Warriors v0.60, Tarotless Zarcana, and Time Travel

Howdy, all!

The biggest news in my life is that my sister-in-law is pregnant again. Her due date is toward the end of October. Congrats, Sharon!

In other news, Warriors Online v0.60 is here! You can download the LackeyCCG plugin from draconiaprime0.tripod.com. Please pass any comments, suggestions, or error reports my way, and enjoy the game! In the meantime, I’ll be working on v0.90, which will include all the rares, and support booster drafting.

After the bulk of the plugin creation is done, I’ll switch hats back to Icehouse. I’ve been enthused about Zarcana. The reviews that I’ve read really hit home for me: random, fiddly, laid-back, and tactical. This sounds like my kind of game! (The redevelopment of Zarcana, Gnostica, looks to aggressive for my taste.) However I, like many others before us, balk at the Tarot deck involvement. Evelyn will not permit a Tarot deck at home, so I’ve decided to "un-tarotize" Zarcana. Similar to the Gnostica learner’s deck, Tarotories, I will create my own deck expressly for Zarcana, with all applicable rules right on the cards. Instead of the usual Tarot artwork and terminology, I’ve decided to use fine art form the public domain. For example, I plan on replacing The Empress with the Mona Lisa, and The Hanged Man with The Death of Marat. If you have art substitution suggestions, please speak up! This Zarcana deck will be a lot of work, possibly the most graphic-intensive project I’ve ever done, but I’m excited and eager to try out Zarcana. And even if the game leaves me flat, I’ll still leave behind a way to play Zarcana without a Tarot deck, for all those who find themselves in the same Tarot-shy predicament. Everyone wins!

Last night I finished reading Jack Finney’s From Time to Time, the 1995 sequel to 1970’s Time and Again. Although I haven’t read the predecessor, I had high hopes for this time travel novel. Well, those hopes were tough to fulfill; this book was a small disappointment. DO NOT READ THIS BOOK FOR THE PLOT!! This novel is for time travel geeks only (like me)! Finney can paint a humanly realistic mural of a historic setting in a unique first person narrative, and that’s where this book shines. But it lacks a reasonable plot. Many of the character decisions are rash, half-hearted attempts to do something, usually accompanied with some driving force, either a desperate ploy to avoid futility or an obsessive zeal for some trivial detail. The main character seems to tell himself on every page, "I have no idea what I’m supposed to do here, so I’ll just play along until something happens." Like a session of any ‘adventure’ computer game (Myst and Starship Titanic come to mind), the hero stumbles around haphazardly, lost in a puzzle as big as the world, until he succeeds out of serendipity rather than clever resourcefulness. Despite the plot’s shortcomings, I did enjoy the playfulness with which Finney approaches history. He treats it as a thing of wonder, like the awe a child feels upon visiting Disneyland. He truly loves the past, loves thinking about the past, and loves using words to turn a time period in his hands like a whimsical toy. If it is possible to feel nostalgic about an era 70 years before I was born, this book has accomplished that.

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