Warhammer AoS VS Fantasy

Fantasy is better than AoS.

Now that I have your attention, Warhammer is owned by a company called Games Workshop. The Warhammer series of games involves playing a strategy game which involves painting and building figures and battling them on a table or map, rolling dice to show how many units are destroyed. This is a very simplified version in case you, my dear readers, aren’t entirely familiar.

 Photo by  Jack B  on  Unsplash

Photo by Jack B on Unsplash

For those who have played either of these games (or both,) their positions in the game rankings is a contentious topic. I will start off by saying I have never personally played Age of Sigmar (AoS) and I have played Fantasy but a little. I have dug into the lore a decent amount, on the other hand, and am a big fan of it.

 With the background and basic information given, Fantasy is better than AoS. Fantasy had bigger armies and better variety as well as a much better story behind it. There is another system called Warhammer 40k which is a science fiction game version of the franchise. AoS is widely considered a watered-down version of the 40k game. It has been simplified and troops were reduced. The armies also went from 15 distinct races to being condensed into four factions, making the game’s format less personalized. These races now have no personal goals. The game was brought from a roleplaying tabletop large-scale strategy game to a small-scale conglomeration of other similar races being brought together.

It’s hard not to see this as a dumbing-down of the game. The rules had been greatly simplified as well. It went from having individual army books of several hundred pages and a primary rule book of 528 pages in the last edition to one rule book of four pages and some online stats for the other races. The main advantage which derives from this is it costs a great deal less.

The people who do play AoS often mock those who don’t enjoy it by stating that they are just resistant to change. The older players are upset by a super-simplified version of their game. Their pieces no longer match the armies they’re supposed to represent and the rules for their armies have been removed or entirely changed.

The lore itself took a very strange turn, going into a multiverse and completely killing off a few races. These races have people who have been playing them for up to 10 years. This, of course, upset quite a few people. The idea behind this was to make newer players interested in the game. The problem persists, though: it does interest newer players, but continues to push away the players who have been playing it for years.


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Mark Drew has been LARPing for three and a half years, at Ashendael Underworld, has been a Dungeon Master using edition 3.5, he is 25 years old and has worked in fast food, and manual labor. He’s been working on a novel for several years.

Why Good Television Is Still Offbeat Entertainment

If you have ever watched Friends and thought “this is disgustingly bad” then you’re in the right place. Just like me, I’m sure you’ve spent time around people who don’t always have the same interests as you. I’ve noticed these people never have anything good on when they watch television. Why is this? What is so unappealing to these people about good writing, thought-provoking ideas and just all-around good entertainment?

Now, the first point I obviously understand is that yes, I know everyone just likes different things. But throughout my years I’ve realized that, in some cases, things like high school cliques carry on into adulthood and seem to stick together. I’ve had my occasional bad run-in with “popular kids” but they are in no way bad people and this is not meant to insult them. I’ve just noticed that the entertainment they choose to digest is always something I’ve considered to be bad.

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As a good example of good television, I’m going to use Daredevil. Now Daredevil is more of a nerdy show, being in the superhero realm, but I feel as though the production, story, writing and acting really transcends the genre. So what scares away more casual viewers who somehow find the humour of Friends something that even deserves a grin? First of all, Daredevil cannot be viewed casually. When you’re watching it for the first time, you can’t do homework, you can’t go on Facebook or Twitter while you watch , or else you’re going to get lost and get frustrated. There is absolutely nothing wrong with putting a show on in the background while you do something else, but Daredevil isn’t one of them.

It’s no secret that one of the easiest ways to appeal to people, in an entertainment sense, is comedy. Laughing is a pretty universal language. Daredevil definitely has humour and jokes in it, but they aren’t very punchline heavy. As an example, Friends comedy can be broken down to “someone says something rational and then someone saying something absolutely ridiculous” and cue laugh track. Daredevil’s comedy, even though it is few and far between, is not at all the same. The jokes always revolve around the story or the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole. So sometimes you’ll need even more knowledge than just watching Daredevil which, in itself, may turn some away. Daredevil’s comedy is just a bit smarter. It really depends on your style of comedy and, like I said, Friends’ comedy is definitely easier to consume – which is just better for more casual viewers.

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There’s lots of things that differentiate this show as we have mentioned, but perhaps the biggest difference is that Daredevil deals with complex ideas in a very serious tone. The few times that Friends’ deals with complex issues, there is always a joke thrown in to kind of ruin the serious tone. The complexity of Daredevil is going on right in front of your face and very subtly behind the shadows at once.

Even the concept of Daredevil is philosophical in nature. Justice is often personified as a blind woman holding a scale and sword, and it’s no coincidence that the main character, Matthew Murdoch, is a blind defence attorney by day and a badass blind ninja who beats the shit out of people at night. The show has a lot to say about the American justice system, including legal liability, Matt’s relationship as both a lawyer and vigilante and legal determinism vs. libertarianism.

Vigilantes also have a lot more to lose when it comes to the legal sense of things (even moreso for Matt,) as regular super heroes like Thor or Iron Man can either never be held accountable or just use their money and power to get them out of trouble. And again, the show also has different ways of dealing with these vigilantes. Daredevil may not kill criminals but he sure does beat them within an inch of their lives and, in some cases, they just go back to a life of crime. The Punisher however, kills all sorts of criminals and doesn’t even consider if they deserve a chance at redemption. I could go on and on about all the philosophical ideas this shows deal with; religion, dualism and social responsibility.

Friends comes nowhere near to dealing with these sorts of ideas or issues and, as I’ve mentioned before, it’s because Friends is just more for casual viewing. The shows are two different genres, but that never means that a show can’t tackle philosophical debates, social issues or concepts of morality. If Friends ever does this, they just blow it off with jokes. Some of the characters in Friends even do incredibly shitty things where, if they happened in real life, nobody would want to be your friend. Having realistic characters and writing can really make or break a show.

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I think it really boils down to this: good television is generally not viewable on a casual level. The characters, plots, jokes and ideas behind the show are meant to make you feel more things than just a small chuckle (that is, if Friends can even manage to make you chuckle.) Good television like Daredevil isn’t really something that you can put on in the background. It doesn’t rely solely on the crutch of comedy. Superhero shows and movies have absolutely become more popular over the past 10 years, but the shows especially are still considered to be a “nerdy” thing to watch. I just wish better television shows were more widely loved so I could talk about them more. I’d much rather hear Foggy Nelson give a one-liner than Joey say “How you doin’” any day. How people even find that funny, blows my fucking mind.


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Sterling Guilherme is a video game journalist who is a lover of JRPG’s, strategy games, and high fantasy RPG’s. Careful if you’re playing any kind of board-game with him, as he gets incredibly competitive. His favorite board games are Catan and Risk. He’s probably somewhere right now, day-dreaming of a good meal and a stiff drink.

Anime North vs. Fan Expo

Which is the better GTA Anime Conference?

Two of the largest conventions in the Greater Toronto Area happen in the months of May and August. Anime North is the only yearly grand scale Anime convention, while Fan Expo is an speculative fiction convention, that once held the CNAnime convention inside it before becoming one with the entire convention. Cosplaying can cost a lot though, along with the inevitable shopping the stalls will bring, so if your bank account will only let you go to one, which one should it be?

Guest List

One of the best parts of going to conventions is seeing the people who voice your favourite characters. So which has a better guest list?

They actually seem to be pretty balanced, even with Anime North being a Not-For-Profit convention. Anime North has had Eric Vale, Micah Solusod, Barbara Radecki all in attendance, compared to Fan Expo who’s guest have included Bex Taylor-Klaus, Todd Haberkorn, and Maile Flanagan.

Anime North’s quantity of guest can vary year to year, but are usually free or cheaper to see then Fan Expo, where you need to pay to talk to the guest or get their signature. Because of this payment though, guests get paid more at Fan Expo, so they usually have a larger quantity of guests available yearly.

Location

Fan Expo is located in the main city of Toronto, and so after the convention the ends or you need a break from the excitement there is a lot more to do, while Anime North is held on the outskirts in Etobicoke.

Anime North is also spread over a few venues, sometimes involving a fifteen minute walk to get from one to the other, while Fan Expo is all held in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. This means all of Fan Expo is held in AC (not including everyone who just hangs out in cosplay outside of the centre), while much of Anime North is held outside, often in the first heat wave of the year.

Attendance

Anime North caps their attendance for tickets at 20,000 a day while over four days FanExpo regularly has over 130,000 people in attendance. Your opinion of crowds may help influence which convention holds more interest for you.

Ticket Cost

A weekend admission cost $60 at Anime North, while a deluxe pass for the full four days of Fan Expo starts at double that, $125 or $137 at the door. Fan Expo has a few different packages that may interest people. Children (age 6-12) only cost $10 a day at Fan Expo, while tickets for children (age 6-13) at Anime North are only half price.

Anime North’s tickets price start at $35 for the first and last days, which would be Friday and Sunday, while the middle day cost $45. FanExpo ticket’s cost $5 more when you pay at the door, meaning booking in advance is better when being price conscience. Thursday is the cheapest day but the doors are only open for 4 hours, meaning it only cost $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Friday is the next cheapest, costing $40 in advance, and Sunday is the second highest price with tickets costing $45. Saturday is the most expensive day with tickets costing $60 in advance or $65 at the door.

Which One is Better?

Fan Expo has more then just the Anime convention so the price has a lot more included, along with a much better location if you want to fill the entire day with activities, or would prefer to stay in the air conditioning. If you are only interested in Anime though, Anime North would be your preferred convention.


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Elizabeth Ayana Hall

Elizabeth is a second year professional writing student who lives on anime, books, and cheese.

She does not actually spend time outside, it is a eco-wall behind her.


Things Have Changed

I’ve been listening to Bob Dylan for about 15 years now. After finding a Greatest Hits CD containing a retrospective of his entire career. I didn’t get into it all at once, Dylan’s music came to me in stages in almost chronological order. It was Blowin’ in the Wind, Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right, It Ain’t Me Babe, these songs lyrically and melodically had captivated me. Then later his 60’s rock efforts which are legendary. It went on from there.

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Now, Dylan’s music isn’t very niche anymore. As a matter of fact Bob Dylan is history’s most decorated musician. He’s been the recipient of over thirty grammy’s, a Pulitzer Prize, presidential medal, an Academy Award, a golden globe, and a Nobel Prize for Literature, of which he’s the only musician to ever receive. With all of this to his name there’s still a fair share of people who just don’t like his music at all. His voice seems to be the barrier. Not quite sure what to make of that. There’s plenty of songs worthy of praise when it comes to his singing ability, most recently, “I Could Have Told You” on the Triplicate album.

Over the years my interest in music has died down. Other than Leonard Cohen and Mark Knopfler, and the occasional Springsteen my music taste has lied dormant for the past few years. Dylan’s music has always been more than just music though, it was the lyrics and their depth that has held me in deep interest of his work over the years. He once said of Woody Guthrie’s music that you could learn how to live just by listening to his music, in a lot of respects that goes for Bob as well. The timeless lyrical quality of his early songs, all the way up to his latest album of original material in Tempest. There’s just something about Dylan, and I’ll probably never quite be able to successfully explain what that is, but that’s okay. I know Bob will still be around “When The Deal Goes Down”


Justin Kataquapit

Justin Kataquapit was born in Moose Factory, Ontario, raised in various towns across northern Canada. He has an interest in classic literature, cinema, and has a wide array of interests in the arts. He is currently in his final year in the Professional Writing program at Algonquin College.

Dylan’s music has always been more than just music.

Halloween Board Games

Since we’re in the season for it I thought I’d talk about my two favourite horror board games I’ve played: Betrayal at House on the Hill and Elder Sign. These are both games you should play with your friends on this Halloween.

Betrayal at House on the Hill is a dangerous one, to be sure, but one of the primary joys of it is that you almost never play the same game. It’s so variable. The way the system works: it has several players with a figure they move around a board. The players find various items that can be both helpful and harmful. The game will then have an increasing chance for a kind of item you find that can either turn you into a monster or make you die at the hands of a monster.

The player then plays as the said monster and begins either purposefully hunting the other players to destroy them, or have pre-set conditions to make it likely that the players get killed or lose the game. There is an entire book about these conditions which are kept a secret from the other players.

When the transformation happens, the monster reads out what happens to the other players adding some flavour to the whole situation. The game is meant to be played with a bit of a cutthroat stance of mind. The main problem that arrives from playing it is when people try to be to kind to each other. It’s not as fun unless the challenge is presented. I have gone through that on more than one occasion. In all other regards it’s a pleasure to play and can be played several times in one evening to make things interesting.

Elder Sign is a game based in the Cthulhu mythos that has you and several other friends trying to prevent the end of the world by flipping cards, each representing further terrifying situations. The classic events that are often involved in these stories feature prominently, such as playing a detective or a scientist. In this game you have health and sanity as resources that both go down from failing certain endeavours that are attempts to save the world. As the title says, you need to gather Elder Signs which are clues to saving the world. You get a random horror from the mythos to go against and each one does different threats against the world. Some will simply destroy the world right away, but others will simply add more danger to the players and make the game exceptionally more difficult by trying to kill the players or making all their actions more difficult.

This season I hope you enjoy playing these games with your friends and may you defeat your monsters or be the best monster you can be.


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Mark Drew has been LARPing for three and a half years, at Ashendael Underworld, has been a Dungeon Master using edition 3.5, he is 25 years old and has worked in fast food, and manual labor. He’s been working on a novel for several years.


Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 is the best version you'll ever play

If you’ve ever played Dungeons & Dragons you’ve likely at one point or another played Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 edition. It is the best edition due to the fact that it has the most freedom to pursue various goals from being a monstrous creature to being a simple farmer. It has a varied amount of background skills that can be used in a fun and manageable format.

There were, of course, first, second and third editions as well. These editions had some rough points in them. They were, of course, earth shattering and made a monumental movement. It made the game system too hard to do anything in the earlier editions. Critical hits did not even exist until the second edition which is a critical (pun intended) aspect of the game as a whole. It wasn’t even a guaranteed strike! It was only effectively two attacks. Then in the third it was always a hit and dealt extra damage and there was a way to make it more likely to get them making the game more enjoyable.

There is also the edition which must not be named, but I shall name it here. The fourth edition. It was one of the most reviled editions of D&D posted. This edition attempted to make the game feel less like a creative and free-form boardgame and more into a hard and fast video game. This was removing the primary advantages which are inherent in a game without any preprogrammed walls and abilities. The lack of creativity that can be used in creation of items usable within the game and making combat quicker as well as more streamlined removed the freedom that makes the game more appealing than classic video games.

Fifth edition is a good edition – I won’t deny that – but it has a bit of fourth edition’s problems, just watered down. It adds simplicity which does make the game more palatable to newer players. Getting new players into the game is important. To do otherwise will make a game die. It is too simple though. It still limits the ability to make things and grow in new and interesting directions. No edition has as many supplementary books as edition 3.5. Fifth edition can be a good starting point for new players. If you’re ready to go somewhere and stay there? If you want to keep playing the game and truly get the undiluted experience, play Dungeons and Dragons Edition 3.5.

Reflection on Bergman

When you ask somebody about any number of film makers they’ll most likely draw a blank, even among film students. Throughout film history several giants stand out among all film makers, like Ingmar Bergman, Andrei Tarkovsky, Stanley Kubrick, Frederico Fellini, Akira Kurosawa. There’s many more that fit the title of legendary. So why have so many of these names fallen into near obscurity? I know there are many people that recognize and revere these artists and their work, but to others less versed in film history these are just obscure names.

Of the film makers mentioned here, Ingmar Bergman remains the most personal to me. His vast artistic output is the embodiment of the human experience, which I suppose is a pretty bold claim. Some would say his work consists of morose, philosophically bleak portraits of the human condition. I consider it an unflinching look at our darkest impulses and fears, but not just that. It would be a misinterpretation of Bergman to pigeonhole his films as dark, as there are several shades of his work that encompass lighthearted comedies concerning romance to fragile human struggles that conjure phantoms.

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The first film I saw of his was titled Wild Strawberries, a film made in 1957 during one his most creative periods, a film about an aged man who goes on a road trip to accept an honorary degree. Along the way he is confronted by his life and its inadequacies. It’s an introspective drama that addresses the concerns of mortality, expectation, and self-worth. I saw it several years ago not knowing who Bergman was, and found myself redefining my own view on film as an art form.

With over 50 films by Bergman there’s no shortage of material to enjoy. I’ve included a short video essay by Criterion below that further explores Bergman’s themes.





Justin Kataquapit

Justin Kataquapit was born in Moose Factory, Ontario, raised in various towns across northern Canada. He has an interest in classic literature, cinema, and has a wide array of interests in the arts. He is currently in his final year in the Professional Writing program at Algonquin College.


What is LARP?

Live Action Role Playing is the activity of going out to pretend to be someone or something else. It most often involves improvisational acting. The people who participate in it vary widely. As someone who has participated in that community I can personally confirm that the people who participate vary from those of military backgrounds, fast-food employees, teachers, and artists. They come from all walks of life and were inspired to do it for a variety of reasons.

One of the primary reasons people often speak of not wishing to participate in LARP is their concern that they lack acting experience or had never played Dungeons & Dragons. I have found that most people who have participated in LARP actually don’t have any past experiences of that kind. They more often have some interest in fantasy novels or physical activities which lends themselves well to the physical activity required by the hobby.

The kind of LARP I have known is a full weekend high combat event. High combat meaning it has a lot of running and swinging safe weapons at one another. What is swung is generally a latex boffer weapon which is made to be safe for light hits. There are safety measures involved to prevent undue injury, such as only being allowed to swing at a ninety-degree angle and having the weapons checked before game to ensure they are unlikely to cause actual injuries to people. The other form of weapon that can be constructed is foam. I will not go into the detail of its construction here but they are meant to be safe to hit anywhere but the head.

 My friend’s boffer made to look like a frying pan.

My friend’s boffer made to look like a frying pan.

It is a very high intensity LARP as you can not leave character until the game is over, which is a full weekend camping excursion. This kind of LARP also has high roleplaying aspects as you are supposed to stay in character the entire time.

Not all LARPs are quite as intensive as that. There is another kind that involves purely combat oriented action. If anyone has ever participated in paintball it would be similar to a medieval style paintball game of taking people out and trying to survive and it can last only an afternoon if desired. This is high combat, low roleplaying. 

There are other kinds of LARP which have no combat at all and are purely roleplay. These are often called parlour LARPs. One of the most common would be Vampire the Masquerade. There are various other kinds and I myself have never done that one. Instead I’ve participated in some science fiction versions which are also done in an evening and often have a set goal to achieve. They are people driven and sometimes involve puzzles. The most important is interaction and acting as your character would.

There are even more kinds of LARP out there but these are some of the most common brief forms present in Canada. I would suggest trying it out to anyone. Remember: there’s no need to be intimidated by a new and odd hobby; it’s just a chance to do something different.


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Mark Drew

Mark Drew has been LARPing for three and a half years, at Ashendael Underworld, has been a Dungeon Master using edition 3.5, he is 25 years old and has worked in fast food, and manual labor. He’s been working on a novel for several years.

How To Stop Being Garbage At Monopoly

I have to be honest ladies and gentlemen, I have never met anyone in my life who is good at Monopoly. Now I may seem like a smug asshole, but I assure you: since the day I have started my Monopoly career, everyone who I have ever played is garbage. Now I know what you’re thinking and no, I didn’t win every game when I was little, but that’s because my young mind wasn’t the war strategist it is today. Let me break it down for you. Monopoly is a game of luck and intelligence. It is very much like poker, and before you say I’m being too analytic, you shut your mouth Deborah, I’m the Monopoly genius here. I don’t care what kind of house rules you play with, it’s all the same.

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First thing you do is when you go around the board for the first time… now listen because I’m not repeating this again… buy every god damn property you can. What kind of idiot hoards their money instead of buying property in a game that’s all about owning real-estate? You’re just saving that money for when you land on my property that you declined to buy for some damn reason, you’re using it to pay me. Yeah you’re spending a lot of money for properties that you only get 12 dollars rent for, but that rent is going to pile up eventually.

Getting lots of properties means that everyone else has a more given chance of landing on your places than their own. Most of all, having as many properties will exclude other players from getting 3 of a kind, putting motels on said properties and then screwing your day. You want to get those 3 of a kind for yourself, which opens up a whole other can of worms that people screw up; trading. This is the one thing that someone else can do to ruin your game because of their own stupidity. Have you ever heard “Sure I’ll trade you the cards you need to make 3 of a kind because I like the red ones!” These people kill me. There is no strategy behind this thought and it’s infuriating. Don’t trade your cards unless it absolutely benefits you. Other than that, hold your cards like your life depends on it because you’d only be helping your opponents. You see? It really doesn’t take that much to be good at this game as old as time itself. Now buck up and give me some.


Sterling Guilherme is a video game journalist who is a lover of JRPG’s, strategy games, and high fantasy RPG’s. Careful if you’re playing any kind of board-game with him, as he gets incredibly competitive. His favorite board games are Catan and Risk. He’s probably somewhere right now, day-dreaming of a good meal and a stiff drink.


Rolling. Falling. Cheese.

Two hundred people annually meet at the top of Copper’s Hill, in England, to chase a cheese wheel down the hill. The real name for this sporting competition is Cheese-Rolling and Wake. There are roughly five races each year, depending on how many cheese wheels are available if it’s in a time of emergency.

The hill is almost directly vertical which adds the risk of participants falling from their feet. It’s rare for anyone surrounding the event. Even watching the race is dangerous in itself because of the steepness. Many injuries are minor, but concussions are a norm during the event.

The origin of the race is unknown, but some families have documentation of their ancestors participating as far back as the mid-1700’s, and some believe that the tradition came from when Roman’s invaded in 54BC. The race has not always been done with 7-to-9-pound wheels of cheese. Alternatives to the cheese wheels are different types of pastries, such as cake or buns, to help bring either self-fertility or the fertility of the harvest.

Why people participate in the event besides the enjoyment is unknown unless a large percentage of people crave the taste of the flaky, closed texture cheese. The only other reason that people want to participate in this event would be for the sheer novelty of the event, and being able to say they have participated. Videos of the event have spiked interest across the internet to the unusual sport and raised tourism for the event and surrounding area.

This is the reason I would like to bring it to Canada, but instead of using an unpopular or unknown cheese type as double Gloucester, I suggest using the popular cheeses of mozzarella, or for a more Canadian twist, a giant cheese curd. Imagine this: a giant curd of cheese rolling down a hill with a crowd racing after it, each one apologizing as they stumbled or tumbled into another.


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Elizabeth Ayana Hall

Elizabeth is a second year professional writing student who lives on anime, books, and cheese.

She does not actually spend time outside, it is a green wall behind her.


Welcome to Room and Board

Room and Board is a blog all about the alternative, the interesting, and sometimes the down-right strange. While others focus on the mainstream we focus on more downstream entertainment. Whether it’s a roll of the dice or a swing of the sword: foam or otherwise.

The alternative and the variance can swing between the bright screen and hiding out in the woods dressed up as monsters and beasts of assorted kinds. From improv to the flipping of a page, and the bourgeoning of imagination. From the artistic stylings of Japanese anime or manga. Canadian entertainment, and all the way down to the study and knowledge of various cheeses.  

We will look at the strategies frequently often employed in different board games. The ways for you to improve or just our opinions on how you should be playing.

While cinema may not be considered off beat, certain genres often go under the radar. The works of Ingmar Bergman, Andrei Tarkovsky, and Terrence Mallick may be considered very hard to classify. Will be looked into as well.