Monthly Archives: October 2013

Game Design: Consistent Pacing

Not too long ago, I talked about padding in games, and how it’s not always beneficial to stretch out experiences for players just so that you can say that your game has “100 hours of content”. This week, I’ll examine one of the core reasons why; pacing. Pacing is crucial to any gaming experience, tabletop or digital, and it’s really one of the things that is heavily dependent on the designer of a game’s careful and deliberate design. Continue reading

Table Reflection: Encouraging In-Character Play

One of the number one issues I’ve seen when at the tabletop is that players don’t actually roleplay. They have no qualms with the general concept, but they don’t actually put themselves into a character’s shoes; there’s a disconnect between the player and the character, and to a certain degree this is to be expected-even roleplayers who do method acting level character development will have roles they just can’t get into. However, this becomes immediately destructive to a narrative environment when characters don’t act the way you’d hope or expect them to and stuff fizzles out, or characters take unnecessary and unbelievable risks. Continue reading

Thursday Review: Legends of Aethereus

Legends of Aethereus is an interesting game; I backed it on Kickstarter, despite my skepticism, in part out of interest and in part because my brother kept bothering me about it. And, to be honest, I really do enjoy it. It has a unique system, which comes with its benefits and pitfalls, but it’s a genuinely enjoyable game and I’ve spent a pretty hefty chunk of time with it. Continue reading

Project Update: Ostravia and Social Combat

Ostravia is a game set in 1202 near the geographical intersection of Poland, Hungary, and Bohemia/Moravia (modern day Czech Republic), and as such it has to consider several political structures, namely the fact that there really is a fair degree of social stratification in European society at this time. While it makes no claims to be incredibly solidly researched, Ostravia does care a fair degree about providing an authentic feel, and some of that is managing the social environment as such. Continue reading

Game Design: Eliminating Padding

One of the goals of a game designer is to create an engaging, challenging, and immersive experience that leaves the player filled with awe, wonder, and excitement. However, often that’s not what our games actually do; genres have fallen out of favor over this and it’s the sort of issue that becomes more and more relevant as our games are being targeted at an increasingly mainstream audience that doesn’t want to sit through fifteen hours of gathering materials for a MMORPG by killing the same monster ten thousand times. Continue reading

Sunday Extra: Funding Teachers for Student Performance

I’m a future educator, and I’ve recently started my internship at a local school to get practice in my field before taking on a class of my own. Amid all this controversy over Common Core and other things that I’m not going to weigh in on (at least not today), I felt that one important thing to consider is why a lot of teachers get fed up when people talk about giving us money, and when they point to how “inefficient” our spending is as it stands. Continue reading

Table Reflection: Finding a System that Works

One of the things that people often take for granted when playing a tabletop game is the fact that their game mechanics are almost always engineered for a series of specific goals, and this will greatly determine the ability of a Game Master to actually create a table environment that is conducive to the sort of play that is desired. The core reason for a lot of this is simply mechanical; like a video game, if the rules don’t match the desired outcomes, the game will fail. Continue reading

Thursday Review: Dungeon Siege 2 (Part 2)

Welcome to the second week of my Dungeon Siege 2 review; we’ll pick up where I left off last week and begin to look more at the things that Dungeon Siege 2 did that were really interesting and saw a lot of echoes in later games as well as things that would be cool if more people actually took up.

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Introducing Ostravia

Ostravia is the new official title for the ABACUS’s system upcoming Gothic fantasy game. It’s meant to be both an Orchestra-lite and an examination of how ABACUS can be tweaked to fulfill a variety of roles, and being a grim Gothic fantasy set in the times of the Fourth Crusade, it’s got a lot of interest to historians and scholars that a lot of fantasy games don’t have, namely that it is also an examination of the social and political structures of early 13th century Europe. Continue reading