Quick Design Update

My recent request for critique of Comatose’s premise had been very fruitful. As I mentioned before, three different games have developed from it. First, Comatose continues with some slight modifications. The original game, Twisted Rhymes, is reborn probably as a hybrid rpg/boardgame. More on this in another post. The last, tentatively called The Gold Rush, has most of my attention at the moment. This is because I’m using it to explore some old and new mechanics ideas. Like limited roles or characters. Gold Rush will have only a few character types available. I’m also toying around with random characteristic generation. I like the idea of random generation of some aspect of the game, either with characters or setting. Or both. My current favorite is blind draw but I’m also working on several matrices for cards and dice. I’ll keep posting here.

Rules And Fiction – From Deeper In The Game

There is an interesting article over on Deeper In The Game on Rules and Fiction in role playing games.  It talks about two ways rules interact with the fiction in a game.  Those two ways are to declare and to delegate.  They propose that declarative rules add directly to the fiction while delegating rules tell who gets to affect the fiction and how they do so.  Now this may sounds simple and obvious and it is on a level.  But these are things that we really don’t think about in this way.  When we play, we just do what the rules say.  But from a design standpoint it is good to say these things and think about how your rules work with and on the story you are creating.

Catchin’ Up

I’m almost caught up with my podcast listening.  I thought I would summerize the most recent ones.

First, Myriad Games Presentations.  They covered the game Infinite City.  I didn’t take notes as usual but I do remember that the podcast was informative and confirmed my interest in this game.  Dan and the gang helped get this one on The Buy List (which I need to update).  The Myriad crew also had a recap of the gaming world of 2009.  This was a fantastic retrospective show.  I was reminded of many games that had slipped from my mind as well as some of the interesting stories that happened last year.  The one thing that caught my interest the most was the pilot program that Myriad is in to sell and print PDF’s right there in the store.  I heard Chris Hanrahan of EndGame and Fred Hicks of Evil Hat talk about this last year and thought it was a superb idea.  I’m glad someone is doing it.  This was an excellent episode.

In a similar vein, I had the idea of putting freely available games (print and play, 1KM1KT, and other free rpg’s) on CD and giving them to friends.   It would be a neat way to introduce new games to a wider audience.

Next up, Pulp Gamer Inside Track.  Derrick interviewed Zev Shlasinger of Z-Man Games.  Z-Man’s one of the hot game companies in my opinion.  They have published several of the biggest games of recent years like Pandemic and Agricola.  Zev is very good at finding excellent games and getting them to us.  He talked about how he got started in the industry.  He reminded me that he puts out the B movie series card games.  I need to pick up a couple of those.  He talked about some of his early board games like Reef Encounter.  Zev is a very good interview.  Check this one out.

Continuing with Pulp Gamer, let’s look at the latest Game Kennel.  It covers The Downfall of Pompeii.  Ron gave a very good overview of the game.  It sounds like a lot of fun that my kids and my game groups would enjoy.  It is short, has a take that element, and has a plastic volcano that you throw meeples into.  I can get into that.

I’ve started listening to Atomic Array.  It’s a good podcast.  They talked to the creators of Savage Suzerain recently.  I did not know anything about this setting prior to listening to this.  It sounds interesting with some neat character possibilities and edges.  They describe it as ‘troubleshooters of the gods’.  The realms hopping aspect of the game is intriguing.

I listened to a recent Please Convince Me that talked about young earth vs. old earth creation.  This was very interesting and I need to look into this more.

Fear The Boot # 180 was about Fear The Con 3 and part one of their gamer health series.  It was pretty good.  They mentioned an Ira Glass video on overcoming creative perfectionism.  This sounds quite interesting to me and I need to check it out.  The gamer health segment covered the usual things – cut down on snacks while gaming, eat better snacks, decrease soda consumption, help your friends eat better.

The Dice Tower #65’s top 10 was about playing games online.  In addition, Geoff talked about a robot building competition for youth that sounded very cool.  We got a segment from Dexter & Chief that covered Dvonn very well.  There was a new segment on variants that I thought was really good.  It talked about a Risk variant called Nuclear Destruction(?) that is interesting.  I found a Risk zombie variant, and zombie and The Incredibles variants of Pandemic that I want to try.  Check out BGG for variants of popular games.  Con-ventional Wisdom, another new segament, covers upcoming conventions in the gaming world.  I was very interested in hearing the top ten.  I want to do more online gaming but need a new computer and need to overcome the intimidating nature of getting started at the sites.  Eric did a solo on this one and did an excellent job.  I will definitely try to do more online gaming as a result.  Thanks Eric.  Lastly, they answered some listener questions one of which was mine.  I had asked to know more about Eric’s voice work.  I think that is an interesting job.  He told us of several places where we can hear him doing his day job.  Very cool.  I also want to mention that Eric has an auction going to help raise $$ for Tom’s pending move back to the States.  It’s on BGG/geekdo.com.  Search for Summerer.  There are some good games there.

Garrett’s Games and Geekiness is back with a review of Macao.  It sounds very complex to me but I’m sure a play through would clear that up.  Doug and Shelley both liked it a lot.  I found the card activation mechanic interesting and the game seems to have a good variety of choices each turn.  They also gave us a very good report on games debuting at Nuremburg.  There are some good ones on the way for this year.

Let’s finish up with another Pulp Gamer Inside Track.  This one is an interview with Reality Blur’s Sean Preston.  Sean is a neat interview in spite of the fact that it was just after GenCon last year and he was exhausted.  It was a short episode where Sean talked about Realms of Cthulhu, their latest.  He also mentioned the other games they do like Iron Dynasties, Runepunk, Ravaged Earth, and Agent of Oblivion.  I’m very interested in the last one.  I have this idea…

That’s it for now.

Go Forth And Game.

Memoir ’44

Z and I have been playing Memoir ’44 for at least 2 years now.  We really like the WWII theme and the imagined action.  I picked up the Eastern Front expansion recently at Hypermind.  The Russians have become Z’s favorite now.  That is until we get the Overlord expansion and Tigers In The Snow.  He really wants those Tiger tanks.  They are the only thing that will entice him to play the Germans.  It’s so much fun playing with him.


My son and I have been playing Heroscape a lot lately.  I borrowed it from a friend and it has been Z’s game of choice over the last few weeks.  We aren’t really playing by the actual rules.  Z has house rules that he made up that we are going by.  Basically, we set up unlimited point armies and roll the appropriate number of attack or defense dice for the figures.  It’s easy and fun.  He really likes picking out his army and usually ends up covering the most territory too.  No real strategy but I’m playing a game with my son that we both are enjoying.

Comatose Update Update

I’ve gotten some very good feedback on my two premises for Comatose.  The dark fairy tales/nursery rhymes version is still viable but may spawn or morph into a board game.  I like the original premise I had from the sight and sound challenge several years ago.  I had stopped because there seemed to be an influx of this same theme into the market.  But my take is different than the others so I’m going to develop it further.

The Comatose premise is still alive but will be scaled back some.  And at the same time opened up.  Jason Corley of Pulp Gamer suggested allowing the Adversary to affect the protagonists in their REAL world as well as in The Dream.  I like this.  It could be one of the adverse effects of time in The Dream and a symptom of Turning.  I’m worried that I may be flying too close to Don’t Rest Your Head though.  I’ll work on this and see.

Another game has emerged from all this.  Jason Morningstar gamve me some extremely valuable feedback and it suggested another game or at least setting for Comatose.  It’s either The California Gold Rush of 1849 or pre-Colonial America.  I’m leaning to the latter.  This game will take a look at slavery of various kinds in those eras.  I’ve started researching each of these and there is some really neat history there.

Another result of this exercise is that the game(s) will be GM-less.  This just works better I believe.

An ancillary product of the research is a Go Forth And Game ‘logo’.  Here are the ones I’m considering:

If you know of some other Lewis and Clark or similar images (especially if they are royalty free) shoot me a comment.

Let me know which one you like best.