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Archive for the ‘Podcast’ Category

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.

Episode 321: Red Dawn Times

November 30th, 2018 | Robin

Get out your space calculators as we meet in the Gaming Hut to entertain a request from Patreon backer Robert Dean, who wants to hear more about the time Ken ran Traveller for accountants.

In the History Hut we fulfill the desire of backer Joe Littrell to learn the real reason behind Churchill’s wartime initiative to protect the apes of Gibraltar.

The other Consulting Occultist continues our Yellow King-inspired series on occultists of the Belle Epoque with a look at the original neo-Gnostic, Jules Doinel.

We close with our promised venture into the Cinema Hut to talk about Orson Welles’ new film, The Other Side of the Wind.

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.

Episode 320: Ghost Rationing Policy

November 23rd, 2018 | Robin

 

This podcast never wastes your time, but what if you, as a GM, have to fill some space in your session? The Gaming Hut looks at ways to vamp for time.

In the drafty confines of the Architecture Hut, Patreon backer Darren Hennessy wants to know about Houska Castle in the Czech Republic, known for its Gothic origins, Renaissance modifications and, oh yes, gate to hell.

In Ken and/or Robin Talk to Someone Else, we talk to game designer Sarah Richardson about her new game Velvet Glove.

Our survey of Belle Epoque weirdness ducks into the Eliptony Hut with a profile of early parapsychologist Albert de Rochas.

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.

Episode 318: Bootlegger Reverse

November 9th, 2018 | Robin

 

We open in the Gaming Hut, or is all part of an elaborate trick, as Patreon backer Sean asks how to pull switcheroos on players who don’t like being fooled.

Ken meets us in the Cinema Hut to reveal the filmic goodies he saw at this year’s Chicago International Film Festival.

In Ask Ken and Robin we answer a request from backer Lewis Sylvester for a GUMSHOE 101. And you’re totally right, we do forget to mention Fall of Delta Green, because there’s too much cool GUMSHOE for even us to remember. Luckily there’s a whole ad to tell you all about it.

Finally Ken’s Time Machine visits and attempts to rectify Ireland’s 1916 Easter Rising.

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.

Episode 317: To Be Sure, the Romans

November 2nd, 2018 | Robin

 

Join us in the Gaming Hut to assist Patreon backer Dustyn Mincey with his difficulty in sticking with a single game, when there are so many awesome games in the world.

Then Ken and/or Robin Talk To Someone Else, specifically designer extraordinaire Steve Kenson.

Finally it’s again time to vicariously caress the covers of various tomes as Ken’s Bookshelf gloats over the treasures looted from Powell’s Books in Portland.

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.

Episode 316: Remembering Greg Stafford

October 26th, 2018 | Robin

 

Join us for an elegaic Gaming Hut as we tackle but a single topic: the life and work of our friend and inspiration, the grand shaman of gaming, Greg Stafford (1948-2018.)

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.


 

Over the Edge is back, with Jonathan Tweet updating his classic and influential game design. Get ready to duck New Age cultists, baboon-wielding gangsters, twisted assassins when the roleplaying game of weird modern danger. The island of Al Amarja may have moved from its classic 1990s location, but never fear. The Kickstarter may be over, but the action has moved to BackerKit.

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.

Episode 315: Eloi au Vin

October 19th, 2018 | Robin

 

In the Gaming Hut we assist Patreon backer Jean-Francois Paradis in creating a campaign where the PCs’ homeland is invaded by a technologically superior rival.

Stay far from manhole covers and sewer grates as the Horror Hut looks at CHUDs and troglodytes.

Then Ken and/or Robin Talk To Someone Else, specifically gaming’s cartoonist laureate, John Kovalic, about the Tao of Igor Kickstarter.

Finally it’s time to stay positive as backer Dan Kassiday asks the Consulting Occultist to discuss the nocebo effect explanation for curses.

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.

 


 

Over the Edge is back, with Jonathan Tweet updating his classic and influential game design. Get ready to duck New Age cultists, baboon-wielding gangsters, twisted assassins when the roleplaying game of weird modern danger. The island of Al Amarja may have moved from its classic 1990s location, but never fear. The Kickstarter may be over, but the action has moved to BackerKit.

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: Ken Does the Chicago Film Fest; Robin Homebrews His Own Horror Fest

October 16th, 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

Border (Film, Sweden, Ali Abbasi, 2018) Tina (Eva Melander) looks Neanderthal, but she can sniff out shame and fear (among other things) making her a valued customs officer — until she meets Vore (Eero Milonoff) who looks like she does. From a story by Jon Ajvide Lindqvist (Let the Right One In) who also co-wrote the script, the film plays effortlessly with many different genres from policier to horror to magical realism. –KH

Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wall-paper” and the History of Its Publication and Reception: A Critical Edition and Documentary Casebook (Nonfiction, Julie Bates Dock, 1998) Dock provides the first-ever critical edition of Gilman’s short-story masterpiece, complete with ample documentation from Gilman’s correspondence, contemporary reviews, and a clear overview of its textual history. Mandatory reading for people who want to opine on Gilman. –KH

Liverleaf (Film, Japan, Eisuke Naitô, 2018) Bullied transfer student Haruka (Anna Yamada) finally unbottles her rage in ultraviolent revenge, revealing secrets and burying bodies in a blizzard. Based on a manga, some of the scenes are achingly beautiful — and often gory as hell. Maybe some of the story beats could have used some signals or supports, but this is ukiyo-e after all, so maybe not. –KH

The Mercy of the Jungle (Film, Belgium/France/Rwanda, Joel Karekezi, 2018) Career Rwandan Army Sergeant Xavier (Marc Zinga) and peasant private Faustin (Stéphane Bak), left behind during an offensive in the Second Congo War must survive the jungle, a band of rebels, and their own psyches in this effective war movie that occasionally becomes genuinely gripping. The two leads’ strong, lived-in performances give Karekezi a solid core to return to, keeping the picaresque nature of the material reined in. –KH

Needing You … (Film, Hong Kong, Johnnie To & Wai Ka-Fai, 2000) Alpha male manager Andy (Andy Lau) and manic pixie sales rep Kinki (Sammi Cheng) discover each other and their feelings thereupon in this romantic comedy paced like a car chase film. Cheng’s effortless charm carries the film despite some grating characterization, and the comic relief is mostly actually comical, which never hurts. This won’t make you fall in love with romcoms if you don’t already love them, but its lessons in pacing apply all over the dramatic spectrum. –KH

Satan’s Slaves (Film, Indonesia, Joko Anwar, 2017) After their mom dies, a quartet of young siblings fends off supernatural assaults on their ramshackle country house. Presents the now-fashionable fusion of haunted house and Satanic cult sub-genres through an Islamic cultural lens, abetted by well-crafted scares and hints of hip style.—RDL

Terrified (Film, Argentina, Demián Rugna, 2017) A police captain with cardiac problems reluctantly joins an ad hoc group of parapsychologists probing supernatural manifestations plaguing an everyday residential street. Contrast between a mundane, grounded setting and s-u-u-u-u-per creepy haunting sequences place this among the best in the occult investigator movie canon. You could easily start an Esoterrorists series by showing your players this movie and then saying, “Okay, you’re the next team to go in.”—RDL

Good

Animal (Film, Argentina/Spain, Armando Bo, 2018) A civilized man (Guillermo Francella) disintegrates when his kidney fails. Notable for the slow-motion home invasion-demonic possession story featuring the scumbag drifter with a matching blood type who extorts him, but in the end the film feels like a writer with too many directions becoming a director without a clear vision. –KH

Boys Cry (Film, Italy, Damiano and Fabio D’Innocenzo, 2018) Vacuous losers Manolo (Andrea Carpanzano) and Mirko (Matteo Olivetti) accidentally run over a snitch, gaining them entry to a minor mafia clan and setting off a slow fuse of moral awakening. With no glamor, an overexposed palette, and lots of close-ups of the thugs, this is not a pretty mob film; your value likely depends on whether you care to identify with these accidental goombahs. –KH

Project Gutenberg (Film, Hong Kong, Felix Chong, 2018) Rejected artist (Aaron Kwok) throws in as protege to a murderous counterfeiter (Chow Yun-Fat.) Meta-minded crime drama swerves between tropes and sub-genres, logging a thrilling extended homage to A Better Tomorrow III in one of its subversions of Chow’s classic persona. –RDL

Okay

Ash is Purest White (Film, China/France, Jia Zhangke, 2018) In 2001 in the remote city of Datong, Qiao (Zhao Tao) is the girlfriend of petty mob boss Bin (Liao Fan); in 2006 she gets out of jail to find he has deserted her and she pursues him to Fangjie; in 2017 she’s back in Datong running mah-jongg waiting for him to show up. Too long to let any of the three acts work, and too invested in an unappealing Bin to be enjoyable at any length. The middle act, where Qiao rebuilds her life one grift at a time, could have been great. –KH

John Dies At the End (Film, US, Don Coscarelli, 2012) Hunky duo of amateur paranormal hunters battle a reality-altering drug and its monstrous manifestations. A shaggy dog spirit pervades this Bill & Ted meets Cronenberg action-horror comedy. Lesson: if your lead is kinda wooden, don’t put him in an extended two-hander with Paul Giamatti.—RDL

Sibel (Film, EU/Turkey, Çagla Zencirci and Guillaume Giovanetti, 2018) In rural Turkey, the mute daughter (Damla Sönmez) of the mayor (Emin Gürsoy) communicates using an ancestral whistling language, but most of her day is spent alone hunting a wolf. Zenciri and Giovanetti want to wrap their exoticized-society girl-power movie in fairy tale clothing, but do nothing to reconcile (or play up) the conflict between the two modes. The two leads also play differently, Sönmez bordering on histrionics while Gürsoy dives deep internally; the result is four halves of two movies. –KH

Transit (Film, Germany/France, Christian Petzold, 2018) To escape a France fallen to fascist invasion, Georg (Franz Rogowski) assumes the identity of a dead writer; while waiting in Marseille for his papers to clear, he becomes embroiled in both his lives’ complications. Moody, slightly surreal film becomes a case study in why voiceover narration is a terrible idea. –KH

Film Cannister
Cartoon Rocket
d8
Flying Clock
Robin
Film Cannister