Monday, April 30, 2012

Game Chef 2012 - 36 through 40

Last Chance to Tell the Tale of Coyote and Medicine Man by Bryan Hansel

The Good: It's a puppet show.  I am in love with the fact that this is basically how to come up with a puppet show.

The Bad: Mythological names, you know like the pseudo translated First Nations names like "Thunder Being" or "Walks with Heavy Foot" or "Dances with Wolves" or any other sort of Un-named Mythology.  Yup, nothing to see here.  But please do apply it to your culture, because that's what you're drawing from.  Totally.  Rules wise I'd almost rather Rock, Paper Scissors, just because you can do it one handed rather than two handed.

The Other: I get what this improv exercise, it's far more that than a game but it's still cool for that, tries to do.  I applaud it even, but I keep slamming my head on the appropriation and it's jarring.  But hey, if playing injun in the backyard floats your boat ... well ... fuck you.

Would I Play It? Let me take the rules, and make it a different creation myth and yes.  I mean, make a fantasy world, just ... *sigh*

Like moths… by Artur Cnotalski and Szymon Gosek

The Good: I love this game.  You're grafted together monsters, trying to find the lamp that will ultimately be your survival.  The mechanic is very straightforward and the narrative bonuses seem simple and easy to grasp.

The Bad: Layout of the game could be a little better (nits, I know).  Maybe giving more of a framework for the length of the game would have been helpful.  There was space for it.

The Other: I also really like the ability mechanic, and the guidelines for it.  There's a lot of leeway, and potential for abuses, but that's why there is a GM in this game.

Would I Play It? I'm sorry, I can't hear you right now because my gills are acting up ... in short, yes.

EULA: the game (+ supplements) by Keyl and Zhaconda Sunders

The Good: The whole concept really.  That the technology requires you to keep paying in order to use it is brilliant.  I think that the whole laying down cards and cutting them for their info is pretty great too.  I'm all for getting a bunch of index cards and doing that.  The dynamic between what you know, what you want, what your weakness is and who is going to pay for what is great.

The Bad: There's a little bit of "Ooh, those cannibalistic Africans" which falls into the same Pan-Ism that bug me about First Nations.  Lots of places in Africa, they're all kinda different.  It's like someone saying, "In America" and hand waving.  Also, I would like to feel a little more tension, I don't see anything that threatens the character, if they can't do anything they just withdraw.  More Danger Please!

The Other: I love this idea about a dystopian future where your technology is based upon the future of DRM software and encoding.  People, steal this idea now!  Also, love the "fold the name board like this" graphic.

Would I Play It? Yes, as long as I could get the patent for it.

The murderers of Dr. Moreau by Anonymous Typing Monkey

The Good: The idea of a totem in the middle really helps keep people pushing forward.  You have to lean forward to be engaged in the story.  The constant push between frustration and position seemed really interesting both in terms of why those names were chosen and how they work.

The Bad: However, I was only able to kind of half figure out how they work.  I would have appreciated a little more in the way of structure as to what exactly happens.  A list would make this play a lot faster.

The Other: I'm amused that there were two Moreau games one right after the other.  I'm sure I'll see more, but I'm kind of shocked that there are only two.  Though the first one is far more in keeping with the Isle of Dr. Moreau rather than just using the name for the Doctor ingredient.

Would I Play It? Probably once, just to see if I would play it again.

True Men Don’t Kill Coyotes by Alex “il mietitore” Isabelle

The Good:  I'm down with a Red Hot Chilli Peppers song for a game.  Heck, most of my Shadowrun unofficial titles are all BNL songs.  The blood concept is great, two bits of paper that you burn to force the narration onto someone.  I like it a lot.

The Bad: This is kinda why stereotypes are bad.  I'm not going to hold Alex to a kind of standard I hold people who live in North America because this isn't the history of his country.  However, there's a little too much "backyard indian" with this game for my comfort.

The Other: Live band for the win!  If you can play this game with a live band in the background you have waaaaaay cooler friends then I do.

Would I Play It? No, mainly because of the "backyard indian" effect.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Game Chef 2012 - Submissions 31-35

Coyote’s Winter by Mael Rimbault

The Good: The relationship between the Coyote's and the humans is something really well done.  It's similar to relationships in Monsters in Other Childish Things, or it reminded me a little of Blowback for some reason.  I like the whole when you need to use your relationships you weaken them, and then you need to build them back up.

The Bad: It's really got nothing interesting beyond that.  The setting is fine, post-apocalyptic is always a fun time but it just didn't drag me into what was going on.  The rules are a pretty straight forward kind of rolling dice for success.  Nothing bad about it, just nothing much about it either.

The Other: As the author mentions, French is his first language and there are moments where you catch them. They make me nostalgic because my French is full of Anglicisms.

Would I Play It? No, that's not really a slight on the game.  More that it didn't really do much that would make me want to play it.

Heist by Theresa Strike

The Good: I like the accumulated failures coming back to haunt you.  That if you end up messing up too much you're going to get caught.  The teammate rules are great, where you get an extra die.  It feels like there's a lot going on here, and it's good.

The Bad: It could have used tighter movement rules.  Making your own bank rules would have been nifty too, maybe a little to Rune like but could have made it more interesting.

The Other: There has been a big time limit motif in the games so far.  For a last chance theme I think it's a great implementation of it. 

Would I Play It? Yes.  Time to get the money.

Agents of C.O.Y.O.T.E. by Mike Burnett

The Good: This is like Chrononauts, except with just one event to deal with and a lot more RP.  It's got reference material, quick play lists.  I like this game a lot, and would take the time to figure out how splitting the time stream works just to play the game.

The Bad: With any time game problems with time itself are going to be prevalent.  I think it does a good job on dealing with that, but I still was kind of scratching my head wondering what to do at times.  However, I think playing it might help with that.

The Other: I love the fact that you get to play yourselves as your future evilselves.  I also didn't know you tore up notecards like a hamburger.  

Would I Play It? I've got my gear, let's go save time.

Coyotesong: a Game of Leaving by Joel P. Shempert

The Good: It's a lovely idea, coming up with a ritual about leaving a place.  I think people like rituals and anything we can come up with to even address leaving is something worth exploring at least.

The Bad: I used ritual intentionally.  It's not much in the way of a game, but very much in the way of a ritual.

The Other: Maybe I'm a coward, but I wouldn't recommend talking to other people with this.  You might want to explain it to them.  Also, I'm not sure why there needs to be an event, per say.  I think a scheduled time like 11:11:11 or 12:12:12 or something of significance would work too.

Would I Play It? No, but them that's just because I'm not into rituals. ~_^

One Last Night (+ chart) by Abram Bussiere

The Good: It's a drinking game, meets bucket list game.  Fun for an evening of light drinking and storytelling.  It's got a very structured, I'm talking now with the stick style of play which is really useful in this type of game.

The Bad: There are a couple of things missing.  First it doesn't tell you how to invoke the end game.  It just says that when it's started (which the play notes tell you is when the last desire is accomplished, but it would be nice to have them in the rules).  Also, it would nice to be able to narrate failure, the game kind of assumes you will succeed at this.

The Other: Another ritual like game.  This is far more a game, with included alcohol, than other rituals but it still has that feel to it.

Would I Play It? Yes, but with the right people and the right drinks.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Game Chef 2012 - Submissions 26 - 30

I might start to get a little harsher with the would I play it bits.  Don't take it personally, I'm just going to take a little longer in thinking about if I would actually play the game as is.  If I'm going to want to mod your game I'll say so, but the answer is going to be no.

To Put Things Right by Antti Lax

The Good: I like the way the influence mechanic works in this game.  I like how the theme was really focused on, and the structure of the game which makes it sound entertaining but really is something you're only going to play once.  Also like the movement from memory to memory parts.

The Bad: I know the ingredients are to be interpreted as loosely as possible, but this feels like they were ignored and tacked on at the end. "This is what I called them, they happen to be the ingredient names but you can change them to fit your story."  This isn't using the ingredients in even the loosest of fashions.  Part of the fun of Game Chef is the constraints put on by the ingredients, and what comes out of them.

The Other: Can we not have the women in the refrigerator stuff here?  We've got a woman in a game, CLEARLY SHE IS THE TROPHY OR GOING TO DIE! It is the only two functions she has after all.  Christ.

Would I Play It? Not really no.  It would require moving a few things in and out, like maybe the death scene.

Therapy by Charles Boucher

The Good: I like the whole, "You've got your own threads" and while it would be done over IRC, I think a forum would be a lot better for this.  Secret and separate threads rather than rooms would be easier.  The twist was somewhat unexpected so kudos for that.

The Bad: I'm always leery of a game that uses theraputic stuff to play, especially without mentioning that.  It's kind of tongue in cheek, but not enough to have there not be the potential for a lot of emotional clean up afterwards.

The Other: The twist is a nifty little thing, it really did surprise me.

Would I Play It? Not really.  I'd be too nervous about eventually touching on something too personal.

Coyote Won’t Talk by Morgan Stinson

The Good: Masks!  This game has masks!  I want to cut them up and put them on right now!  Anyone have scissors!?  Also, the suggestions on what to do in the back of the document are priceless.  "What if Fox won't end the story?  Stare at Fox until they realize they need to end it." [paraphrasing because I'm too lazy to cut and paste, go read it yourself]

The Bad: It can be a little intimidating for people who aren't comfortable telling stories to play this game.  However, they can totally just hide behind their awesome masks!

The Other: Did I mention this game has masks?  I was sold on that principle alone!  However the intro story stuff was really kind of spot on.

Would I Play It? *looks up from cutting masks* What do you think I'm doing?

Beacon of Hope by Shari Corey

The Good: This probably the example that people want to use for a Secret Character in a game.  It's always changing, and you really won't know who it is because its all done by secret ballot.  Not that you need to copy it, but this is the best "secret character" mechanic I've come across so far in 30 reviews.

The Bad: Can we put a stop on "loosely" basing anything First Nations?  Look, you want to make a game go for it.  You want to make a game that deals with another person's culture, okay ... fine.  Maybe a game where you only have 9 days to do any research is not the platform for it.  Just going to float that out there.

The Other: I do think the system is really well thought out for something that you want to have narrated more than "played."  However, I wonder why I would ever do something with my personal pool if only the final roll determined anything.

Would I Play It? Yes, but without the game skin.  I mean, yay flavour and yay a thank you the bottom of the notes but it's still appropriation.  "Quick, let me use this bit of their culture and now all my examples are all from other histories ... yeah, that's fine."

Getting There in Time by Dan Maruschak

The Good: Hee, a game where you play a Time Lor Chronomaster with a companion!  I like the fact that everyone has a turn before anyone can get a second turn.  Also, the three act structure is a great way to keep the game contained.

The Bad: My eyes started to blur a little bit at all the rules.  Adding things here and taking things there.  This may bode poorly for other reviews because it may just be that this is number 30 in the list and my eyes are starting to cross.  It just seemed a little overly complicated in what you can spend and all the points you can get.  I'd like that to be a little more streamlined.

The Other: Hey, any game where you can be a Time Chronomaster with a companion is a good time.

Would I Play It? Except for me.  I'm not actually that big a Dr. Who fan and the confusing mechanics are confusing for me.  Maybe I'll try it later when I'm not 30 in, but right now it's not doing it for me.

Gamechef 2012 - Submissions 21 - 25

forum by Michael S. Miller

The Good: What an idea!  I didn't do anything with The Forge so I don't necessarily get the impetus behind it, but just the sheer idea is staggering.  Seriously, I might be rooting for this one to win on concept alone.

The Bad: Well, it may not be playable for too long.  It's less of a game and more of a conversation piece.  Still impressed with the conversation piece though.

The Other: I never visited The Forge at all, but I've been on other game forums.  This is really spot on, especialy "00 - Get angry at the content moderator, call him names, and leave in a huff."

Would I play it? No.  Doesn't mean it shouldn't win ... you just can't actually play it.  Unless you do it now, which I suggest you try.

‘inkadia by Lester Ward

The Good: *stares at the work in shock, jaw on the floor* This is art imitating game.

The Bad: *stares at the work in shock, jaw on the floor* This is at times avant guard art imitating a game.

The Other: *stares at the work in shock, jaw on the floor* This is a dinner party, right? Also, moderately price game for a one time thing.

Would I play it? *stares at the work in shock, jaw on the floor*

A King of Infinite Space by goblinblue

The Good: Starting out with an intended or unintended Hamlet reference is always good.  It's a great idea in building a game where you only know your role, and that you're trying to guess who the one dreamer is while the rest of your help push them towards their goal, even mess them up if needed.

The Bad: I don't think it's as hidden as the game thinks it is.  The roles are a little too clearly defined and once someone starts doing something that helps them toward their goal then they're going to be easy to figure out.

The Other: It's a nice idea, I just don't think it lived up to 

Would I play it? No.  The I feel that the mystery isn't there to make this something I'd want to play.

The Game In Last Appearances #4 by Paul Czege

The Good: The format for this is hilarious.  It's got the right kind of feel, taken from a wiki page.  It helps with the whole, "these are the rules as we can tell you, but can't actually write down the ones that are in the book because they are copyrighted."  It's done really well.

The Bad: Wow, gotta love that Three Men Boasting and the last one gets the girl idea here.  Personally, I think she might tell them all to piss off and grow up.  Also love the Straw-Feminist argument in there.  Because the real argument is that she's going to sit there and wait for them to fight over her, remove any agency that she has ... not that you know she's cast as some kind of vile temptress.  The word you're looking for there is Trophy. Oh, and if you don't brag to her, she'll kick you to the curb and make you flee the planet.  Women, eh!?

The Other: The rules are interesting, it's really a case of playing your opponent rather than the characters, because where they're going to go is as important as what they're going to do.  

Would I play it? With a few modifications it would be worth a shot.  I'm sure you may have noticed what I would change

Sweating Seven by Samuel Briggson

The Good:  I loved the Battleship feel to this game, the fact that there's a kind of pressure to get things done  with the 240 turns. I love that you can make the wall various sizes and shapes as long as you stick to a certain total size.

The Bad: There is a promised list of skills which isn't there, there isn't even the hint of what you could use for skills.  I also think there should have been more focus on it being a Battleship like game rather than trying to kind of put an RP element in there.  Not that it's a bad thing, but just I think a focus on the battleship like game would have been cooler.

The Other: Hello, Battleship ... with castle walls and defences!  I want to make a future game, where you get future technology and this.

Would I play it? Yes, even if I do have to make up my own skills.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Game Chef 2012 Review - 16 through 20

By Gaslight by Artexercise 

The Good: The look of this one page Game Chef game is wonderful.  It makes me wish I had half the ability to do something like this.  Very evocative and a joy to look at.

The Bad: Nothing really other than the game doesn't really speak to me.  Your kilometers may vary, but it just didn't really do much for me.  The premised started out well but it seems almost too structured for me.

The Other: Like the dice mechanic.  It's somewhat In Nomine-esque but without the whole one number high two numbers low thing.  You want both to be high, but they do different things.

Would I Play It?: Not my first choice, but I wouldn't say no if someone suggested it.

Lantern’s Legacy by Jason Pitre

The Good: Interesting mechanic to deal with fate and how gods influence mortals.  You bid to help push people in a direction.  The more that's bid on a person, the more important they are in the next world after the cataclysm.

The Bad: The Bidding seems a little odd.  Might work with playing but I think if you can just convince people that you're in their best interest you can just score all the points with spending the least.  There needs to be that double bind where you feel compelled to spend.  I'd just sit and see what we could do in 3 minutes and make damned good offers.

The Other: I like the timer mechanic, it's a great way to give you that kind of visceral "this life is only this long" feel.  Could mess people up though.

Would I Play It?: Yes.  If only for 3 minutes.

Lies of Passage by Lucas ‘Tor’ Garczewski

The Good: It's a great language storytelling game, where you want to see what kind of tall tales you can do with a group of people collectively telling a story.  There are some good guidelines on keeping the story going, and helping the people along.

The Bad: Lesson time folks.  Not even going to talk about appropriation here.  Let's just talk about ignorance.  When you say you're going to base your game around "Native American myths and legends" let me ask you a question.  Which one?  Apache, Cherokee, Chippewa (Anishanabe), Cree, Haida, Navajo, Lakota, Salish, Ute ...  the list is longer, by the way.  Which one are you referring to perhaps?  What do I mean they all have their own traditions and histories and stories?  Aren't they all this giant pan-native kind of thing?  No, really?

The Other: Oh, have some feathers to wear and stuff.  How quaint! Let's just ignore what significance they might have to a group or people. I just ... gyah ... *sigh*

Would I Play It?: No.  If you need to ask why I might suggest you re-read the first review post and then re-read this review.  Christ.

Tears in Rain by Alex Mayo

The Good: This has an interesting Penny for My Thoughts feel.  I like the fact that you don't really have to stick to a regular kind of situation, that this is a dreamlike fugue and all players can just accept it.

The Bad: The rules are a little confusing to go over.  I don't know if you pick one oracle, or some from all the oracles (which is kind of confusing as to why you have oracles in the first place).  I also think they have the numbers backwards, if the goal is to put out the candles, then why high numbers for negative effect.  

The Other: Wow, most morbid game ever.  Look, you're dying and that's it ... this is about those moments before death.  Loved that opening.  

Would I Play It?: I would, actually.  I might play it a lot, or look at what it does and make my own game.  Hacks away!

Farewell, My Dear Post-Apocalypse by William Shattuck

The Good: You had me at Dark Action Tragecomedy. I love the idea that you're doomed but you're going to try to go out with a bang.

The Bad:  Fiddly bits.  Game has a lot of fiddly bits.  I'm not a huge fan of fiddly bits.

The Other: It's got a galloping sense of fun involved.  Wish it was more visible in the reading of the game.  Also, I would have randomized up the ending a lot more.  I know the theme was "only kind of play it once" but having a couple of sessions of this, not knowing when it was going to end I think would be really cool.

Would I Play It?: Yup.  If only to save my love under an exploding nuclear sky.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Game Chef 2012 - The reviews just keep on coming

More Reviewing, because that's what I feel like doing!

The Good: Yay! Superheroes! Kudos to going out of the box a little bit, or the first one submitted to, where you take a card game and try to turn it into roleplaying.  The one on one thing is fun, because group gatherings can be hard.

The Bad: The fact that the game requires you to go out and purchase an entire new set of gaming supplies to play.  Three decks of cards, 24 dice in 4 specific colours, token?  Would you like a backrub and a martini as well?

The Other: Goodness, I hope my little crappy card game RPG Gamechef game that I didn't submit wasn't as rule heavy as this.  Also, sometimes superheroes want a team, right Cyclops?

Would I play it:  If someone made the cards for me.  I am lazy.

Whispers in the Dark by Jacob Possin / troc

The Good: It's a nice use of a whist like game in order to figure out what happens to someone in their life.  I love trick taking games, and you get a sense that there's an ebb and flow to it where you don't really rely on your partner, but you can force the story to go where you think it will be awesome by who you help win the tricks.

The Bad:  Needs a better explanation on what to do, things like how many cards to draw and how long the turn is.  I'd rather play something like Euchre with a smaller card base to make the result of who gets to answer what a lot faster but feel like there's more of a chance to change how things go.  That might make the game go longer, but it just works in my head ... probably because I love Euchre.

The Other: I think, personally, I'd love to dispense with all the "this is art" talk that comes with a couple of these games.  I know it's a thing within the Indie Community, but ... these are games first and foremost and if you take yourself too seriously I wonder about the game.

Would I play it: Yes, but in part because I like Whist and in part because I don't think it would be too long a game.

Crash / Lanterns of the Dead by Nick Wedig

The Good: I love the fact that it is two games in one.  You have the astronaut and the alien people and they're busy dealing with the fact that they don't really get each other. It's great, especially with the language barrier hard coded, and that it's the aliens who can communicate is great.

The Bad: There's a lot of card draw pausing and figuring out with it does from the rules.  It seems a little in the way of getting to play the game.  Also, I only read it a couple of times so I'm sure it's better to actually read and play rather than just read.

The Other: Hee, estimated response time 7.2 years.  I love the two books, and the various flavour going on.  

Would I play it: Ndasbalkj! Lkjoendaoiug, aoubl lle aiublkja ooodkssdoaka! [Translating from Astronaut, Yes, yes I would!]

The Superhero Survival Guide by Kyle Willey

The Good: There's a lot of good things in here.  The fact that there's a narrative on top of the narrative makes it interesting.  It feels like there's a lot of potential in this game as you try to survive.  Though not explicitly stated, it feels like you could just play it one player.

The Bad: This potential really isn't explored.  This is Kyle's Fourth game and if I had my druthers, I'd rather he have focused on this one and the bike game and they would have been even more awesome.

The Other: I will state that I love the little bits that Kyle puts into his game.  Like to rubber stamp logo on the front of this one.  It's a nice joy whenever I come across it.

Would I play it:  In my own little corner, in my own little chair with my dice as they try to avoid going boom.

HVE WATER by LordPapyrus_420

The Good: If there was a game that was about making a map and telling a story about it, this is it.  I think the map making stuff is brilliant.  The use of hands as measurement makes me link of the lilliputians in that hand puppet game two years ago.  Haven't stopped squeeing about that one.

The Bad: It gets kind of convoluted beyond that.  I almost want to stop and say, "forget that this is an RPG,  and make it a board game.  You can add the RP elements later, just don't confuse us with the map making extras!"

The Other: CRAYONS! It's got colouring!  Who doesn't love that!?

Would I play it: Yes, but it would take me going over it many, many, many times to try to get it right.  Also, I have big hands, which means that I'd need big paper.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Game Chef 2012 - Batch the Second

Onto round 2, thankfully they're all small, an excellent decision by Jonathan by the way, so I should hopefully be able to go through more than I originally thought.  However, Jonathan did some changing around of the positions which means that I had to make a slight change to what you see on the screen.

Aokigahara by Julia Ellingboe

The Good: This is a beautiful game, as pretty much everything Julia does is.  It's incredibly poetic, and tragic.  A great game to play once, and just experience the story.

The Bad:  At times it can be a little too poetic.  There are references to things like your guilt and your love and hopes that aren't really explicit said that you should think about.  It probably should be mentioned that you need to think about it.

The Other: I learned stuff!  I didn't know anything about Aokigahara, and any game that teaches me stuff by making me research the title scores points.

Would I play it:  Yes, but I really would want Julia to play Aokigahara because that would very much increase the experience of playing the game.

The Coyote Lode by Troy M. Costisick

The Good: I love it when games take an idea from one genre and make it work in another.  Western style dungeon crawl with zombie miners while the flood is coming in!  Yes, very yes.

The Bad: The mechanics of the game seem a might convoluted for the sake of it.  There's a lot of fiddly bits, and some great mechanics here but it's just a little ... on the much side.

The Other: I love the idea of the Leader being the only one to communicate with the GM.  It's got that kind of finality that I think helps a game run along faster.

Would I play it: Um ... yes/no?  Yes this kind of idea, not really with the mechanics as is.

Big Chiefs by Liam Burke

The Good: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Reading this game is a riot, a straight forward laugh a minute riot.  If you don't get why this game is funny, then you're never going to get it.  It's a straight up send off on all those "thank you white hero" movies where you have the indigenous people being saved by their friendly local white dude (FLWD).  Dances with wolves, Last Samurai, Avatar are all listed right in the opening of it. Hilarity.

The Bad: The mechanics is simplified craps.  Not that this is really a bad thing, but it's kinda ... well ... craps.  Not that it's that bad but ... it's ... just ... well ... craps.

The Other: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  Also, the link is broken on the site, you can find the game here.  Though when I opened the page and saw it as a blank document I thought that Liam had won the internet.

Would I play it: HAHAHAHAHA! Yes.

BRUJO by Tayler Stokes

The Good: It's got a good idea of using movement with the grid, and an interesting way to deal with performing actions (called rituals) and a pretty free narrative structure.

The Bad: I guess we could call it a structure.  It's got a memory game mixed in with ... something else.  I don't really know how to describe it.  Though the memory game part of it would drive me up the wall.

The Other: Seriously, if someone can read the game and let me know how it works and what it does I would appreciate it.  From the bottom of my heart.

Would I play it:  If someone could explain it to me.  That would be step one.

Constructs of Azazael by Kyle Willey

The Good: There is something to be said, in the way of congratulations that there are so fare three games by this individual.  There is a kudos to that.  This one is remarkably different from the other games, and the theme is kind of interesting.

The Bad: He lost me about a page in.  There is also something negative to be said about putting out three games.  They're just kind of machine gunned out and if this is the order of submission then it kinda shows a lot.

The Other: It needs a lot of work still.  I went over the character creation rules three times and couldn't actually figure out how you assign anything to anything.

Would I play it: I'm sorry, I'm busy constructing song lyrics to play the other game.  The awesome one.

Game Chef 2012 - Mebbe a little bit of reviews

Well, I don't have the time to really do this since there are only a bajillion game chef games out there. However, I may go through some. Why do you ask? Well, I think perhaps like every year there is a great chance to talk about what the word appropriate means.

As a refresher, let's look at what the word appropriate and appropriation mean:

appropriation - a deliberate act of acquisition of something, often without the permission of the owner

Right, ready to move on ahead! Good.

Because there are a lot of them they will be twitter like lines of review.

Anansi’s Children by Neal Stidham

The Good: I love a game that takes the idea of words and makes them a large part of the game. The fact that you have to cut and burn words in order to take damage, and the danger of lettings words free. It's kind of beautiful ...
The Bad: ... a beauty totally marred by the skin of the game. I don't think you could get more appropriative than this work right here. Let's grab Anansi, which is a west African symbol and throw it in with some First Nations symbols like Coyote. Clearly no one is going to mind, right .... right .... right? Why is everyone looking at me like that?

The Other: I got nothing. I'm still stuck on the fact that I found out in 10 minutes of searching around that maybe appropriating because you think it's cool is kind of disrespectful. Just saying.

Would I play it:  No.  See above, and then read further up if you need more info as to why.

Lantern in The Dark (+ spoiler-free player’s guide) by Kyle Willey

The Good: The setting is a lot of fun, but I like dark gothic games like this.  The kind where you have horrible people trying to redeem themselves and having to face the horrible things they did with no guarantee of coming out the other side.  I had the smile of pleasure when reading the setting.

The Bad: Mechanic was kind of meh at best.  Nothing to write home about, not that there needs to be a gloriously brilliant mechanic (Cosmic Journey which I loved you roll a d6 and want to roll high, it's not much of a mechanic) but this one just doesn't do anything for the game.  I made myself read it after I skipped it because I was sure I had it figured out, and I was right.

The Other: It's got a nice look, and an index in the back if you think it needs one.  I like how the mimic ingredient was used.

Would I play it:  Maybe, if others were really interested.  Doesn't really grab me.

Fin de Siecle: A Scientific Romance (+ plain text) by James Mullen

The Good: This is the first game that has intrigued me.  It's got a nifty little mechanic that deals with traits and obstacles, and where you might succeed and have something bad happen still.  A lovely setting dealing with mechanical inventions in a Jules Verne H.G. Wells like fashion.

The Bad: I didn't really see much in the way of the ingredients.  I could see Doctor, since you're dealing with sciency stuff, and stretching for Lantern because it's all sciency stuff but Mimic doesn't stand out and thankfully Coyote is no where to be seen.

The Other: I love the writing style, but it needed to almost be more "victorian" in act.  Look, the Victorians wrote a lot of porn and thought a lot about sex, the key thing was that it never showed up in public and I think that would have been amazing had it just been a little more prim.

Would I play it:  Let me grab my hat and monocle!

The Last Band by Kyle Willey

I think Kyle has a thing for Criminals ...

The Good: The cover has EXPLOSIONS! Also, it's a musical.  Everyone loves musical games!  Okay, fine.  I love musical games!  Musical combat! *plays Mortal Combat theme*

The Bad: This game is going to be confusing the first 10 times you play it.  Seriously I read the rules again and went, "What, huh, what?"

The Other: Who cares?  You play criminal bikers who have to guide their bikes with musical lyrics to be the last one standing ... before you die yourself from radiation.  Wait, I think Kyle has a thing for Criminals who are being killed off ... hmmmm...

Would I play it:  With my axe in my hand / I shout at the crowd / Gonna Go Real Fast! / Blow out of this town!

Keepers of the Lantern by Seth Ben-Ezra

The Good: This game is the first one I've come across that does something a little different.  It's a game in the same vein as Werewolves of Miller's Hollow where you have secret roles and you have to try to figure out who is your ally and who is against you.

The Bad: I don't really see that there's a lot of ways to find out who is on your side.  I mean, if everyone ends up hating the starting keeper and they do nothing but gossip about her or him what do they do?  I guess that's part of the fun.  Also, not a game for people with any type of back, knee, elbow, hip, or other joint problem.

The Other: It's short, I don't necessarily know if I'd call it a poem or light hearted since it's all about gossip but there you go.

Would I play it: Depends on how my joints are feeling on that day.  Probably once, and then realize how out of shape I am and then never play it again.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Game Chef 2012 - Why do I do this to myself

This is what I've got so far. It's 1k words and now that it's out maybe I'll pretty it up before the deadline, but whatever. It is what it is. Introduction Magic is everywhere. It’s in the air you breathe, the water you drink, and in your fellow human being no matter where they are on the continent. Sometimes, it will bring out the darkest part of your soul and you’ll find yourself cut off from half of your power. You are one of those unfortunate mages who has lost their shadow, and must undo the damage that has done. You must heal any wounds that have been caused, relationships that have been strained and the magic that has gone awry. Character Creation 1. Cut out all the necessary cards A. 1 Character Card per player B. 30 Spells Cards C. 10 Location Cards D. 10 NPC Cards E. 5 Item Cards F. 5 Shadow Cards 2. Create your character A. Add a name B. Choose Three Disciplines (Necromancy, Elemental, Nature, Spiritual, Healing), one at rating 3, one at rating 2, one at rating 1. C. Spend 4 points on your Offense and Defense D. Write down one trait that describes you. 3. Draw 5 Cards Turns 1. Draw a card from the pile 2. Fill out and/or Play a card A. There is an order. Locations need to be played before NPCs can be played, and NPCs need to be played before Items can be played. B. If you are playing a Blank Card, fill in the appropriate details as listed in the card section. 3. Attack. Pick a character you are “attacking” and describe a scene with them in it. You have control of any NPCs or Locations you play, unless someone takes control of the location. 4. The player can talk about what they want to do, other players may join the scene as well but they give the attacked player final control over what happens to that character. Any allies may use skills or items that they control. 5. Any scenes are resolved, status are changed and play goes to the left. Filling out cards 1. Filling out Locations Locations need the following information filled out. These will be the various places that your mages will come across. You’ll tend to want to make them as connected as possible, so if there are a lot of jungle places, putting arctic places next to it would make less sense. You can do it, just realize that you’re a jerk unless you’ve got a reason for it. Note the VALUE of a location marks its importance to the story. A. Name of Locations B. What type of location is it (City, Village, Forest, Swamp) this is just one or two words to describe the place. C. What Magics get a bonus here D. Problem that’s going on E. Splitting points (found in the bottom right corner of the card) between Off/Def Note: Locations should only have OFF value if there is something dangerous about the place itself. 2. Filling out NPCs NPCs have the following information filled out. These are the people you will be playing. They have a variety of statuses and that can impact how they react. However, while you maintain possession, you ultimately control the reaction of those NPCs. Note the VALUE of an NPC marks its importance to the story. A. Name of NPC B. Description of NPC, a one or two word description of the NPC C. Affinity for one Magic Type D. A Secret 3. Filling out Spells Spell cards need the following information filled out for them. Spells are like skills. If you can’t narratively come to a conclusion, you may use a spell to act as a skill in the game. You can also have the spell have an extra effect A. Name of Spell B. Type of Magic C. Effect of the Spell, you can have as many effects as levels of the spell. Any unused effects count as a bonus. You don’t need any extra effects as long as the spell name is like a skill. If Majority of other players don’t like the spell, the effects or that use of it, they can counter your spell and it is wasted. 4. Filling out Shadows You don’t. All Shadow cards are already filled out before the game. 5. Filling out Items Items are artifacts that you find in the game. You can put Items on a location, and a character can then look for things at that location if every it’s attacked in that location. The VALUE of an Item marks its importance to the story. A. Name of Item B. Two Word Description C. Special Ability (Note it can’t have special abilities greater than its value). Resolving Conflicts If you can’t narratively resolve a conflict, then you go to the dice and the cards. Here are the steps to resolving a conflict. 1. Describe what you want to do 2. Play an appropriate Spell (note that if you want to convince someone, or change something on the card then the spell had best say that, or else it’s not going to work no matter how much you try). 3. If your opponent is also a mage, they can play a spell they think is appropriate too. 4. If Spell Power + OFF Skill >= DEF skill of NPC or Location then you succeed. If not, you fail. 5. If Spell Power + OFF Skill >= DEF Skill + Spell of Opposing Mage you succeed. If not, you fail. Playing Shadow Cards When there are enough VALUE on the table, through ITEMS, NPCs and LOCATIONS people can begin to play shadows to the table. Once a Shadow has been played, it can be anyone’s shadow and it will not stay still. Once a Shadow has been attacked in a location, it will move according to the Shadow’s whim which is listed on the card. Once a Mage has absorbed his or her shadow, they can continue to help other players with their shadow or they can stop them, or even kill them if they want, though it should be noted that only when a Shadow is found can a mage kill another mage. Special Conditions NPC Love = Will not attack anyone at this location. Hate = Will attack any player at that location. Injured = OFF and DEF are /2 rounded up. If Injured again, character is dead. Scared = NPC Must move a location Location Burned = Location has been burned, any items placed here are lost Abandoned = No human NPCs can be assigned here. Destroyed = It’s stats are reduced to 0 and any NPCs here are discarded.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Gamechef 2012 - Maybe I'll do this

I have a million other things to do. What better way to do them, then by ignoring everything and doing game chef. The rules have been posted, the ingredients listed and if you don't know what they are you can go here and find out more about it. These are the ingredients everyone gets: Doctor, Lantern, Mimic, Coyote These are the threads I got when I went to the random thread generator: Reforging the Mage Blade: Resolution and Combat Mechanics - Thread # 14709 [Hunters] CCG Hyrbid attempt - Thread # 13683 NINJA! - Thread # 6681 [Domus] -- refining the overwrought beast - Thread # 17852 Now, I was never around The Forge at all so this has a different meaning for me. I don't have that kind of attachment to the place like a lot of other people do. However, it did give me some great ideas. Without further ado these are the ingredients I'm going to pick: Doctor, Mimic, Mage, CCG Now to let that sit for a bit.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Shout Out - RPGBA

Hey there folks, I just thought I'd throw out word here or there for the aggregate that I'm a part of. Michael Wolf over at Stargazer's World told me about an aggregate that was starting up called the RPG Blog Alliance. Now, I'm a friendly guy but I tend to be bad at this "community" thing and so I was hesitant to join up. I'm glad I did, the place is now at 250 blogs and counting with a lot of really good posts by some really good blogs. But you don't have to take my word for it ... Follow them on twitter @RPGBlogAlliance Or check out the site at for a list of the blogs and a history of what was posted. I'm sure you'll find something that you think is awesome.

RPG Review Recess - Dog Eat Dog

Liam Burke is running a kickstarter of his RPG called Dog eat Dog. He posted a notification saying that if you were going to play it, or were a designer and wanted to write something for it he'd give you the text in advance and you could use it to play. I asked if I could see it, and he was gracious enough to let me look at it. I have only one word for it. Wow. Wow. Wow. Just the text this book is only 9 pages, but I have not seen anything that comes remotely close to dealing with colonization. Ever. It's straightforward, the rules are simple to grasp, and if you've done any study in any type of Colonial history, or context you'll get why the rules are the way they are. Character creation is set up with just three or four descriptive words or phrases that help define the indigenous population and the colonizers. The game itself is a story game, which means that if you're looking for stats and figures and a lot of dice rolling you aren't going to find it here. That's also not really the point of this game. Because the rules themselves are geared towards the Colonizer. It's brilliant how that works too, you come to an agreement or one gets forced upon you. I can't wait to play this game. I really can't. I want to do something like do it over Skype or something just because ... yeah. I want to get this game played. If you need more reading there's a play report here by people far more important than I am. My suggestion, you go to the kick starter page and back it.

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