October 30th, 2004



Well, we went to the Spellenspektakel today, with babarage. And you know what that means: shopping! We did a quick sweep of the premises -- the fair hadn't changed from last year, basically. Lots of open gaming, which is pretty cool.
We had two tickets for a free Carcassonne expansion (a must-have for me), but the supply (all 500 of 'em) of those had been given away within the first half hour of the fair. Luckily, the expansion could be purchased for a small amount all over the fair, so we made sure to pick those up. But there was also a new Carcassonne variant -- packed in an attractive wooden box, it seemed similar in concept to the two-player variant "The Keep". When I bought it, I could swing the promotional Wheel of Fortune in the stand, and I won a free copy of 'Go Wild!', a WotC card game. We also played a game of 'Genius', an abstract tile-laying game with simple rules but complex strategies.

Fantasy Encounter comes to the fair every year. Their stand is the largest (and, this year, the only) stand specialising in RPGs. I wanted to check it out, because I still had some things on my wishlist. Sadly, they had completely sold out of any of the things I wanted. I guess we'll have to order these -- does anyone have any recommendations for cheap online RPG shops that ship to the Netherlands?

We had lunch outside of the fair-hall, right across the street. I leafed through the fair magazine, and saw that Tongiaki had been released in a Dutch version. I read a review of it by Shannon Appelcline, who writes incredibly good reviews of boardgames over on RPG.net. Of course, it was available on the fair, so we bought it!

klik saw white frosted dice at the Chessex stand which she found very attractive. However, they sell 'em for EUR 1.25 a piece -- and a full set (D4, D6, D8, D10 units, D10 tens, D12, D20) would come to 8.75! However, there was a stand over at the 'market' upstairs that had a basket full of dice. You could pick your dice and pay EUR 5 for 10 pieces. And they had some of those frosted dice as well!
We went there and spend the next ten minutes digging through all the dice. I play a lot of diceless or semi-diceless RPGs, but I really like handling dice. I don't know what it is -- perhaps some part of the brain really likes to play with small colorful trinkets of regular shape. I have lots of dice that I never used, but I keep 'em around because I. love. dice. Years ago, klik made me a dicebag out of velours, with a large 'H' made out of a ribbon on it. I still use it to store my sizable collection of dice.
We found a nearly complete set (only the D4 and D10 units were missing) of the frosted white dice, and padded our set of 10 out with some light-green frosted dice and a translucent green one. Then we went to the Chessex stand and bought the two dice we were still missing. End result: we saved a measly 1.25 (the price of a single die!), but had lots of fun doing so.
While at the Chessex stand, I saw a demonstration of their BattleMats. These are plastic mats that you can write upon with the kind of markers you use on overhead sheets. With a bit of water, you can erase the markings again! Ideal for RPG maps! So I bought one...

We walked through the market again. Lots of artists who did work on boardgames or collectible card games were selling (prints of) their work. Of course, there was lots of standard fare fantasy stuff (monsters attacking, heroes attacking, dragons, yadda yadda yadda. But at the stand of Franz Vohwinkel there was SciFi-art! We thumbed through his collection of prints, and we bought this one. It was only EUR 25, and he signed it without being asked too! All that we need to do is to get a frame for it. It'll look good in the study in the new house, I think.

By then, we were getting quite tired. After a drink and a snack in the Bijenkorf café we said goodbye to babarage and hauled our loot back home.
  • Current Mood
    happy happy
Ships passing in the night

New anime

Today's programme consisted of Maho Shojo Lyrical Nanoha. Nanoha is a normal elementary school girl, who has a strange dream about a girl battling with a monster -- and losing. When she goes to cram school with her friends (a cram school for elementary schoolers -- that just irks me) she hears a voice and finds some sort of ferret, wounded. They take her to the vet, who patches the animal up. Later that night, Nanoha hears that voice again: it's the ferret talking to her! She is under attack from the monster, and needs Nanoha to turn into a Magical Girl to help defeat the monster!
The designs are nice if nothing special, but the animation is amazing. Most anime has long, static shots -- but this anime has lots of movement in the background. Pay attention to the scene where Nanoha asks her parents' permission to keep the ferret as a pet: there is lots of subtle movement, which I found impressive for a mahou shoujo series aimed at younger kids. The transformation sequence is further proof of Arthur C. Clarke's famous quote that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Next was Rozen Maiden. Jun, a second-grader, is slowly turning into a recluse who spends his days shopping over the internet. His older sister tries to make him go out and go to school again, but Jun is quite rude to her. (If it were a sibling of me, I'd give him a swift kick in the nuts -- Jun certainly deserves that!) One day, Jun receives a doll -- a doll that talks and moves. She defends him when he is attacked by another doll shortly after being revived, and makes Jun her servant. She bosses him around, but sees that in his heart, he is a good kid.
This is a rather creepy series. The doll takes no shit from Jun, and bosses him around. Her face is quite serious, she never smiles -- and being enslaved to a doll who then feeds off your energy sounds like a pretty bad deal to me. Designs are nice, and the story could prove to be really interesting!
  • Current Mood
    amused amused