Friday, April 25, 2008

New Contest, New Game

I wrote a new story for a new contest at Mirable Visu. This contest deadline is Sunday (so you too can enter).

The topics you can choose from are: Vibrate, Journey, or Despair. The additional challenges are: Set 50 years in the past or future, set in Asia and organize the words and the spaces to heighten the feeling of the piece.

I can't tell you what my story is about because this is an anonymous round. No one puts their names on the stories and everyone has to guess. It is also a prize round with $10 in credit going to the winner (now do you think you'll enter?).

I've been trying to get a sailing game worked out. I really like the spirit of pirate games, so I to write one. We played it about one and a half times and it is a bit too complicated. I wanted it to be more of a "Beer and pretzels" sort of game with more simple strategy and very little luck. The original game, Traders, Raiders and Pirates (TRP) is more of along the lines of an Axis and Allies or Risk (which may be considered BandP by some and VERY serious by others).

My second attempt kept some of the mechanics of TRP, but dispensed with the empire building aspects. I've played Buccaneers' Race once with my daughters and it had real potential as a BandP. I will have to play it a few times with my brothers and some friends that really know games. It may actually become something to share.

Then I realized that my youngest (barely 7) was not able to play any of these. The concept of wind and sail is too much for her. She does like the little ships I bought from the Pirates of the Spanish Main game. I wanted to come up with a game that she can play, but again wouldn't be entirely based on chance and wouldn't be boring to older players. This is my attempt.


a. Place checkered cloth on table as the playing surface (we have fabric with black and white squares 2in on a side (like a victory flag).
b. Place the buoys so that they form an equilateral triangle with one point on the far right, this will be East and the wind will be from the East.
c. Buoys should be 18 squares apart.
d. Place all boats so
that they form a line on the outside of the eastern buoy. This will be the starting and finishing line.

a. Determine how many laps the race is and the first ship to cross the finish line while sailing around the outside of the triangle formed by the buoys is the winner.

a. Each player rolls one six sided die (1d6). The players will take turns in the order of their dice roll, highest goes first.
b. Players will move their ships up to 4 squares in any direction except directly to the right (East). That is into the wind.
c. When all players have moved roll again to determine the order of play for each following turn.
d. Ships cannot pass through or end their turn in the same square as another ship.
e. Ships may go "inside" the triangle, but it will not count unless they pass the buoys on the "outside."

That's it. What do you think?

This month's poll, What's your favorite type game. Comments welcome here.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Joining Archaeology

I'm joining a forum called I want to get my hand back into the Anthopological game again.

Mrs. Prop and I decided when we decided to get married, that I could continue my education and work on my doctorate in Anthropology when we retire.

I want to keep Anthropology very much alive in our thoughts plus there have been quite a few "developments" in Paleoarchaeology since I left school (good God!) eighteen years ago.

Which image do you think I should use as my avatar on that forum? I posted a couple of choices I like.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Monster Fungus

I'm working on a horror story for a book anthology that needs summer stories.

I working on the general premise of "Global Warming Godzilla."

I also added a poll on cryptids since my main character is a Cryptobiologist (Gudrun (formerly Cocaine) Forkbeard).

You are welcome to discuss cryptids and that sort of thing here too.

What do you think of the idea and the story brief?

I. Where: Just outside of Churchill, Manitoba Canada

II. When: Mid June

III. What: A team from the PAABGW investigates reports of a mysterious creature that is killing and eating polar bears. While investigating, a UFO launches from underground nearby. They find that an alien race had come to earth during the Little Ice Age to stop the spread of another alien (the "Mud Monster"). The aliens of the UFO created the LIA to stop the "creature" but now they are giving up on humanity because we just won’t help ourselves.

IV. Who:
A. Presidential Auxiliary Advisory Board on Global Warming (PAABGW)
-1. Roland Coaster PhD. - head of the board
-2. LtCmdr Tenesha Flax - USN military leader of the PAABGW
-3. Ezekiel Hose PhD - Leader of this investigation. PhD in Biology, Vet Med etc.
-4. Gudrun Forkbeard PhD - PhD in Cryptozoology, Biology, Anthropology
-5. Hoyt Beaubien PhD - Creole Geologist and Chemist
-6. Fatma Erdogan PhD - Turkish woman Meteorologist
-7. SGT Jesus Pena - driver and NCOIC
-8. SPC Videl Vega - driver
-9. CPT Robert Gullette - Canadian Army OIC

B. Natives
-1. Diane Gillock - PA and Tundra Buggy driver - guide to village
-2. Vernia Longwell - Tribal elder

C. Aliens
-1. "Mud Monster" aka "The Creature" [give this another, cool name] a portion of the same mold /fungus creature from "Nay So Much a Man." An ancient intelligence bent on destroying mankind [why?]
-2. [Cool named aliens that fly the UFO]

V. Storyline:
A. Gudrun joins the team in Churchill. They take two hummers with RV trailers to the village. Along the way, Gudrun talks to Diane and learns that Diane visits villages on a monthly medical round during the off-season. Recently the village told her that something, not of their legends, was killing and "eating" polar bears. Diane has seen one.

B. When they arrive at the village, they meet the elder, Vernia Longwell who leads them to one of the PB. It is dead with no decay and a circle of death all around. Anything that touches it dies. No natural decaying agents (mold, bacteria, insects etc) have invaded the corpse, even though it's been dead and above freezing temp for a week. The team investigates the rest of the day.

C. During the night, they hear some strange noise and something is strange about the night sky. In the morning, they get a call from NORAD to investigate a UFO nearby.

D. They go out to investigate the launch site of the UFO and find it is near the PB, which is now gone. They find a huge hole in the tundra.

E. At some point, they leave the hole and the last one out gets grabbed by something inside the hole. When they run to help they find that the hole has been filled in.

F. Gudrun realizes that it is the same entity that she found in Alaska and that they creature is really that big and trying to pull itself together.

G. Narrow escape and aftermath

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Fiction Story Ideas

I thought I would share some of the things that bang around in my fevered imagination.

I haven't written stories on any of these yet. You are welcome to use the ideas, but please let me know so I don't use them too!

The World Builders
SF Story Idea
26 June 2007

A story that is broken into very short scenes set at the time when building spabitats [must change that word, find a better one (I have since coined genoid and like it better)] has just been opened up to privatization. The story is centered around a company that builds worlds.
Among characters is

  • Top salesman who likes to focus on religious groups
  • A world designer [female, based on the women who have worked with us on our house].

[Back-story] The USA is waning in prestige and power when we begin space colonies. A fortuitous close pass of an asteroid provides the first spabitat. The US is revitalized when they catch the idea and run with it that we have manifest destiny to conquer the solar system. The US does actually work space like an empire in a race against the EU and East Asia (which unites). The US has the upper hand though, and the race is not head to head fighting, but a race [although a subtle undercutting of each empirical power is a good undercurrent].

  • Also at the setting time the first armed cargo escorts are hired. The story will center around one person who is related to someone in the world building company. I think the soldiers will be called Vacuums since Marines is short for Marine Infantry and these soldiers will be infantry for the vacuum of space. I don't like the name, "spacers."
  • Pirates have started stealing cargo off unmanned cargo vessels. The story can also interweave the story of a pirate ship.
  • The government has been providing Homesteader Worlds for some time at a very low cost.
  • These are still available, but they are just hollowed out asteroids, sealed with soil, atmosphere and mirrors. They have no external factories or farms and are easily amalgamated or conglomerated [what is the difference?].
  • Also follow the story of a homesteader family.

There are three types of Warships: Battleships, Frigates or Cutters.

  • The distinction between battleships and frigates is not based on ability, but on cost. The frigates are smaller and cheaper so they are more plentiful.
  • Battleships look for other battleships to fight. They are also symbols of an empire's power.
  • Frigates look to fight other frigates, perform convoy escort, perform patrols, do inspections and so on. Frigates are far more useful than battleships.
  • Cutters are not capable of long-range missions, simply because they don't have the capacity [or maybe engine type].

Of course developments in engines, weapons, armor sensors and the like make a wide variety of classes. When an older class becomes obsolete it may be given a different role.

[How prolific are warships? If the empires don't interact much, what is their point and if pirates are just now becoming a threat then would there really be a history of a navy? Maybe the development of the Vacuums will be echoed in the development of frigates.]

· 19 Jul 07
o "The Man Who Sent His Brain To Space" – a man has his brain replaced by a computer in order to exchange ethnographic data with an alien culture.
o He's a Xenoanthropolgist and he just lost his wife. He announces that he volunteered for the project to his family at Thanksgiving and he returns, changed, for Christmas.
o He wants to erase the memory of his wife.
o He is too much like the "real" man for the family to tolerate.
o Human brains and memories can be read, but only by taking apart (and destroying) the brain. Artificial brains are more efficient and have more capacity. They run the body more effectively and are not susceptible to strokes or other forms of brain damage. Human brains are too analog for transmission. You need a digital brain. The aliens and we can exchange brains (the software of the alien mind can be put into a human brain and vise-versa).
o There is no practical FTL travel, but information can be sent by Quantum Communication.

6 Oct 07 Horror detective story
Man just lost his job (he was a corp drone) and his wife so he starts a consulting firm to investigate spreadsheets and databases. His young female cousin is a college student who needs a roommate and a job. She convinces him to hire her as a secretary, but he can only pay her on a per case basis. She always tries to drum up business and gets him involved in supernatural cases until he gets a rep for those sorts. Eventually he teas up with a Muslim woman who a a Green Beret and loves guns. He also gets with Benji from "Alone." He gets a PI licence when he starts the consulting service.

  • First story is "The Thing in the Barn"

What do you think?