Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Kobold Moment - Part 1 - Meet Your Kobold

Hey Folks,

Critical! Go Westerly is awesome! However, you don't have to take our word for it. We've gathered a couple of experts to give us some insight on why you should pick up Critical! Go Westerly.

The opening and ending music is taken from Tom Fay - Watchers under a CC BY-SA license.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Critical!: Go Westerly - Why You Should Want It? Part 1.

You may have heard that we're coming out with a game called Critical!: Go Westerly. I might have talked about it on this blog a few times. I might have talked about it on Voice of the Revolution and with the folks at Bacon Ice Cream. Geoff Bottone, who wrote the game with me, also had some things to say about the game with the Bacon Ice Cream crew.

Clearly, I like this game. I like this game a lot.

Why should you like this game? Well, I'm going to give you reasons why you should like this game. They're going to be in easy to digest snippets so that I don't overwhelm you with the awesome.

1. The game is funny.

Critical!: Go Westerly is funny. I know people might argue that funny is subjective but the game is actually funny, and it's funny not necessarily because of what we've done. Westerly is a pretty funny place, with all sorts of things that are just off kilter enough to make you crack a smile or laugh out loud. I mean, we've got a Punk Rock Anarcho-Primitive group of Faeries called the Anarcho-Fantasmagoria. That's pretty funny.

The System makes the game funny. Criticals! mean you get one really good thing, and one really bad thing. For GMs, or Bartenders as we like to call them, this gives you plenty of opportunity to create funny opportunities out of your player's successes. It's also a great moment for the players to see what they're going to get. Despite their ability to try to bribe their way to two successes rather than one success and one failure, most players I've found can't wait to see what problems they're going to have to deal with.

Ultimately, what makes Critical!: Go Westerly funny though is you, the player. What we've done is allow you the space to input what you think is funny rather than just try to smother you with what we think is funny. In character creation you get to name your skills whatever you want, so if you think having a skill called "Master Scum Sucker" is funny then do it. If you believe that having a Habit, what helps to define your character, called "Makes more sense in Rhyme" then go for it. Argue with your Bartender, but not too much, about why your "Good with small, fiddly bits" skill is useful in a scene where you have to help deliver a Dwarven baby. Push your funny agenda with your character, and enjoy the laughs all the more.

That's why you should pick up Critical!: Go Westerly.

Monday, October 17, 2011

News Flash - Priviledged Person Defends Said Priviledge in face of measured POC rebuttle ...

In other news, water still wet.

Picked up from Deeper in the Game originally. I had thought it would lead me to an thread or something similar but I wasn't too surprised that I ended up a Story Games.

Basically, to sum up the [rage inducing thread over at Story Games]( it breaks down like this.


"Hey folks, can someone please let me know what went wrong between the white European colonists and the First Nations that lived on the land? Why were all the treaties broken, and stuff."

"Um, here is my sadly funny anecdote that explains colonialism and the push of the Europeans to remove the 'Savages' from the neighbourhood. Get it?"

"Hey, you should check out Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee!"

"Oh! Did I mention I wanted this information because in my fantasy world the Native people are Orcs. That's cool, right?"

"You know that's been done before, and what you're setting up is the same tired stereotype that perpetuated again. You can't give people human rights if ... you know ... they aren't human."

"I get what you're saying. But I totally think what I'm doing is awesome. I know it could be problematic, for the reasons you listed but I'm totally different because I'm different. I'm awesome."
"I used it before. It's totes awesome!"


I'm really, really tired of gamers trying to completely and utterly erase or rewrite First Nation's experience and using it as a cute cultural metaphore. I know that was my huge complaint two years ago when it came time to review the Game Chef 2010 games. I'll just leave you with a quote from Deeper in the Game.

But also: why would you ask this question on a gaming forum instead of a history site? Why would you lead off without mentioning the point until halfway through, if you didn’t actually think there was something problematic about it? What part of “Gotcha! You’re genocidal war criminals!” part of game playing is fun?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

[Need a Catchy Contest Name] - Webcomics!

I was recently at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) and I got to thinking. There was that whole kerfuffle in the community about licensed products and their viability and blah, blah, blah. Lot of people complaining about games and kind of missing the point.

Make games that you want to make, and play games that you want to play. By all means experiment and try new things, because doing nothing but the same thing rots your brain, but play what you like.

With that in mind, I had an idea. Why don't we see if we can do that. Pick a webcomic that you enjoy and try to turn it into a game. Find what makes the comic work and then try to turn that into a game. Any game fits. A card game, a board game, an RPG. Let your imagination fly.

Despite the utter failure success of the last contest, I think doing another one quickly is good. Keeps the creative juices flowing.

Just because you're doing stuff with a web-comic, doesn't mean that you have their permission. That means you can't use any of that artist's art, unless you have permission and at that point in time you'd probably just go ask if you can product the RPG/Card Game/Board Game for them anyway.

You don't have to go that far, but you can if you want. They key thing is to replicate the feel of the comic.

How do I enter?

1. Well, post here expressing your interest and what webcomic you're using as your inspiration.
2. When your game is done, post it in the completion thread over at the "What's been done" post with a link to the game.
a. If it's an RPG, a link to the PDF is fine.
b. If it's a card game, a link to the rules and a PDF of the cars works.
c. Board game see above, though if you have specialty pieces you're gonna wanna tell us how to make them.

Well, this last contest went until September, how about we call this one for January 31st, 2012. That means you've got four months to get your stuff together and see what you can come up with.

Judging Criteria
Me and a panel of me will be the judges on this one. Not because I think I'm overly qualified for this, but because I think it'd be kind of cool to judge this. We're going to do it, a la dancing with the stars kind of judging. I'm going to give each game a rating, based off of the criteria below, and then we'll use that as the base point value. Then we'll have a vote off to determine the winner.

The Criteria are:
1. Completeness: Can we play the game, or does it feel like it needs a lot more work.
2. Fun: Is the game fun to play? Does it do the things that make you want to play it again, or continue the campaign.
3. Mayhem: How much mayhem is there? Blood all over the ice, or does it feel like too goons tweeted to stage a fight?
4. Look: How good does the game look? Is it pretty, is it awesome looking? Does it inspire the crowd to riot when their team wins?

Each is based out of 10 and that will provide the base score.

I'll make one too, it just can't enter the contest. There may be something cool at the end, I don't know. I may not have the power of an OGB behind me, but maybe a gift card for IPR, or Drivethru of undetermined value would be up for grabs.

That's right, I'm not cool enough to get people on my own. I'm going to have to bribe them with piddly sums of non transferable cash.

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