Monday, May 11, 2015

Game Stories: Complexity or Depth?


So! Last week, I went on a bit about how I want to see more mechanically-involved RPGs. I'd like to talk a bit this week about what that can mean, because there's a lot of RPGs out there which try to satisfy this criteria by being complex. Complexity, however, often has nothing to do with depth, as many tabletop gamers should know already. But let me give you an example firsthand...

Monday, April 27, 2015

Game Stories: Why RPGs Need Game Designers


I love boardgames. Interestingly, my involvement in boardgames increased dramatically shortly after my involvement in the tabletop roleplaying hobby; this was around 2011, as the second wave of new and popular boardgames started sweeping over America and Wil Wheaton's Tabletop had its genesis. Because I got into boardgaming and RPGs at around the same time, I start thinking about how they relate to one another, and what benefits tabletop RPGs can reap from studying other tabletop gaming...

Monday, April 20, 2015

I Made a Thing: Schism Song Alpha


So, this time around, I've got something new for all of you: a game that I'm slowly starting to polish up. It's inspired by the likes of Bastion, with a dash of Apocalypse World, and it's been through a lot of mental revisions already! Someday maybe I'll break out into the story of how radically this initial alpha has changed from my initial conception of the game.

And this is what I've wrought! MWAHAHA! Um, er. So what I'd love you to do is to read it, have a look at it, and try it out. Let me know what sorts of speed bumps you find in the game, stuff that really needs clearing up, or ways that it falls short of its goal, which is to pull together a vibrant story. The structure of the game is heavily inspired by the concept of music jams, and I'm interested to see how well that translated.

And though I'm short on time these days, I'm open to running a session with people over Google Hangouts.

Schism Song Core: Alpha v0.1

Friday, April 10, 2015

Review: Mythic Mortals


Who doesn't want to take the battle to titanic foes, wielding super-awesome powers in cool action scenes? I know I do, and that's exactly the itch that Mythic Mortals aims to scratch. You play as humans imbued with the spark of ancient gods' power, fighting back when the Ancients come back to reclaim the world. (There's a little more to the story than that, but I'm condensing.) The game's goals are to give players a fun, vibrant, action-packed experience that's also very straightforward to learn and play.

I received a review copy of this game for the purposes of this post.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Streamlining Rules With Pandante

This Monday, we're going to do something a little different! As the Pandante Second Edition Kickstarter winds to a close this Friday, I'd like to use it as a platform for talking about how designers streamline rules. If you don't know much about Pandante, here's a good overview post that not only talks about the basics of the game, but also about some of the design decisions that went into it. Then, come back here and read up on how the game changed. (I'll also summarize how the old rules worked, if you really don't feel like learning about panda gambling.)

Monday, March 30, 2015

Game Stories: Coup Redux

A while back, I posted about the board game Coup, talking about how the different characters' powers each had a sort of story baked into them, reinforcing the theme with mechanical effects. I'd like to revisit this game a second time around. This time, I'm talking about how the entire game comes together, how it folds a bunch of different mechanisms into one big collection of game that creates a very specific atmosphere. Curious?

Friday, March 27, 2015

Teaching a Game: Mythender's Tutorial, Part 2


MYTHENDERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

It's time to follow up on last week's post, where I started breaking down the (incredibly awesome) Mythender tutorial battle. It's a tool that Ryan uses to teach players how to play a very mechanically intense RPG. In Part 1, I talked about how the tutorial begins by very clearly defining foundations. You're going to start to see something else in the battle: a layered instruction system where the most important parts of the game come into play one at a time...