Saturday, May 26, 2012

Game Chef - 61 through 65

Coyote Pass by David Miessler-Kubanek

The Good: A great concept, playing smugglers along the Coyote Pass.  The whole idea of debts and contracts and how you work your way out is brilliant.

The Bad: The mechanic has parts that make me shrug my shoulders.  I would have loved it had it been a game of chance the whole way and having the things that influence the Law and the Underworld have an effect on the game.

The Other: Seriously, the contract thing is great.  I think those negotiations would be half the fun of the game for me.

Would I Play It?  Well, I've gotta pay my debts off somehow.

Monsters of Glam by Matthew Sullivan-Barrett

The Good: I love this game.  Maybe I have a thing for bands and music, seriously Cosmic Journey should have won 2010 game chef it was just that well put together.  This game has that same well put togetherness. I love that you play specific members of the band, it's got a great sense of using technology to give you some concepts of you band, and what music.  It's both collaborative and competitive.  Wow.

The Bad: Well, found the Coyote reference and it was lazy. Seriously, I know you can use the ingredients any way you want but that was ... just fucking lazy especially when you consider that the author used 5 ingredients when you really only needed to use 4.  You got props for using all 8, it could have been cut with a name change and then I wouldn't have to comment on how fucking lazy of a reference that is.

The Other: Hee, I love the video game/music album 3-4 players, 3-4 hours on the corner of the cover.  Sometimes it's the little things that really make the difference.

Would I Play It? We've got tonight, and this song / what on earth can go wrong?

Three Card Coyote by Todd Zircher

The Good: I like the bluffing mechanic, and the map.  How even moving from one location to another can be problematic if someone doesn't want you to go.  It's a great PvP mechanic, and I'm almost loathe to see a GM in the game.

The Bad: You know, I will be the first to admit that I don't have a huge amount of knowledge when it comes to Coyote.  I have some, enough to know when something is kinda blatantly "I know nothing about this, but Imma gonna write about it anyway."  Yeah, that's the sense I kinda get from this.

The Other: Yay maps!  I like colourful accessories, because they do take time to make, so yay maps!

Would I play it? Um, no actually.  I'm annoyed enough in general that the theme bugs me and I think that the bluffing mechanic isn't so cool that it makes me want to play it above and beyond what bugs me.

Task Force Trickster by Jonathan Janssen

The Good: I really would like to have read something positive in here, but just ... holy fuck is this game a train wreck of appropriation.

The Bad: Holy Fuck. The art in the game is just .... holy fuck.  You can't just take something, photoshop some feathers on it and be like, "OHHAI! IZ GUD RIGT!?"

The Other: Wow, my head hurt.  I will be the first to admit that I didn't finish it.  I rage quit this review.

Would I play it? No, because I don't want to rage quit a game.

Spirit Quest by David Miessler-Kubanek

The Good: I like the very simple and pleasant mechanic, where all things are based around courage which can be turned into d6s.  I like the seasons as well, thematic in a very literary sort of way.

The Bad: I just wish that there was more in the way of inter-activity, I mean there are the four groups and they each have their tale but it doesn't really feel like there's much in the way of interactivity other than the, "We have to put challenges in front of you" kind of thing.

The Other: I get the sense, a little bit, that people really don't understand things.  I mean, if this is something you've researched why is it bad to show your research?  Because if you don't, I'm going to assume you didn't research and that this is kind of a Noble Savage kind of skin, despite the fact that there's the added "you can be whatever tribe you want, it's your personal tribe" feel to it.

Would I play it? No, because I want a little more interactivity in the storytelling and ... I dunno, I get a bad vibe with the way it's presented.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

New Challenge Idea! - Packaging

Hey Folks,

I know I have a problem, and my problem is packaging.  I tend to think of that last, in a kind of almost "Crap, there needs to be a box thing, right?"

So, what about a Challenge?  I hate calling them contests because few people submit things.  If I call it a Challenge, I can put it out there and not care if anyone replies (I can be a clever kid, eh?).  How about working from the package back in.  How about making a game that fits in a box that's about 5cm x 5cm x 2.5cm  (2" by 2" by 1") or around those dimension.  Should there be any other limitation?  I mean it needs to be complete, so the rules have to fit in there too.

Ideas for more limitations?  I mean a dice game might be too easy, but I think it would be cool to see what people do with that.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Origins 2012 - Firestorm Ink Events

Origins 2012 is just around the corner, and if you're interested here are some of the events that Geoff Bottone and I will be running.

If you haven't played Critical!: Go Westerly we've got a series of Introduction events using our first published adventure, "You All Meet in a Tavern."

6077 Critical!: You All Meet in a Tavern  5/30/12 7:00 PM Hyatt - Delaware A - Table 4
6224 Critical!: You All Meet in a Tavern  5/31/12 1:30 PM Hyatt - Delaware A - Table 4
6545 Critical!: You All Meet in a Tavern  6/1/12 2:00 PM  Hyatt - Delaware A - Table 3
6725 Critical!: You All Meet in a Tavern  6/2/12 10:00 AM Hyatt - Delaware A - Table 3

We also have two adventures that we're running there.  The first is called The Isle of Bozbane:

6724 Critical!: The Isle of Bozbane  6/2/12 10:00 Hyatt - Delaware A - Table 4
6871 Critical!: The Isle of Bozbane  6/2/12 8:00 PM  Hyatt - Delaware A - Table 3
The second is called The Importance of being Gwendolyn:

6544 Critical!: The Imporance of Being Gwendolyn 6/1/12 2:00 PM Hyatt - Delaware A - Table 4 6648 Critical!: The Imporance of Being Gwendolyn 6/1/12 8:00 PM Hyatt - Delaware A - Table 3

As you can see, if you just hang around the Hyatt in the Delware room you'll find Geoff and I.

We'll see everyone in a little over a week!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Game Chef - 56 through 60

Our Last Best Hope (+ death cards) by Mark Truman / Magpie Games

The Good: It's a good use of the theme, you've got that whole Armageddon, it's the end of the world thing and you have to fix it.  The Death Cards are great though, here's you're one moment to beat the odds but you have to fulfill your destiny later. 

The Bad: It doesn't say how many tokens you start out with.  Even if it's zero, it would nice to know rather than continually searching the document for it.

The Other: You can really feel the heavy Fiasco influence in the game.  From the resolution mechanic to the your neighbours have a relationship with you (though it's simplified to a good or bad relationship)

Would I Play It? The fate of the world is in our hands, we must save it.

Rage, Rage by David Miessler-Kubanek

The Good:  The fact that you can switch from one side to the other, going from Hope to Fear and back again over the course of the game.

The Bad: It may have been that this was game 57 but the rules didn't seem to make a lot of sense to me.  Maybe with a fourth read through they might but they just didn't really jive.  Could go with a once over to see where things could be explained better.

The Other: Apparently this is the post apocalyptic themed section. I like that though, there needs to be more of it in a Last Chance Themed Game Chef.

Would I Play It? No, but only because it left my scratching my head a lot when it comes to the rules and that's a game turn off for me.

Snowy Mountain Syndrome by Jason A. Petrasko

The Good: I like how there's a lot of good thematic elements.  You have a Meltdown when you run out of various elements.  I like how there are a wide variety of characters, that have different elements and questions.

The Bad:  I don't think the part about Coyote actually add anything to the game.  It feels really random, and even though there's that whole section about it, and a bunch of questions ... it doesn't feel like it's really part of the game.  I understand that they are ingredients, and this time there were 8, maybe picking one that might have worked more with what you were doing would have been a better decision.

The Other: I really wanted to believe you when you said that no Coyote's were appropriated in this work, and then I read it.  Knew it was too good to be true.

Would I Play It? No, but there might be a mechanic or two, or an idea or two, that I might think long and hard about.

Into the Void by Kira Scott

The Good: The First scene is great.  Here is what you start with, build your traits over the course of the game by showing what else you can do.  Fan-freakin'-tastic.

The Bad: One quick snag is that I can see a player getting no relationships, it's not common but it's there.

The Other: Best quote out of any game ever, "Psychologists have analyzed astronauts and found them disappointingly stable, so there is actually no factual basis for a disorder with symptoms similar to space madness."

Would I Play It? You know in space ... no one can hear you scream.

Dark Beast, Dark Name by Scott C.

The Good: Use of props and the idea that you're going to build the visage of this dark demon that might have taken over someone you know.

The Bad: It doesn't really make much sense.  I mean, there's a roleplay element but it's almost kind of superfluous.  This might have been better as an actual drawing/board game kind of thing rather than an RPG.

The Other: I love the fact that you bid secrets, another party game trick that's well used here.

Would I Play It? Nope, though I'm sure there's a party game in here somewhere.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Game Chef - 51 through 55

This Match is Scheduled for One Fall by Nathan D. Paoletta

The Good: One of the more unique games out there, This Match is Scheduled for One Fall is a great multiplayer game where you each have your own secrets.  It's also that great dichotomy between your real self, and your work self and in the case of wrestlers that's kind of a big deal.

The Bad: The exchange rules are a little confusing to read.  I think an example of an exchange would have been helpful.  I'm going to read them again, but the counters in particular seem a bit odd and off.

The Other: I'm a huge wrestling mark.  To the point of owning Kayfabe, and looking at Luche Libre as something I might want to pick up.  Needless to say I was excited by this.

Would I play it?: Finally ..... Finally .... Finally ....

First Impressions by Mendel Schmiedekamp

The Good: This is a really interesting break the ice kind of RPG.  It's got a lot of questions that would be kind of fun to answer.

The Bad: Which sucks if you don't really like answering those types of questions.  I can see the game as being intimidating for some, but that's kind of a feature rather than a bug.

The Other: I'm amused greatly by the d60, d100 and d120 in the game.  I don't know why, but those amuse me to know end.

Would I play it?: No, but that's more my own proclivities than anything wrong with the game.  I'd rather just talk to people than have something "break" the ice.

Becoming (game only available as necessary) by Joseph Le May

The Good: Well, it was an easy one because it's not necessary that I look at it because this is just a random review.

The Bad: Um, Joseph doesn't get a quick snarky little review from me.  That might be a good for them.

The Other: I think this is a rather interesting concept if only a giant headache for the people who had to review it.

Would I play it?:  Well I can't can I?

Oath of Steel by Jeffrey Fuller

The Good: Wow.  The setting is stellar, the mechanics are great.  It truly feels like an epic last stand, the good ones in film where the characters all flash back on their lives as they fight against overwhelming odds.

The Bad: The epilogue isn't really explained all that much, as well as wounds.  It explains when the players take them, but if there's any confusion about what to do, that would be it.

The Other: I swear to defend the Nations of the Spire against all enemies; that I will bear true faith and allegiance ...

Would I play it?: To arms brothers and sisters!

Epistolary: A Game of Monsters and Letters (+ supplement) by Ed Turner

The Good: This is reminding me a lot of Man-of-Letters, Man-of-War.  I love the idea of trying to do an epistolary game.  The fact that there is a silence rule and that you have to deal with someone writing letters. I think the "it's time to stop now mechanic" is a nice addition as well.

The Bad: This isn't really bad because the mechanic is interesting as well as gets the other players involved, but maybe something shorter for the resolution.  Again, don't know if that would help anything but it's the only thing I can think of.

The Other: I loved the format of the game too.  Maybe making it more letter like in look rather than using columns would have been a nicer touch too.

Would I play it?: My dearest Esmerelda, It has been too long since our last communication and I feel the weight of those many years upon my shoulders most keenly .... 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Critical!: Go Westerly - You All Meet in a Tavern

Hey Folks,

We've published our first Adventure for Critical!: Go Westerly.  It's called You All Meet in a Tavern and it's a lot of fun.  I know, I've run it several times.

The description of the adventure is as follows:

Embrace the Standard Fantasy Trope!  As a fledgling adventurer you have decided that the best way to get into the business is by attending the monthly Adventurer-Nite at the local White Griffon Tavern.  You meet your fellow companions, you get Your First Quest™ and are about ready to go when events happen that change the course of history.  Or at least it's something more interesting than whatever Your First Quest™ was going to be.

It can be had at Drive Thru RPG and eventually up at IPR, I still haven't totally figured out how to get things set up there properly.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Game Chef - 46 through 50

Most Likely To Succeed (+ battle cards) by Tom Lawrence and Josh Hall-Bachner

The Good: Yay to destroying yearbooks!  Yay to a battle card system where you have to worry about your resources, which are the reasons you need to deal with stuff!  Rah, rah rah!

The Bad: Doing it as an inmate in an asylum is perhaps not the most sensitive of skins to have on this, particularly if you're building a game that deals with personal trauma.  Also, it would have been nice to have the battle cards as card rather than text.

The Other: My desire to purchase and burn all the highschool yearbooks with any poetry that may be attributed to me is high.  I will tell you that this game had an appeal to me when I first read that.

Would I Play It? Yeah, maybe just with the cards to see what came out of that too.

A Small Piece of the Sun (+ sheet + supplement) by Keith Stetson

The Good: Okay, reading through stuff on the various forums and let me point out something done better.  The question at the end asking about Coyote answered with a straight yes made me giggle, it was a little bit of getting it in a sea of not.  The stones mechanic is interesting, I think more games need to involve coins of some kind since a large number of them are bent on 4,5,6=success.

The Bad: Look, I know animal spirits are cool, or the new thing or whatever.  Maybe you might just want to stick with an area considering something like an armadillo and a beaver don't really live in many of the same places, and since we're dealing with many many Nations and not just some Umbrella under which everything fits.  Just putting that out there.  Also, gotta love the "savage" font used in the subject headings.

The Other: Flowchart is helpful at the end, because some of the methodology is a little blurry.  Not by a lot mind you, but enough that the flowchart is appreciated.

Would I Play It?  I'd rather play Kingdom of Nothing, more secrets, more coin flipping, less appropriation.

Last Chance by Pat Gamblin

The Good: I geeked out over the cover.  I thank Chris for that too.  Also, the idea of drafting skills seems appealing to me right now.  Steal that idea folks!  I'm also loving the roll everything at once, figure out how it goes.  It's a reminding me a little of what I plan for Air.

The Bad: The rules get a bit murky at times, particularly when it comes to picking Aspects.  I should really have it's own little section.  It's not that murky though, I went back over it once and got what I had missed.

The Other: I geeked out over the flavourful skill stuff too.  It's like when I first grabbed the Serenity RPG and smiled at all the titles for things.  I adore it when games take the time to do that kind of thing.

Would I Play It? Lock and load, we're going in!

The Last Word by Orion Canning

The Good: There's a lot to like here.  I like the defined characters and what they can do, I like that there's a list of things that the players will be doing, and they're diverse enough that it really can push if your stuck.  I'd even have a "if you're all stuck, everyone draw a card and then that's what the start of the story is about."

The Bad: I really would have kept it at four players tops, or if you're going to have more rotate some of the roles since everyone knows who everyone is and there isn't any level of secrecy.  Well, maybe keep the Lantern.  I will also, gently this time because I'm feeling ill, that perhaps reading up on a figure is a good idea before using it.  Yes, Coyote is a trickster.

The Other: I enjoy the extras, there's a lot of effort that went into them.  They need their own special little mention.

Would I Play It? Breaking my rules of not saying yes to games I'd have to modify but change Coyote into something else and I would actually.

Coyotes in Dark Alleyways by Peter Borah (PeterBB)

The Good: This is a great little game where you have one bad ass character that will always survive, but it's the cost that you're really negotiating over.  I also think that it's great in how your whole goal as the mystery side is to make the main character go, "Really, that!?"

The Bad: I think the sheets could have given a bit more in the "this is some of the stuff you can do" way.  They're not really bad, but more examples of "this is something you might want to do" rather than just the description would have helped.  Again, minor quibble.

The Other: What? They used coyotes, as the animal.  It's a pretty awesome game?  Did you expect me to say something else here?

Would I Play It? Yes, and this game is so easily hacked that I recommend people do that.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Game Chef - 41 through 45

I'm just going to throw this out here, again as a preface for a series of games.  You do know that if you use Coyote as a deity that you're really kind of stepping into First Nations culture.  I've done some research while doing this to make sure that Coyote doesn't really show up elsewhere, and so far it doesn't.  I mean, coupled with the fact that a lot of the time they're dealing with a Trickster Deity means that you've kinda stepped into appropriation.

Coyote Doctor by Julian Hyde

The Good: The mechanic where the sickness is taking over, and that includes your keywords as well as the universe that you find yourself in.  I think that's a great way to have some sort of creepy mechanic where things slowly start to fade away.

The Bad: See the note above, also there are some things missing.  The gates section seems to be mashed into another part and with it being kind of integral to the game it should have a little more done with it.

The Other: Since a fair number of the words didn't pertain to the ingredients or the theme, I kind of want the players to make up a list of words mainly because the balance on someone not doing something ridiculous is the chance that they might get stuck with it.

Would I Play It? Yes, but much like anything else I might switch the skin on it because ... well see above.

Burning Opera by Vicenzi Giacomo

The Good: I love the idea of what the game put forward.  Yes, I realize that it involves a lot of ignoring of safety precautions but having done theatre on the cheap, safety isn't on the mind of anyone.

The Bad: The game kind of lost it for me there.  It didn't turn out to be what I thought it was going to be, which is fine but ... I didn't really feel like the game did anything with the ingredients.  Maybe that might be my disappointment with what I thought it was, which was them doing what they wanted to do not enacting what their last moments were.

The Other: I think we need more LARP ing.  Sure there are party type games, but I full on LARP is something that's interesting to try to do in 3k words.

Would I Play It? No, I don't think I would.

Lantern, A Game of Entropy by Alla Hoffman

The Good:  Another bucket list one, but this is set in space.  The entropy mechanic is nicely done and even the whole steps to see what's happening with the universe feel very straightforward and a part of the tension. What planet is going to go next?  How does that impact my bucket list.

The Bad: The setting stuff at the end feels tacked on and only there to add Doctor and Mimic.  It doesn't really add anything to the game since you make up your universe.  I know it's part of the contest, but part of me goes "If it's not going to add then don't force it!"

The Other: I think I'd like more of what might make a good bucket list.  Maybe even a chart, I never thought I would say that, that matches the other one.  Planet number, thing you want to have happen.  I just think that it would help a lot.

Would I Play It? Yes, if only to try to make sure I could survive with SCIENCE!

The Last Call of the Totem Spirits by Pedro Ziviani and Kairam Hamdan

The Good: I really want to find something good to say about this game.  I really do.  It's just really hard underneath the sheer levels of fail the "skin" of this game has.  See, look ... I made a pun.  Look, the magic has a nice quick and easy way to deal with power levels.  It's MP, but it's variable.  That's something good.  What do you want from me?


The Other: I don't know what they're trying to do here but in the end it's not nearly as awesome as they think it is.

Would I Play It? Both fuck and no.

Coyote Apocalypse (+ play aid) by Stan Taylor

The Good: There's a really nice dynamic that goes on in this game between bidding dice and then getting the cool special powers first.  I also love the Blood for Leather type of dropping or rolling dice from afar and hoping that you can get what you need, but then I'm a sucker for games in my game.

The Bad: You know what I'm going to say.  I'm not a fan of the skin.  I should keep track of how many times this happens.  I'm sure we're getting close to double digits.

The Other: With the amount of abilities, I don't see why I would ever bid high.  I'll take smaller stuff and be happy with middling abilities while severely crippling the GM.  There needs to be a little something more there in order to make the players want to not get stuck with a bad pick.

Would I Play It? Yes, but again only with a different skin.  I say this even after I said I would say it anymore, which might say something about this game.

An Unofficial Expansion to an ENnie award Submitted Game

Do you appreciate and support the Hit a Dude Foundation?  I believe strongly in it's message and as such have decided to expand upon the game.

With that I give you ...

Hit a Dude Back: An Unofficial Expansion to Hit a Dude by Ryan Macklin

Any Players Guide will be made available upon request.


EDIT: Apparently it's now approved!

Firestorm Ink's Fan Box