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 “Thursday (Kinda) Review: Tunnels and Trolls”

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 “Project Update: Character Creation in Orchestra”

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 “Game Design: 7 Core Tenets (Player Role)”

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 “Sunday Extra: Why Video Game Narratives Fail”

Table Reflection: So You Want to Play 1 (Etiquette and Basics)

I can still remember a good deal of my formative tabletop roleplaying experiences, and since I essentially self-discovered the hobby they were pretty bumpy, and it wasn’t until much later that I actually read the sort of things that help with getting started playing. Today marks the beginning of my So You Want to Play series, intended to help beginners break into tabletop roleplaying with a minimum of inconvenience for both you and the group you join, primarily focusing on starting out as a player. Continue reading “Table Reflection: So You Want to Play 1 (Etiquette and Basics)”

Thursday Review: 44: A Game of Automatic Fear

Normally I try to keep my reviews pretty up-to-date, but recently I’ve been running with a hectic schedule and a release log that doesn’t give me the flexibility I’d like to do long reviews, so I’ve been going through and reading some of the games that have been recommended to me but which I never really gave enough attention or never really gave my thoughts about. This week it’s 44: A Game of Automatic Fear which has fallen under my microscope. Continue reading “Thursday Review: 44: A Game of Automatic Fear”

Project Update: ABACUS

For those (few) people who were familiar with the original version of Orchestra, it used a system I called ABACUS-PH; this was when Orchestra had more storytelling inspirations than realistic ones, and the prior system was very different, but the core attributes are going to be rather similar. The core ABACUS system is a measurement of any character’s intrinsic attributes: Agility, Brawn, Awareness, Cunning, Understanding, and Sympathy. When combined, these form a basis for providing a framework for further character development. Continue reading “Project Update: ABACUS”

Game Design: 7 Core Tenets (Player Inaccessible Mechanics)

Player inaccessible mechanics are a major part of any game; the things that players have no control over regardless of what they do are defining elements of only a few titles, but there are a few things that must be considered whenever a game is being made, because although these things may seem to be inherent to the game, creating a game in which emergent gameplay is extended by the use of background activities will result in a much more immersive experience. Continue reading “Game Design: 7 Core Tenets (Player Inaccessible Mechanics)”

Sunday Extra: Eclipse Phase: Transhuman Reviewed

Eclipse Phase is one of my favorite games, but I’m not beyond admitting that it has its faults, some of them pretty serious. For one thing, although there was a great range of morphs and the game really felt like it vibrantly embraced the question of not only transhumanism but the practicality of a diverse and exotic range of morphs, it didn’t really feel like the rules did. Transhuman, which could best be described as their player’s guide, does a great job of fixing a lot of those issues, and introduces a lot of new content. Continue reading “Sunday Extra: Eclipse Phase: Transhuman Reviewed”