Monthly Archives: August 2013

Table Reflection: So You Want to Play 3 (Building a Character)

One of the greatest issues that I’ve seen when novices start roleplaying is the fact that they don’t understand some of the basics about creating a character. Most frequently, they’re used to video games or stories that either have very powerful protagonists or even if they’re used to video games that utilize characters similar to those in tabletops (games meant for playing in a cooperative group often take this path), they don’t really know how to create one of these characters from the ground-up in a tabletop system. Continue reading

Thursday Review: The Game Master

Tobiah Q. Panshin’s The Game Master is an interesting book from front to back, one which is both wonderful and cringe-worthy at the same time. Of all things, perhaps its worst is its inconsistency; verging from academic-styled formal writing to wonderfully light informal prose, it does few things explicitly wrong but doesn’t seem to know where it is. Nonetheless, it’s something that I would recommend, with a caveat. Continue reading

Project Update: Scaleability

Orchestra as a game is designed to create an environment in which no character will become unbeatable. One of the core goals is to create scaleability; the idea that you can use multiple characters of the same archetype. For instance, if you had multiple people specializing in Dominance they could still cooperate normally and not rival each other, even were they to use the same exact skills and abilities, and two hackers can still team up to wreak havoc on their opponents’ attempts to boot them out of sensitive computer systems. Continue reading

Game Design: 7 Core Tenets (Market)

I saved this part of game design for last, because the truth is that choosing a market is not something that every game must do; and some games are made entirely without a care to marketability or sales. However, there are some things that must be considered when making a game on the designer’s side in order to ensure that the game is constructed in such a way that it is capable of being sold. Continue reading

Sunday Extra: Will Kindle Print Replica books really only work on “Kindle Fire Tablets, iPad, Android Tablets, PC, and Mac”?

So the other day I was shopping for some of my textbooks on Amazon and discovered that they had a Kindle edition. Not wanting to lug around a big heavy book, I opted to go digital and tangentially save a tree or two, and get it for my Kindle. Now, there’s just one problem with that; these were “Print Replica” books, and they aren’t actually available for my old-school Kindle (the kind that has a keyboard, from back before there was any other kind). Well, oops. Or was it? Continue reading

Table Reflection: So You Want to Play 2 (Finding a Group)

One of the biggest issues with playing tabletop games is finding a group who will enjoy and play the same games, and who won’t try to kill each other when they share a room for about three hours, which is what most sessions run, if not more. As a new player, you should almost always join a group that someone else is starting or has run for a while, but occasionally you’ll find a GM but need other players.

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Thursday (Kinda) Review: Tunnels and Trolls

This week I haven’t really had that much time, because of a lot of crazy stuff, but I did do a little looking over of a game that I’d always sort of overlooked: Tunnels and Trolls. In particular, it’s somewhat interesting because of the fact that it’s an older game; and, of additional interest, one that has a relatively low profile among most of the gamers that I know, despite the fact that its age and legacy speak for themselves. Continue reading

Project Update: Character Creation in Orchestra

I mentioned a few things about character creation in the last post about Orchestra, but I never really touched on it entirely. One of my major goals for Orchestra is to create a complex and deep but accessible and fast system that combines the best of both game design worlds in terms of allowing players a large degree of flexibility in character roles and giving everyone enough to do to be valuable to a party, and I hope that the character creation reflects this. Continue reading

Game Design: 7 Core Tenets (Player Role)

When designing a game, it is important to come up with the player’s control and agency; there are three main factors to this: flexibility, characterization, and impact. By building upon the role of the player, a clever designer can cater to players by providing experiences that are designed to appeal to them in ways that certain roles will not; careful consideration can turn the player into a conqueror or epic hero, while just as many games fail to provide any real satisfaction for players. Continue reading

Sunday Extra: Why Video Game Narratives Fail

One of the greatest things that ticks me off as a gamer is when I’m playing a game and I can know where everything is going from the very beginning-there’s no element of surprise or suspense, and even if there is it’s only because characters act in unbelievable ways. Now, there’s a whole plethora of issues that cause this, everything from the fact that modern gameplay tends to not be as emergent as we claim it is to the fact that writers often can’t write video games or their stories do not get integrated into the game correctly. Continue reading