Project Update: Utilizing Moodle

One of the things I’ve been working on recently is utilizing Moodle to its utmost. Since I do want to charge for class access, albeit more for the time I’ll spend interacting with course members than for the actual content, I need to be absolutely certain that I am delivering the maximum amount of quality for the largest possible audience, utilizing as much of Moodle as I have the assets to. Continue reading “Project Update: Utilizing Moodle”

Game Design: Utilizing Randomness

One of the largest issues I’ve seen with games is when they come down to a formula. Sometimes, this is important, like in competitive play, but other times this is actually detrimental to the experience; a single-player game, for instance, in which every foe is exactly the same whenever the player walks a “dangerous” road between two major areas. This is the sort of thing that can be changed easily to make a more engaging experience through adding randomness. Continue reading “Game Design: Utilizing Randomness”

Sunday Extra: Why Creative Commons Can Be Awesome (Or Fail)

So one of the things that I love about Creative Commons is how it’s really brought certain things to light. Stuff like Eclipse Phase has proven that you can give away products for free and still sell copies based on people’s enjoyment of your work; it’s a platinum seller at DriveThruRPG (disclaimer: I’m a reviewer there), but it’s also available for free from anyone who cares to send you a copy; the developer even has download links on his blog! Still, Creative Commons has some problems with it. Continue reading “Sunday Extra: Why Creative Commons Can Be Awesome (Or Fail)”

Table Reflection: Narrative Versus System

One of the major challenges that most GM’s will run into is the fact that tabletop roleplaying gaming has both mechanical and narrative elements, and while this is intended to be a resource for storytelling the two can often trample on top of each other and lead to a gaming experience which is frustrating and annoying for players and the GM alike, requiring careful intervention to save the narrative. Continue reading “Table Reflection: Narrative Versus System”

Thursday Review: War of the Roses

War of the Roses is by no means a new game, but it’s one that I only finally got around to playing after getting it as a gift. It’s a multiplayer-only medieval combat game with a heavy focus on action and which takes place in the English civil war between the Lancastrian and Yorkist factions. It is, to a degree, historically accurate, though the fact that it’s an action-oriented video game means that it’s not exactly going to be winning any prizes for realism. Continue reading “Thursday Review: War of the Roses”

Project Update: So You Want To Play?

One of the things that I noticed when I’ve been writing my recent series for the “Table Reflection” Friday articles here is that I really¬† wanted to cover a lot more stuff than really could go on the blog, and since I like to keep series pretty short, I wasn’t going to be able to continue it, especially since I said at some point that the blog series was going to be for novices. So I’m officially announcing So You Want To Play? as a Moodle web-course. Continue reading “Project Update: So You Want To Play?”

Game Design: Avoiding Frustration

One of the biggest issues that I see with games’ inherent designs is that many of them are unintentionally annoying, and it really ruins the value of the game. Sometimes these games are trying for a Dark Souls type approach and just fail to pull off the work to make the consequences part of engaging gameplay, but sometimes there’s just poor design to blame. Continue reading “Game Design: Avoiding Frustration”

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

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 “Thursday Review: The Game Master”

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 “Project Update: Scaleability”