back to those things. We’ll see how it goes.

Posted in Misc | Tagged

It’s Always Nice When Someone Else is Embarrassed by David Duke

The first election where I got to pick a governor for Louisiana was between David Duke and Edwin Edwards in 1991. It’s a small wonder that I’ve never gotten too zazzed about voting.

This was just after Duke stopped being just Louisiana’s filthy secret and stepped out onto the national stage, In 1989 he screwed up: until then his primary source of income was running in and losing elections. In 1989, however, he inadvertently won an election and suddenly realized he might have to actually work. His victory got him nationwide notoriety, and he decided he liked attention more than he hated punching a clock, so he decided to aim for Baton Rouge instead. Fortunately, he lost to “the crook”. He then went back to regularly losing elections again, until he could make a living just plain getting money from racists by speaking and forming clubs with his friends.

One of those friends, at least tangentially, seems to be Republican Congressman Steve Scalise, who spoke at one of Duke’s events in 2002. There are a lot of things to be said about the shocking revelation that GOP talking points mixed well with racists, but what I’m getting the biggest kick out of is this particular excuse as to how this wacky mix-up happened.

When Scalise was asked by the Times-Picayune how he came to appear at the conference, he cited his staff, saying he had only one person working for him at the time. “When someone called and asked me to speak, I would go,” he said. “If I knew today what they were about, I wouldn’t go.”

Representative Steve King (R-IA) confirms this, saying, “understanding that Scalise probably wasn’t staffed thoroughly, I could understand how something like this happened”.

You see, the problem was, he had only one staff member at the time. This is seen as a legit excuse: how could he possibly know this was a bunch of neo-Nazis and they were bad? He only had one guy who could help him figure that out! I can’t think of someone I’d rather have in Congress than a guy who needs several handlers around him or else god knows what foolishness he’s likely to do. You see, the problem was, he had only one staff member at the time. “He only had one person to tell him White Supremacists are bad,” says his colleague. “You usually need at least five or six.” Presumably, after King finished defending Scalise’s integrity with this excuse, he was stopped by several aides from sticking his hand in a blender.

When Duke ran in 1991 we saw “DUKE Governor” signs everywhere, which was disheartening. Even moreso was after he lost, when the signs continued to appear, only now they read “DUKE Country”. That was the place where I came from, and all of us who were around then and remember it have had to carry that with them. Scalise is only three years older than me, so he for hell sure knows who David Duke is, even without a large staff to remind him.

Posted in Politics | Tagged ,

The Blue Wall

Growing up near New Orleans in the 70s and 80s, when the police force there was one of the most corrupt in the country, I learned to at the very least distrust police. I had some run-ins with them that I’m surprised didn’t end by having the shit beaten out of me. Baton Rouge wasn’t much better. But eventually I grew up, met some cops, and realized that the experiences I had were not all of the story.

As a tax-paying adult, I like having police officers around. I like that there’s someone trying to keep the peace, that there’s somewhere I can go when things aren’t right. I live in a city with a fair amount of gang and drug activity (mostly fueled by fauxhemian white kids from Northampton coming here to buy their drugs) and know that the police here have their hands full. I’ve heard about it first-hand from my friend Dan. I have other friends who are cops (one in New Orleans, which has done a lot of housecleaning since I left there) and now a relative. To say I “hate cops” would be completely untrue.

That said, I think there’s some ground between “all cops are fascist pigs” and “maybe we shouldn’t choke people to death or shoot 12-year old kids 2 seconds after arriving on the scene”. The police have a tough job, this is true, but it’s still a job, they still have bosses, and they’re still people. They can, and do, make mistakes. Unfortunately, due to the nature of their job and their tools, their mistakes are often fatal for someone.

Obviously no citizen or officer wants those mistakes made. Yet there doesn’t seem to be a real desire to do anything about them other than say, “Well, you know, shit happens.”

The blue wall that is built around these events, this idea of supporting all police at all times no matter the situation, is not helpful to anyone. Like it or not, the police are responsible to the civilians; they aren’t our masters. Demanding that no one criticize the heroes in blue under any circumstances, and closing ranks against anyone who does only serves to make the situation far worse. You can’t fix a problem you refuse to allow to be acknowledged. Nor is it helpful to assume that in every case an officer is always justified in his or her actions and deserves “the benefit of the doubt” every time. The benefit of the doubt is earned when you have demonstrated good faith, not because you demand fealty.

The protest by NYPD officers against Mayor de Blasio begs the question: if you don’t support the Mayor or the citizens, who do you support? Who do you think you answer to? The idea that people protesting the Michael Brown and Eric Garner grand jury verdicts are responsible for the murders of Officers Ramos and Liu implies a connection of intent that these same officers don’t allow when considering the rash of police killings of unarmed black men. In other words, it’s okay to perceive a pattern of discrimination against police officers, but it’s off limits and dangerous to apply that same analysis to actions by those officers. It’s okay for police to protest perceived discrimination of them, but protesting perceived discrimination by them will result in blood on one’s hands.

We should just shut up and let police do whatever they want, and not worry our pretty little heads about how it’s done. After all, they are the law, which means anything they do is, by definition, legal. We want them on that wall. We need them on that wall. They do the dirty work we don’t want to admit needs doing.

That’s the attitude many of these officers seem to have, and it’s more than a little troubling. Do we really want a police force that has contempt for the citizens it supposedly serves? Did we forget that the “want them on that wall” bit is from a character in a movie who is a bad guy and is covering up a murder? Did we forget that Judge Dredd is intended to be a parody and cautionary tale?

Trust and respect are two-way streets. Both sides have responsibilities here. The citizenry need to give the police the ability to do the jobs they’re hired to do. The police need to understand they aren’t above the law they’re sworn to uphold. Just as the police are charged with bringing justice to citizens who break the law, they too must be allowed to be brought to justice when they break the law. Refusing to even acknowledge the possibility of wrongdoing, of not even bothering to have a trial just to hash out what happened, doesn’t build trust, it builds resentment on both sides. The blue wall of solidarity and unquestioned support does not support police officers, it undermines their abilities and authority.

Posted in Politics | Tagged

I Had That! #45: Star Wars Trading Cards

As is blatantly obvious, Star Wars hit me in exactly the right way. It was my first real fandom, and I couldn’t get enough of it. Before the advent of DVDs or even videotapes (though, more on that later) we could only relive the movie with ancillary items, though there were plenty of those.

The Star Wars trading cards from Topps were a genius move. Blind-packaged, so you had to buy a bunch and literally trade them to get a set. The photos, at least in the first series, weren’t anything great; most were stills and publicity photos that were already all over the place, but the physical cards were such a neat thing, buying them was still exciting. My friends and I would ride our bikes up to Time Saver and buy several packs at a time, hoping to get ones we didn’t have, duplicates of ones we really liked, or versions of ones we had that weren’t screwed up in the printing process with blue spots all over them (this was a common occurrence and Topps sold them anyway and we bought them anyway.)

I eventually got all of the first (blue) series, and possibly the second (red) ones. I had some from the third (yellow) series, but not much from the fourth (green) or fifth (orange) one. They weren’t too far apart in when they came out, so I don’t know if I ran out of money, ran out of interest, or if Time Saver didn’t get as many of the later series.

I cringe as I remember my Aunt Shirley visiting us and me cornering her at the table an laboriously going through the plot of Star Wars with her, using the cards to illustrate scenes. In my mind this lasted for hours with her desperately trying to shut this kid up and me going on and on and on.

The trading cards thing didn’t stop at Star Wars. I also bought cards for Alien, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and even Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Yes. There were cards for The Black Hole, ET, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Trek the Motion Picture, Battlestar Galactica, and Buck Rogers, but if I got any of these it wasn’t many. When The Empire Strikes Back came out I bought cards for it as well, but if they made ones for Return of the Jedi, I never saw them.

Much later, in college, I would end up buying the Marvel Comics trading cards, which was odd, because I didn’t read much of any Marvel Comics. Still, I liked looking at and reading about the characters, even if I wasn’t too interested in buying stories about them. This actually started with my roommate Kyle (who did read Marvel comics, and how) buying them and giving me his duplicates, which led to me buying them and giving Anna my duplicates, which led to her buying them. I also bought Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast cards for Becky when we were first dating.

I know trading cards are still a huge thing, though I admit I’m baffled as to how this could be.

When did I get it? Starting in 1977.

Do I still have it? I don’t know what happened to my Star Wars cards. I have some somewhere, but they weren’t mine; they may have been Becky’s when she was a kid or someone else’s gifted to me. All the other cards are gone, though I do have some Doctor Who trading cards that someone gave me at some point.

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Fritz the Reindeer: A Dave Ex Machina Holiday Tradition

Okay, kids, sit back and I’m gonna tell you a Christmas story, one I doubt you’ve heard before, but it’s all true, I swear!

It started a few years ago in August. Now, we don’t usually think of August as being cold, but up at the North Pole, where Santa lives, it’s always snowing. So it was August and it was time for the reindeer tryouts, to see which reindeer were going to make the team this year.

The fellow this story’s about, Fritz, was competing. Like all the reindeer up there, he had dreams of one day making the team. But his dreams were once again dashed to the ground when Lou, the Reindeer Foreman, announced that year’s team. Dasher, Dancer, Prancer…you know the rest. The same team as always. It seemed like nobody else would ever get a turn. In fact, the lineup had been the same for years, and the last change anyone remembered was the addition of Rudolph, who, due to his freak mutant nose, had scored himself a permanent, cherry position at the front of the team. Since Santa’s magic reindeer live a long, long, time, it was looking like there wasn’t much hope for anyone else.

“Chestnuts!” grumbled Fritz, kicking at the snowy ground. “What I wouldn’t give to make just one flight…just one! Would it kill them to give someone else a turn?”

His moping continued clear up to Christmas Eve, the busiest day of the year for everyone. Everyone at the North Pole had a job to do on this day, and Fritz was no exception. He was needed at the sleigh for fitting. You see, the actual reindeer on the team were busy being brushed and groomed so they’d look their best for the flight. Fritz and eight other deer were stand-ins, getting the harness worked fitted on them instead of the real deal. For Fritz, this was adding insult to injury, having to pretend to be on the team just to be unhitched and told to go away while the real flyers took over.

“Aww, cranberries,” muttered Fritz as the elves fitted him with someone else’s harness.

Afterwards the stand-ins and elves hustled out to other jobs, but Fritz lagged behind and marveled at the sleigh. It was already being loaded up, and even though he’d seen it dozens of times, the sight of it always made Fritz’s heart race a little. What he’d give to be proudly pulling it! He climbed in the back and got a driver’s-eye view of how it looked. Just incredible! He imagined himself hitched to the front…not in the lead position necessarily; he’d be satisfied with one of the slots towards the back. Any position was a place of honor. How dignified he’d look, hooves all polished, coat neatly brushed, antlers waxed, as fine a member of Santa’s team as any! Just once…just one time…

Fritz was awakened by a strange bump and a sharp feeling in his stomach. Zuh? What happened? Suddenly he was jostled completely awake and realized what was going on. He had fallen asleep in the back of the sleigh! The sleigh which, until a few moments ago, had been flying through the air. He had accidentally stowed away for the big flight!

But as the sleigh collided into a snowbank he realized something had gone wrong. He peeked out from under the bag of toys that had been loaded on top of him by an unaware elf and saw Santa tending to one of the reindeer.

The winter wind drowned out all sound, but as Santa took out his cell phone and wandered back over to the sleigh, Fritz caught part of the conversation: “Blitzen…yep, wind shear. Took him right down…nah, hurt leg, but it’ll mend…send replacement…hang on…” Santa consulted his GPS to figure his location but the storm was blowing up too fierce to get a good reading. He wasn’t going to be able to get a replacement for Blitzen in time. What would he do?

Fritz was conflicted. He didn’t want to get in trouble for stowing away. What if it was his extra weight that had caused the crash in the first place? But he couldn’t just do nothing. He was part of Santa’s Team…not just the reindeer that pulled the sleigh, but the team that made all of the Christmas Ride possible! He had to do what he could to help!

He wrestled himself out of the sleigh and meekly presented himself to Santa. “Sir,” he said, “I know the routine, and I’ve gotten fine grades on my flying. I’d like to help out if I can!”

“But…wha….how did you get here?” Santa stammered, then shook his head. “Never mind, it doesn’t matter! You’re in the right place at the right time!” Quickly he put Blitzen in back of the sleigh and hitched Fritz up in his place. Santa returned to the driver’s seat and counted three. “Ready, team?” He pulled the reigns and all nine, including Fritz, soared up into the air.

Fritz was too intent on his mission to feel overwhelming pride. The storm was still brewing and it would take all their best flying to get through it. In addition, they were now behind schedule. The only thing on Fritz’s mind was getting the job done.

It wasn’t until the next day that Fritz, exhausted from the trip, fully realized what had happened. News had spread quickly, and all the other second-string reindeer gathered around to hear about their amazing comrade who had actually managed to get on the team, if only accidentally! Fritz tried to tell them how amazing it was to make the trip, but really he had been too busy to remember everything.

Suddenly the crowd hushed and milled away from Fritz as Santa himself approached the tired deer.

“Fritz, I know you stowed away on the sleigh yesterday.”

Fritz hung his head. Under his breath he muttered, “Aww, sugarplums!”

“And it’s a good thing you did!” Santa added. “I don’t know what we would have done without you. You’ve pointed out a crucial flaw in our program, and for that I thank you! Fritz, I want you to be part of the team. I want you to ride in back of the sleigh every year as…the spare!”

Fritz beamed! This was a moment he had dreamed of all his life! He looked at the reindeer who had overheard and saw the utter envy on their faces. Ha! He had made the team! He was now part of the few, the elite, the–

Fritz looked again at the other reindeer and then had a plan. “Well Santa, I was just doing my job. It’s what we’re all here for, all of us. And since it’s all of us, I don’t think any one deer should be assigned as the spare. Why not give everyone a chance and have a different one each year? That way we can all do our part!”

“That’s a fantastic idea!” said Santa. I’m going to go discuss it with Lou! You get some rest now, you’ve had a hard night. And thanks again!”

Santa walked away and Fritz the reindeer, the very first spare reindeer, went off for a well-earned nap.

So that there’s the story of Fritz the Reindeer, folks. Merry Christmas!

Posted in Writings | Tagged ,

I Had That! #44: Doctor Who: The Game of Time and Space

(For today’s “I Had That”, I’m reposting part of a blog post from two years ago.)

A recent discussion on BGG had me thinking about the oldest game I own. That is, what game have I held on to for the longest? I no longer have my original copy of Illuminati and instead have a deluxe one, so it’s not that. Talisman and DungeonQuest are pretty old for me, but it’s not either of these. Nope, I’m pretty sure the title goes to:

Doctor Who: The Game of Time and Space, by Games Workshop. I probably haven’t played this thing in over 25 years, but I can’t see ever getting rid of it.

Oh, it’s not a good game. It’s simultaneously stupid easy and tediously dull. You are rival incarnations of the Doctor (I guess), traveling through the cosmos looking for the six segments of the Key of Time Chronos. There are 60 spaces, each with three counters face down on it. One is a monster, one is an item, and one may be a part of the key. You fight the monsters, grab the items (which are things that help you in the fight) and hope for a key part that you need. Over and over and over again.

The game is also notorious for its questionable Doctor Who references. Among the companions who can aid you are “Sara Jane”, “Vicki” (in her space leotard and thigh-high boots), “Susie”, and “Lyla”. Daleks and Cybermen look fine, but “Ice Man”, “Yeti”, “Giant Robot”, and others which actually have TV show counterparts are simply some generic space-fantasy artwork unrelated to anything from the program.

So no, it kind of falls down at both being a piece of Doctor Who ephemera and being a board game, but there’s something extra it has. At least, there’s something extra mine has.

I’m one of the few boardgame enthusiasts who’s never tried his hand at designing a boardgame. Oh, I’ve had ideas, but I’ve never even begun bringing any to fruition. The exception is the Doctor Who boardgame, which I didn’t design, but made a mini expansion for.

Behold, my additional rules for this game! I typed them up on the electric typewriter in my Aunt Shirley’s office, which had both a fancy centering thinger AND the ability to type in red ink! Since some of the tiles in the game were blank, I was free to add in some things I felt the game needed.

First, I added devices that gave you control over most Cybermen and Daleks because why not? Note that I had some sense of game balance — the stronger enemies couldn’t be controlled. Still, I should have made the player do something to earn these beauties. Oh, and here are the tokens:

(Don’t laugh! That artwork isn’t too far off from the game’s artwork.) I especially like how I said “screw it” to writing out “DALEK CONTROLLER” in red pen. I don’t know what the little box next to the Cyber-Controller is; I think I messed up and started to give it a strength rating.

Next I addressed the problem that, out of sixty green key counters, you were looking for six of them. I addressed this with a nice solution, a lump of key material that could act as a wildcard for any missing piece (this is also related to the show — In the “Key to Time” stories The Doctor at one point substitutes some material for a missing segment!) Also added to the green tiles was the “symbol of the White Guardian” — the powerful being who has sent you on this task — which, according to my rules sheet, has the effect of a “Cosmic Vortex”. A Cosmic Vortex seems to teleport an enemy or player away to a random location.

Some new enemies show up. To make the Cyber-Controller more useful, I added some more Cybermen and Cybermats, but also the Cyberleader, who is immune. I also added a Sontaran Warrior, Zygon, and Mummy.

That’s some fine, fine artwork.

Finally, I added some more current starter assistants: Romana (looks to be the second incarnation, according to my artwork), Adric, and Tegan. Yes, I let Adric be in the game!

Adric appears to be wearing Flavor Flav’s clock around his neck. I don’t know why Tegan didn’t get inked.

Did my additions make the game any better? I can’t imagine they did. But hey, I made little rules and artwork and even tried to balance things a little. Check me out!

The game came out in 1980 and near as I can figure, I bought my copy some time around ’81 or ’82. I got it from “The Book End”, a used books/comics/nerd stuff store where I worked part-time. (Old-school New Orleans geeks, this shop was run by Jim Mulé, who also ran Vul-Con.) It was one of the first places in the city to really get Doctor Who merchandise, and I bought a ton of it up. I remember this game being pretty expensive (relative to the times and my age) but I eventually got it.

I can also peg these additional monsters to some time after March, 1982. It might not appear so to the layman, but the Cyber-Controller artwork is based on the Cybermen who appeared in “Earthshock”, which came out then. I probably didn’t even see that episode until some time in ’83, but I would have seen photos before then. So I was around 14 or 15 when I did this.

(I swear I saw this game later with a Peter Davison cover, but that can’t possibly be. Not only can I not find any evidence this was ever done, someone on BGG pointed out how the board itself has Tom Baker’s face on it and surely they wouldn’t go through that much trouble for it. So I must be thinking of something else.)

So there you go, the oldest boardgame I own, along with a little look at my only attempt at game design.

When did I get it? 1981 or 1982, probably.

Do I still have it? I do indeed!

Posted in Boardgames | Tagged ,

STOP EVERYTHING!

New Danger 5!!!

Posted in TV | Tagged