Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Indie Games Hoedown

I'm musing over names for the indie games event for Gencon this year.  Indie Games Explosion is a great title, but what we do here is different to the IGE in America.  We could try for Games on Demand, but I really want the word "indie" in the title.

Indie Games On Demand?  Then it's the Indie GOD.  Hmm.  We could finally have justification for the totem pole at the event.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

10 Most-played Analog Games

I've seen this in a gaming blog or two, and have succumbed to the peer pressure.

1. Rifts
I played this game for years, from late in high school through to my mid-20's.  It was the inevitable follow-on from Robotech.  With more toys in each and every supplement, it's little surprise that this appealed to the style of play I had at the time.  I was a munchkin in a munchkin game.

2. Car Wars
A friend introduced this one to me in 1989 and I still have the rulebooks he eventually sold to me.  This was a great little strategy game, with crunchy design and - on a good day - a mountain of dice to roll.  Somehow it managed to capture the whole process from designing and building a car, through to the huge explosion that destroyed it.

3. Robotech
It was the precursor to #1, Rifts.  We played it a lot through high school.

4. Marvel Super Heroes
I can't remember how it happened, but we managed to get our hands on this little gem.  I've not seen it since, but I think it gets the awe it deserves.

5. Advanced D&D
My first RPG system.  My magic-user died horribly in the first game I ever played, and even though I was distraught, I was also hooked.  Since then I've spent countless hours at gaming shops and at home, just leafing through game books.  And no, I haven't yet tried D&D 4e.

6. Dungeon
This was a board game by TSR, although I think we had the Jedko print of it.  Nevertheless, it was a great little game that we played for hours, over and over again.  It was also the game of gloating and being a sore winner or loser.  Sigh!  Happily, we now have Munchkin to make fun of the whole experience.

7. Poleconomy
More fun that Monopoly, this was another way for my older brother to trounce me.  Still, eventually I figured it out and made it tough for him.  We had the John Sands red box (to steal that phrase), complete with little kangaroos.  It's interesting to see how much the world has changed since this game was printed.  Most of the companies on the board don't exist any more.

8. Spirit of the Century
It's slowly catching up with the others, and although it's a contemporary favourite, it hasn't had the hours it deserves.

9. Don't Rest Your Head
Ditto.

10. Pictionary
I hate this game, but it's a favourite in certain family circles.


Thursday, 19 February 2009

Stealing from Agon

I was inspired, whilst driving the car, to steal a conflict resolution mechanism from Agon for one of my tiny games. It shares with Agon a competitive intent, with players working against each other and against a common opponent. I'll hack it a little, of course, and then it's done.

Now, should I ask John Harper for permission, or should I simply make the acknowledgement in the game text?

Monday, 9 February 2009

Space Rat - One sided mechanisms

In this musing prose about Space Rat, I'm going to talk about the one-sided resolution mechanism that it uses.  That is to say, only the person who is attempting to complete some task or achieve some goal rolls dice.

(It's 2d6 plus modifiers vs. some difficulty number, by the way)

But the GM never rolls dice. And in contests between players, only one of them rolls dice.  Now this might leave some players thinking that they aren't involved in a contest, and to a small degree that's true.  However, the flipside is that if a player wants to have that kind of involvement in a scene, they need to drive it themselves.  This is an emergent phenomenon of the resolution system.  Players are driving the details of the story, whereas the GM is operating at a macro level, driving the plot and giving plenty of opportunity for tension and trouble.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

An Agon Story

So I made it down to Sydney and back, and in between the hours working for my corporate overlords, I ran a game of Agon for Michael & Co (as previously discussed).

Had a great time!  As GM, I find that I get to set the tone for the game right from the beginning.  The kinds of details that I draw from the players (and then reward in some way or other) are the kinds that they often return to because of that reward.  So I adopted the model that seems to fit nicely with my current gaming interests:

1. Frame the scene
2. Roleplay until we reach a decision point in the plot
3. Set the stakes with the players
4. Use the rules to make the plot decision
5. Roleplay some more, working towards the decision made in step 4.
6. End the scene.
7.  Wash.  Rinse.  Repeat.  Wipe hands on pants.

Perhaps step 7 isn't required...

Nevertheless, doing this created some interesting outcomes in the game itself, and my favourite is that the rules became the base for the roleplaying superstructure, rather than the other way around, and that because of this, it felt like a story was being made and told.  Complete with narration, description and dialogue, a story was made together and told together.

Thanks to Michael, Leah, Bill and Freya for a great night of gaming.  Special thanks for the great meal - Greek style goodies to kick off the theme!  

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Wish Fulfilment

Courtesy of Michael Wenman, I get to have one of my 2009 Wishlist Items fulfilled. I'll be visiting his part of the world this week and he's organised a game group so I can run a one-shot of Agon.

Hot damn! I'm excited about this. Agon's a great game, full of the themes of deific command, heroic competitiveness and overdone posturing by the players. And the GM is meant to make it tough, since in this game the GM is the Antagonist.

Oh, the evil laughing is already reverberating in my dark, dark soul.