I've decided I will allow myself a regular rant post. This, I believe, can be excused as:
(a) it helps others avoid repeating my mistakes
(b) allows me to let off steam in a semi-constructive manner
If this seems a bit self-indulgent, may I point out what I do not do....
No self-congratulatory ("I haz 50 readers") posts
No "retweet" posts simply copy+pasting others work (okay, sometimes, but very rarely)
No restrospective "look backs" or special New Years resolution posts
Nor do I fill my blog with personal/family information (martial status, back pains)
So as long as it is on topic (sci fi, wargaming, fantasy, rules, history) I'd argue it is fair game for "critical analysis". So here goes:
Legends of Tomorrow (TV Show)
This show was embarrassing. It makes Dr Who look like a AAA blockbuster, and in fact the main character Rip reminds me of Dr Who mixed with Willy Wonka. If DC has any aspersions to rival Marvel's expanding TV universe, then this has dealt it a severe blow. The weak acting was not helped by the terrible script and dialogue. I gave Arrow a 6/10 and to be honest this is DC's best TV effort I've seen so far, as Flash (4/10) and Legends (2/10) lower the bar. (Admittedly Marvel's Agents of Shield was pretty weak, but I charitably attributed it as being designed for a teenage target audience like Avengers) I have no desire to watch this show further. The pilot did not just shoot itself through the foot, but through the head.
Ravenstar Cold Navy Castings (miniatures)
I'm trying to force myself to paint these spaceships, but the motivation isn't there. The sculpts and design are awesome (John Bear Ross, I think?), but the execution is horrid. The resin is bubbly, with chunks missing, sharp edges are "melted" and I spent so much time filing and trimming I honestly could have made the spaceships myself faster if I simply carved them freehand out of a raw chunk of resin.
Robotech Miniatures (miniatures)
Yes, I've mentioned this before, but I recently re-tried to get them all assembled and finished. The day I spent trying to assemble these 1/144 minis made me so furious I avoided my hobby shed for a fortnight, messing up my holiday hobby plans. Basically, these are 1/144 minis with 200 (maybe an exaggeration) parts each. Imagine 40K Terminator-size models where each is a 1:72 Revell kit and you get the idea. To rub salt into the wounds, Veritech fighters need 3 versions assembled for each "mode" - so you need to assemble 12 of these fiddly models for a mere 4-mech unit on the tabletop....
Flames of War (rules)
For what is pretty much a 40K ripoff, these rules are simplistic without actually being particularly simple to use. Any "ease of use" is simply due to its familiarity to ex-GW players. I was skimming them the other day, and was amazed at how "dense" they were. There's a LOT of rules. Admittedly, I've got the small-print version, but there's 150 or so pages of raw rules. They have so many exceptions and special situations. I was looking through them for ideas how to simplify a mech game at platoon+ scale, but ended up tossing it aside as it was too complicated. And no one (except maybe Battlefront's PR team) claims FoW is the most deep, tactical WW2 game out there. It's like a MacDonalds Happy meal at gourmet restaurant pricing.
Scandanavian Crime Fiction (books)
Ever since the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo we have been assailed with "the next big thing" to come out of <insert Scandanavian country> In general, they're all pretty rubbish. Okay, here's the "New York Times bestselling author Jussi Adler-Olsen latest "The Hanging Girl." Here's the first paragraphs: (my thoughts in small print)
"Hey Carl. Wake up. The telephone is ringing again."
Carl looked up sleepily at Assad, who was camouflaged like a yellow carnival (wtf is a yellow carnival?). When he'd started (what?) in the morning, the overalls had been white and his curly hair black, so if there was even a splash of paint on the walls, it would be a miracle." (I have no words...)
"You interrupted me right in the middle of a complicated train of thought," said Carl, reluctantly taking his legs of the table. (Ooh, a complicated train of thought. The use of "reluctantly" reminds me of a teenager trying to shoehorn adverbs into a free writing task)
"Okay! Sorry!" the wrinkles of a smile appeared under the jungle of Assad's nine o'clock stubble (a jungle of stubble? really?) What the heck was it his round, happy eyes expressed? A hint of irony, perhaps? (his eyes were round AND happy, ye gods!)
Yes, it's probably lost a lot in translation. But the writing is utter tripe. I know 12 year olds who can do better than this. I don't care if the plot is mindbendingly amazing, I can't force myself to read more than a chapter. And this is pretty much par for the course. For some reason people will accept any crap if it's "made in Sweden" etc as it's trendy or something. Protip: If it says "best-selling" and<insert Scandanvian country> author, put the book down, and walk out the door. I just saved you wasting several hours of your life.
/RANT over. There, that feels better. It's a relief to not to try to word things carefully (like in rules reviews, where I try to be <relatively> fair). Feel free to agree/disagree.