Table Reflection: Playing with Women

Okay, I’ll admit it, I’m a guy (as in male, XY chromosomes, plentiful testosterone). Most of the people I hang out with and run games for are too. I don’t have insight into women from a marketing perspective, so I’m not going to try to talk about how to interest women in gaming. Instead, I’m looking at a simple thing; handling women and men at the tabletop while playing roleplaying games (this applies a little to any community which is male dominated and often perceived or legitimately believed to be actively hostile to women), mostly from my own experiences as someone whose table often includes a woman, written to guys who wonder why women don’t want to roll up a barbarian and join them. Continue reading “Table Reflection: Playing with Women”

Project Update: Educational Game Prototype

So I’ve been messing around with Stencyl; it’s a game creator for people who don’t really like coding or vector graphics but want to make highly-portable games most frequently used for flash game creation (at least, when I’ve seen it used).

I’ve mentioned that I’ve had an interest in educational gaming before (indeed, this week’s game design post was on this topic), so here’s my prototype for a game that is equal parts vocabulary builder, spelling test, and typing tutor. There’s no “game” elements yet, but you can type in the fun words (all of which are about adorable little furry animals).

PROJECT Spell Fighter

This was actually made on June 10, so this is just over a week old. Next week, check back to see the evolution and the actual properly named game!

[ARCHIVE] Game Design: Bastion and Storytelling

I’ve been in the process of moving over stuff from my old site to this blog, so here’s an old blog post that I wrote in January 2012 about Bastion. It’s a little bit dated, but still cogent to the game industry in general.

Continue reading “[ARCHIVE] Game Design: Bastion and Storytelling”

Extra: Kyle’s Handy Game List

I like to think of myself as a connoisseur of games, and as such every once in a while I like to make a quick list of things that I like. I’ll be splitting this list into tabletop and video games. For the video games, I intentionally stray away from just saying the “best” games, and instead look at games that are unique or interesting. There’s no particular order to the list, and I’ll include both commercial and freely available games in separate sections. Continue reading “Extra: Kyle’s Handy Game List”

Table Reflection: My Bad!

As a GM, what you do can heavily impact your player’s enjoyment of the game, and often ruin their experience altogether from a single rookie mistake.

Today’s Table Reflection isn’t going to be so much advice about what to do as much as a list of things not to do-that I’ve done. And I’d like to say that these were all from my novice days, but the truth is that they aren’t always just novice mistakes. Continue reading “Table Reflection: My Bad!”

Game Design: Punishing For Success

One thing I’ve noticed when playing games is that many games intentionally or inadvertently punish successful players. Some of this is necessary, to prevent abuse, but other times it feels damaging to play, especially in a single-player experience.

The core example of this would be games with “adaptive difficulty”. This takes a variety of formats; sometimes they’re based off of a universal game slider of difficulty, but sometimes they just determine the challenges faced in the game. This would include something like the AI Director in Left 4 Dead, which will occasionally add more challenges if the players are doing exceptionally well to keep things interesting, but also like GearHead‘s reputation system. The problem inherent in GearHead’s system is that Renown is earned like experience whenever the player is victorious, but can ramp up quicker than players’ levels. Continue reading “Game Design: Punishing For Success”

Extra: John Smith, The Awesome

Now, this one is perhaps going to be best known by American readers, but the first English colonies in the New World was led by a man named John Smith. At first glance, looking at him through history, we don’t know very much about him. The truth? He was his era’s James Bond.

His accomplishments include: Continue reading “Extra: John Smith, The Awesome”

Table Reflection: Learning to Roll With It

Get it, because tabletop games usually involve dice?

Sorry, I figured I’d break the ice with a pun.

Moving on into more serious matters, tabletop gaming is one of my major hobbies-it’s cheap, entertaining, and social. Even though a lot of people who do it are often falsely labeled as anti-social (after all, who gets together to celebrate oft-violent narratives?) and some are rather accurately labeled as anti-social, I know a lot of great guys through the hobby, some of whom I’ve met online and some of whom I’ve met in person. Continue reading “Table Reflection: Learning to Roll With It”

Skyrim Versus Oblivion: A Game Design Perspective

Let’s quick get this out there: I love both Oblivion and Skyrim, and I’ve spent about an equal amount of time in each (I won’t throw out a number, but let’s just say that I could’ve made a lot of money by being productive in that time). The Unofficial Elder Scrolls Pages has a more mechanical list of these things, which can be found here: Differences Between Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim. Of course, I look at things from a slightly different perspective than just the mechanical, and look to see if any of the mechanical changes really had an impact on core play. Continue reading “Skyrim Versus Oblivion: A Game Design Perspective”