Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Game Chef 2010 - The Reviews Keep on Coming

And now for the next swath of Game Chef Games, in quick soundbite form!

30. Burial at Crossroads by Bryan Hansel

Thought Unlucky 13: Again, with the "Native" bit. Can we avoid this in the future? Do people not really get that this is an actual problem? *sigh*
Teenaged Thought 14:Ooooh! More maps. Seriously, I now need to make a game with a map.

The Good:I love the feel of the setting. It's got a real grit and the mechanic where you do stuff you want to get stuff you need is very clean.
The Bad: There is also this thing where the classes really are super defined. I might like a little bit of freedom in this setting because I think there are a lot of cool stories that can be told here.
The Other:Oh! Natives, really? Was that necessary? Oh, they have mysticalness! Really? I mean, if you have Natives you've gotta have mysticism! /soapbox

Would I play it?Can we just not have the Nat... no? I guess this is a no then. Or I can just hack it and play with the setting ... hmm ... setting.

31. Symbolon by Kamion

Thought 15: Pagination. Can we have a bit more on the pagination folks. It's not that hard and it makes people's lives easier.
The Good:I love the idea of the Pledge. Something that you don't even know you can lose in the course of the game. I like that kind of tragic idea.
The Bad:The this with a that gives a this bonus to the thing with the other thing against that baddie. Powers are always hard because they're exceptions and this set of powers are -- well -- no exception to that rule.
The Other:I actually am intrigued by the dice mechanic. I mean, It's really just my number beats your number except in the case where you roll a 7 combined. It might be nothing when I really look at it, but for right now the way it was described gave me pause.

Would I play it? Not really no.

32. The Doldrums by Zac Dettwyler

Thought 16: Gutters are your friends. Please make sure you use them so that your words don't run into one another causing headaches in the reader.

The Good:Whoa! Using Mancala as the mechanic? That's pretty sweet! I also like how you have people from the different areas, and how that kind of mixing it up is mandatory.
The Bad: Whoa! Using Mancala as the mechanic? That's pretty confusing. I've played Mancala and I'm a little on the confused side. Also, it might take a fair few boards to get the game going.
The Other: I love how there is an idea of hands, dealing with how many times you can call on a friendship and that the character sheet actually has hands!

Would I Play It? Yes, but only with the creator. It's really the Mancala mechanic that makes me feel I need that.

33. Last Chance USA by Tim Rodriguez

The Good:I think this is going to be one of my favourites. I love the theme, and the mechanics and how it all meshes together. I enjoyed reading it.
The Bad:The Mechanic takes a little bit of getting used to. I had to reread it three times to get it.
The Other:But when I did get it, I giggled. It's got strategy, and tactics and it's pretty simple.

Would I Play It? Well, I guess we're all here in Last Chance because we're the only hope we have to survive. (See, I'm playing with you now!)

34. What Happened Here by Rustin Simons

The Good:I like the idea of trying to make a two person RPG. It's usually hard on the GM, but if you make a game that depends on the two people asking questions, then it just might work.
The Bad:It doesn't really have much more than asking questions and trying to guess what the other person picked. I think there are party games that do that, possibly better.
The Other:It was a short read, with everything coming together quickly. I just didn't really think that it carries itself as a story game. It's like 20 questions, except you get 5.

Would I play it? No, though I do like the suggestion of going to the pub.

35. In Between by Dan Mckenna

The Good:Stuck between worlds trying to atone for sins? I love the concept and I like how the bidding system works with the dice and your power pools. It gets harder the more you accomplish because you lose power.
The Bad:Dice, lots and lots of dice. You need at least 15d6 per person. If one theme this year is maps, the other one would be dice.
The Other:I love how striking the title page is. It's simple black and white, but it really made me interested in the game.

Would I play it? Yes, several times because apparently like a cat I have nine lives.

36. Red Land Black Land by Jason Godesky

The Good:I really like the fact that you're constantly struggling between your skin and your law. The two dice competing really is something I think makes a good mechanic.
The Bad:This is nit picky, and probably not doable because of time, but having more options would be better for Visions and Burdens.
The Other:I totally thought of The Rock Dwayne Johnson as soon as I read the Scorpion King was in the game.

Would I play it? Yes, not as much as some other games, but I would totally play it.

37. Under the Sun by Anna Kreider

The Good: There is a real interconnection in the game, where how your actions are perceived will determine how the rest of the group reacts to you and if you can make it to your destination.
The Bad:Native tribe again? Can we just mark the ones that decided to go with the "tribal motif" with a big read R and move on?
The Other:I think the card game within the game will either be really good, or really get in the way. I'd need to play it to figure out which one would be which.

Would I play it? After I got through some of the others, I'd give it a try. I don't know how long it would stay in the binder though.

Currently in the Binder

1. Cosmic Journey
2. Bridge Across Eternity
3. Skin Men
4. Danger Mountain
5. Last Chance USA
6. Longshot
7. Over The Wall (It's mine, so duh)
8. Chronicles of Skin
9. The Hand of Gulliver the Man Mountain
10. Pub Crawl: take the edge off
11. In Between
12. In Skin City You Need an Edge
13. Going Home: an urban power fantasy
14. Chaos Lords and the Desert of Death
15. Sparks from the Fire
16. Under the Sun
17. Red Land Black Land
18. Memoir
19. My God's Bigger Than Your God
20. A Trick of the Light
21. Paths of the Resolute
22. nowhere ROAD

Current Finalists

1. Danger Mountain
2. Pub Crawl: Take the Edge Off
3. Never to Die
4. Longshot

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Game Chef 2010 - My There are a lot of you

Okay, continuing on our journey and not while on my phone, which is a bonus.

25. Walkers in the Witchery Way by Alla Hoffman

The Good:I love the writing at the beginning, you think you're going one way and then you go the other way. Also love that you're playing Skinwalkers which might be called Dopplegangers in another setting, with more gruesomeness.
The Bad:The exceptions to the exceptions to the exceptions of the time when you do this, and when you want to do that makes me feel like I am playing D&D.
The Other:I just love the name Corpsedust.

Would I play it? If I say yes, you can assume that a Skinwalker has taken my over and it should be stopped!

26. Chronicles of Skin by Sebastian Hickey

The Good:Good use of the word skin, as the place where you record the history of your people during a civil war. Also, drawing emblems for the win.
The Bad:Sometimes, despite assertions to the other, it feels like you do need a bit of an art practice to get things right. I might just be a perfectionist like that.
The Other:It's way better than I thought it was going to be when I got hit with the emblems. I recommend it, reading the whole thing is worth it.

Would I play itYes, yes you should. It's got a lot of replay value and you get to draw! Come on!

27. Memoir by Declan Feeney

Thought 10! Double digits! I think we need to include some elements of design in the concept. Full pages of colour do not friends with printers make.
Thought 11: Names don't evoke a type of person. My favourite part of The Thief series is when the two Queens comment on how inappropriate they feel that their names are.
On the 12th thought of this project: Can we avoid the Euro Games, cute method, of determining who goes first? The first time you read it, it's fun ... the tenth time not so much.

The Good:I love how much of the game is set up so that you can follow it without any problems. I didn't have to reread it to follow the flow.
The Bad:That doesn't mean I agreed with the direction. I'd like a little bit more control, not a lot more, but a little bit more control over what happens to the character. I mean Fiasco I get to choose the beginning or the end and reading this it felt like I had a choice to do the scene or let someone else do it.
The Other:Seriously? More colour coded dice. Can we not find places to put them and just leave it as that? Chesex must secretly sponsor these contests, or at least laugh maniacally whenever they get done.

Would I play it?Yes. I'd want to give it a try, because the idea of doing a whole life is interesting.

On the 12th Thought of Game Chef: Best way to make anyone feel bad about saying anything could be made better on their game, dedicate it to your unborn child. =p

28. World Riddle by Stuart Chaplin

The Good: I love the fact that the oracle cards get forked depending on if you have more cards towards your good ending or towards your bad ending. It's a nice addition to the Oracle Idea.
The Bad:Feels almost too nebulous, where the writing is too much like the koan that the game wants you to try to answer.
The Other:I really don't see how it used City, Desert and/or Edge, but meh, that's not my call.

Would I play this I don't know, it is a question better left to the journey of understanding than to an actual answer.

29. The Hand of Gulliver the Man-Mountain by Mike Pohjola

The Good: OMG! FINGER LARP! Who can totally see someone going all out and picking up finger puppets and making costumes for their fingers to play this game? I can see it happening.
The Bad: OMG! FINGER LARP! I can see this going badly if there are a lot of players and not a lot of hand.
The Other:I really love when someone takes an idea and runs with it, and here the skin ingredient is really played out incredibly well.


What's in the Binder

1. Cosmic Journey
2. Bridge Across Eternity
3. Skin Men
4. Danger Mountain
5. Longshot
6. Over The Wall (It's mine, so duh)
7. Chronicles of Skin
8. The Hand of Gulliver the Man Mountain
9. Pub Crawl: take the edge off
10. In Skin City You Need an Edge
11. Going Home: an urban power fantasy
12. Chaos Lords and the Desert of Death
13. Sparks from the Fire
14. Memoir
15. My God's Bigger Than Your God
16. A Trick of the Light
17. Paths of the Resolute
18. nowhere ROAD

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Game Chef 2010 - First Impressions Three

Okay, here is the next round of twiteriffic reviews.

18. Longshot by Nick Wedig

Thought five: This is one week? Either people are using stuff they've been saving or I'm nowhere near as good as I thought I was at this.

The Good: How the characters are created are a kind of poetry. Limited resources, murderer on the loose. Space western!
The Bad: Bag of dice needed and the bidding pretends you understand what is a stronger bid.
The Other The town prostitute? Really?

Would I Play It? Many, many times. Though I'd harbor resentment that it look too polished. :P

19. Over The Wall by Jonathan Lavallee

The Bad: Maybe he should have finished a character sheet or something like that.
The Bad: It would have been nice if this Jackass didn't assume everyone knew what Parts could be sold off.
The Bad: Does he really think this studded would creep anyone out?

Would I Play It? Sadly, yes. It is my game after all.

20. Burning Your Skin by Sean Nittner

Thought six: Can we all agree to ban first person singular when writing #rpgs? I don't care what the author wants out of a Journey, I want them to care what I want out of a Journey.
Thought Seven: Do we have to have another lecture on appropriation folks? I'm glad we've avoided it so far with desert as an ingredient so far ...

The Good: This is probably the best teen becoming an adult game that I've read. Nice strong mechanic too.
The Bad: See above about appropriation and first person voice. From the text, "I've flavored the game with desert culture names; Egyptian, Arabic and Native American." Hmmm..... appropriation.
The Other: Excellent use of self done pictures to illustrate dice.

Would I Play This Game? I'm on the fence. It has lots of cool bits wrapped in a lot of pet peeves.

22. My God's Bigger Than Your God by Joe Prince

The Good: Hahahahahahahaha! This is so funny that I laughed several times. I think it helps that I don't care about religion.
The Bad: A great board game that came out in two hours ... wait, it was an RPG contest?
The Other: To make it more real the winner should keep all the coins used.

Would I Play It? Yes, with a bunch of people who aren't too religious. Otherwise there may be fights.

23. Brachininae by Alex Isabelle

The thought eight: As requested, I'm not going to pay attention to language since its written in a second language.

The Good: I really like the whole flashback idea, as well as having control over what questions you answer.
The Bad: The ending seems a little, meh. Selling out doesn't really seem to do much.
The Other: Quick, Skynet has released the Terminators. Seriously, it works well with the WWII theme.

Would I Play This? No, I think that there are other memory games with endings that I'd want to play.

24. Never to Die

Thought Nine: Like if I say fuck a lot and talk about my boys kickin' shit over it's cool and edgy, right?

The Good: Really nice mechanic for a surprise ending. Reach into the bag and find out!
The Bad:Rampant mysogyny. Because we all know that only guys play RPGs. Not like 51% of the population are women. Naaaaw.
The Other: So ... How many dice do I need? 90? Oh, 90-ish. Do you secretly work for Chesex?

Would I Play This? Fuck no. See, edgy right?

What's in the Binder

1. Cosmic Journey
2. Bridge Across Eternity
3. Skin Men
4. Danger Mountain
5. Longshot
6. Over The Wall (It's mine, so duh)
7. Pub Crawl: take the edge off
8. In Skin City You Need an Edge
9. Going Home: an urban power fantasy
10. Chaos Lords and the Desert of Death
11. Sparks from the Fire
12. My God's Bigger Than Your God
13. A Trick of the Light
14. Paths of the Resolute
15. nowhere ROAD

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Game Chef 2010 - First Impressions part deux

Okay, I finished more of the games. Time for more twitterific type reviews.

10. A Trick of the Light by Jeff R

The Good:Love the concept where you don't know who is real and who isn't. You play your character in other people's realities. It's fun.
The End:Okay, calculate your points and you win! Love the beginning, middle, not the end so much.
The Other:It's got a map of stuff. It was confusing, but this is the year of maps in games too.

Will I play it? Probably not, the ending mechanic makes me cringe too much, but I'll keep it for the other great ideas.

11. The Perfect Tool by Shreyas Sempat

The Good: The way you pick your operatives and how you have a persona agenda that the players don't know.
The Bad:I don't think a similar mechanic to Don't Rest Your Head is used well here. Instead of one good and three bad dominates, you've got three good and one bad.
The Other:Not that I wouldn't do this but "a terrorism" doesn't work, though keeping in parallel was a good try.

Will I play it? No, it's not finished and not in the "not finished but playable" way but not really finished.

12. If Wishes Were Horses by Raquel Mutton

The Good: Um .... um .... um ... um ...
The Bad: Um .... um .... um ... um ...
The Other:Um .... um .... um ... um ...

Will I play it? No.

13. In Your Own Skin by David Berg

The Good: Teenagers are always good for angst. Also, I like how you have to have everyone come out with a Skin, or else everyone fails.
The Bad: It got confusing very quickly. Almost as if someone was using a refreshing herbal tea while writing it.
The Other:Any tag line that has 'lethal peer pressure' has got to be good, right?

Will I play it? It almost requires some refreshing herbal tea to play, so I'm going to have to say no.

14. Skin Men by Marc Majcher

Thoughts the fourth: Oh look! Another map. I guess when your theme is Journey you get maps, and @kristawhite awesome reunion to save the galaxy.

The Good: Love the concept, love the theme. Love the fact that the opening scene is the "Oh shit!" moment and then you go back to the beginning.
The Bad: The map needs cleaning, as in if printing please use 300 dpi cleaning.
The Other: I think I'll need to include more maps when I do things.

Will I play it? Yes, very yes, very very yes.

15. Sparks from the Fire

The Good: Totally delivered on his promise to be the Canterbury Tales, except in RPG, with desert and awesome.
The Bad: So, how do you every get a result other than "You're totally fucked?" I'm looking at it going ...
The Other: This is like an essay on Chaucer and now I'd love to sit down and chat with Brennan about his views on the book.

Will I play it? Maybe? Probably once.

16. Bridge Across Eternity by Tamara Persikova

The Good: Wait, this is a "thrown together in a week game?" Seriously? Ambiguous choices that leave you wondering if you did the right thing. Certainly.
The Bad: Don't apologize for stuff that the people playing the game don't know about. It's all intentional, right? Right?
The Other: Fighting down large swaths of jealousy. I wish I had 1/2 the ability to make anything look as good as this.

Will I play it? Yes and I think it might challenge Cosmic Journey as the "Watch out to win" game.

17. Skin City Romance

The Good: It seems to be a rather together game. Lots of inter-relations.
The Bad: Distinctly lacking in both Skin and Romance.
The Other: I really thought this was going to be something totally different from the title. I think I'd like that other game more.

Will I play it? Not really. Needs more Skin and Romance.

Games currently in my "Free RPG playing" Binder, in order:

1. Cosmic Journey
2. Bridge Across Eternity
3. Skin Men
4. Danger Mountain
5. Pub Crawl: take the edge off
6. In Skin City You Need an Edge
7. Going Home: an urban power fantasy
8. Chaos Lords and the Desert of Death
9. Sparks from the Fire
10. A Trick of the Light
11. Paths of the Resolute
12. nowhere ROAD

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Game Chef 2010 - First Impressions

So I'm going through all the games that were submitted, before the final cut and I'm going to give some quick, twitter thoughts in regards to the ones that I've managed to read. There are over 50 of them so anything more than 140 characters is going to give me a headache. Some of them have even been up on Twitter, imagine that.

Note, they aren't in the same order as they were on the Game Chef page.

1. Pub Crawl by Samuel Briggson

The Good: Pub Crawl looked like a lot of fun. Totally something i'd want to play which I didn't think when I first looked at it.
The Bad: Fudge dice? What's with all the Fudge Dice everywhere? Did Grey Ghost bribe everyone and I didn't get the memo?
The Other: A little like Penny for My Thoughts, with booze and many more stories being told about what happened.

Would I play this? Most certainly.

2. nowhere ROAD by Jamie Firstrom and Mark Nau (black/white stone mechanic)

The Good: Yay open design? Actually the map bit is really nifty and I like the idea of the road movie.
The Bad: Dear nowhere ROAD. Can we drop the self congratulated tone in the writing, please? It doesn't add to the game and looks wankerish. Kthksbai!
The Other: Totally use the other people choose your real need, what you actually want to learn from the road trip. Really nice idea.

Would I play this? i'd like to like it, but the writing kept throwing me off. I know its a draft, but it kept pulling me out.

3. The Chaos Lords and the Desert of Death by David Best

The Good: Epic Death Scenes? Robotic Abraham Lincolns? High powered ridiculousness? Yes please!
The Bad: A d30? Really? Roll percentile and reroll 70% of the time if you don't have a d30? Um ... maybe not
The Other: Keeping the Epic Death Scene. Death will not make it past us!
The Other 2: Excellent use of Keeton. folks will be proud! ^_^

Would I play this? Yeeeeees? I'd just take a d6 and go 1=0, 2-3=1, 4-5=2, 6=3 and avoid the many, many rerolls but I so want to play Metal Jack Black taking on Death.

4. Cosmic Journey by Krista White

The Good: It is full of awesome. From concept, to execution to the charitable donation request on the front. One Great Rock Show to Save the Universe.
The Bad: Lots of little fiddly bits, like printing lots of cards. On the plus side there are instructions on use.
The Other: I think that @kristaewhite had a darned good chance at winning #gamechef and I'm only five pages in.

Would I play this? Yes. Very Yes. You should to. Any way you want it. That's the way you need it. Any way you want it.

5. Going Home: an Urban Power Fantasy by Mikael Andersson

The Good: You weren't kidding when you said it's Falling Down the RPG. Totally got flashbacks of being a kid watching this.
The Actual Good: I like that the scenes are driven by asking questions, and that your antagonist's goal is to push you towards answering it.
The Bad: A little on the confusing side. I think I'll need to read it again ... again. That way I can make sure I got it.
The Other: It always heartens me when people try to address moments of privilege in RPG books, we need more of it, and kudos for throwing possible problematic stuff in there.

Would I play it? Yes, but right now only with Mikael. Since he doesn't live too far that's not that hard for me.
Would I play it 2?I think it would be rather epic.

6. In Skin City You Need An Edge by David Wendt / Doc Blue

The Good: Really? Crosswords? That's gotta by one of the niftier mechanics out there. Who is going to make the Sudoku RPG?
The Bad: Seems that with high rolls you could get less bad things, maybe I'm just an asshole when it come to resources.
The Other:I will be amazed at the map mechanic for the rest of the month.

Would I play it?Totally, it seems like something you can get done in a couple of hours if you're good at dealing with words.

7. Danger Mountain by Jason Morningstar

First thought: Unrelated to the game, self-discovery seems to be the sub-theme this year.
Second thought: It seems that secret stuff is also coming up again. It's an interesting idea.

The good: Looks like an amazing good time. Easy to pick up, easy to play, great stories told.
The bad: I also like it when it was called Fiasco. Very, very similar play feel except that it's got more fixed characters and questions
The other: This is still awesome and is going to certainly be in the running for best game to play.

Would I play it? Yes please. Several times in fact.

8. Paths of the Resolute by Jonathan Janssen

First Thought: I almost did the same thing, where I had different bonuses be used for different parts, but reading this makes me glad I didn't.
The Good: I love the tatoo idea, where you put stuff on the character sheet that says what you believe in. It's got a great feel to it.
The Bad: It's really a game about setting rather than people. The cool part is the traps and how you get past them.
The Other: Note to self and others. Don't do funky background colours, it makes it a pain to print out.

Would I play it? Probably at least once. I'd have to see afterwards what it was like.

9. The 7 Symbols of San Rio by Joe Jeskiewicz / Artexercise

The Good: Two pages. Good job at condensing it down!
The Bad: Maybe a little too good. It's kind of dense and a little confusing.
The Other: The text box that says, "This game is incomplete. I needs you to fill in the blanks." Makes me say, "certainly it feels like it."

Would I play it? No. It looks like it takes a lot of work that I don't particularly want to do at this point in time. Maybe if I was really in the mood to design a game around a game while in the midst of playing the game.

There are the first nine, only lots more to go.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Game Chef 2010 - Over the Wall

Well, I finished my Game Chef for this year.

No playtesting, so I guess that means I pulled a Jared? Should that be the new gaming term, the equivalent of pulling a Craig MacTavish only for games?

The link to the game is here.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Game Chef 2010

Against my better judgement I have started on my game chef entry for 2010. If you don't know what take chef is I suggest you Google it, posting links on the phone is rather hard.

Anyway, the theme this year is Journey. The ingredients are: desert, city, skin, edge. You have to use three out of the four ingredients. I have about 1.5k words written up already. The title is Over The Wall.

Because its me I decided to focus mostly on flesh. I'll leave that to your imagination until I post more.
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Thursday, September 2, 2010

On Time

There is something to be said for certain skills. There are certain skills that really are invaluable. If you are going to be in any type of business, one of those skills is professionalism. Being professional is a way to make sure that you get more work.

"What does that mean," you ask? It is quite simple. It means that you do what you say you will do and if you can't you let the client know what is going on and when they can expect the project can be done. Excuses are okay, as long as they are valid. Very few people are unforgiving when it comes to real life getting in the way. It happens to the best of us. Just let us know.

This is totally coming from a personal spot at the moment. I had originally wanted Geasa to be out by Gen Con. Well, the Ashcan at any rate. The reason I got was that I hadn't provided enough direction. Then we talked on the phone and I was told that I had given enough details to get some preliminary sketches done. Then I got nothing.

Now I find myself scrambling to find a designer who will produce material for me. Maybe this way I can make my goal of having it out by October.
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