A Conversation With…Ken Coble

Today I am joined by Ken Coble, super gamer. Ken is a friend from the Hypermind Boardgamers. He is also a fantastic role player and a great guy all around.

Tomg: What is your gamer cred?

Ken: Not sure I’ve got any – if I do, it’s that I’ve been doing this
since I was 11 or so; however the huge chunk of time between undergrad
and a few years ago where I didn’t get to play has to cut into that
Boardgames? even less – I only started seriously playing them about 2
years ago, and that was almost entirely due to Steve Wallace hounding
me to go to game night (and I’m glad he did!)
Tomg: Do you prefer to GM or be a player?  Why?

Ken: Probably being a GM barely edges out player, since I really like
fiddling around with world/campaign design.  However, with the newer
games that put some (or lots) of narrative control back in the
player’s hands, player might be pulling ahead!
Tomg: What makes a good player?

Ken: Wow, I’m not sure.  I might be better at saying what makes a bad
player!  One thing that goes a long way towards making a good player
is someone who’s engaged with the game – ideally with the world, the
other players, and maybe even the game system itself.
Tomg: What makes a good game?

Ken: RPGS: Once upon a time I’d have said a great background/setting and
then as long as the system wasn’t obtrusively bad I wouldn’t care.  I
still think that good background is important, but I’m growing to like
games where there’s some real thought going into making a system that
works both as a game and as a framework for RP.

Boardgames: as much as I love heavy theme, I’m rapidly starting to get
impatient with overly bloated, hyperdetailed rules in games.  Am I
turning into a Eurogamer?
Tomg: Tell us about your favorite character so far.

Ken: Hmm… maybe the Dwarven Battlerager I had in that AD&D (2ed, I think)
campaign Chris ran for us in high school where I specifically made him
all unreliable and nuts so I wouldn’t wind up being the party leader
by default, as tended to happen back then.  I wound up having to be
the party leader anyway, so I wrote out an oracle the character could
consult by flipping 5 coppers and used it to make every decision I got
forced to make for the party.  Good times (and of course, no one in
the play group ‘learned their lesson’ from this, so I went back to
being the voice of reason in our next group like always).
Tomg: What is(are) your current hot games?

Ken: RPGs? Diaspora for sure, and I’d really love to play some Rogue Trader
(a much more traditional style RPG, but I love the 40k setting and I
think RT is one of the best ways to explore it)

Wargames? well, I’ve stalled out on our 40k league at the store due to
a variety of reasons (not least of which is differing expectations
from many of the players), so the nod has to go to Flames of War.
Britt and I are planning a big campaign based on the Eastern Front in
the winter of 43, and I also snuck and ordered enough stuff to make
two small 600pt armies for North Africa/Tunisia, which I intend to use
for some games with Chris N (since he mentioned some interest in FoW
earlier) as well as anyone else at Hypermind who wants to learn!

Boardgames? That might be a tougher call, just since there’s so much
stuff to play and so many things we don’t manage to get to the table
on Tuesday nights!  I certainly want to play some more Tribune,
especially now that I have my own copy!  I also really liked the one
game of Thurn und Taxis I got to play with Chris I and a few other
people back at the beginning of the summer.  I’m thinking pretty
heavily about getting Denise to order me a copy.  Otherwise, I’m still
wanting to play Macao and Agricola every game night; only problem is
the time/player commitment, as well as my desire to try something new
all the time as well.

Tomg: Thanks for the interview Ken. The Diaspora game is uber awesome.  Thanks for getting it started.  It is always fun to talk to you. See you on Tuesday night for some gaming.

2 thoughts on “A Conversation With…Ken Coble”

  1. Ha! Yes, Kenny, you’re turning into a Eurogamer!!! Once you see what games are capable of, it’s hard to go back…

  2. It’s true! I still like stuff with theme more than an abstract, but having seen elegant game mechanics makes you want every game to have elegant – or at least non-horrible – mechanics as well.

    And thanks again for interviewing me Tom! Surprisingly I didn’t come off looking like as big of a jerk as I felt like I would!

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