Thursday Review: Endless Space (+ Disharmony)

Endless Space is a turn-based strategy game of space conquest. It’s somewhat interesting; I tend to like games with a lot of crunch, and it delivers both on high crunch and a high degree of abstraction. Endless Space delivers just enough intellectual stimulation to provide an engaging experience and provide a game that can be mastered, rather than just played. However, more importantly, Endless Space is also a game that is not particularly intimidating, falling somewhere more in the Civilization area of difficulty despite having a more emergent experience than most of the entries in that venerable series have.

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Project Update: Ostravia Timeline

Today I’m going to give a brief overview of the progress I’m hoping to make on Ostravia throughout the next couple months. Long story short, Ostravia has a somewhat inflexible “end” time of October. It doesn’t have to finish as a project at this point, but the historical bits and a functional game must be complete at this point. With that in mind, here’s my outlook:

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Game Design: Open Puzzles

One of the most immersive ways to offer player experiences comes in the form of open puzzles. As a designer, one of the best things you can offer your players is an opportunity to engage in meaningful play, and open puzzles provide an interesting mix of dynamically flexible content and a capacity for hand-crafted outcomes by allowing a number of solutions to a problem based on emergent solutions rather than explicitly pre-determined outcomes. Continue reading “Game Design: Open Puzzles”

Table Reflection: Vile Villains

One of the things that I’ve noticed throughout my experiences as a tabletop gamer and game master is that there are often times when villains are really the driving, dominant characters of the players’ adventures. They’re one of the few characters that the GM has almost unfettered power over, and when they’re done right they can become great backbones of an interesting campaign; when they go wrong, on the other hand, they become in-jokes and disparaging references.

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Thursday Review: Sojourner’s Quest

I rated Sojourner’s Quest lower than it perhaps deserves [three stars], but it does have some major issues with it. For one, its editing is, quite frankly, horrible. With a lot of fragmented voice issues and just plain grammatical errors, it’s basically not up to snuff when it comes to reading the way it should. It’s not horrible, but it often detracts from its own points and becomes confusing to read.

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Project Update: Homoeoteleuton Connect and Ostravia Work

This week I’ve gotten a lot done. There’s the Galli System Handbook (see yesterday’s post), but also a couple other big things. One of these is “Homoeoteleuton Connect“, a miniature social network I set up. This is part of my potential Kickstarter fulfillment stuff. However, it’s also a way for me to put updates online more frequently than is appropriate for the blog.

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Game Design: Raising a Point

Games have an incredible potential as ways to tell a message just as easily as they can entertain, but the actual creation of a game that is capable of handling its source material with grace while providing a vehicle for players to form opinions is difficult, and, ultimately rare. There’s a few crucial considerations when it comes to raising a point in games that few people keep in mind. Continue reading “Game Design: Raising a Point”

Table Reflection: Growing Roots

One of the most crucial parts of character development in tabletop games occurs, at least chronologically, before the campaign begins. As a form of collaborative storytelling, every character should, at least barring extreme circumstances, have some background with connections, family, and a history. Unfortunately, many games and groups overlook this aspect of play, despite the fact that it can be simple and fun to implement.

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Thursday Review: 13th Age

13th Age isn’t super innovative. Let’s get that out of the way ahead of time. In terms of mechanics, there’s nothing that hasn’t been seen before. The setting is good, but not really anything that we haven’t seen. Where 13th Age succeeds, however, is in its balance of elements. 13th Age is the sort of thing that I love; it takes a game and tears it down to its basics, then reconstructs it. I’m not sure that the d20 system was the best place to apply that, but it’s certainly an interesting take.
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