Table Reflection: Managing a Campaign

One of the biggest things I hear players in a game I’m managing say to me runs along the lines of “Well, how do you actually set up one of these things?”. The truth of the matter is that it’s really highly flexible-some games require or encourage lots of bookkeeping (Traveller makes me shudder, but even D&D likes statblocks and numbers), while others are more fluid (Vampire the Masquerade, for instance, or a D6/Shadowrun styled system). However, there are some universal things that can help. Continue reading “Table Reflection: Managing a Campaign”

Thursday (Bonus) Review: BattleTech: Alpha Strike

I’m a long-time fan of BattleTech, in part because I grew up playing the MechWarrior video games and quickly fell in love with the wargame as soon as I discovered it. Alpha Strike is a bit of an oddity; on one hand, it attempts to include all the features and complications in BattleTech, but do so in a way that minimizes bookkeeping and allows for a faster form of play. Continue reading “Thursday (Bonus) Review: BattleTech: Alpha Strike”

Thursday Review: Rocket Age)

Rocket Age is a game that sort of came out of the blue for me; I don’t tend to keep up on forthcoming games until they’ve released (I find that being unhyped about something I’m not familiar with makes me more objective), unless it’s something that I’ve explicitly been waiting for like a game in a franchise I’ve loved previously. Rocket Age coming into my inbox out of the blue quickly became a bit of a pleasant surprise. Continue reading “Thursday Review: Rocket Age)”

Project Update: Health in Orchestra

Long story short, I’m kind of through with the interesting things of Orchestra for right now. Of course, that’s not to say I’m done working on it, but there’s only so much stuff I can do until I reach the end of stuff that’s really worth discussing what I did and why, compared to things like skills and such that I’ll probably handle more in explaining what I did and some basic reasoning, rather than the reason why I think Orchestra is special for doing it. Continue reading “Project Update: Health in Orchestra”

Game Design: 7 Core Tenets (Setting)

A game’s setting has come to mean a number of things to gamers; in tabletop roleplaying it’s usually used to describe the surrounding world and the cast, and it means similar things in video games. However, when working on a game you must work two-fold on your setting; creating both an implied and explicit setting, in order to reach the best mixture of freedom of choice and engaging experiences that create emotionally and psychologically appealing games. Continue reading “Game Design: 7 Core Tenets (Setting)”

Table Reflection: Building Wonder

Wonder is hard to come by-we’ve explored most of our land mass, been to space, and answered more questions than most people ask in their lives. One of the challenges of running a tabletop game in the modern day is the need to compete with the extreme stimulation of mass media; it is crucial from an entertainment perspective to build upon the storytelling and setting of other media and bring them together into a conglomeration of all the elements that will go into your setting and descriptions.

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Thursday Review: Shadowrun Returns

Shadowrun Returns is one of the games that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time, and I’ve got some mixed feelings about it. On one hand, it’s given me a dreadful amount of thrills, and on the other I’ve wanted to slam my head into the desk several times out of frustration. Part of this may come from my personal attachment to the franchise, which makes me a little more critical than I would otherwise be, but some of it is just the fact that at times the developers just seemed to forget what they were doing-they proved themselves capable of doing some pretty cool things, and then every once in a while a typo, glitch, or gameplay balance issue slipped in. Continue reading “Thursday Review: Shadowrun Returns”

Project Update: Combat and Initiative in Orchestra

Orchestra is really at heart an experimental game; I’m working with a system that has a fair deal of intentional quirks to see how it works; such as the probability curve-based system 2d20 core roll system, which means that there’s a number of things that I can take into account as a difference between Orchestra’s unique mechanics and some more mainstream mechanics such as linear dice or multiple dice. Continue reading “Project Update: Combat and Initiative in Orchestra”

Game Design: 7 Core Tenets (Presentation)

Presentation is a major part of how we perceive the games that we play, and as a designer it is critical to understand how the game is being presented to the player from a holistic perspective. This article will touch on the basics of presentation from both the tabletop and video game perspectives.

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Extra: Mercenary Kings (Early Access)

So yesterday I got an e-mail announcing the early access to Mercenary Kings, which I Kickstarted, and my Steam key. Needless to say, I was more than a little excited (I did, after all, think it was going to be good, and I did give them money). For those not in the know, Mercenary Kings is a Metal Slug-esque arcade shooter; imagine something that falls between a Castlevania game and the original arcade games in terms of pace; lots of bullets, lots of speed, character customization, and more. Continue reading “Extra: Mercenary Kings (Early Access)”