Radio Active #46: Notebooks vs. Desktops, Out of Darkness, Horror Betrayals

Radio Active PodcastThings take a horror tinged turned in this week’s podcast with reviews of Midnight Syndicate’s retrospective horror music album Out of Darkness and the horror-movie inspired board game Betrayal at House on the Hill by Avalon Hill.

Elsewhere in the podcast as for feedback from geek parents about the merits of getting a notebook computer vs. a desktop computer and start looking for some craft/mommy podcasts for my wife to listen to on her spiffy new 30 GB white iPod. Finally, Net News has the welcome return of the Harping Monkey’s Round Table podcast, which ends its hiatus just in time for me to start doing home improvements again.

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Show Notes

  • Nuketown News
    • Eight of us are definitely going to GenCon; it could be nine soon. Excellent!
    • My wife Sue has finally gotten an iPod: a spiffy white 30 gb video-capable one (she got white because I already have the black one, and we wanted to be able to easily tell them apart.
    • Loading it up with all of her music now — when I first setup and charged her iPod, iTunes informed me she only had a gig of music on it, so clearly I have a way to go.
    • Sue’s not much into podcasts, but I’d like to find one or two she might be interested in. I’m looking for craft, parenting, or mom-specific podcasts — if you know of any, e-mail me at
    • Do I get the black Mac Book with a larger hard drive that’s easily portable, but has a smaller screen and less horse power? Or a low-end Mac Book Pro?
    • Do I get an iMac, which has far more bang for the buck, a much larger hard drive, and a beautiful screen … but isn’t portable?
    • Having the iMac downstairs isn’t an option — even with Bluetooth keyboard and mouse Luke would be all over it. But in 4 years, the imac could become the kids computer.
    • GenCon Update
    • Sue’s iPod
    • Notebook vs Desktop Computer: The Geek Dad Quandry
  • Promo: Accidental Survivors Podcast
  • Net News
    • The Round Table Returns to the Harping Monkey
      • Season 4 begins. Check out the show.
      • Chris, K.J. and Mick return to the table and chat about all the geeky things they’ve done in the three months since the last episode.
  • Promo: GOBLIN Network
  • Intro: “Darkness Descends” by Midnight Syndicate.
  • Music Review: Out of the Darkness
    • The Official Web Site
    • Buy it from
    • “Return of the Apparition”: The bell tolls for ye, not me. Great background loop for a cursed courtyard.
    • “Darkness Descends”: Ominous yet lulling. Good for raising tension.
    • “Legions of the Night”: Solid bass sound with distant howlings — good for lead up to the big fight with an undead horde. I can already think of where I want to use this track in my “Maure Castle” campaign…
    • “Eye of the Storm” ghosts hate this stuff (Veikman repeatedly playing two piano keys over and over. Actually a little too tension filled to really be the eye of the storm
    • “Haunted Nursery” — there’s something about ghosts and children that just freaks me out (probably because of a certain vampire-inspired call of Cthulhu session during college in which my friend Adam Fox managed to seriously scare the crap out of us).
    • “Sanctuary”: Stands out as one of the more mellow tracks (at least until the last minute or so). Good to play when the party has fallen back to their defensible lair to rest and recover spells.
    • “Into the Abyss”: The maddening descent begins. Play at the beginning of any dungeon crawl to get your players suitably creeped out.
    • Scenes from the Dead Matter: Deserted caverns anyone?
  • Music Track: “Into the Abyss” by Midnight Syndicate
  • Game Review: Betrayal at the House on the Hill
    • Details
    • Overview:
    • A collaborative board game in which players explore an ancient house on a lonely hill, seeking to unlock its secrets … and its horrors. The board is built from tiles representing the basement, first floor and second floor of the house, with a new tile drawn every time a player enters a new room.
    • Players take on the role of one of several adventurers, each of which is represented by core stats such as speed, strength and will. Different adventurers have different strengths — the preacher is strong in will but weak in physical abilities, while the boy explorer has a high speed, but low willpower.
    • As players enter rooms an omen card may be drawn. This causes some supernatural event to occur … and which may provide the player with bane or benefit. After drawing an omen card, players must roll dice to determine if the namesake betrayal occurs as the evil in the house overwhelms one of their own. If the total rolled is greater than the number of omen cards in play, nothing happens. If it’s less … things get weird.
    • The game contains two books. The first, for the betrayer, explains what when wrong and one terrible conditions now exist in the house … as well as what monsters are now the traitor’s to command. The other tells the surviving adventurers what they must do to either put things right or escape from the house. The conditions are different each time, and with a four dozen or so scenarios its unlikely you’ll see a repeat one anytime soon.
  • Pros:
    • Games are quick — most can be finished in under an hour; some in much less time. Provides good alternative to games like Arkham Horror, which can last hours.
    • Good production values — quality plastic and sturdy cardboard pieces, though our omen/item cards felt overly sticky.
    • One of our rare games that can be played well with three people.
    • Cooperative (or semi-cooperative nature) is a nice change
  • Cons:
    • Games can be over too quickly — we’ve heard of people finishing a game in 10 minutes when the haunt was revealed on the third turn thanks to some incredibly bad rolling.
    • Not suitable for young children — they shouldn’t even be in the same room when you play it.
  • Outro
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