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Archive for December, 2018

Episode 323: They Pecked the Anglo Saxons

December 14th, 2018 | Robin

Jet-lagged and full of pudding, we return from our latest trip to Dragonmeet to issue a Travel Advisory about the Anglo Saxon Kingdoms exhibit at the British Library.

In the Gaming Hut we pursue a request from Patreon backer Mikey Hamm to talk about chase rules.

If we were just in London, our hero must have come home with a metric oodle of tomes to share with you before he files them up on Ken’s Bookshelf.

Want to pose a question to the show? Get your priority question asking access with your support for the KARTAS Patreon!

Snag Ken and Robin merchandise at TeePublic.

 


Wish to introduce innocent children to the horror of the Mythos, while remaining on budget? Atlas Games is here to affordably twist young minds with a buy two, get one free deal on Ken’s Mini Mythos line of childrens’ book parodies: Where the Deep Ones Are, Goodnight Azathoth, Cliffourd the Big Red God, and Antarctic Express.

Ken’s latest roleplaying game, The Fall of Delta Green, is now available in print or PDF or both from Pelgrane Press. Journey to the head-spinning chaos of the late 1960s, back when everyone’s favorite anti-Cthulhu special ops agency hadn’t gone rogue yet, for this pulse-pounding GUMSHOE game of war, covert action, and Mythos horror.

Grab the translated riches of FENIX magazine in a special bundle deal from our friends at Askfageln, over at Indie Press Revolution. Score metric oodles of Ken Hite gaming goodness, a cornucopia of articles, complete games, plus the cartoon antics of Bernard the Barbarian. Warning: in English, not in Swedish. In English, not Swedish.

Just in time to save the world, though perhaps not your team of hardened covert agents, from the Mythos, the Delta Green Handlers Guide from Arc Dream Publishing is now in print and either at or headed to a game store near you. The slipcase print edition includes both the Handlers’ Guide and Agents’ Handbook, fitting snugly into your go bag along with your extra passports and list of weapons caches.

Holy Forking Shirtballs Ken and Robin are Consuming Media

December 11th, 2018 | Robin

Ken and Robin Consume Media is brought to you by the discriminating and good-looking backers of the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff Patreon. Each week we provide capsule reviews of the books, movies, TV seasons and more we cram into our hyper-analytical sensoriums. Join the Patreon to help pick the items we’ll talk about in greater depth on a little podcast segment we like to call Tell Me More.

Recommended

The Good Place Season 3 (Television, US, Michael Schur, NBC, 2018) The breathless pacing of this premise-threat-philosophy-class comedy slows down a bit for time travel, life interventions, and making fun of Australia before resuming its roller-coaster switchbackery once Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell) and friends again become interdimensional fugitives. –KH

The Good Place Season 3 (Television, US, Michael Schur, NBC, 2018) Michael (Ted Danson) breaks the cosmic rules to bring Eleanor and company back to life on Earth for a second shot at redemption. This season not only shifts the show’s premise yet again, but switches protagonists, moving Michael and Janet (D’arcy Carden) to the forefront and pushing Kristen Bell as Eleanor into the ensemble.—RDL

Killing Eve Season 1 (Television, UK, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, BBC America, 2018) Intelligence analyst (Sandra Oh) steps into the field in pursuit of an emotionally arrested, psychopathic assassin (Jodie Comer.) Semi-comic espionage thriller pits a grounded protagonist against a cartoonish antagonist. It’s hard to see how the premise sustains itself through an entire series, but that’s a problem for next year, I guess.—RDL

Let the Sunshine In (Film, France, Claire Denis, 2017) Emotionally unmoored artist (Juliette Binoche) careens through a series of unstable romantic relationships. Powerfully performed character study recalls Rohmer, but with intense feeling taking the place of Olympian detachment.—RDL

Good

The Irregular: A Different Class of Spy (Fiction, H.B. Lyle, 2017) What ever happened to Wiggins, the street-urchin head of Sherlock Holmes’ Baker Street Irregulars? According to Lyle’s novel, he became the first-ever agent of the British Secret Service in 1909, facing off against the historical anarchist Peter the Painter and other shadowy threats to the Empire. Far from flawlessly executed, but a fun thriller nonetheless. –KH

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 1 (Television, US, Netflix, Amy Sherman-Palladino, 2017) When her husband ditches her for his shiksa secretary, achievement-obsessed Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) takes over his stand-up comedy dream. Glorious dive  into late 50s New York style falters only during the stand-up scenes, where the otherwise perfectly executed old-school presentational acting style precludes the comic timing that would have worked then, or now.—RDL

Episode 322: The Cinnabon of the 17th Century

December 7th, 2018 | Robin

Not to spoil anything, but we open in the Gaming Hut as Patreon backer V Weather asks us what to do when it turns out you’ve already read the adventure your GM is running.

In How To Write Good, we examine the uses and abuses of ambiguity in RPG setting materials.

Then it’s off to the Tradecraft Hut, where earlier we promised a segment based on a random page from Christopher Andrew’s The Secret World: A History of Intelligence. The number generator has assigned Ken page 227, which means we’re talking about Cromwell’s spies.

Then our Belle Epoque occultism series again jaunts into the Eliptony Hut for a visit with astronomer, parapsychologist, spiritist and science fiction writer Camille Flammarion.

Want to pose a question to the show? Get your priority question asking access with your support for the KARTAS Patreon!

Snag Ken and Robin merchandise at TeePublic.


If you dig clever, take-that game play and/or ironic Soviet robots, Atlas Games’ new card game Cogs and Commissars was made for you. Buy it at a brick-and-mortar game store and send a selfie to Atlas, to get a special Neon Botsky promo card.

Ken’s latest roleplaying game, The Fall of Delta Green, is now available in print or PDF or both from Pelgrane Press. Journey to the head-spinning chaos of the late 1960s, back when everyone’s favorite anti-Cthulhu special ops agency hadn’t gone rogue yet, for this pulse-pounding GUMSHOE game of war, covert action, and Mythos horror.

Grab the translated riches of FENIX magazine in a special bundle deal from our friends at Askfageln, over at Indie Press Revolution. Score metric oodles of Ken Hite gaming goodness, a cornucopia of articles, complete games, plus the cartoon antics of Bernard the Barbarian. Warning: in English, not in Swedish. In English, not Swedish.

Just in time to save the world, though perhaps not your team of hardened covert agents, from the Mythos, the Delta Green Handlers Guide from Arc Dream Publishing is now in print and either at or headed to a game store near you. The slipcase print edition includes both the Handlers’ Guide and Agents’ Handbook, fitting snugly into your go bag along with your extra passports and list of weapons caches.

Ken and Robin Consume Media: Raise a Glass With Miike, To, and Soderbergh

December 5th, 2018 | Robin

Ken and Robin Consume Media is brought to you by the discriminating and good-looking backers of the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff Patreon. Each week we provide capsule reviews of the books, movies, TV seasons and more we cram into our hyper-analytical sensoriums. Join the Patreon to help pick the items we’ll talk about in greater depth on a little podcast segment we like to call Tell Me More.

Recommended

Everyday Drinking: The Distilled Kingsley Amis (Nonfiction, Kingsley Amis, 2009) This omnibus collects three Amis books on (mostly) spirits, the first two being themselves collections of essays and newspaper columns written between 1971 and 1984. Thus some repetition sets in, but Amis’ superb wordsmithing, charm, and jovial curmudgeonry keep you at the party. The last book is a long quiz, best considered as the “top with soda” portion of the cocktail. –KH

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable (Film, Japan, Takashi Miike, 20177) Sullen high schooler sporting  outlandish ducktail haircut discovers he is a Stand user, one of a class of metahumans who manifest super powers by conjuring freaky avatars. Manga adaptation heightens the comedy by treating its utterly kooky imagery with deadpan seriousness,—RDL

Today We Live (Film, US, Howard Hawks, 1933) Believing that her American bomber pilot beau (Gary Cooper) is dead, a British ambulance driver in WWI (Joan Crawford) marries a childhood friend (Robert Young), now serving on a torpedo boat. Wartime melodrama features gripping naval and aerial combat sequences and the group bonds and suppressed emotions synonymous with Hawks.—RDL

Unsane (Film, US, Steven Soderbergh, 2018) Insurance-scamming psychiatric facility lures a bank analyst (Claire Foy) into involuntary commitment, exposing her to a worse personal horror. Already alarming subject matter is rendered all the more achingly suspenseful by its commitment to queasy, blue-brown realism.—RDL

Vengeance (Film, Hong Kong/France, Johnnie To, 2009) When Triads kill his daughter’s family in Macau, former assassin Costello (a glacial-eyed Johnny Hallyday, playing Alain Delon) recruits a team of hit men (Anthony Wong, Lam Suet, Lam Ka-Tung) to hit them back. The first two acts run in a predictable rut, but halfway through To lights the afterburner and sends the film to the moon — or rather to a junkyard for a mindblowing shootout, and lands a stunning final act worthy of Sergio Leone. –KH

Walking With Cthulhu (Nonfiction, David Haden, 2011) The subtitle of this collection of essays says it all: “H.P. Lovecraft as Psychogeographer, New York 1924-1926.” Haden points out that Lovecraft’s habitual all-night walks prefigure the Surrealist flaneur and the Situationist dérive, and finds a productive new way to look at HPL’s art. He also finds a possible inspiration for R’lyeh in a forgotten Garrett Serviss novel, and intensively annotates “Nyarlathotep,” so step right up. –KH

Good

Craig Ferguson: Tickle Fight (Stand-up, US, Netflix, Craig Ferguson, 2017) Ferguson ambles through a lot of half-stories and engaging blather on the way to one disappointing joke: in short, classic Ferguson monologue but for an hour. Some of the stories gleam as perfect anecdotes, and some just let him mug engagingly. If you miss, miss, miss, miss Craig on the Late Late Show (as do all right-thinking people) it’s Recommended, but just because that hit feels so good. –KH

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