The Stochastic Game

Ramblings of General Geekery

Addendum to last post: the only “algorithm” I ever wanted in an RSS reader is the ability to separate “high frequency” and “low frequency” feeds, so irregular blogs don’t get drowned by big websites. Fiery Feeds, for instance, does that.

No Algorithms

Joshua Emmons replied to Brent Simmons' No Algorithms post with a couple of very good tweets, which Brent quoted back on his blog. They summarize well what people have been saying about centralized, algorithm-driven social media for a while now.

When you read Facebook or Twitter everything that “bubbles up” to you are things that “register” on the algorithm’s requirements list: sometimes it’s funny or important things, but most of the time it’s just outrageous and/or outraged posts. This near constant flow of high emotion content takes its toll on people after a while if you don’t carefully trim the people you follow… but even then, if the platform decides to show you updates from people you don’t follow, or reorder those updates based on some obscure criteria, that’s not going to change much.

Compare that to getting your news and entertainment from RSS feeds, where you not only control your sources (the people/organizations you “follow”), but also control the platform (the way those updates are sorted, filtered, and displayed). If you don’t like one platform, you can always change to another one. You’re in control and, ultimately, that keeps you more sane.

After deAdder was fired from a New Brunswick newspaper over a Trump cartoon, it looks like, as always with social media, the initially justified outrage grew out of hand. Yay social media.

2019 ENnies Nominations

The 2019 ENnie Awards nominations are up and I’m happy to find some of my favourite products in the list.

First, there’s a whole bunch of Chaosium stuff in there: the new, mostly awesome edition of Masks of Nyarlathotep is up for Best Adventure (duh), the new gorgeous RuneQuest books are up for Best Interior Art (double duh), and the Glorantha Sourcebook is up for Best Supplement (duh duh duh, especially since the last book in this line, the Guide to Glorantha, had won the Diana Jones award in 2015). I have to say that Chaosium has been totally killing it for the past few years, ever since the change of management in 2015.

There’s also some cool related stuff like the HPLHS Masks of Nyarlathotep Gamer Prop Set, which is a lot of fun and is up for two awards, the HPLHS (again!) “radio theatre” version of Masks, and the latest Cthulhu Invinctus which I don’t have, but is probably extremely well done based on previous editions and the authors' cameos on the Miskatonic University Podcast.

Over at Pelgrane Press (another fine purveyor of quality gaming), the Fall of DELTA GREEN is up for Best Setting, so let’s see if Delta Green can keep winning record numbers of awards. The other nominated books are stuff on my wishlist… I’ll get there eventually.

I’m not a big fan of Monte Cook’s Cypher System, but there’s no denying they release a lot of gorgeous and original games – and with Numenera, it looks like they’re having a lot of success. I’m pretty intrigued by what that looks like in campaign form, so I’m happy to see a campaign book, Slaves of the Machine God, up for an award. And with Invisible Sun up for the Best Interior Art award, Chaosium’s RuneQuest books have at least one hard-to-beat competitor. Invisible Sun’s Black Cube is also up for Best Production Values and I’m not sure anyone can beat that, it’s easily the most imposing, mysterious, and awesome thing on my RPG shelves at the moment. Oh, and it’s also up for Best Setting. Yeah, this is all deserved.

Finally, on the podcast front, the ever entertaining and interesting Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff is back in the nominations against a bunch of actual plays. I’m crossing my fingers for them.

Anyway, congratulations to all nominees! It’s a good time to be a GM.