Welcome to Quick and Easy Games!

logo1Clayton J. CallahanClayton Callahan is a science fiction writer, game designer and all around devotee of geek culture. This site is dedicated to promoting all things good in those fields. From gaming to galaxy spanning fiction, this site covers it all. Clayton is the sole proprietor of Quick & Easy Games and this site also serves as an outlet for those products.

Since 2007 Quick and Easy Games has created games that are low in cost but high in quality.  Q&E customers appreciate fast moving, simple to learn rules that make gaming fun. If your tired of paying too much for slick packaged games that take a PHD to learn, we’re the company for you.  If you have any comments or wish to place an order you can contact, Clayton Callahan, the General Manager.

Thank you, and I hope to hear from you soon.

Providing the best value in role playing and miniatures gaming since 2007

Well, I Just Saw Star Wars VII

 

Nope, there will be no spoilers here so you may feel free to read on.

Star Wars Awakens

Was it good? Yes, but I’m not here to write another review as there are plenty of them out there already. Was it as good as the first time I saw Star Wars back in 1977? Of course not! There is simply no way to recapture youth. When I first saw that movie, I was a very different person living in a very different world, and you simply cannot relive the past.

Oh, but we do try.

As I look at the big budget movies of the past several years I’m noticing a distinct pattern; Guardians of the Galaxy, and other Marvel movies that had their genesis in comic books now thirty to fifty years old, Star Trek, with a new version of the original cast of characters who graced our TV screens back in the late 1960s, add to that The Lone Ranger, Jurassic World, the Robocop reboot and the latest Terminator movie and I’m sure you get the idea. Do I blame Hollywood? Hell no! Hollywood only makes what people will buy, and right now nostalgia is selling like hot cakes.

Now a part of me is happy to see a new coat of paint on a favorite old automobile. Part of me is actualy happy to shell out a few bucks to relive my past. But another part of me is downright frustrated. I know for a fact that there are some kick-ass new stories being told (Yes, mine– but not just mine) that are not getting any room to breathe because of all the dinosaurs that still roaming the Earth. If you have not read the comic book Saga, go out there and buy a copy. If you have never heard of D. Wallace Peach, Sheron Wood McCartha or April Aashime, you are missing out on some good novels.

Today’s world is not out of fresh ideas or new talent. We just need to push past the nostalgia to find it.

Another year, another Orycon

Me at Orycon panell 2015

Well, as many of you know, last weekend was Orycon 37. I had a great time and met some wonderful people. To everybody who attended one of my panels, thank you. To everybody who went home with one of my books THANK YOU. And to those who just hung out with me and talked nerdy until the wee hours, thank you too.

Me and my fan Contessa

Fed Up With Bigots

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When I grew up in the 70s and 80s, race slurs were no longer said in polite company. Although not particularly diverse, my home town of Kettering, Ohio had a mix of folks from a wide variety of backgrounds. I found out early on that I was as likely to get along with a kid of a different race as I was to be bullied by another kid of that same race; thus bigotry proved itself a total failure in predicting human behavior.

I then went on to serve in the military with folks of an even wider variety of backgrounds. Once again, I discovered that a man’s religion, or cultural heritage had absolutely no bearing on whether I could get along with him or not. To put it bluntly, there are good people everywhere and jerks come in all colors and faiths.

I don’t consider myself a genius so I just took it for granted that most other folks could figure this out as well. After all, tolerance is not that complicated, right? Turns out that assumption was wrong, and ether I’m a genius or there are just a lot of dumb people in the world. I’m now I’m hearing slurs all over the place.

Since the Paris attack last week, it’s been mostly anti-Muslim slurs. However, anti-transgender slurs are coming in a close second and I’m sick of it all. People are people, regardless of background, faith, sexual orientation, race, or taste in music. Some people’s behavior makes them a disgrace to the entire human race. But most people are decent folks that I find easy to get along with, and some behave in a way that is a credit to us all.

In regard to Muslims, I’ll put it this way. I served in Iraq and while I was there some Muslims tried to kill me. Should I now hate all Muslims? NO! Because if all Muslims had tried to kill me I’d be dead.

Right now, I’m trying very hard to promote my books and entice readers to my work. However, if you are an un-repentant bigot…I’m not interested in your business. Sorry, but the truth is I’ve had all I can take.

Some thoughts on the movie, Bridge of Spies

Movie Poster

Last night I had a wonderful date with my wife of twenty four years, Shelley. She’s a beautiful, intelligent and well-read woman who, like me, enjoys a good spy drama.  No…she doesn’t care so much for James Bond, but give her a story with a real human connection and she’s in. So we went to see Bridge of Spies starring Tom Hanks.

As someone who knows his cold war history and served in military intelligence, I can vouch that the film was a well-crafted representation of what the spy world was like then and is now. Like ,The Imitation Game that came out earlier this year, Bridge of Spies takes a good look at the earliest days of the Cold War.

Looking back, we can feel secure in the knowledge that World War III did not happen. If we’re old enough, we might even remember the post-World War II era as a fond period of our childhood when the world seemed somehow safer than today. Of course, for those terrified defectors who rushed the Berlin wall while sentries shot at them it was a different experience all together. To our parent’s generation, the Russian bear was a great beast with real fangs and vicious claws. People were rightly afraid, and building a bomb shelter seemed down-right prudent to many.Final Cover- Red Coat Running

The almost horror movie like terror experience for those who served on the front lines of the Cold War is what inspired me to write my own book, Red Coat Running. I wanted to capture that time and help the reader understand that we have been through fearful times before and, in that light, understand that uncertainty is normal. Yes, it is normal to live with the unknown. For all mankind’s history we have faced the fears of our age and come out the other side only to find a new age with new challenges. We are the human race…this is what we do.

Bridge of Spies did a great job of conveying these things to me. My wife and I also appreciated the human touch Tom Hanks brought to the roll of Mr. Donovan, a hapless attorney out of his depth yet determined to do right in a morally questionable situation. Frankly, the character was a lot like my Shawn Riggs of Red Coat Running, an out of his depth rookie agent also trying to do right. If they ever make a movie of my book (and man would that be cool), I would love them to hire the same team that pulled off Bridge of Spies.

I highly recommend you check this movie out.

The Importance of Perspective

I am soon to re-release an early short story of mine on Amazon to include the following essay:

What’s really scary about the Nazis?Time Travel Impossible Cover

Different people will have different answers, but to me it comes down to this; the Nazis ware human. It wasn’t space aliens, or vampires who committed such heinous acts of hatred and death. Nor did Hitler possess any magical “philosopher’s stone” to compel the citizens of Germany to turn on their neighbors and then on the world. Nope, it was all done by people who were just as human as you or I.

Why?

What is it about people that can turn them into such beast? How can any sane and rational person watch children being murdered and then go home to dinner? Few survive who remember that time but even the black and white photographs profoundly disturb us today. So why did people do it?

My answer is one word; perspective.

Let me explain with a true life example: I once knew a decent man who once took part in an angry mob. It was back in the 1960 and it was in Poland. Anti-Soviet sentiment was high, and an anti-communist rally was taking place—when four, stupid Russian soldiers took a wrong turn and found themselves before a crowd of hundreds of angry Poles. Were these four draftees responsible for all of communism’s woes? No. Would their death change anything in world events? No. But the crowd turned hostile and charged these four schmucks anyway, and my acquaintance was in the middle of it, screaming for blood.

So what happened to the four Russians? An unknown Polish man jumped in front of the mob and shouted them down. In moments my acquaintance realized that what he was about to do was wrong. The unknown man had given the mob perspective to understand how their actions would create bad consequences for all (including the mothers of four, stupid Russian soldiers).

This story has stayed with me for thirty years now. I remember every detail that was told to me, yet I wasn’t even born when these events took place.

Why?

Because the story gave me perspective. Stories have power and they have effects in the real world. Thanks to my acquaintance of long ago I now know something crucially important. That is, when you stand in the middle of the mob you cannot see the future, you can only see the now. Now you are scared. Now you feel threatened. Now you are acting as part of a group, not as an individual.

John F. Kennedy said, “There is something immoral about abandoning your own judgment,” and who would do such a thing?

The answer, of course, is people. People like you and I do it. We get caught up in the now and fail to see tomorrow’s perspective on things. I look at the anti-Muslim hysteria in America right now (2015), and I see scared Americans who feel threated by some fellow citizens whose beliefs they do not wish to understand. There have been some random acts of anti-Muslim violence, but thankfully no mob has formed yet. But it begs the question; are we abounding our own moral judgement out of fear? Perhaps, but there is still time to give ourselves some perspective, and that’s exactly what history is for.

History serves no other purpose than to teach us the successes and failures of the past so that we may have more of the former and fewer of the latter. It is said that those who study history are doomed to watch other’s repeat it. Therefore, it is up to us to be the teachers. You and I, and every other moral person we know, must understand humanities’ history and explain it to others. Will you someday find yourself in a mob, or will you be the brave one who stands before it and gives the mob perspective?