“Automation Day”

Gotta love NPR’s “1A” program. Good stuff today. “Happy May Day” by the way.

Who’s Looking Out For The American Worker?:

The Great Unknown With Marcus Du Sautoy:

PRX’s “This American Life”
615: “The Beginning of Now”

The ‘Populist Wave’ Trump rode in on, its origins in working-class blue-collar America, Washington, D.C.’s inability to explain what it does and why, economics, automation, and the tide of History. Yay.

NPR’s “Studio360”
“Handmaid in America”

No robots, but class-warfare sci-fi, flirting with genetics.

I want to see “The Handmaid’s Tale”.
Also wanting to rewatch “Orphan Black”, the modern “Battlestar Galactica”, “Gattaca”, “Elysium”,”Ex Machina”, “CHAPPiE”, and scoop up “Humans” and “Black Mirror” while I’m at it…



HA! Latest “Indy” HeroClix TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES preview is up over on heroclix.com: Krang!


That’s it. I’m sold. I reserved a case of the gravity feed, will probably hunt down singles after that. Krang riffs on some of the geekier ‘supervillain’ cliché/tropes that as close to my heart: ‘hostile extraterrestrial/extradimensional alien’, ‘brain-in-a-jar’, ‘evil genius’, and ‘robot-master’. I MUST HAVE HIM FOR MY COLLECTION.

Wow, a lot of cool “Krang” art to google. Official art, fan art, and other demented takes.

krang-tmnt-2 krang___tmnt___luc_begin_renders_by_onetruth-d7tk88u Tmnt_redesign_krang_by_graphicgeek-d4s412t


Marvel HeroClix Wish-List: Red Skull’s “Sleeper” Robot (v1.2)

This next “Wish-List” is a tad tricky. Marvel’s Red Skull — as well as certain other characters with ties to Marvel Comics’ version of WWII continuity — have tried to activate various models of “Sleeper Robots” as “doomsday devices”. I’m not going to get into some of the first ones to appear in the comics (“Colossal”/”Giant” ones like the “Robbie the Robot” looking one, or the “Flying Wing/Manta Ray” looking one, or the one that looked like Red Skull’s, er, skull — all of which could combine into one massive robot. An ugly one. Voltron it was not).

I like the appearance/design of this one, this large, big-headed, no-necked thing that looks similar to the “ancient empires” influences Jack “King” Kirby would get to in later years with his concepts. Purpose: Basically, “robot tank”.

This version first appeared in 1968, but one of its powers — the “volcanic heat” projected in beams from its face — seems a lot like the Asgardian “Destroyer” animated armor from the Thor comics (which made an appearance in the first Thor movie, obviously, and has also made two appearances in HeroClix since that movie). It lost this power, as well as its original “density control”/”intangibility” powers.

The “SL-4 Sleeper” is now mostly a Giant-sized “brute” of a robot. Fights like a boxer or wrestler. (Typical of 1960’s Marvel Comics, in my opinion; pro-wrestling and animal themes abound in those comics.) Sleeper is incredibly durable and resilient,but as far as “superhuman strength” goes, it seems to be in Spider-Man or Luke “Power Man” Cage’s range.

HeroClix: Draw from the previously mentioned Destroyer designs (2009’s HAMMER OF THOR set and the 2012 THE AVENGERS MOVIE set), M-11 (also from HOT), and the Mindless Ones (2011’s GIANT-SIZED X-MEN set). Would like to see a long dial, steady stats, maybe a bit “soft” in the defense numbers.

Opening clicks could have separate special powers for the “Volcanic Thermal Energy” and the “Density Control” powers.

The “VTE” could be represented with a replacement range value, number of targets, and Energy Explosion, with a “Double Power Action” option for destroying a wide swathe of blocking and/or hindering terrain and walls (the thing destroyed a smelting factory on its own in seconds; it’s definitely a “robot of mass destruction” kinda thing). After seeing what WizKids’ Game Design Team has come up with, like for the recent GOTG012a Rigellian Colonizer, or the older AVM016 Red Skull, I would like to see a potentially “game-changing effect” of some sort.

For the “DC” power, combo of access to the “Power Cosmic” team ability, and maybe “random” application of either Invincible or Impervious, and/or Super Senses? It could also have some sort of access to Phasing/Teleport.

Those powers should likely only appear on the first two clicks, and it should be incredibly hard to knock him off of those two clicks. After that, though, he should be a “typical plodding, relentless brawler”.

Thinking: Rare or Super-Rare.

SL-4 Sleeper Robot v2






Ret-Con: Super-Adaptoid (M&M #047; v10.1)

EDIT (2014-08-02): Okay, reworking an old post here. Originally posted 2010-12-14. Going to “pull it forward in time” with a date-edit. Thoughts on this piece have changed a bit; changing the “Ret-Con Trait” in two separate “Ret-Con Tweaks” to this piece’s Special Powers instead. Imbedding the changes into a “collage”. (I’m modifying this post in order to keep track of the original posting date, which WordPress does. Great site, btw.)


Super-Adaptoid, figure MuMo#047 from the Marvel HeroClix MUTATIONS & MONSTERS set (2007).Criticisms stemmed from the cost of the figure (its point value to play) and the operating nature of the “Attack Drain” and “Defense Drain” special powers it had, specifically, only being able to copy the standard Attack slot or Defense slot powers of an opposing figure, and the potential “feedback damage” it could take when it did. NOTE: both powers also appeared on JL#017 Parasite from the DC HeroClix JUSTICE LEAGUE set (also 2007). Speculation at the time was these might be “semi-standardized special powers” that might crop up again. I don’ believe we’ve seen them since; player’s didn’t like them, and other characters that can “copy powers” made since have done so in much different ways.

Here’s the language of the two powers, from the 2014-02 Player’s Guide —

“Attack Drain: Give Super-Adaptoid a power action. As a free action it can use any standard or named attack power possessed by an opposing character 4 or fewer squares away to which it has a clear line of fire. Super-Adaptoid can use the power until it loses Attack Drain, Attack Drain is countered, or it uses Attack Drain to use a different power. After the resolution of an action in which Super-Adaptoid uses a power via Attack Drain, roll 2d6. On a result of 2-5, deal 1 penetrating damage to Super-Adaptoid.

“Defense Drain: When Super-Adaptoid is given a power action, as a free action it can use any standard or named defense power possessed by an opposing character 4 or fewer squares away to which it has a clear line of fire. Super-Adaptoid can use the power until he loses Defense Drain, Defense Drain is countered, or it uses Defense Drain to use a different power. After the resolution of an action in which Super-Adaptoid uses a power via Defense Drain, roll 2d6. On a result of 2-5, deal 1 penetrating damage to Super-Adaptoid.

Errata/Clarifications issued, also from the same PG (referenced under Parasite’s entry) —

“If Attack Drain is used to copy Super Strength, the actions [Super-Adaptoid] must roll 2d6 are when he picks up the object and when he uses it in an attack.”

“[Super-Adaptoid] can’t be given a power action to activate Defense Drain.”

If you’re wondering about the probabilities of rolling a 2, 3, 4, or 5 on two dice, I recommend the site anydice.com.

The potential “double-whammy” of using Super Strength really sucks.

Or, heck, as “uses a power via Defense Drain”! Copy your opponent’s Impervious, then in the folowing round, your opponent attacks S-A two or three times, and if the attacks hit, you roll each time for that “feedback damage” as the Impervious kicks in. *ugh* Why chance it? Just use some other character.


Originally with my homemade “Ret-Con Trait” back in 2010, I was going to leave the Super-Adaptoid’s special powers — “Attack Drain” and “Defense Drain” — largely intact.  I only removed the word “opposing” from it.  Seemed to me that given his power set, every character around him should be a potential “power battery”.  Given that, then, it seemed better to keep the potential for “feedback damage” the two powers have. From there I reasoned that this depiction of the Super-Adaptoid was (1) a kind of robot and (2) experienced, therefore having a kind of “baseline” of powers available at all times. Thus —

[2010] Homemade Trait “Self-Programming, Psionically-Triggered Unstable Molecules, Advanced Scanning Instruments, and Template Creation” Super-Adaptoid may use Toughness if it has not used Defense Drain during its turn.  If Super-Adaptoid has not used Attack Drain during its turn, any attack it makes which results in doubles (except double 1’s) results in knockback equal to Super-Adaptoid’s damage value.

For the first part: The player had an option now, instead of leaving his Defense “naked”.  For the second part: Again, the player had a different option available.  (Plus I liked the old Crusade and Guardians of the Globe team abilities.  This effect is cribbed from the Crusade TA.)

Additional Comments:  FYI, the name of the homemade Trait is lifted from language in the “The Official handbook of the Marvel Universe, Deluxe Edition, Issue 13 (Super-Adaptoid to Umar)”.


Well, it’s 2014 and the game has continued to evolve. If you weren’t satisfied with what you got from Super-Adaptoid at 143 points back then, you won’t think much of him after looking at pieces in the 142 to 144 point range, like SI Hercules, WXM Fantomex, GG Super-Skrull or Super-Nova, BM August General in Iron, TT Red Tornado, or even DC75 Captain Comet (which is actually a very “old school” design).

Some other changes to the game have been kinder to Super-Adaptoid, though. Changes to the suite of abilites avalable via the {Giant} symbol, changes to certain standard powers, the addition and proliferation of the “pink powers”. Plenty of options in the standard assortment of Attack and Defense slot powers, provided your opponent brings them to the table. Yep, I added the “opposing character” language back in. I also kept the potential feedback damage. “Balance.”

Have decided to ditch the “Ret-Con Trait” in favor of “Ret-Con Tweaks” to the existing special powers.

Homemade “Ret-Con Tweak” [Attack Slot]: “Self-Programming, Psionically-Triggered Unstable Molecules,…” Super-Adaptoid can use Super Strength. Super-Adaptoid may use the Attack Drain combat ability.

Homemade “Ret-Con Tweak” [Defense Slot]:  “… Advanced Scanning Instruments, and Template Creation” Super-Adaptoid can use Invulnerability. Super-Adaptoid may use the Defense Drain combat ability.

Yep. Wanted to restore the original “Drain” definitions. Would like to see WizKids pick up on that, make them into “standardized combat abilities” that could be assigned to other characters. Maybe create “Speed Drain” and “Damage Drain” variations as well. Heck, would like to see JL017 Parasite’s “Brain Drain” standardized as well. More “tools in the toolbox” kinda thing. Would also like the to see the “2-5” reduced to “2-4”, but it depends on cost and game balance. The original designer had his reasons for doingit the way he did.

And conditional modifications can be done via the “access” the character has to the abilities, as in, the wording of the Trait or Special Power language.

Also, the current errata/clarifications remain intact. Super-Adaptoid doesn’t need to copy Super Strength, so there’s no interation with Attack Drain. (The player could still do it, still use attack drain to copy Super Strength from an opposing character and have to deal with the quirks, but there’s no point to doing it.) As far as the Invulnerability goes, remember: “Damage reducers do not stack.” He copies an opponent’s Invincible or Impervious or Toughness, he can’t also use Invulnerability. No additional damage reduction gained.

Giving this unique version of Super-Adaptoid a “baseline” power set makes him more competitive with others in his “weight class” and still offers “tactical options” (with a potential downside). IMO.

Damage output is still a problem for him, when fighting without help, and he’s still a “Gigantic” target for a good portion of his dial. YMMV. The opening and closing limitations of Earthbound seem more bearable. All the other powers and abilities seem worth it, not just “compensations” for him now.

I think it’s a good improvement.

Ret-Con Super-Adaptoid MuMo v3