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Natural20's Random Thought Table - What I Want For Christmas Print
Written by Brian Nisbet   
Dec 04, 2009 at 04:46 AM

While the rest of us aren't quite at the stage of putting up a Christmas tree, Brian's already writing letters to the North Pole...

Natural20's Random Thought Table - What I want for Christmas.

Appropriate and non-specific greetings to you all in honour of the end of the year, the return of the sun, the birth of a Son and whatever other notions or holidays you wish to celebrate at this time of year. I thought I would take this early December opportunity to go through a list of things that I would love to get for Christmas. Some of these are games, some are not so physical, and many of them extend well into 2010. If anyone reading can provide any of these (I refer more to the non-physical items, mind) then they would be gratefully received!

So, let's start with the physical and run down through some of the most excellent products that are out right now. In no particular order.

Dominion ( is a game that appears to have been out for a while, but one I only noticed during the year. Each player builds a deck throughout the game from a common set of cards and tries to reach the victory conditions. Seems simple enough, and that, of course, is the main quality of some of the best games around. The common set can change from game to game and, of course, you're competing with the other players for the best cards. It's superfluous to say that the permutations are almost endless, but I'm going to say it anyway. I sat down to play this game with three of the best Magic:The Gathering players I know (by accident!) and while I was continually beaten, my immediate reaction after each game was to want to play another, albeit perhaps against slightly less skilled opposition! Definitely worth checking out.

Rogue Trader from Fantasy Flight Games. It's gorgeous and could be used for home defence, what more do you want? I must admit I haven't had the chance to run or play this system as yet, but I'm rather hoping to get some actual play experience in 2010, but going on what others have said and on the high quality of the other WH40K related releases, I'm more than willing to give it a try. In fact, I have asked for this for Christmas, but that's from a family member, so you're all off the hook.

The Rendering Engine, The Art of Paul Bourne ( The first thing I ever noticed about Contested Ground Studios was the art work. The cover of A|State remains as one of my favourite of all time and Paul Bourne has just got better and better since then. So now he's brought out a book of just art! In an ideal world this would be A3 size or bigger, but obviously practicality wins out and the book itself is fairly small. However as most of his work is placed in similar size books, it works really rather well and it means the whole thing is very affordable and very beautiful.

Diablo 3, by Activision/Blizzard. However I'm not going to get this next year, they've said so, so instead I'll concentrate on Starcraft 2. I've played some early versions of this (they had a very big stand at GenCon Indy in 2007) and it looks and feels amazing. It's Starcraft, it's new and it's up to date. What more do you need to know?

I would mention Dragon Age Origins by Bioware here, but as it only runs on Windows and I game on a Mac these days, I'm not going to. I could, of course, run a virtual machine and grab a copy of Windows, but I'm content to say right now, if Blizzard can manage to issue titles for both platforms these days, Bioware should be able to as well.

MMO wise I'd rather like to see the new Star Trek and Star Wars games, er, real soon now, moreso the latter, but either would be good. I also can't wait for WoW 4.0/Cataclysm, but that's going to be quite a few months after Christmas, so it shouldn't be in here.

So let's get on to the less physical side of things.

In 2010 I would love to see a continued growth in communication and cooperation between Irish gamers. For the first time in a long time work was done this year to coordinate the dates of cons in the crunch period of February and March. This was a success on the basis that no weekend has two cons, but there's more there to be done. There should never be a con placed at a bad time because the committee weren't aware of what else was happening or how to get in contact with people. Ten years ago (with some years either side, of course) the irishgaming mailing list was a way to get in contact with every convention in the land. That functionality hasn't ever been replaced, not by any of the forums that have sprung up, and it certainly isn't being fulfilled by the mailing list now. This is a great pity, but it can be sorted out. Gaelcon made great and necessary strides this year to reconnect itself into the community, other cons should work as hard, because this kind of communication and collaboration will not only help Irish gaming, but it'll help each con with bigger numbers through the door and more variety.

On that note, I want more innovation at cons and events for Christmas. There are some trailblazers here, of course, but more people should be pushing the boundaries of what's possible in each gaming format. While obviously you want your players to have fun, but a con is a chance to experiment, to go wild and try something new for a few hours; you have little to lose and much to gain. So when you sit down to write, think about what twists you can add, what differences you can make and how you will make your players remember this game forever.

I also want to see more people writing. This has been a perpetual wish of mine, mind, not something new. Writing games is nowhere near as difficult as most people think, really. Sit down, do some work, submit it to your local con, write the full game, run it, have fun. If it's horrible and you hate it, fair enough, never do it again, but take the chance.

Finally I want people to game. To come together and have fun. In sitting rooms or around kitchen tables, in schools and in colleges, online or at cons, to play all the many wonderful games they can play, in the company of many wonderful human beings. And to have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Oh, and a pony!

User Comments

Comment by GUEST on 2015-12-21 00:33:33
Here is a list of the majority of games reaelsed for Kinect with a short description of what game type they are.Fighters UncagedExperience controller-free full-body combat right in your living room. Fighters Uncaged is the first motion fighting game for Kinect, dedicated to a core audience. Did anyone say Kinect is only for casual gamers?Adrenalin MisfitsAdrenalin Misfits is a cool downhill extreme sports game, only you don’t get to use a controller. As a downhill racer, you’ll have to get up off of your couch and go through the motions.Sonic Free RidersSonic is speeding onto Kinect™ with full-motion body control to twist, turn, and jump, as you speed your way to compete in exhilarating, adrenaline-fueled races against tough competition.Get Fit with Mel BGet Fit with Mel B is a huge leap forward in the home fitness and will help you get in shape or reach a new level of health. Imagine having a real personal fitness coach right there in your home!Child of EdenTetsuya Mizuguchi’s Child of Eden might be the coolest motion gaming experience yet. With its intense special effects, Child of Eden is one that shouldn’t be missed if you’re a hard-core gamer.Zumbaae FitnessBring the Zumba Fitness party home dance those pounds away right in your living room! This addictive fitness craze blends Latin and world rhythms with easy-to-follow dance moves to help you tone and sculpt the body while burning fat.Star Wars KinectOne Kinect game that’s going to draw the most attention from “core gamers” is the new untitled “Star Wars” game featuring controller-free lightsaber fighting and motion-activated Force powers.Kinect Bundle: Biggest Loser Ultimate WorkoutIf you’ve been considering to start a healthier lifestyle, now the solution has come to your own living room. With the Biggest Loser: Ultimate Workout, it’s never been easier to get in shape with a top of the class workout program.Brunswick Pro BowlingSTRIKE! You’re in! Utilizing the Xbox 360 Kinect motion control sensor, Brunswick Pro Bowling is the only game to feature a realistic and authentic bowling experience for the whole family. Get ready for an entirely new way to bowl!Deca Sports FreedomOne of the most realistic ways to play sports as if you were doing it in real life. Swing that tennis racquet, jab with your right hand, and pull back on the bowstring! Yes, no controller needed.Kinect Joy Ride3 … 2 … 1 … Go! “Kinect Joy Ride,” the first controller-free racing game, takes the thrilling driving experience off the track and into your living room.EA Sports Active 2 for KinectWith Wireless Full Body Motion Tracking, you’re able to track full body movement that will register exercises never before possible and create seamless workout experiences, without ever having to use a controller.Dance CentralDance Central is the first immersive dance video game that features and tracks full-body dance moves. Whether you’ve had your dancing shoes on your entire life or this is your first time hitting the floor, Dance Central will have you dancing like a pro in no time.Kinect Adventures!Whether you want to play for five minutes or five hours, “Kinect Adventures” is a rich mine for fun with friends and family members. Take turns jumping in and out of games whenever you like, or jump onto Xbox LIVE to play online.Kinect SportsThe first full-body, controller-free sports game, “Kinect Sports” features soccer, beach volleyball, bowling, table tennis, track and field, and boxing and gives you the ultimate party experience.KinectimalsGet in touch with your wild side. “Kinectimals” invites children, their parents and animal lovers of all ages to build lasting friendships with some of the world’s most exotic creatures. The fun never ends with “Kinectimals”All other games which dont rely completely on Kinect will have Kinect elements/sidequests/options built in for future play .Hope this helps.

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