Saturday, June 30, 2012

Game Chef - 81 and 82

The Simurg by Chris Edwards

The Good:  It's got a straightforward mechanic that doesn't get in the way of the idea that you're travelling in your dreams to wake this mythical beast to help you.

The Bad: I don't particularly care for the skin?  There's nothing wrong with it ... it just doesn't do anything for me. 

The Other: I didn't expect to see Platonic Shadow used in such a way.  You know, the more I read all the games with ritualistic elements the more I realize I get annoyed by them.  Nothing fancy other than I get the feeling that it kinda takes itself too seriously.

Would I play it? No, but knock yourself out if you think it's cool.

Shady Grove by Daniel “Sp4m” Weishoff

The Good: It's an interesting concept, and I don't mean that sarcastically, where you have a game that tries to get a group of players working together, while being antagonistic in an interesting fashion.  It doesn't try to make cards fit, made up it's own cards and said this is how narratively you destroy them.

The Bad: Um, I've never been a huge fan of playing the various aspects of a single individual.  Again, just kinda my thing.

The Other: I really liked the cards, there's a different game that could be played with it.  What's the jargon word that we're all using now a days, a hack?  

Would I play it? Not really, but that goes back to the no super thrilled by the "exploring the life of a person" type of game.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Game Chef - 76 through 80

Area 51 Blackout by David Berg

The Good: Well, the name, considering that the file can't really be found.
The Bad: Well ... that I can't find the game.
The Other: At least it gets me closer to number 80.

Would I play it? Nope.  Boy that was an easy one.

A Delicate Operation by Daniel “Sp4m” Weishoff

The Good: I love this theme, I like the fact that there's a card game involved.  I love the whole spy in the midst of everything part.  It's pretty awesome.

The Bad: The whole private public key didn't work for me.  Also the whole, "Talk about the fauna of your home nation etc." stuff really put me off.  If there's a pause, it would have been great to have someone deal with it and then the other player talk about anything really.  Hell, have them believe that the person they sent off is the spy and make alliances that way.

The Other: Okay, there may be some people wondering why I'm not going off on the whole "Coyote as evil trickster" thing that gets mentioned right at the beginning.  Look, the person got influenced by a different idea of what a trickster is and then ... didn't use anything remotely resembling anything in that regard and just made them an everyday spy.  That's perfectly fine, there's nothing that was used that can be directly tied to a First Nation.  It's just a spy, lots of places had them.

Would I play it? No, because the forced conversation bits bug me that much.

Drone Home by Christina B

The Good: It's a fun concept LARP, though it would need a large space to be played effectively.  I love that there's a lot of resources that you have to kind of keep track of even though that's far more of a head ache for the GM than it is for the players.

The Bad:  It's got Skill Creep, you know the thing where there's a fair number of skills and they all do certain things.  Also the cards, all the card ripping and creating and cutting.

The Other: Yay for LARPs.  I think there should be more done with Game Chef.  I think I'll do that one next year. I'm lazy so I'm going to ask, were there a lot of LARPs for the Shakespeare one?  That would have been ideal for it.

Would I play it? If someone else ran it, for sure1

InGendarme by Dave M

The Good: The fact that Dave managed to use a UN charter in a game.  Also, GIANT MECH BATTLES FOR THE WIN!

The Bad: IT ISN'T REALLY A BUNCH OF GIANT MECHS FIGHTING! It kinda is, but the mechanics are a lot less about mech fighting than they should be.  Look, doesn't need to be Battletech, but it can be more MECHY-MECHY-BOOM!

The Other: There are some really good narrative "you attack and you defend and get to describe this" kind of thing going on.  It's something to steal.

Would I play it? Nooo ... want more BOOM BOOM STUFF!

The Eleventh Hour (+ characters + cults) by Mike Olson

The Good: Pretty much everything you can think of, the structure of the game, the theme, how the mechanics work, how there is conflict between rivals, conflict between the Investigator and the Cultists.  Just great.  I can understand how this game won.

The Bad: My only complaint is that you could have been a little more obvious as to what you are doing assigning values to the Attachments.  Also, once you go up against one of them, you have an idea of what the numbers are.  I might like a more random method ... not that I have one for you but that's not my job now is it. =p

The Other: There are a lot of things that work so very well here that I may have to steal a few ideas and see how I can implement them in a set of games.  I don't know how yet, but I'm going to get there eventually.

Would I play it? I shall summon the dark lord to cleanse the world of all living things!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Fiasco - Sudden Death

I was talking to Clark and Amanda Valentine, both avid Penguins fans, and we thought wouldn't it be great if there was a Fiasco Playset about a team coming apart at the seems in a game seven in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Well, what I figured was that we could all kind of contribute, and by all I mean the 3 people who read this more than once.  With that in mind, I'm going to put it out there as to what people think would be good things to include in this playset.  Now, if it goes badly I'm just going to write it and stick my tongue out to the lot of you.

That being said let's start.  Leave any ideas you have in the comments.  I'll give you the first draft of "The Score" and then what I have for the first section.  If you have any improvements, again, leave them in the comments.

The Score

That’s right, it’s the Stanley cup finals. You and your teammates have fought long and hard to get here, eighty two regular season matches, some twenty odd playoff games, numerous undisclosed injuries all for the chance to play in a game seven for one of the most beautiful trophies in all of sport. Tonight is the biggest night of your life, and the stress is greater than anything you can image. There are reporters everywhere, cameras flashing, microphones in your face all the time, the game plans, the aches, the people in the stands, your family that you flew in from your hometown, and the fact that a single mistake on your part could spell the end of everything this year.


Locker Room Cancers

1 - Dry Island and Heavy Drinkers
2 - Conflicting “Leadership Styles”
3 - There goes the goalie again
4 - I make the millions, you warm the bench.
5 - Replacing a Healthy Scratch
6 - Veteran and the Rook

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Game Chef - 70 through 75

Handle with care by Jackson Tegu

The Good: It's so very cute that you build up this giant city where you all play monsters moving about looking at people's lives.  It's so very utterly charming that you have people watching for the monsters, and then mechanically you switch with them if you get caught.  It's very much like an awesome physical game

The Bad: There was a card mechanic ... somewhere in there.  I don't know because I zoned out for much of it.  It felt way to complicated for what was going on.

The Other: I think this would be great if there was more focus on being the giant monsters who don't want to be seen rather than the people.  There needs to be a mechanic that involves the people, totally but it's something gentle and nice and ... fun.

Would I Play It? No, but again because my desire to hack it to make it this fun kind of simple game breaks mah rules ... that I have broken ... several times already.  Damn it.

To Travel These Pathways by Abi

The Good: A great idea to talk about memories on a walk, and how to mimic back something to show that you were listening.

The Bad: The whole ending.  I know you had to use ingredients as they were listed but, really.  Adds nothing at all other than to try to say, "Look I added it."

The Other: Again, very much like a ritual rather than a game.  Makes me think that there's the underlying theme this year.

Would I Play It? No, I can find enough stuff to talk about on a walk.

Liminal by Robert Bruce

The Good: Wow, this seemed to be an interesting take on a game.  Play an alien who has taken over an undocumented worker in the US.  Now, I'm not a USian so my idea of immigration politics and what actually goes on is not part of my experience.  I will say that I do like that when you try to describe the person being imitated there's a lot of focus on the individual as a person, and to try to avoid what you might see as stereotypes (which is kind of idealistic because people will usually fall into some kind of stereotype but I digress)

The Bad: The rules, mostly?  I mean they're not bad, but that's where the game kind of lost me.  I think something without die rolling would have suited the game a little better, maybe some token economy?  I don't have an answer for it, but there you go.

The Other: I think you could have made the "going up and going down" thing a little easier.  Number them? I mean if RDI can keep two tracks going, and make it make sense with what you're doing then one track should be easy.

Would I Play It? No, but that may be end of the list ennui.

The Lady and the Tower by Joel P. Shempert

The Good:  It is one of the better implementations of last chance, though to be fair not as much as the art one, where you have a series of pull tabs to determine what your character does.  That, mixed with the you can only have 2 characters out of 3 players in any scene is interesting.  It would be cool to kinda focus on that for a game of espionage, where you can really only trust one person at a time.  It's an idea at any rate.

The Bad: I can't help but think that there might have been a better way to do it other than a pull tab.  I get the niftiness of the concept, but ultimately it's a little clunky and not necessarily as "one use only" as believed. Goodness knows that if you make a contraption that could open and close you could just replace the stuff on the inside again and again.

The Other: More games that represent advent calendars please!  Made me smile reminding me of my childhood, and then frown because there was no chocolate involved.

Would I Play It? If someone else did the setup.

The Entropy Game by LordPapyrus_420

The Good: Um ... um ... um ... I guess it could be fun ... if you ... like planking?

The Bad: This is a technical document gone horribly, horribly wrong.

The Other: It has an order, if you really like that kind of thing.  I guess it could be seen as poking fun at the fact that all RPGs, in their bare bones essence, have to be some form of technical documentation.

Would I Play It? No. It would just end badly.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

"Free RPG Day" - Every year, the games really aren't free

Now this seems to be a thing because there is "Free Comic Book Day" and now the past couple of years have had "Free RPG Day."  While this is a great idea, I would perhaps like to draw your attention to some games that are actually Free.

What is this Jonathan?  But this is a game with high production values!  Clearly it can't be free.  Well, the whole game is licensed under a BY-NC-SA (the text, which is the important part).  That means that if you want, you can download the game on their resources page in epub and other formats.  Download the game, try it, if you like it don't be a douche bag and buy their very reasonably priced PDF for 15$.

2. Leviathans

While the minis aren't free, the game is licensed also under a BY-NC-SA license, though I think it's a lot less than what's licensed under Eclipse phase.  That being said, there's a lot of free perusing under there that's worth your time.

3. 44: A Game of Automatic Fear

This is now available in print, but you can still pick up the free copy of the game on 1KM1KT.  Matt Snyder's game about alien take over is pretty damned fun, and I can say that because I played it too.  It's a blast to run and you'll constantly have your characters running away from whatever has come to take them over.


The FATE system is under OGL, which means that you can find a lot of resources on how to use it for free. That's right, there many online SRDs and other such things to get you going on playing just straight FATE if you haven't heard of it (which mean you have been living under a rock as of late).  There are also a bunch of great games you can pick up that use FATE like Bulldogs!, or the Dresden Files, or the Kerberos Club.

5. Critical!: Go Westerly

This is your own game, you might say.  I would say in reply yes it is.  It also has a Creative Commons version which is free.  Play it, try the game out, see what you think and then if you like it spend the 5 bucks on the full version of the game.  It's a lot of fun, and Free for Free RPG Day.

As always a lot of these free games have a pay version of the game.  Unlike a lot of the games you'll find on Free RPG Day they are fully playable in an of themselves.  There isn't a "quick start" game where you get some of the rules, but if you want the whole thing you're gonna have to pay.  There are no teasers, or trailers.  You can read these rules and go ahead and play the game.

That being said, if you like the game support the designers that made playing that game possible.  That way, you can make sure that you end up getting more games from those same designers which means that you'll have more things that you can play.  It's pretty simple, actually when you think about it.

Monday, June 11, 2012

AIR - Playtest Sheets

If you've read the playtest document* then you'll notice that there are a set of sheets that you can use to play the game.  Well, I have playtest sheets for those people who are interested in playing the game.

Clearly these are also up for criticism.  If you have anything that you think might improve them, shout out about it!  I want to make this game better!

*ha, someone reading the playtest document ... sometimes I kill myself.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Game Chef - 66 through 70

Kobold Engineer by Laura Simpson

The Good: You may have heard that I have a soft spot for Kobolds, at least the ones in Critical!: Go Westerly.  I like this game in that you've got a dungeon that you have to try to have other players to escape. It's a really good concept.

The Bad: It's really light?  Sounds odd, and I know that you don't have all that much time when making a game chef game ... I just ... kinda wanted more options for traps.  More, "this is what you can do" which might have run Laura up against the word count faster but ... doesn't mean I don't want it.

The Other: I love how you get to pick your character, and what character you pick will have some sort of bonus and penalty at different times in the game.  It's just a lot of fun really.

Would I play it? St'eve and Yok are most certainly down, just leave the kobolds alone!

Young Turks at the Cafe by Zachary Donovan

The Good: Out of all the sitting around and talking games, this one I think does it the best so far.  It surprised me because after reading the little blurb about it, I was all set to dislike it.  The defined roles for the Doctor and the Coyote are great for moving the conversation, and wonderfully not appropriative.

The Bad: The die mechanic.  It almost feels like it gets in the way of what's going on.  I think there should be more of a "we choose which die gets lowered" rather than rolling at the end.  Also, maybe saving the roll for the end to determine the fate of the players might have been an option.

The Other: Again, just wanted to point out how pleasantly surprised I was with this game.  

Would I play it? Over coffee perhaps?

Walk Through The Forge by Dev Purkayastha / FGJ Games

The Good: I like how there's a lot of shared elements, and that these shared elements will get modified over the course of the game.  The fact that the Cartographer doesn't have to be accurate also makes for an interesting game.

The Bad: There's a lot of moving parts, and the game seems a bit clunky in regards to all the moving parts.  Again, that's something that's going to happen when you only have about 9 days to get the whole thing together.

The Other: Some games that do that whole splitting of responsibilities tends to kinda leave it a little to generic, or really give one role way more power than the others.  I think this game does a good job of giving everyone something interesting to do.

Would I play it? Yes, though I'd want to sit down and modify it afterwards though and probably would for a while.  Curse you moving parts!

The Words by greyorm

The Good: The opening of the game had me hooked, I was interested to see what the words were going to be and how they were going to be used.  The font at the bottom, that I had to decipher was even a part of that.  It was all in, right from the get go ...

The Bad: ... which unfortunately petered out when you actually got into the game.  For a game called The Words there seemed to be a lot more cards in the mechanic than words.  Just might point that out.

The Other: I think it would be a great game if it delivered on what it sets up.

Would I play it? No, too disappointed with the lack of follow through.

The Terminal Hours by Jonathan Bolding

The Good: The time mechanic is the most interesting one I've seen so far.  With the high values being the thing that slowly brings you to your death.  I might like a little less of a curve on how many hours you have left because a bad roll at the beginning means very little time for you.

The Bad: Really, a lot of it for me is the skin.  The mechanic is okay, other than the time stealing part which is excellent, and the tone of the game is fine it's just ... the whole spirit world thing that throws me off a lot.

The Other: Sometimes I think it's really a case of not understanding what people are referencing.  I know I'm guilty of it sometimes when I say something, or do something just kind of offhand.  It's all really ignorance, sad, shoulder slumping ignorance.  The kind where you have to point out that Judeo/Christian Trickets != First Nation Trickster, but despite the trapping that's always kind of where the base is even if the author tends to try to modify that notion .... it's still pretty much right there.

Would I play it? No, not even if I only had 4d6 hours left.

AIR - v0.4 - Playtest Document

It's that seasons again folks, that's right it's playtest season.  A time where game designers, and even large companies, get in on the fact that someone, somewhere might be interested in seeing a game before it's out.

Let me introduce you to AIR, my ghost stories in space game.  You all play Victims who wake up to find that that something has happened to the station you're in, there is only the oxygen that's left in the air and the little you have on you.  You want to escape but there's a malevolent force trying to stop you, can you survive to the escape pod?

If you want to check out the Playtest Document, you can find it here.

Feedback is appreciated, either at the email address in the document, or here on the blog post.  Let me know what works, what doesn't work and what you think would make the game better!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Origins 2012 - Some Thoughts

Well, Origins happened and it was a great time.  It's one of those things that happen in a progression of anyone who is trying to be at least somewhat professional at this (even if you end up doing this while you're doing something else to make those ends meet) you hit that convention where you feel you're starting to get it.  Not that you can ever be complacent with what you're doing, or what you know, or anything really but you do feel like you've hit some sort of milestone on occasion.

This Origins was one of those for me.  It felt like I was more comfortable talking to people about work, though not nearly as comfortable as I should be yet, and promoting the stuff that we're doing.

Also, I found out one important thing

Geoff is way better at running Critical! than I am.

He's a lot funnier than I am when it comes to running the game.  I thought we'd be on par, and have moments that were hilarious while we were both running it, but do it differently.  No, he's just flat out better than me at running this game.  Now it means I have to up my game when it comes to Critical! and that means it's more good times for everyone.

Let's do some game recapping!

Game 1 - Unofficial Critical!

I ran a game for a bunch of people I know who were passing by and didn't have something to do right then, and it was a lot of fun.  We had a Barnabus (we always have a Barnabus), a Mary and a Marten at the table.  They ran through You All Meet in a Tavern, which ended up with them leading the protesters on a protest against the Duke rather than underground against the workers.

Best line goes to Marten, "Wait, let's over think this."

Game 2 - Geoff running Critical! - Clucking Arises

Geoff was supposed to run The Importance of Being Gwendolyn but instead ran a game that I had only heard of in stories.  It was a great time, and we had two parent child tandems.  We had a dad and his daughter (between 9-11 ish) and a mom and her daughter (again between 9-11 ish).  The daughter with the mom had never played RPGs before, and I'm kind of glad she ended up playing in this game.

Needless to say it was a fun time chasing chicken like creatures, who had kidnapped some chickens, with the farmer in tow.  We had a Barnabus (because my daughter says I'm a lot like Barnabus) an Angelique, a Mary and a Daphadiana.  The Daph player was great, "I come in and sing a song about how awesome you are!" and the Angelique player kept going, "I run ahead and do things! Score!"

In fact, the Angelique player kicked two Boogums through the uprights.

It ended up the giant stone statue waking up, but having been fed a levitation potion so I kept spinning on its axis when it talked, which Geoff modelled for us whenever it wound up talking.  We couldn't keep playing, we all ended up laughing so hard ... which is good because I found out that I'm best when playing an annoying pedant.

Best line goes to Angelique, "I want to punch Stelph in the face."

Game 3 - Geoff running You All Meet in a Tavern

My Game of Critical was going on the same time that Geoff's game of Critical went on. My game wasn't all that memorable, but Geoff's was.  He got a table full of people and this was a conversation that was had:

PLAYER: There's an awful lot of girl pregens here.
Geoff: Yeah. I made eight pregens. Half are male. Half are female.
PLAYER: Why are there so many girls?
Geoff: Because it's representative of the actual human population.
PLAYER: Yeah, but not in *gaming*.
Geoff: Sigh.

There were some good moments.  The player who played Mable was just amazing.  Every ten minutes we'd stop our game and listen to the song that Mable was singing.  It was on point.  Angelique was awesome too, I was recounted the tale of much ass slapping with the traditional sporting words of, "Good play" and "Get in there!"

What else did you do?

I ended up playing in a game of curse the darkness which was a lot of fun.  I can see that it would make for a great series of small campaigns.  You just have to get used to the fact that characters are going to die.  There's a nifty little mechanic, if it's allowed to develop organically, that really pushes the fact that even in death your characters can have an impact on the game.


Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple
Pala - Trick Taking Card Game
Hunter card game thingy
The Resistance
Chronicles of Skin

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