Archive for December, 2005

December 28, 2005: 9:18 pm: Game systems

Ben Lehman (designer of Polaris) does Amber (the setting) for Nine Worlds (the system).

It looks like a pretty interesting melding of Amber and the 9W system. Hmm….

[via Heads or Tales]

December 19, 2005: 10:28 pm: Game theory (or close enough), Miscellaneous

The power of Squidoo has been used by both Rob “Muadib” Mosley and Chris “Bankuei” Chinn to build “lenses” focusing on the RPG community. Rob’s is about RPG theory and design in general, while Chris’ concentrates on the Forge diaspora.

I expect there’ll be one for Amber-related gaming any time now.

And no, I won’t be the one doing it.


December 18, 2005: 8:27 pm: Game systems

Matt Snyder (designer of games like Dust Devils and Nine Worlds) has a couple of posts up on his blog about the possibility of using 9W as the system for an Amber game. Apparently my mention of this idea back in January was one of the inspirations for his posts. In turn, his posts are probably going to prompt me to take a second look at the idea of a Nine Worlds Amber game when I’m trying to decide what to run at this year’s TBR.

ETA: More on the topic from Ginger and Arref.

: 3:04 pm: Cons

I’m pretty sure that I’m going to be taking this year off from attending ACUS, for various reasons. I’ll miss some of the people and some of the games (especially Sol’s Blaze of Glory), but I don’t think I’m going to miss the long trip out to Detroit.

December 11, 2005: 5:54 pm: Cons

Registration and game submission for The Black Road 2006 are now open.

December 6, 2005: 9:48 pm: Cons, GMing, Playing

Over on The Forge, Pôl Jackson posted about the games he played in and ran at this year’s Ambercon NW, and then came to this conclusion:

And it took writing all of that just to realize: I need to start playing on purpose. I can’t just show up to a game half-prepared and expect that fun will somehow happen to me, as if by magic. Over the last year, my tastes have changed, and my expectations have changed. I need to be proactive about the games I sign up for. Make sure I know the rules. Make sure I’m hooked into the story. Make sure I show up to the game in the right frame of mind to play. I am responsible for my own fun.

Specifically, here are some things I think that I should do for next year’s AmberCon NW.
* When signing up for a “variant” game, I’ll e-mail the GM first and get the skinny on what the game is really like.
* I’ll come to the hotel a day early. Better yet, two days early. Soak up the atmosphere and have my vacation before Amber Boot Camp begins.
* In traditional Amber games, I’ll be more aggressive about suggesting events that could involve my character. Both before the game (“how can my character hook into the action more?”) and during the game (“could I be in this scene?”). Write a kicker. GMs will like it!
* When running a non-Amber game, I need to find out which players have played that system before. If most haven’t, then this should be a “demo” game, with different expectations (with a goal of “learning the game” rather than “running a full session”).
* Playing a new game? I need to buy the book and read the rules beforehand! The less time spent struggling with the rules, the more time can be spent playing.

I think that’s all great advice for pretty much anyone who attends an Ambercon, and I plan on trying to keep it in mind myself the next time I go to one.

: 8:36 pm: Game theory (or close enough)

If you frequent The Forge (or read gaming weblogs), you know that on December 2nd the RPG Theory and GNS Model Discussion forums there were closed to posting. It was a move that had been planned for some time, but it’s still managed to cause a bit of an uproar.

Most of the opinions I’ve seen have, like Vincent Baker‘s, been positive to one degree or another, and that’s pretty much the camp I fall into too. Frankly, while they might have been the site of lots of useful talk once, I’ve never found much use for either theory forum during the few years I’ve been reading The Forge. Part of that is probably due to my lack of fascination with the give and take of theory discussion, and part of it is due to a change in the sorts of interaction that takes place there. Whatever the reason, the Forge-related theory I know I’ve learned from the Actual Play and Indie Game Design forums, plus several of Vincent’s posts on Anyway.

I guess the important question now is how The Forge will change without its theory forums, and what else the future might hold for worthwhile discussion of RPGs. However it goes, I bet it’ll be interesting.

December 4, 2005: 10:21 pm: Cons, Game systems

Over on John Kim’s RPG journal, there was a discussion in comments about the sorts of games that get run at Ambercons, and Ginger
said this:

You might want to talk to [lj user]mcurry, who’s on the con committee for The Black Road (a Boston-based regional Ambercon), about the evolution of indie gaming at TBR. Last year at TBR, I played and/or GMed Amber-themed Everway (not so indie, but still) and Amber-themed Cats. There was also Amber-themed Nobilis (again, not so indie), Mountain Witch, and a scheduled game of DitV that had to be dropped when the GM had to go to Europe instead of coming to the convention.

Over the past few years, TBR appears to have developed a minor reputation for having a more eclectic selection of games than some of the other Ambercons. We didn’t go out of our way to encourage our GMs to run these sorts of games, but we were certainly receptive to having them, which apparently was enough.

For TBR 2006 we’re going to add an indie game track where the games are explicitly not Amber-themed. Why do this? Speaking as one member of the con committee, my own interest in indie games is certainly part of the reason, but I also believe that stagnation can be an all too real danger at a small con like ours. I personally wouldn’t have much interest in devoting my energies to a con where the same people showed up and played more or less the same games year after year, so I’m trying to keep that from happening. Indie games seem like a great way to go about it.