Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Card Counterplay: Interacting With Your Opponent

I get post ideas from some interesting places. Case in point, I was watching a gameplay video from Hearthstone streamer Firebat, which opened with some spicy takes on card design. You don't have to watch the video before you read this post (although Firebat is always fun to watch); I'll lay it out for you here. In a nutshell, he talked about cards that didn't allow for interaction, and how they reduce the game to hoping that you draw into your powerhouse cards that can't be countered. It's tied to a larger idea about "interactive cards" in card games, and while I think he has a point, hearing that bit got me thinking about where, exactly, I disagreed with him, and what you can learn about card games from it.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Loops, Journeys, and Single-Player Gaming

So, I've been thinking lately about "loops" in gaming. Not in terms of the "core loop" of a game, but in another sense. I've been looking at my gameplay habits, thinking about what it means to "complete" a game, thinking about my large backlog of games that I own but haven't finished, and thinking about where the bulk of my playtime goes. I pour a lot of hours into multiplayer games. A lot of hours. Hundreds of hours. It's got me thinking about how I spend my time, and about what I get out of that time. So, I've been thinking lately about "loops" in gaming.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Origins 2019 Recap: Roleplaying Games Edition

Well, it's just about a full month later, but I'm finally getting the second half of my Origins 2019 recap online! While I got to demo a few boardgames, where the core of my time went was the Games on Demand room, where I played a potpourri of tabletop RPGs for hours. If you're unfamiliar with the event, it features a large number of GMs and facilitators who run various tabletop RPGs that they want to see played. Players sign up, show up for a slot, and pick a game off of a menu offered by the GMs. It's a great way to try out some games you've heard of, but never gotten to the table, and I took full advantage of that. From Inception-esque therapy to a zombie drama that felt straight out of The Walking Dead, here's the adventures I had at this Origins...

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

My Star-Crossed Moments at Origins 2019

The Sunday of Origins 2019 was winding to a close, and I was making my way through the dealers' hall, seeing what was on sale. There I was, catching up with friends at the Bully Pulpit booth, seeing what the company had on offer. And there it was, one last copy of Alex Roberts' Star-Crossed. The final copy, almost as if it were destined. I told myself that I wanted to make a sweep of the hall, that I wanted to be sure that there wasn't anything else I wanted to buy at Origins. I made my way through the rest of the hall, but it wasn't long before an unassailable feeling took root in me.

I knew. Not two minutes after walking away from the booth, I knew. There could be nothing else, there was nothing else. But to explain this, I'm going to have to back up a couple of days...

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Origins 2019 Recap: Boardgames Edition

This past weekend, I attended the one and only Origins Game Fair and had an absolute blast. It was the first Origins where I well and truly attended a slew of events, as compared with the time I went in 2014, attended a single RPG session at Games on Demand, and sorta browsed around the dealer hall before playing Star Realms with a couple of friends. I was absolutely floored by everything I got to try out, and that's even considering that (judging by other folks I'm hearing from) my "demoing things" record was much lighter than some dedicated enthusiasts' trails! So, let's have a look at what I checked out, now that I've had some time to digest! This post will be about the boardgames I played, and I'll have one up next week about the roleplaying games I played at Games on Demand.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Do You Have the Skills?

"ALL SKILL" promises the tagline of a high-octane shooter, but what does that even mean? Gamers love to talk about "skill", and which games test it. Unfortunately, what exactly they define as "skill" is one of the murkiest aspects of game discussion, and miscommunications about these definitions sit at the root of heated debates about the evolution of games, particularly when it comes to difficulty and accessibility. What is skill, and how can you think more clearly about the role that skill plays in games?

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Puzzled: the Design of Conundrums and Puzzles

I've been thinking about puzzles lately. It's partly because I recently finished participating in this year's MIT Mystery Hunt, partly because I'm working on puzzles for the Galactic Puzzle Hunt, and I've been pondering the unique experience that puzzles provide, compared to tabletop RPGs and boardgames. There's an interesting satisfaction that comes from puzzles, but it can also be at odds with some of the ways that we engage in other types of play.