Author Archive

July 12, 2006: 8:22 pm: Cons

It’s now been a week and a half since the end of The Black Road 2006, so I figured it was about time I got a con report posted. This was my first year as con chair, and things seemed to go pretty smoothly, so I was able to concentrate on enjoying the gaming.
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June 14, 2006: 9:07 pm: Cons, GMing

Every time I’m going to run games at a convention, I tell myself that this time I will start working on it earlier, so I’m not left trying to do everything at the last minute.

I’ve yet to pull this off.

Now I’m coming up on TBR, where I’ll be running a game of The Roach and a swashbuckling pirate adventure game of my own devising. Fortunately, there’s not a whole lot of prep for the former game other than familiarizing myself with the rules well enough that I can explain them to others, but the latter game needs world building, a plot, and pregenerated characters, none of which are finished yet.

The good news is that it’s still a couple of weeks until the con, which means I may be panicking early enough to be able to get it all done with time to spare.

Next time though, things are going to be different….

June 5, 2006: 8:42 pm: Game theory (or close enough)

Over on Story Games, Christian Griffen said:

Some games like TSOY have goals that, when fulfilled, allow for character development; they give XP. However, those are single things; imagine what you could do if you had story arc elements that people can earn and chain together in different ways to then trade for character development!

It’s a really excellent concept, with lots of potential for generating great play.

June 4, 2006: 7:34 pm: Game theory (or close enough)

Vincent’s big scary claim:

Character ownership arises from system. Character ownership does not underlie system.

That’s it?

That’s it.

That may be it, but he does take the time to explain what he means, and it’s an interesting way of looking at character ownership. In short, Vincent says that while character ownership may not be an illusion from either an actual play perspective or even a system design perspective, it is an illusion from “the point of view of a technical description of roleplaying.” It might not sound like much of a difference, but it’s an important one (at least for purposes of game theory).

May 23, 2006: 9:25 pm: Cons

I sent out the player lists and game assignments for The Black Road 2006 this evening, about two weeks ahead of schedule. It certainly is nice when things go relatively smoothly, and now there shouldn’t be much for me to do until just before the con itself.

Except, of course, for preparing for the games I’m going to be running.

May 17, 2006: 9:38 pm: Game theory (or close enough)

As has often been the case with game theory, it’s Vincent who makes me finally feel like I get it.

I suggest, finally, that push/pull is a big deal. It’s a true development – nobody should read me as saying “we already thought of this, let’s be comfortable.” A week ago, if you’d asked me whether we can and should examine Drama resolution in at-the-End vs. in-the-Middle terms, I’d’ve shrugged: “we can, but should we? Neh. Why bother? It’ll just be basically the same as Fortune.” I’ve said such things on the Forge. I was DEAD WRONG.

In fact, push/pull has given me, understood this way, whole new insights into my group’s long-term Ars Magica freeform game. Expect a comprehensive post here about that game’s breakdown. When I find the time.

It’s basically what Vincent came up with in reponse to Brand’s recent post, taken further (and with examples). Excellent.

Of course, in comments people argue that Vincent really hasn’t pinned push/pull down at all, so I may still not understand.

May 14, 2006: 8:45 pm: Game systems

After a long period of silence, there’s a welcome update about the status of The Dresden Files RPG:

For the impatient, let me say it up front and early: The Dresden Files RPG will be published, and is still under active development effort. Our timetable has slipped, and we’ll probably see it coming out towards the end of this year. We’re very sorry about this delay, but we appreciate your patience.

Now as to the details…

I’m still really looking forward to this, and I’m glad they aren’t even attempting to try and rush it out before GenCon.

: 8:41 pm: Game theory (or close enough)

There’ve been attempts over on Story Games to bring the whole push-pull thing back onto the front burner, so Mo has taken another shot at defining what she meant.

Here are your no-nonsense definitions:

Push is an assertion of individual authority.

Pull is a directed solicitation for collaborative buy-in and input.

After reading her post, and looking through some of the discussion, I think I’m pretty sure this isn’t something that’s going to be useful for me personally. Judging by some of what I read, I’m not the only one who feels that way.

ETA: Brand has an excellent post that builds on this in important ways. Be sure to read the comments too. Vincent manages to clarify some things quite nicely (at least for me). Very cool.

: 8:34 pm: Miscellaneous

Here’s the shortlist for the 2006 Diana Jones Award:

The Gamechef game-design competition
Irish games convention charity auctions
Magic the Gathering, 9th edition (Wizards of the Coast)
Perplex City (Mind Candy Ltd)
Spycraft 2.0 by Patrick Kapera, et al (Alderac Entertainment Group)
Twilight Struggle by Ananda Gupta and Jason Matthews (GMT Games)

I’m not really sure how you can compare a game design contest to a collectible card game to a charity auction, so I have no idea at all which of the nominees is likely to win, but I still think it’s pretty cool that Game Chef made the list.

May 7, 2006: 8:54 pm: Cons

The last game for The Black Road 2006 has been submitted (by me), the game schedule has been decided on, and the game selection form has been finished. Now I just need to get the game book put together and posted….