Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Gamma the World - Twitter Game

I played a little bit with Fred Hicks and many other people on Twitter today. He came up with a really fun game called Gamma The World, where you take real places and make them fit into Gammaworld-like settings.

Here are a few of the highlights, or the ones I particularly enjoyed.

Washington, DC scorched by fires, home to pyrokinetics and walking-dead mutants = Ashington Dead City

A little rising water and a lot of swamp gas. Albino fish men in flooded harbor tunnels. Baltimore becomes the Baldy Moor

NYC - Victim to a sudden nuclear accident, leaving only leveled buildings and ruined bridges, known as Nuke Your City. #gammatheworld

LA - Home to a rift in time & space, LA is now swarming with creatures not meant for the human mind. Welcome to Lost Angles. #gammatheworld

@fredhicks Toronto is a nuclear cesspool after the nuclear spill. Feet are lost if you aren't ready. Now called Toe-rent-oh. #gammatheworld

@fredhicks check that. Too much nuclear. Waste from the last garbage strike creates an ooze that does the same thing. #gammatheworld

A digital hell, with programs that can rip away the very essence of anything with just paper. It is called Hellafax. #gammatheworld

Don't yet own the game, but I'm willing to back the political Boss Town and the full-of-tech-relics Chem Bridge. #gammatheworld

In Montreal a large tower appeared. Now no one can understand each other and groups fight over the name of the city. #gammatheworld

A Florida mayor goes mad with power & turns every city building into statues of his lost wife. Welcome to MyAmy. #gammatheworld

A remnant of one worldline where bands hold absolute power, the town of ToleDevo harvests energy from its citizens using hats.#gammatheworld

The Leech-Men and their Roundwormite servants haunt the swamps of Kissing-Me. Only the Humalligators can stop them.#gammatheworld

Sentient wheat use storms to recharge their electrical powers. Known as "Shockers", they can be found in Witch-It-All. #gammatheworld

@fredhicks Massive earthquakes shook the Alleghanies, leaving the Steel City full of holes. Now the Burgh is really the Pitt. #gammatheworld

Ronald is a God, and "Two all beef patties, special sauce ..." is a Psalm in SoupCan, Washing. #gammatheworld

In Denver, a family line of plant people is enslaved for the narcotic properties of their blood. #gammatheworld in the Mild High City.

Do you have your own Gammatheworld idea? Let's also all thank Fred for starting the game and you can check out more if you look up the #gammatheworld tag on twitter.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Game Chef - Trying out some games

Last night we had a meetup for our local game meetup group, the Toronto Area Gamers, and had a lot of fun playing 44: A Game of Automatic Fear. It was my first time running it and as such it ended a bit early. Oh, I turned them all into alien pod people, but what happened is that we ended the game way too early. Now that I have some experience running the game, I know how I can make the game last a little longer, with allowing the action to happen rather than just jumping to the conflict point. Still, it was an awesome time.

That being said we ended about a third of our way through the alotted time. That wasn't particularly cool for those who came to play, so I took out the game chef games, which happen to be in the same binder with me, and we decided on a couple that we'd like to try.

1. Danger Mountain

I still love the idea behind this game. The whole concept of building up a town, and the relationships that make the crisis immediate and pressing is great.

What I think would help the game would be a moment where you could foreshadow your disaster without trying to do it in the scene. It felt a little artificial and since we had a couple of new players they were really pushing for their disaster and so the opening scene was really:

"Did you hear about my disaster?" "No, did you hear about my disaster?"

What might help that is having a brief moment where you could mention your disaster. Just that quick cut away to the lava bubbling in the volcano, or the grasshoppers coming down the road.

We also spent all our time on the questions on the cards rather than any of the other options.

We didn't finish the game because two of the people we were playing with didn't play a lot of co-operative storytelling games and so they were feeling confused. One of the players even excused himself at that point, which made me feel a little bad. I wasn't trying to be exclusive. I do think that anyone can play any game really.

Anyway, we decided to play another game ...

2. Chronicles of Skin.

I could make emblems for hours. Seriously, I had such a good time with that I almost asked to do it again instead of playing the game.

However, we did get down to playing at least one round of the game. What I think might be cool was what ron suggested. Instead of coming up with the conflict ad you go, draw it out first and then interpret it and finish it when its done.

That is what we did last night.

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Game Chef 2010 - Indepth Request - Egregore

Hey Folks,

Baxil was kind enough to review Over The Wall on his website and asked for a review of his game Egregore.

I'd suggest checking it out, not just because I pretty much agreed with everything. What I love about Over The Wall is the setting. It really kinda called to me and about half way through I went, "Shit, I need to have mechanics or something, right?" and it shows that the mechanics are tacked on. If enough people like the setting I may take the time to actually find something that fits.

However, onto

The Bigger Review

In case what you forgot, here was the short review.

The Good: Plenty. The setting is phenomenal, the City one I don't know about the other one that's mentioned. It's got conflict -- internal, intra-mural and interparty -- it's got self revelation, it's working on the idea of redemption. I was drawn in and didn't easily leave.
The Bad: The game does suffer from a lot of "must know how the rules work to get it." The resolution mechanic is pretty easy, but it's all the fiddly bits that make up the game, which sadly are what drive what I find awesome, that requires you to know all the details. You can't really hand wave them away.
The other: More examples please! Not that they're needed, I just want to know what's going on with those two characters you have there.

Would I play it? Yes, but only if you help me blow up the city in the Shadowlands.

Concept: You are mages who have crossed a line. Magic itself is a cause of concern but there are rules that govern it and whatever you did crossed one of the thousands of lines that ends up with you being damned to the city in the Shadowlands, a very personal hell that will reflect back on your character the things that they did wrong.

I do love this concept because it allows everyone to be in the same spot and at the same time be incredibly selfish when it comes to their character.

Character Creation
I like the summation of the character creation right at the beginning. It helps you get in the right mindset and focus you towards what you're going to do. You start with your description, which includes people who were important to you and the reason why you were damned.

Drives sounds exactly like what they should be, fear, need, sin and guilt. Another interesting feature is that you will have to face your fear regardless of what it is, so if someone tries to be cute they're going to have to deal with it. I like that a lot, it helps stop those people who go, "I have an obscure fear of a small local bat that only happens to live on the edges of the deserts in New Mexico." I hate it when people do that.

The rest of it falls into the standard "You have points, buy some skills and you have some focuses that you get for those specific stats."

I do want to highlight one thing. Your goal isn't something you choose at the beginning of the game. You will decide your goal as you play the game and that's a lovely little element that I think should be implemented in other games. Not that having goals at the beginning isn't a good thing, it is, but it's an idea that makes me tilt my head and wonder what kind of implementation that it could have in other games.

Review Thought: I do really like the flavour text. It's one of the things that really engaged me when I was reading this game.

Mechanics: I think the most disappointing thing that I read is that in the end it boils down to an unmodified d20 roll to determine if you succeed at a goal or not. That kind of feels anti-climactic in a way.

Certain things aren't explained at all. In the Rolling For Success section, for instance, it talks about Manifestations with Power higher than your currently difficulty but it doesn't describe how or why Manifestations have power. Even in the Manifestation section further down in the City Section.

I don't really like the critical feature here too. If you roll a 20 you get what you want and nothing bad happens to you? It kind of goes against the feel of the game where you've got people who are slowly going insane in their own personal hell. I think something bad should happen to them pretty much every time, the only difference is that it should be something less bad the better number they get.

This is where the most work needs to happen, much like most Game Chef games. I'd go over this section and see what isn't fully explained or confusing. It's less confusing the second time through the game, but these are the things I think need some clarification in the rules section:

Looking for Trouble. I don't like the "Almost Non are Mandatory" line because it doesn't encourage interaction. Plus it makes it confusing when you say, "Well the ones that are mandatory are ..." I'd like a little more consistency in regards to what's happening.

Giving Into Sin. Another sidebar with the rundown of what you need to do if you do give into sin. In fact, sidebars for all the extra bits would be nice too.

Supporting Roles: I know what you were trying to do here, by giving people's character's a bonus when you play a supporting role, but unless I can come up with an Effect and a Benefit in the middle of the game, or before the game, then this is going to be a complete list.

To sum up, because this was the section I was asked to spend a lot of time on. Overall I think the mechanic is a really simple one with a bunch of fiddly bits that I think could be flattened out to be something interesting but right now there are just a few too many exceptions going on for me to play it without needing to refer to the book all the time.


It's layed out well. It's easy to read and important bits are highlighted. Just one note, MORE SIDEBARS! It was really helpful to figure out the base mechanic, but the fiddly bits need them too.

Over all Feel: I think this could be a really gritty dark game that delves deeply into people's fears underneath a thin ray light of redemption. I just think it needs to have another read through and a little more fleshing out and then it would be a really good game to play.

Random Arbitrary Number for Quality: Five Mages desperately seeking to destroy the city against Five Mages who want to protect it.

General Agreement: Yes, a narrative game is a lot harder than people give it credit for.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I don't want your crap, even if it's for a good cause

If you haven't heard there is a bundle that you can pick up over at RPG Now that is 25$ and gives you over 700$ worth of games. I recommend it, mainly because you can download what you want and say to hell with the rest of the products that you don't want. This is good because there are some pretty sweet stuff to be found in this bundle.

However, I do want to highlight a couple of things I think are wrong with this. Not from One Book Shelf (The people who own RPG Now) because the money is going straight to help support a cause that has completely fallen off the radar. I think they're awesome. Not from the people who put in inexpensive products, because they're complete things that are inexpensive because they're small.

No, I want to talk about people who think that including a Quick Start version of their game and a preview edition of their book in this bundle. I know they may have just taken the top X games and put them in this bundle, but I'll say right now that if I had something like that in there I would upgrade it to the full version pretty freakin' quick.

As @wapcaplets replied when I first commented on it, "It's like tipping with Canadian Tire Money."

Monday, October 18, 2010

Game Chef - Cutting down the Binder

Okay, there have been comments that I have too many games in the Binder. I'm going to go through them all and give them slightly more comments, not too many comments because there are still a lot of them.

I'll try to cut it down to about 10 because the binder is actually going to explode soon. I'll start working on the first one tonight.

Repost - Deeper in the Game - Reward System

I just checked out this post over at Deeper in the Game and it got me thinking about stuff we might need to do for 3.0 because I know that there were many times where I was running it where I did get that feeling.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

CyberGeneration - Design Thoughts 01

We've been thinking a lot lately on what we're going to do for CyberGeneration 3.0. We really want the game to do well and a new sourcebook is just step one in this process. The game was over 15 years old and desperately needed a new face and a little bit of clean up to make the game feel a little more immersive.

Here are some thoughts that we're exploring right now and I'm going to share them to see what people think, if there are any left over after the Game Chef thing. =p

1. Two Books instead of one.

No, I'm not going the Burning Wheel wrote which required you to buy the Character Burner and the Burner ... Burner to play the game. That I found frustrating, coupled with the fact that there were some skills that required the Monster Burner to use which just upped that level of WTFery, and annoying and is still one of the reasons why it sits on my shelf gathering dust. However, that is neither here nor there.

What we want to do is put forth a rule book with what you need to play, the rules, the setting in brief, some characters, some yogangs, some gear and go. The price point will hopefully be 15.00$ and you can buy that and get right into the game.

The second book would go more indepth. It would add more yogangs, it would add more detail to the setting but what it won't have are any rules on how to play the game. The reason for that is you would have already purchased the main book to buy the second one, or you already have a copy of second edition that you want to play it with. Hell, chances are you could probably play the game with a fair bit of tweaking in any system that you want.

2. Instead of Sourcebook we'd do a "Magazine Subscription"

Not that it would really be a subscription, but that is an idea, but instead of doing a sourcebook we'd do a magazine update where there are a pile of different options that you can get, information and flavour and gear and the run down of what's going on without having to have it be too centralized. It's kinda like the Eden Cabal itself, decentralized.

At the end of the year we could slap the pdfs together and make it into a book, organized by type of information. Say that if you bought all 4 pdfs, you'll get the book for free or something like that.

Good ideas? Bad ideas? Thoughts, comments, concerns?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Game Chef 2010 - Just when I thought I was done

I get pulled back in. Apparently I missed a couple, it's what happens when you don't do them in order.

Missed 1. Sojourn the City and the Desert

Missed Though 1: I feel a little bit of an ass so I'm going to do more of a full review. I'm going to talk about four areas. Design, Concept, Execution and Overall Feel as well as give the twitter-ific review.

The Good: It feels like it's been influenced by How We Came to Live Here with the two GMs going on. The one dealing with the city and the other dealing with the People. I like that, it splits responsibility and makes for doubly creative game play. I also like how those two GMs are constantly in conflict and flux.

Missed Thought 2: Seriously? Sorry ladies, I'm using he because I can't be bothered to switch genders each section or paragraph? It's not that hard, really not that hard to go "he" this section and "she" this section. Not doing that is just pure laziness.

Missed Thought 3: Ugh, back to the tribal stuff. The word is rather loaded and I wish people would recognize that more.

Missed Thought 4: Lexicon at the back please. I don't need definitions of terms I don't know yet.

Missed Thoughts 5: Note that 2d6 and 1d12 have different curves and are not really acceptable replacements for each other.

The Bad: It has the same problem that a lot of other games have, which is that it feels like a boardgame with roleplaying mixed into it. Having a maps does that but it's one of the games that does a good job of trying to mitigate that problem, but it's still there. Also, can we please, PLEASE fucking get away from appropriation stories?
The Other: MOAR MAPS! Seriously, I love all the maps and feel that I need to make a game that has a map involved in it somehow.

Would I play it?: Yes, but only with a reskin. Let's not play "poor 'natives' dealing with the onslaught of technology" any more? Kthnksbai!!

The Bigger Review

Concept: I actually really love the base idea of the concept. I love how Sojourn is the city that devours all that comes before it. I love how the players can choose to help or to fight Sojourn all while trying to achieve their secret dark desires which brings them closer to the city. I like how the city has its own goal that is secret to the rest of the players. It has the feel of watching that large boulder rolling down the hill towards you and you have to stand up and hope that you're strong enough to stop it even though you know you can't hope to even move it from its course.

That being said it hits on a giant problem, it's not alone in this problem as many other Game Chef games have fallen into this trap, but it's another "native" story. Quoting on page 39 there is a line that states:

The setting for Sojourn: The City and the Desert is somewhat Native American in style as a default in its description here, but it is easy enough to alter some of the minor characteristics to adapt the game for an entire different form of setting.

My question is, why didn't you do that? That would have made the game more unique and interesting. Instead what we get is the same old retreaded appropriated narrative that leaves me annoyed. The same thing with the Genedered Note at the beginning. Seriously, it's not that hard to switch genders in the text. You can go from paragraph to paragraph, or section to section and it's not that hard to replace the "hes" with the "shes." Those that aren't doing it are really just being lazy.

Character Creation: Character Creation falls into three categories. The creation of the world, or the map. The Creation of Sojourn and the Creation of the characters.

The map itself is filled with fun line drawing time. That's not me being sarcastic, that's actually awesome as the borders will shift and play depending on where you draw the lines. It's fun, but it kind of scales the wrong way as the more players you have the more "locations" you're going to have which means more stuff for Sojourn to eat and more events for more people. I don't know a way around that without making exceptions, which are horrible to the game's flow, so perhaps it's just something you have to deal with.

The second part of the map creation is well developed as well where you get to add resources to locations and keywords, or tags as they're called in the games. The more resources, the more tags which means more dice for those fighting against Sojourn.

This does being to lead to a problem that the game has which is that it does have a boardgame feel with some roleplaying attached to it. When you start having to worry about resources on a board, then you're going to naturally start veering in that direction.

With the creation of Sojourn's secret goal, this problem comes into full force. Sojourn's goal is basically a collection of resources. It wants to eat enough stuff to "win" the game and that's when you have a board game.


The Mechanics of the game are pretty straightforward. You have conflict where dice need to be bid and tags can be used to generate successes. What would have been interesting, since you can't bid the same number of dice that have already been bid is that there would be some sort of bonus for bidding less, like taking a risk.

The game mechanics also really pushing both GMs, there is a GM playing Sojourn and a GM playing the People, into initiating conflicts so that they can get the dice that they need to "win" at the end of the game.


The Layout is pretty straightforward. There are flavour bits, and the rules explained. I might like to have had it without the point form, they are paragraphs after all but that's not really a big deal. I mean you've got pagination and a table of contents, you win right there!

Over all Feel:

Over all I think that you accomplished what you were trying to do. It's got the opposing forces battle for control, it's got the players stuck in the middle trying to decide which side they're going to help. It's got the potential for some great storytelling stuff, I just think that it gets a little lost on the board game side of Sojourn needing X resources to win the game.

Also, the skin of the game would need to be changed for me in order to play it. It's something I could do myself, but if the game were to continue and be pushed towards a final product it would have to be a change made to the skin of the game itself in order for me to buy it.

Random Arbitrary Number for Quality: Five Desert Wastelands after Sojourn has gone through it.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Game Chef 2010 - Across the Universe, or finish line

This should be the last batch of reviews. I'll put forth something else, because twitter reviews don't really cover it. While I'm not the game chef in question, since it's been a couple of weeks and the website hasn't been updated I'll do a longer review of any game requested. It's only fair to the effort that a lot of people have put into the games.

Also, this is me whining now, can someone look at my game and tell me what they think? I know it's a draft and a rushed one near the end, but I'd really like to get a sense of what works and what doesn't.

With that, I present the last few games.

52. Deserting Paradise by Mcdaldno & Team Fremen

The Good:Wow, that's a pretty little streamlined game there. Unfinished business, punks who have taken immortality and are trying to escape with it. It all very Greek Mythology in a modern setting. I love the adaptability of the "Bad Things."
The Bad: Can we move away from using the word fuck in things to make them sound fucking edgy? Also, I've never been a big fan of the whole "How to Host A Murder Mystery" style where you have someone read stuff. Another way to try to draw me in please!
The Other: It has the feel of Misspent Youth or CyberGen but with a very specific magical and malevolent feel. Even more so than either of those two above games and I like and/or love both of them.

Would I Play This? Fuck yeah! And I'm not being sarcastic this time. ^_^

53. The Book of Sands: A Story of Our People by by Nolan Callender / masqueradeball

A Though, one among many:Technical writer, eh?

The Good: I like the use of the hidden cards to help define what's going on. There's also a logical order to what's going on.
The Bad: My problem is that I couldn't follow it, despite the technical writing. Examples would go a long way to solving this problem.
The Other: The number headings made my head swim and made me feel like I was at work, probably not the best mindset for reading a RPG.

Would I play this? I don't know. I liked some of the structure but I'd need someone to hand hold me through it and I think if that happens it's more than likely going to be a no this late in the game for me.

54. Pilgrim by Leo M. Lalande

The Good:I like the idea being the structure of the game. I like how the burdens are what drive you and help you determine your victory
The Bad:Finish it. Fiiiiiinniiiish it. Six kind of half assed thrown together pages does not an entry make. It feels like this was kinda of thrown together and it's a little insulting to those who got something together.
The Other:I like the logo, it's freakin' awesome.

Would I play it? Is there something you can actually play in these pages of text?

55. Edge City by Tomas HV Morkrid (Sorry for lack of accents)

The Good:Hey, look! Another Map! Actually this is awesome because you get to write on it as part of the character creation. It also has a wonderful logic for having someone play the GM. You stay behind in the pod.
The Bad: The whole seven deadly sins thing as the drive for the ghosts in the undercity. I was in the game, and a little spooked until there. "Impregnate the characters?" Really? Really?
The Other: I think this feel does spooky better than I hoped I could with Over the Wall. Well, maybe Over the Wall is supposed to be creepier or something, but until I hit the "seven deadly sins" part I was looking over my shoulder, making sure nothing was behind me.

Would I play it? Yes, but only once I ignored what they thought I should do for the ghosts in the undercity.

56. The City: on the Edge of Humanity

The Good:First few lines and I'm in. Alternate future for the win. It's also another coming of age/teenage rebellion game. Should have expected this with the theme this year.
The Bad:It reads more like a story for the most part than a game. This is cool, but it's doesn't really go into the rules on how to play much other than how the dice work, kinda.
The Other:I like the fact that the City is a hierarchical one both figuratively and literally. I've also loved exploring the idea of height as being an indication of class in fiction.

Would I play it Probably with another system? This one isn't finished cooking yet.

57. Walkabout by Michael Wenman

Though among Many: I am going to say right now that I'm going to be kind of twitchy on this one because of the description on the page and with some of the words already used in the book. Intersectionality is important when dealing with oppression politics, but we all have our axes to grind in particular and Indigenous Rights are a big one for me.

Another Thought: Ha! See, another map! This should be Game Chef: Map World or something like that.

The Good: Excellent use of maps and decision dice. You're constantly having to decide what you're going to have to sacrifice in order to move the story. The characters sheets are gorgeous and the maps wonderfully detailed.
The Bad: Yeah, I can't get over the appropriation. It's really jarring for me because while I don't know a lot about Indigenous Australian issues, this is still something that was taken "because it was cool" rather than actually taking it within the context of Indigenous Australian culture.
The Other: Background is nice in pdf, but if it were to see print it wouldn't look so good in B&W unless you have the bajillion dollars to print it in colour.

Would I play it? It's there mechanically, but again the cultural stuff totally gets in the way for me.

58. Maddenhaten by Renee Knipe

Thought near the end: Goodness this was a lot of work. Last one, it's only one of THE LONGEST! AAREAGSDGLKASJRDAW!!!~!!!11~!elventy!

Thought still closer to the end:Note to self for next year. Self, don't write as much on your own game.

The Good: I think this game just hit on something awesome that I haven't read before. If you fail, the GM gets a token that they can call in later rather than you fail at something. I know it's pretty much the same thing (I didn't see the assassin so they're following us now) but this feels more tactile. There are some nifty mechanics for spellcasting.
The Bad: The game suffers a bit of FASAitis. It feels like it's got three different game mechanics in one, and you need to know them if you want to do regular stuff, magick and faith magic.
The Other: Thankfully a lot of the pages are filled with the character classes. The other good stuff is that I like the idea of you all being soldiers at a seige and learning to respect your enemy. What I think would be awesome would be if there was the opportunity to go in either direction on the map (Hee, another map!). As if there was a story that shows how evil the people really are.

Would I Play this? Yes, I play a lot of old FASA games anyway and so the rules stuff is just something to get used to. The concept is intriguing enough that I'd totally play it.

Currently in the Binder Note, these aren't those I think should be finalists, but more like those I think I'd like to keep around personally

1. Cosmic Journey
2. Bridge Across Eternity
3. Man-of-Letters, Man-of-War etc.
4. Deserting Paradise
5. Skin Men
6. Danger Mountain
7. Egregore
8. Last Chance USA
9. Longshot
10. Action City!
11. Over The Wall (It's mine, so duh)
12. Chronicles of Skin
13. Edge City
14. Maddenhaten
15. The Hand of Gulliver the Man Mountain
16. Pub Crawl: take the edge off
17. In Between
18. In Skin City You Need an Edge
19. Going Home: an urban power fantasy
20. A Sojourn in Alexandria
21. Chaos Lords and the Desert of Death
22. Sparks from the Fire
23. The Fall of Granada
24. Broken Dream
25. Under the Sun
26. Red Land Black Land
27. Memoir
28. My God's Bigger Than Your God
29. A Trick of the Light
30. Paths of the Resolute
31. nowhere ROAD
32. A Journey

Current Finalists

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

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Big Update! CyberGeneration the 3rd Revolution!

Well, now that the contract has been signed I can let this bit of information out.

We now have the rights to publish a third edition to CyberGeneration. That's right, we're going to be able to put out a new main sourcebook that people can get their hands on.

That's what we've got right now but stay tuned for more details.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Game Chef 2010 - Are we there yet? Are we there yet?

Okay, now it's time for the next batch of Game Chef game twitter reviews.

Please note that if you disagree with what I'm saying, that's totally fine. Just please reference what game you're talking about. There are several on a page and if you're the designer and you don't use the name attached to the game I can't have a clue what you're talking about. Also, not that you need my permission, but that's cool. The whole disagreeing thing. It's not like I can talk a lot about all of them.

45. Finders by Davide Losito

The Good:The idea that you build a map and then you roll dice on it and have those be the randomizers that tell you how harsh things are. Kind of reminiscent of Hell 4 Leather, except in an affecting the map kind of way.
The Bad:Except that it doesn't seem to actually mean anything. It's a nifty mechanic which tells you how hard stuff is, but at the end if you can narrate around it then you're fine.
The Other:I also like the fact that you can 'finish' the game and then get back into it. There should be some sort of world domination kind of thing where if your coloured pencil has traveled everywhere on the map you win!

Would I play it? No, it is really rough and needs the polish.

46. Omphalos by David Pidgeon

The Good:Great little storytelling game where you tell stories about your characters, and flesh out their backgrounds by telling a series of stories about them. It's pretty awesome, in its index card glory.
The Bad: But it was also fun when the game was called The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen. The first part plays pretty much like that, then you've got the desert which almost feels a little tacked on.
The Other:The list of conditions is nice and fits well with the desert setting. I just wish it had been put in a table rather than a list.

Would I play it? Maybe, but not when pitted against the list that's already in the binder. Sadly it's going to be put aside.

47. Edge of Annihilation: The Last City by Shinobicow

The Good: It's a really well thought out game where you have to be cautious of your resources as you play your characters trying to build a city to survive the harsh wilderness.
The Bad:Except that I can't shake the feeling that this would make a way better board game than it does an RPG. When you have to worry more about resources in an abstract numbers kind of way I think you've crossed that line into Boardgaming.
The Other:I like the tables that give you random "Oh Noes!" but I'd almost like them to be cards, or actual events rather than just penalties. Also, mixing it up is nice, that way you don't know what you get until you roll rather than having it escalate.

Would I play it?As a boardgame totally. I mean I'd still roleplay it, because that's how I play everything, but not as an RPG. It's too Boardgame like.

48. Silver and White by Jackson Tegu

The Good:Wow. I wish I could spend more time going over games, because I would go over this game. It's a poem in the guise of an RPG book. It's dreamlike and ephemeral, rather pretty.
The Bad:Which is never a good way to try to explain how a game works. All the games referenced tell you how to play their game. This one puts out metaphors and hopes you get it.
The Other:I really want to try it. I like the idea of how you react to something being the determination of what you take. If it was just explained to me better ...

Would I play it? I would devote at least an hour with good friends trying to decipher it's beautiful but incomprehensible language. If we figured it out, we'd finish the game, if not we'd hold it up as an artifact and wait for the next version.

49. Egregore by Baxil

The Good: Plenty. The setting is phenomenal, the City one I don't know about the other one that's mentioned. It's got conflict -- internal, intra-mural and interparty -- it's got self revelation, it's working on the idea of redemption. I was drawn in and didn't easily leave.
The Bad: The game does suffer from a lot of "must know how the rules work to get it." The resolution mechanic is pretty easy, but it's all the fiddly bits that make up the game, which sadly are what drive what I find awesome, that requires you to know all the details. You can't really hand wave them away.
The other: More examples please! Not that they're needed, I just want to know what's going on with those two characters you have there.

Would I play it? Yes, but only if you help me blow up the city in the Shadowlands.

50. Action City! by Mike Olson

The Good:Hee! Dice at the beginning telling you what you're going to do. I like it, gets you in the right frame of mind and gives the possibility of a Buddy Movie. I'm still amused at that idea. Same with the fact that the Hero can't die, the Bad Guy will die and Allies might die.
The Bad: I get the idea of using Cliche's with a mechanic, but it almost feels like a bump in the flow of the narration. It probably helps the game, but reading it this section jarred me out of the flow I had. I also don't know why the Opposition gets extra dice at the end, I think it's to make the success less fulfilling?
The Other:Every end of an act MUST HAVE EXPLOSIONS! YES! VERY YES!

Would I play this? It's getting a special place in the binder, oh yes it is. That way when it blows up the other games the damage is minimal.

51. Man-of-Letters, Man-of-War by E. Tage Larsen

The Good: This concept was made for me to love. Letter writing and high sea adventure? Layout set up so that it looks like a Victorian novel? I squealed with delight when I read the first bit.
The Bad: The game does feel like it is split in two. I'd like the sea battles to have even more influence and the correspondence to affect the dice more directly.
The Other: The fact that you get to sing a sea shanty about your character is awesome. I know more than enough people who would spend hours just doing that.

Would I Play It? The mug is full o' grog me hearties. Let's go feel the salty sea air on our faces!

Currently in the Binder Note, these aren't those I think should be finalists, but more like those I think I'd like to keep around personally

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

Current Finalists

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

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Monday, October 4, 2010

Game Chef 2010 - Around the last bend ...

I think I was being smart by avoiding the really long ones. I think this is going to haunt me now.

38. After the Fall by Pat Gamblin

Though something or other, I think 17: TOC, Pagination ... not that hard folks.

The Good:Making up Ports of Call in a ship game is awesome. It's making your map again, just in a more abstract way.
The Bad: Roles? With preset piles of stuff. I mean, I guess that's cool and ... Oh! Ranger! I wanna be the Fighter! Wait, wrong game?
The Other: I like the ideas behind it, but then you get to the rules and it goes "and if this exception says that you add six instead of rolling a die" and my eyes glazed over.

Would I play it? You know, if it wasn't for the fact that there are a bunch of awesome games I'd say yes. But with 20 in the binder and a limited amount of time I'm not going to. Nothing really strikes me about it.

39. The Fall of Granada by Travis Lindquist

The Good: Okay, folks. If you're going to do something where you are using a group of people other than your own, this is how you do it. Protagonists, the Christian Hoards are the Barbarians. No otherly mysticism, no super magicks and the like. It gets a level 1 pass (meaning that since I don't belong to said group being used I can't actually give people passes on stuff).
The Bad: Again, with the dice pools. Large quantities of dice needed. Also, I don't think the game pushes the inter PC conflict as much as the writer would wish. I mean it could happen but it doesn't really seem like it would.
The other Very well skinned, the ingredients don't seem forced and it's the names of the pool are great. Hate, Hope and Revenge.

Would I play it? Totally, it looks like it's got a good game or two out of it. Don't know how it replays though.

40. A City by Tad Kelson

A thought 18: Can we do away with the "My Game is much more complex, so much that a new player won't get it" crap? If someone can't pick up your game and play it then you fail, end of sentence.
A though 19: Seriously. I'm still fuming about that. Quick, show how elitist and awesome you are by saying someone just won't get it. It's like you're channeling Jared or something. ^_^

The Good:I like how the game tries to allow you to make up the sections of the city and allow you to define it with a map (ha, see totally the sub-theme this year)
The Bad:If you need to include rules for what happens if you get a weird roll, which can happen, why don't you just say 11, 7 and 3 rather than have people roll dice. I don't like the character creation rules at all, at all.
The Other:I just also doesn't do the map thing well either. It feel too regimented and too, I don't know. Inorganic a process.

Would I play it?No, and I really wouldn't recommend even spending the time reading it. Super amounts of work needed on this game before it's palatable. Oh, and I've been playing games for 15 years "advanced roleplayers needed" game.

41. A Sojourn in Alexandria by Jason Pitre

Thought 20:I know I'm not the only one who read that the Ingredients are there to help, but if they get in the way to ditch them. Why then do so many people try to force them in there?
Thought 21: Suggested time frames are okay, but telling me you're going to end 25 minutes before your suggested time frame makes me wonder if you should have just calculated that in the game time frame.

The Good:I like that you have to pick your virtues and that there is a chance that they're going to move on you depending on the situation to the ends of their spectrum. I saw it and went, "Oooh."
The Bad:The dice seem to be a little weird to me. They probably work well in practice but I didn't really get why one wins on numbers and then why you roll them afterwards.
The Other:I like how it's a journey, but it isn't defined. The section at the back really help with the whole what you can do with it.

Would I play it? Totally. You can pick a different journey every single time too. I like it.

42. City in Darkness by Dave Michael

The Good:It's got a good system in place to create and manage rivals. Nothing makes a GM happier than a good list of enemies to draw on.
The Bad:The whole resolution mechanic makes me go, "What?" It uses Dominoes, which is cool but then doesn't really do anything else but make you hope that you get good ones.
The Other: Very, very clearly a draft. I think it gets self referential at one point in time, like talking about itself in the third person. The game does. Also, the whole schools being called city, desert and edge almost made me drop the pages and flush them down the toilet.

Would I play it? No, the mechanic needs to not be there, or at least refined a lot better before I'd look at it again.

43. Broken Dream by Jason Petrasko

The Good:The game has a great feel and was constantly dragging me into it's space. The map is pretty and makes me want to play the game.
The Bad:And hope that it will allow me to understand how the map works. It's kind of confusing on the first read and the second read didn't help much. I think it will be awesome once it can be explained for someone who isn't the creator.
The Other:I like the super SF theme that doesn't feel like a super SF theme. Extra points there!

Would I play it? Yes, this far down the game you'd think I'd be inured to these wily maps, but this one was awesome.

44. A Journey by Alex Fradera

The Good:I was interested three lines in. Hear me out. Read the description and see if you want to read it. Go on, I'll wait. Surprising, eh? Maybe it's just because I'm a bit of a political hound that I was interested but still.
The Bad:I still don't really know how things are resolved when you can't resolve something narratively. There's a mechanic between the Leader and the Party, but not really with the Opposition.
The Other:I like it, I like it a lot still. It makes me want to see if I can make prominent politicians and play them out. I mean, I'd talk like Jean Chretien for like a couple of hours at least.

Would I play it? Yes, but after a round or two of polish. Then I'd be there like a Parliament Hill reporter at the beginning of Question Period.

Currently in the Binder Note, these aren't those I think should be finalists, but more like those I think I'd like to keep around personally

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. A Sojourn in Alexandria
15. Chaos Lords and the Desert of Death
16. Sparks from the Fire
17. The Fall of Granada
18. Broken Dream
19. Under the Sun
20. Red Land Black Land
21. Memoir
22. My God's Bigger Than Your God
23. A Trick of the Light
24. Paths of the Resolute
25. nowhere ROAD
26. A Journey

Current Finalists

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

Sunday, October 3, 2010

eBooks and the like

I don't know if you know Adam Jury but I would recommend that you check him out either on his blog or on twitter. I mention him because he's talking a lot about ebooks. Not PDFs, but ebooks. The things that can be read in electronic readers.

Now, I don't doubt that it's totally possible that they will set it up so that .pdfs can be read in e-readers, but there's also this possibility that it won't. Technology is a fickle entity and sometimes it goes in directions that you don't expect it to because of the technology that's already there.

With that in mind, I'm going to start trying to convert all the books that I am going to be printing into .epub format. I'll have to do the research to figure out how much to charge for these formats, but I figure that making a book easier to be purchased can't be a bad thing.

I'm going to start testing it out with Mile High Dragon, but Geasa will be the first released book that's in .epub format as well.

See Adam, all your tweeting has gotten to someone.

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