Useless Drivel – LEVEL UP!

Level20Another week, another podcast, but this week it’s totally different!  Not only are Matt and Rob joined in-studio by not just one, but two guests, they actually have something to talk about!  Now, we know the listening audience seriously can’t get enough of the regular non-coherent ramblings of the hosts (what is wrong with you people), but this week it’s time to change it up.  Listen along as the guys are joined by JiB and Gina of Happy Jacks RPG Podcast fame in a discussion on character advancement in RPGs.  You’ll definitely learn something, just not from the regular hosts.  Rarely accurate, but mostly timely, it’s time for another episode of Useless Drivel!

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Useless Drivel – A Podcast Without a Point

VinDiesel

Hey Monkey Lovers! Monkey in the Cage has grown and evolved, shifted and changed, and finally morphed into an even greater entity – Monkey in the Cage Productions!  While the MITC Podcast will still feature all four of our lovable hosts every few weeks, the episodes in between will be filled by Matt and Robert chatting about damn near everything in questionable states of sobriety.  What kind of shenanigans will these two adversarial friends get up to in the coming weeks, only time will tell, but it is there mission to bring you, the listener, something that qualifies remotely as entertainment every Tuesday.  They don;t know where they’re going, but it’s no use being late!  So, without further adieu, welcome to Useless Drivel: A Podcast Without a Point!

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Episode 84 – Bringing a Game to Life

props

Gamers want to feel immersed and invested in the games they play and run.  Now, while this responsibility can be shared by Players and GMs alike, it will almost certainly falls on the shoulders of the overburdened GM.  Bringing something unique and memorable to the gaming table – be it a prop, ambiance, or even food – will definitely stay in the forefront of the Players minds, unlike useless details such as “Where are we?” or “What are we supposed to be doing?” or “What was the name of the guy that hired us?”  Join us this week as we welcome our special guest, MITC listener and fellow podcaster JiB of the Happy Jacks RPG community to talk about techniques to help bring a game to life.  Strap on a HazMat suit, clean out your test tubes, and be sure to have a plan as you get ready for an all new episode of Monkey in the Cage!

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Are Post-Apocalyptic Settings the Best Settings?

Well, it looks like I have to wait until February for The Walking Dead to come back, and as much as that’s going to suck, it does give my brain a chance to think on other end-of-the-world scenarios.  Pop-culture is bombarded with the “threat” of the Zombie Apocalypse, but having grown up in the tail end of the Cold War, I still remember how a very REAL apocalypse cast a very palpable shadow on the western world.  Post-apocalyptic settings are no strangers to a large group of gamers, but let’s take a look at what the end of the world as we know it has to offer!

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Episode 49 – Guilty Pleasure TV Shows

Everyone likes a good TV show, right?  But, as we here at Monkey in the Cage know, “good” is a very relative (and somewhat dangerous) word to use when measuring the quality of the television we watch.  Join us this week as we are joined by super-listener and über-contributor Kevin Smith to talk about all those shows we hate to love!  Warm up your vocal chords,really suspend your disbelief, and bring yourself tons of cash as you settle in for another ear-melting episode of Monkey in the Cage!

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A Call to Arms – Support Your Local Gaming Stores

Okay.  So I really try not to get up on a soap box (often) but this past week has really made me feel that it was necessary to put the word out.  Gamers of the world, we all really need to start supporting our local gaming stores!!  In this day and age of internet accessibility, it is incredibly too easy to log on, make a couple clicks, and await the delivery of your next gaming book or boardgame.  Hell, I’m totally guilty of it, and Amazon.com is an amazing source for all your retail needs, but we can easily forget that there are those brick and mortar gaming stores out there that truly need our support.

A few weeks ago, Wizards of the Coast announced that it would be doing a limited edition run of AD&D reprints.  Attached to this announcement were two notable sidebars.  The first was that a portion of the proceeds would go to the  Gygax Memorial Fund, whose goal is to erect a statue of the Father of Roleplaying Games in his hometown of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.  The other was that these reprints would be available in limited quantities ONLY through North American hobby channels – i.e., gaming retailers.  This fact really made me perk up and take notice.  Wizards of the Coast could have very easily offered a limited pre-order through their own web store in addition to retailers, but made the decision to nix the online purchase ability.  Bravo, Wizard, bravo.  Some of us (me) may still have questions as to why 4E was so bad (I’m not the only one out there, so turn that stink eye somewhere else), but this decision is truly deserving of praise.

I decided that I needed to get my hands on these new reprints, so I picked up the phone and dialed up the local hobby shop down the street… number disconnected.  “Wait a minute,” I thought to myself, “that can’t be right.  I was just there not long ago buying some 4E books.” (I said I don’t like it, not that won’t play it.)  As it turns out, the now defunct Adventurer’s Guild in Riverside, California had shut its doors after probably two plus decades of service to the local gaming community.  A victim of the economic climate, I’m sure, it really came as a shock to me that a store that had always been there when I needed it was no more.  Fortunately (or unfortunately, given the circumstances), there is still on gaming store in the area, GMI Games.

Make this man proud, dammit!

I dropped into GMI on my way home from work to make my pre-order and had the opportunity to spend some time getting to know the owner, Katherine.  We talked 4E, DnD Next, and the tenuous circumstances in keeping a specialty store open.  Half of the store was dedicated to RPG’s and Boardgames, while the other half was set aside with numerous tables and terrain for Wargaming of all types.  Katherine was kind enough to let me drop off some promo material for the podcast and as I looked around the store, I knew that the truly responsible thing for me to do was to return the favor and make a purchase.  I thanked her for the chat and the willingness to promote us here at Monkey in the Cage, but I left carrying a copy of Deadlands: The Battle For Slaughter Gulch and knowing that I was going to be coming back when I could to help keep those door open.

Gaming specialty stores are a dying breed and we as gamers of all types should do our part to help keep them in business.  If you’ve got one close to you, by all means, make a visit and make a purchase, every little bit helps.  Sure it might cost a little more than an online retailer, but think of it as an investment.  Not only are these specialty shops a great resource for your gaming needs, they also serve as great places to game, make new friends, and just plain enjoy being a geek.  Also, if you are near GMI Games in Riverside, tell them Monkey in the Cage sent you, because every little bit helps us here too!

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