Well, for the first time since I started it about a year ago, there's no monthly summary post, because I haven't had any posts on my blog for the last month. This is something of an accident, though I've been surprised at maintaining a minimum of three posts a month 'til now, and there should be something during October. And it's not like nothing's going on, so I'm going to prattle on for a bit here (and if something doesn't interest you, skip a paragraph, I'll have switched subjects).

There's been no face-to-face gaming this last month. Seems to be a curse of this time of the year, because we went through that last year at this time too. Patch and I are still playing on-line though. We've been playing Star Fleet Battles on Tuesdays, and that battle is dragging out (neither of us is stupid enough to get caught in a situation that ends the game with our ships exploding, so it's been attrition; I think Patch has got me). We're also playing more ASL by mail, and that goes slower.

Reading-wise, I started a couple books right before the month began, and I'm finishing right after the month ends. There'll be a review for the non-fiction on my blog soon. Fiction-wise, I started re-reading McCullough's Masters of Rome series a while ago, and am now at the mid-point (starting Caesar's Women, which was the least interesting one for me the first time).

I have a lot of different hobbies, and I tend to slowly rotate through one of them preying on my mind for a while before wandering onto another one. Around this time last year, I was writing up all the reports on the ASL games I've played on VASL, so I was thinking really heavily about that, and about boardgames in general then. Early this year, my mind moved on to computer games, which allowed me to get my series of Paradox reviews off the ground. (I'm about halfway through my review of Europa Universalis III; I need to get back to it.) My activity with computer games got a boost when I picked up Skylanders and Smudge and I spent a few weeks enjoying that and a couple other games together.

And that ended up with trying out Neverwinter. In some very real terms, the game is not nearly worthy of the amount of time I've spent on it. But it seems to be just good enough. The story hangs together just well enough. The controls, while annoyingly different from most MMO's, are well thought-out and work. Smudge and I have certainly enjoyed challenging ourselves with the dungeon content, and I have to say it's been the most successful at getting me to move around and tactically maneuver in combat of any MMO (SWTOR would be the least successful).

The second GW2 free weekend just finished, and I'm less likely to go spend money on it now than after the first one. The first time, it took us pretty much the entire weekend to get used to it, and start enjoying the game. The same thing happened this time. Just what is going on when you have to spend two days getting used to a game before you start enjoying it? I think they did some smart things, and I hope it will be a landmark design in terms of future influence on the genre, but I don't think that this particular package comes together well. It doesn't help that death, so far, has come often and easily for me (I think my poor Charr warrior died at least three dozen times on Sunday), while death is rare in Neverwinter, and the challenge levels just aren't that far different.

I'm also suffering something of a 'I think I'm done' feeling with regard to SWTOR, which is part of why Neverwinter is so nice to spend time on, but once I'm 60 and gotten through all the dungeons we can do without a bigger party, that'll probably be the end of that. Which leads to 'wither next' questions. To a certain extent, I have been ignoring other things I'd like to get done, so I probably will shunt some time away from MMOs at that point. Though going back and trying Baldur's Gate with Smudge again is a temptation. The temptation to give FF XIV a whirl is also there.... But right now, SWTOR is still remaining the 'official' default choice. I would like to see more of the stories there, though the game is not exciting me much at the moment.

Playing in the Forgotten Realms has stirred interest in that again, and good ol' RPGs with it. I've been re-reading the old Campaign Set, and plan to go on and re-read all the FR modules I got back in the day too. I'm contemplating doing something role-playie, from getting back on the horse three years later, to actually running something more. Probably not, for the latter, but it is tempting me once again....

This leads me to contemplating getting some of the plethora of good RPG products in PDF form out there (lots of GURPS products, and lots of old D&D stuff primarily). But rather than just looking at it on my desktop, I'd like to be able to carry them around. In other words, I'd like an e-reader before I start buying these things. This also dovetails with a desire to access (updated) PDF versions of wargame rulebooks while playing at the table, since both tend to be 8.5"x11" products. Smudge and I did some looking around this weekend, and the 7" screens of smaller tablets are too small to view something that big without zooming, though that can certainly be done. A 10" screen is definitely big enough. At the moment, I'm leaning towards the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9, which I figure will be just big enough. But that's around $450, which is probably more than I can manage even in a three paycheck month....