Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Lego FU is free

Do you want your own copy of Lego FU? Then start your clicking! I've added a page for the game to the top of this blog. Go there now. Read my blurb. Smile at my hubris. Then download the game from Peril Planet and play it.

Lego FU is free, free, free! You have no reason not to get it now, now, now!

Write a review of it sometime and tell me about it so I can read it. You can reach me on twitter or facebook and I'd love to know what you think about it.

Friday, 23 November 2012

NaGaDeMon Day 23: Play Test Part 2

Last night was the second and final play test for Lego FU, at least within the month of NaGaDeMon itself. The changes I made after the last one seemed to work well, so they're going to be committed to the document.

A surprising emergent property, though, was the replacement of the standard FU Conditions of Injured and Dying with No Legs and Disassembled. The players started the night asking, "I shoot at him. Do I kill him?" and moved to "I shoot at him. Do I disassemble him?"

The scenes of minifigs in pieces on the ground, trying to hop around and reconnect with their legs or trying to roll their heads around to reconnect with their torsos were interesting to say the least. All sense of blood-thirstiness vanished immediately, even though one player insisted on their minifig carrying the head of a captured bounty back to the bounty office.

This time I also remembered the Creationary box. It's hard to build something convincing in 60 seconds, it seems, and worked about half the time. I'll definitely leave that as an optional rule.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

NaGaDeMon Day 17: Layout and Art

I'm living the dream. A gaming mate from Brisbane has agreed to work his magic on the layout of Lego FU1. We had some facetime last night to talk through things and the various ideas he's sent me in email over the past fortnight.

And wow! what a chat. With some of the ideas now on paper (so to speak) I'm even more keen to see this product finished and in the wild.

His website is undergoing redesign at the moment, but you should check out Lovehate Design and send business his way.


Notes
1. As publication date draws ever nearer I feel a growing dread that Lego lawyers will chase me down and insist on a takedown of the PDF or a major edit. Lordy, I hope I don't have to re-brick it as Brick FU.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

NaGaDeMon Day 8: Playtest

Tonight, we playtest!

I have my draft printed and ready, and at least one of the players has read it. Another player has played FU before in our regular game and I hear we're having another player as well. I should be able to get a nice cross section of opinions from them.

The experience of others tells me that it's time to get specific about this playtest. In other words, have some specific goals in mind, some specific questions to answer. The good news for me is that I'm writing a supplement for an existing game so there are plenty of things I don't need to test. So here's the list:
  • Changes to the FU point economy.
  • Rules for building
It's a small and problematic list. Changing the ebb and flow of a reward system exposes the system to imbalance. The FU rules are forgiving on this, though, because they tell the GM to hand out a FU point whenever a character does something cool or funny-in-character (or something like that, I'm working from memory here). My list of how to earn FU points could be taken as making this instruction more specific to the setting. On the other side of the ledger are some new ways to spend FU points. Some of them are just re-bricking1 the basic FU rules (spend a point to get an extra bonus die) so I don't think I'll run into much trouble there, with the exception that players might question whether it's worth the bother to earn the Lego FU point when the ordinary FU point is more easily available. Others are additions to the ways that FU points can be spent, so I'll watch them closely.

As for the building rules, I'm more than a little worried. There's a good reason that most games avoid these subsystems: they're either too simple to accomplish all the nuances of "real world" design or they're enormously complex and take over the whole game2. I've pursued a simple system, in keeping with the spirit of FU. FU has rules for gear and also rules for turning the props of a scene  into gear. Gear gives bonuses whereas props do not. I want to see how well my build rules connect with the gear rules.

After this playtest I move on to revisions and start planning for the last playtest. In that I'll have to test the changes I'll make from tonight as well as see how Lego integrates into another setting. Our normal FU game is a Star Wars game. I'll be adding Lego to it to see if we can play Lego Star Wars FU.


Notes
1. Ah hah! See what I did there?
2. See Car Wars, for example. It's all about the build.


Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Lego FU Day 6

I made some good progress on Lego FU last night; enough to have removed all the bullet points and replaced them with paragraphs. Next on the list are these three things.

1. Play test. That's right, I've planned not one but two play tests for November. The first is this Thursday night with my regular gaming group. The second will be to add Lego to my normal campaign to see how that works.

2. Rewrite those paragraphs. I took the time to read them again and... uh, wow... some of them are horrid. There's no consistent voice, some have too much waffle and not enough ice cream, others are far too frugal.

3. Add more bullets. Now that many of these ideas have become text they've spurned more ideas. I just need the bullets for now. Paragraphs can come later.

Adjacent to the writing is the layout development work. That's begun in earnest and I'm delighted with how it's progressing. Design and layout belong to a world alien to me, but it's great to see how that manifests itself. I can't wait to see the finished product.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Building the Foundation of Lego FU

I began writing last night. That's a good thing, especially since it was the official start of the NaGaDeMon. Of course, my writing is clumsy the first time around, but I'll revisit and rewrite as I need to. Right now I just want to turn bullet points into basic paragraphs.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

NaGa DeMon


I confess! I'll be designing a game for the 2012 Naga Demon. It's a great project to exercise the game design muscles and it looks as though there'll be even more people participating this year than previously.

I've decided (and announced on facebook page) that I'm going to write Lego FU.

FU's a great system that I've blogged about before and which I'm currently using. It's quick, simple and effective (just like pain relief? wha...?). I'm using it with some gamers who, to the best of my knowledge, have never played crunchy systems and they've picked it up beautifully. Now, the system doesn't seem to appear much, but drives us back to being creative with the story.

But why Lego FU? Because I like FU and I like Lego, and because they're a good match. Lego isn't a complicated world. It's full of cliches. Heroes are heroic. Villains are nasty. Characters in the Lego world have simple goals, and FU facilitates that.

I've sketched an outline of the text already, mostly so I don't forget any of the ideas. That's just note-taking, not cheating, right? I mean, they're just notes I wrote in October rather than November. No disqualification here.

:)

Monday, 8 October 2012

DRYH, the video clip

If you've never heard of Don't Rest Your Head and wonder what kind of stories it plays, then watch this. This little clip is almost straight from its pages.



Just another reason why it's so brilliant a game.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Two Roads You Can Go By

I have a new game idea in the design sketchbook and I'm planning how to go about developing and writing it. What's surprised me is how I have two options clearly in front of me for how to proceed. Part of me wants to toy with dice rules because there are some interesting ideas out there (many of which were prompted by reading Daniel Solis' blog and tweets). The rest of me want to write scraps of fiction and setting to see if that's interesting first and then figure out how to bend the dice to create those stories.

I think the more disciplined method is to take the fiction first and force the dice later. I'll have to be more patient, but in the end I think I'll get the better result. So it's off to the writing desk with me.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Iconic and Dramatic


It took me too long to figure this one out.

I'm running a game of Star Wars using the FU RPG system. It's almost a no-brainer to run. The system is easily brought to bear on the universe and all I need to do as GM is continually develop an encyclopaedic knowledge of the Star Wars universe. No problem, right?

As it turns out, that's not what I had to do at all. I have two or three players, depending on personal schedules, and they've got their own styles of play. I tried several different categories to help me understand them and bring a good game to the table. At first I thought it was FU that was letting me down. I think what I wanted from FU was a Burning Wheel experience with character development and challenged beliefs. FU doesn't do that. It can approximate it, but it'll never be Burning Wheel.

No, the actual problem was not understanding my players. Robin Laws put it best (as is often the case) with his astute categories of iconic and dramatic characters[1]. In my words, the iconic character doesn't change but is perceived to change by virtue of their exposure to different environments and encounters, whereas the dramatic character changes regardless of whether they are in the same environment or a series of different ones.

What I have in my group is at least one player who wants the experience of the iconic character and one player who wants the experience of the dramatic character. I'm not sure what the third player wants, but I'll figure it out after another game session. When this penny dropped I immediately knew how to make the games more fun for all. I need to include elements of both in each game session, in order to let the players get enough of the experience that they want from the game.

And in the last game that's precisely what I did. And it worked.


Notes
1. I choose to believe that it was Robin who invented these categories, despite all evidence you may offer.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

The FU is strong with these

We had fun playing our first game of Star Wars FU a couple of weeks back. We're playing again this Saturday night with these characters. I've collated the FU blurbs here.

Woo Vaal, Flawed Jedi Knight
Woo is a young human male from Coruscant who lost his family at an early age. Body: Fast. Mind: Intelligent. Edge: Strong with the force. Flaw: Drinking problem.

Kar, Wide-eyed Jedi Knight
Kar is a new Jedi Knight out on his first missions. What he lacks in experience he makes up for in enthusiasm. Body: Nimble. Mind: Observant. Edge: Evasive in combat. Flaw: Inexperienced.

Zei Helief, Dark Jedi
Zei has been a Jedi for the majority of his life, however he's aware that not everything has been taught at the Jedi temple. He's on a quest to find out more. Body: Nimble. Mind: Focused. Edge: Sees both sides of the coin. Flaw: Reckless.

Dofenfoe, Bounty Hunter
Dofenfoe isn't sure if he's good or bad. His life mission is to find out, no matter the cost. Body: Nimble. Mind: Wise. Edge: Sneaky. Flaw: Betrayer.

Ligh Harro, Jedi Paragon
Orphaned at a young age, Ligh was adopted by the Jedi order when his potential was discovered. He strives to be the perfect Jedi to the point of losing touch with the common man. Body: Agile. Mind: Serene. Edge: Force prodigy. Flaw: Detached.

We opened a few concepts during the game and I've added links here in case you'd like to read more about them.
The Old Republic
The Force, especially ideas of light side, dark side, unifying force and living force
Force Powers
Dark Jedi
Coruscant

More next time!



Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Diceless GM

I'm going to play FU this weekend for the first time and I'm baffled about what I'm going to do with my hands. As a GM, I won't roll dice. No dice at all.

Maybe I can wave a pencil around.

Either way, it's time to use those extra brain cycles to throw good challenges back to the players.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Adding a reward cycle to FU

I'm about to start a new campaign that will use the FU RPG system. It's a great system that helps to make story move along. I am, of course, going to hack it to add something that I like to see in my games. In my experience, players respond well to rewards which are specific to their characters; keys, if you will.

FU already has space for character Drives but they aren't connected to other things on the character sheet. At the moment I'm thinking about connecting them to either FU points or Gear or Descriptors. Here's an example of what I'm thinking about.
A Drive has a series of smaller Steps in the journey. Define only one Step at a time. Each time a Step is accomplished, gain a FU point and write the next Step you will accomplish.
Nothing remarkable there. The vanilla system encourages FU rewards for doing cool things. I'm also thinking about a longer reward cycle such as this.
Each time five Steps are accomplished, gain a new Descriptor. The new Descriptor must relate to how the character has changed because of taking those five Steps.
I'm influenced here by Burning Wheel. When I played that game I saw the cycle between rewards and personal goals, and I felt that it drove the players along meaningful paths. In a way, it's also like the Ambitions from Poison'd.

The Steps will need to be appropriately scaled on the FU dial. Steps shouldnt be, "I'm going to pick up a pen" unless the game is in a very low literacy setting. Instead, they should be something like, "I will get evidence that Sir Escabar is spying on Lady Felicia." The larger goal could be to rid the court of corruption and this is a great Step that could be achieved in a single game session.

There's more to think about for this. I don't know if five is the right number and I don't know if there should be a cap on the number of Descriptors. For very long term play, a character could have too many. I'm going to think about an incremental scale as well, for example, choose a new Descriptor when you achieve five Steps, then six more Steps, then seven more...

If you've played FU, what rewards do you use for character development?

Monday, 14 May 2012

Why They Avenged

I watched The Avengers last night. Let's put to side all the rambling, incoherent phrases of joy about how happy it made me feel. Instead, let's just point out something I'll polish in my GM kit: why they avenged in the first place.

It's a group of adventurers and do-gooders, after all. They're not all on the screen at the same time and they aren't all friends, so why work together? It's more than just the motivation for glory, it's a concrete thing. Without giving away spoilers, if CENSORED hadn't died, none of them would have come back from their in-fighting in order to take on Loki and the invading horde. It was enough to make them see beyond themselves in order to work as a team.

For my games, this is an important technique for group cohesion - assuming that it's the kind of story that needs it. The Big Threat (tm) sometimes isn't enough by itself and needs to be made personal to each of the characters so that they take action. Characters need to be personally motivated, not generally motivated. "Fame and fortune" are bad motivations. "Imprisoning the black knight for his crimes against my beloved people" is better, especially if the black knight has done horrible things which have personal significance to the player characters.

The motivation for the Avengers to work together is personal, not general, with the possible exception of Captain America, but even he was prone to in-fighting before CENSORED died. Make it personal and you'll get better response from the characters, creating better story.


Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Roleplaying is a Skill

There was a fashionable topic in gaming about four years ago concerning the quality of gaming at the table. Some of the discussion was around the idea that there are some gamers who are better at gaming than others. It's a topic of perspective and expectation, of course, but I think it comes down to this: roleplaying is a skill.

Roleplaying games are a mixture of story making, improvisational acting and rules optimisation. As players (and by this I think I'll include GMs in that group) we're all involved in those three. Understanding the rules is important to playing the game the way the designer intended*. Those rules are set up with a reward system so that the player is encouraged to behave in particular ways. In order to get the most out of the game, therefore, the player needs to know the rules and get the most out of them. It's the law of self-interest in gaming. Most games facilitate that self-interest and as players we exploit those rules. That's a skill just like tax accountancy. Know the rules and get the best out of them.

Improvisational acting is a skill too. Many of us know how to make things up, but can we do it on the fly as a performance? That takes practice, ergo it's a skill. There are plenty of techniques we can employ to do it, and volumes written about it as well. We can learn it, and we should learn it.

Improv also has an element of story making in it, but it's not the only story making that goes on during a game. Sometimes we pause and talk at the table about the best choice for the next part of the story. Different players make suggestions about the next thing that would make the story enjoyable and it happens separate to acting. There are techniques in that and we gamers like to give them names. "Make failure interesting" or "fail forward" or whatever you like.

At the end of it I come back to my original thought that roleplaying is a skill. Each of us will learn it up to the point that makes it enjoyable for ourselves; self-interest again. I wonder, though, how many of us will learn it up to the point that makes it enjoyable for the others at the table. Musicians can either play guitar in their bedrooms and fantasise about performing in front of the crowds, or they can practise until their performance becomes enjoyable to an audience.

What will you do with your gaming skills? Will you keep them for your own enjoyment, or will you level up to bring enjoyment for others too?





* OK, so their intent is sometimes lost in the actual words of the text, but I hope you can run with me on this.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Taking the Fight out of Fighting Fantasy

My gaming group has been playing Advanced Fighting Fantasy for four sessions now and due to some scheduling problems, I found myself as the GM on short notice. It's like a convention, but with 24 hours prep time instead of 24 minutes.

I thought about the characters and the players in the group to figure out what kind of game they wanted and what kind of story to tell. Up to this point we had a group of mercenaries, playing out a tabletop version of WOW. Since a couple of players were new to tabletop gaming I took the opportunity to show them yet another style of gaming, but still within the boundaries of a familiar gaming system.

In the party that night was a war mage who was a loyal agent of the king, a mercenary elf archer, a dwarf mercenary and a paladin of the state religion. Nearly all the skills in the group were fighting skills, with a couple of sneaking or conning skills. The game is Advanced Fighting Fantasy after all. I decided to push a few character buttons in the form of questions.
  • Where is the war mage's real loyalty; to his comrades or to the king or...?
  • What will the paladin do if he was faced with a hard moral choice between conscience and duty?
  • How will the elf react when the relationship between elves and humans is strained?
In the game these manifested around the idea that the city-state was more than a little human-supremacist. Non-humans are tolerated because they do the degrading jobs and can be skilled cannon-fodder in a fight. The short versions of the plot elements to match the questions I posed were these:
  • Another paladin asked the war mage (king's agent) to spy on the PC paladin for being overly familiar with non-humans.
  • The PC paladin heard about a race hate crime that left three elves dead in the street. No one was sent to investigate and the city guard dumped the bodies in the garbage outside the city.
  • The elf was charged with a sacred oath to take vengeance on the killers, or on the city guard who allowed it to happen.
As you can imagine, this created loads of fantastic plot tension in the group. Our game became an investigation game, with plenty of opportunities to face down hostile elves without actually fighting. Only when some hired goons were sent to scare off the human sympathisers were swords drawn.

Now, none of this is to boast that I'm a real roleplayer or that AFF is TEH SUX0R!!!!!1! I used the system to support our game, and our game was about making stories that were relevant to the player characters and which were enjoyable to the players. In fact, I found that the system was flexible enough to let that happen in a meaningful way. It didn't get in the way and didn't feel like I'd shoehorned it into something strange. All we did was turn the fighting down from ten to three and fill the other space with character story. And this is what we found out about the characters.
  • The war mage is loyal to the kingdom, or possibly his own career advancement. He's definitely not loyal to the paladin.
  • The paladin has some significant moral disagreement with others in the order and in the city about how to treat non-humans, and is willing to kill for that cause. He's chosen conscience over duty.
  • The elf will side with other elves and is willing to kill for them, although he's also willing to deceive them to solve a problem.
I enjoyed running this game, no question. We gave the characters some context and we created plot opportunities for later episodes. All in all, we put some story in our game. Win. Win. Win.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Read This Book

Long time readers of this blog will know how much I adore Don't Rest Your Head. Running that game taught me to be a better GM. Running that game allowed me to explore a genre I don't watch or read. Running that game inspired me to write my own game. Imagine my delight when Don't Read This Book was announced. Imagine my extra delight this week to see that the pre-orders were open!

And then imagine my dismay when the $15 book became a $52 with postage fees to Perth.

After a brief twitter exchange with @fredhicks I slumped my shoulders and resigned myself to wait for the e-book editions to be made available. I didn't have to wait long.
@fredhicks: Given crazy high international shipping, I don't want to make folks abroad wait, so: Don't Read This Book, all digital: http://ow.ly/avBGq
Yes yes and yes! Now I have it through DriveThruRPG and am losing sleep reading it. Oh the irony!

And because I like books as artefacts, I'm going to get it in print too as soon as the postage drops. High praise to Fred for accelerating the availability of the e-books.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Prismatic Art Collection




I backed this project. Kickstarter gets a lot of attention but all those projects are spreading my cash thin! I've become a little selective to be able to afford it, but have definitely put some weight behind this one.

The project is about adding ethnic diversity to the art associated with fantasy RPGs. The genre derives from the culture that told the stories, so things were understandably skewed in that direction in the past. Today's a different matter, though, and I think we should open our minds to how we tell fantasy stories and who we tell those stories about.

Watch the video for more about the project.





If that sounds good to you, why not back it as well?

Sunday, 22 April 2012

How to game in the Star Wars universe

I have a new gaming group (yes, that's all I've blogged about recently) and I asked them what they might like to play after we've run the course of the current campaign. A couple of people seem quite keen on playing something in the Star Wars universe. And why not? It's an evocative setting and reasonably well known.

It made me think about all the different kinds of ways to play in that universe. Some initial thoughts:

FATE (Spirit of the Century style): Lots of Jedi and Rebellion missions. Could be used for any period in the saga.

Don't Rest Your Head: Geared around a fall into the dark side of the force. This could be a simple re-skin, but I wonder what to substitute for Fight and Flight responses.

My Life With Master: All players are Sith who will rise up, like Vader, and kill the Master.

Poison'd: Another Sith game, except this is after the Master has died.

Dogs in the Vineyard: Done, done and done. There are plenty of rules out there for this hack.

Agon: Mission based Jedi stories. This doesn't leave much space for dark side temptation, except perhaps exchange Divine Favour for the Dark Side and when it's all consumed, one point becomes permanent. When all points are permanent, a Jedi they ain't.

Apocalypse World: Nuh-uh. Not touching this. That's way too much work for me right now.

3:16: Great idea for a Clonetrooper or Stormtrooper campaign. Not much reskinning required.

A Penny For My Thoughts: How did you fall into the dark side of the force?

What about you? Which game would you use for a Star Wars story, and what kind of story would it tell?

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Lamara's character development

After the last session, and before tonight's session, I've written up some revised beliefs for Lamara. They're not quite refined yet, but I'm struggling a bit with the campaign situation.

  1. Rich city folk are soft and undeserving of their comforts. I will restore the balance by emptying their treasure chests in the streets.
  2. Nature rewards the strong. I will lead this group of adventurers by proving myself the strongest and most cunning.
  3. The only defeat is total defeat. I will crush my enemies and will not accept defeat while there is strength in my limbs.


I'm tempted to change the second one into a belief about the paladin, Sir Boaz. Even though he's a strong warrior (as seen in the last session), I think Lamara still looks down on him for hiding behind the trappings of knighthood. Maybe I should just rewrite it as:

Sir Boaz is a powerful fighter but is limited by his rank. I will free him from this bondage so that he can be a true warrior.

That ought to drive a nice wedge into the party, in the nicest possible way, and get Sir Boaz to fight for his god rather than his king.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Siege gets a mini-review

I've only just noticed the traffic coming in to my blog from The Free RPG Blog. It's a nice consistent amount each month. Thanks for the link, Rob! Rob's link has a mini-review to go along with it.
Siege is a free roleplaying game where you play out a hostage situation. Its rules have a Storygame feel to them and it is high quality throughout.

And that's the game in two punchy sentences. Brilliant!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

How To Have Fantastically Advanced Fights

Last post I said I was going to play Advanced Fighting Fantasy with a new group (hi guys!). I hadn't played it before but I've played a handful of the Fighting Fantasy books over the years. I think the additions in AFF were just enough to transition the game from solo game to group game. I can imagine a version of it without quite so many extras added, and still with loads of fun in the game. Perhaps not quite so bare as 3:16, but moving in that direction. I'd like to retain something of the character class concept that helps to make these fantasy adventure games what they are.

All in all, my brief experience with AFF shows that it's good fun for adventuring and dungeon crawling. If you ever like playing that kind of game, I hope you check it out.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Lamara

So I moved to Perth. All my gaming died for a little while so I could find a place to live and unpack boxes (especially boxes with gaming things in them). The PDFs on my iPad were cute for a while but it's nothing like a good tabletop. Tomorrow night, though, I'll be at a game of Advanced Fighting Fantasy with a few story gamers.

We're all playing pregenerated characters from the Arion Games website, but there's always customisation with a good pregen. I've gone with the barbarian and named her Lamara. I liked the Burning Wheel beliefs system when I was the GM for that game and have written up some beliefs for the character. Nathan Russell over at Here Be Gamers did the same for a D&D fighter and had a great result. It made his play experience more rounded and guided some decisions along the way. And unlike the cop-out of "but that's my alignment, of course I'm going to stab you in the back" the Burning Wheel beliefs are up for change regularly as a response to the events of the previous session.

It's been a while since I played a barbarian character and I don't want to fall back on the usual tropes of Conan. In some parts of the world a barbarian is simply someone who lives outside cities and/or civilisation. I heard a story somewhere that the name comes from the derogatory words used by ancient Greeks for the speech of non-Greeks: bar bar bar bar bar. Just noises, not "proper" language.

So, Lamara is going to be derived from images of the ancient world, as a mash-up of Amazonian, Trojan and possibly Hunnish influences, depending on the climate of the setting. Maybe she'll need to carry furs, or maybe it'll be too warm for that. Regardless, she's going to look fierce and practical. I imagine tattoos and paint on her skin, bare arms and legs for ease of movement, maybe some torso armour, a weapon and a shield, long hair tied in braids or perhaps very short hair except for a top knot.

Definitely not Red Sonja.

And since I went to the trouble of thinking what she looks like, here are the more important things: the beliefs.

  • Rich city folk don't deserve their wealth. I'll gladly separate them from it, through hard work, and make sure it goes to someone deserving.
  • Nature seeks harmony in body and spirit. I will strive to move with nature, not against it.
  • I will defeat my enemies with same measure of honour they show in the fight.

As always, religion is everywhere in my games. She's an animist, but nothing yet to include as powerful as a belief. I could re-write the second one to explicitly include it. Let's see how the first session goes.




Thursday, 1 March 2012

Auscon 2012

If you've looked at the Auscon site recently you'll see that it's been postponed from May to October. There was a discussion about it on the facebook page so you can see the story there.

As sorry as I am to see the delay, I'm happy that Mark's wife is on the road to recovery and that he's keen to ensure that the convention happens with the preparation necessary for such an event. The two from last year were great and I think there's a good chance for it to continue to improve.

Watch the facebook page for more information as it comes along.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Finding Comics and Games in Perth

On the weekend I made my way to a game shop and comic shop here in Perth. I haven't declared allegiance to any at the moment, just checking them out. Online, there were plenty of recommendations for Quality Comics for comics (well, duh!) and Tactics for RPGs. Quality Comics was a pleasant surprise: spacious layout, friendly staff, wide range of product. Like most comic shops it suffers a little from warehousing problems; having some "concealed" piles of stock around the place, but that didn't really detract from the overall experience. I also managed to pick up a copy of 100 Bullets volume 1. That's been recommended to me before, and I have some other titles by Azzarello. Let's see where it goes.

Tactics was a mixed bag. I had my family with me so we took the lift to allow the pram in. It's fair to say that the store is not especially friendly to prams and I imagine equally so to gamers with mobility difficulties. It's a cramped shop, but large. In other words, it has a bit of everything. RPGs, board games, miniatures, Osprey, collectibles, plastic kit models, dice, paints, and so on and so on. I even managed to find a copy of Diaspora on the shelf, so I'm a little encouraged that there might be enough indie gamers in Perth to have some indie game days. The gaming space is as confined as the retail section of the shop. Maybe they do something special with the layout on their game days. I should also say that the staff are friendly as friendly can be. They'll happily talk plot details from a campaign or whatever, or help to find particular products.

It bodes well for a gaming community. I need to make more contacts on the Perth RPG meetup site and the facebook page. And then blog about it. Stay tuned for more.


Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Featured in Fenix

After the hiatus around here, it's time for a return to blogging with a pointer to Fenix. It's a Swedish gaming magazine that has recently published an article by Nathan Russell about the Australian gaming scene. Nathan interviewed me for the article and from what I can tell, I had a little feature corner in the print edition with a review of Siege.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

25% off Siege this month only

Until January 31 2012, Lulu is funding 25% off the price of the Siege booklet. When you buy, use the following details.
Coupon Code: LULUBOOKAU305
Coupon expires 31 January 2012
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Eight Hundred Pounds Makes A Noise When It Moves

WOTC has made the announcement that confirms the rumours: they're working on a 5th edition for D&D. Few people are surprised, but that's not why I'm writing. When I heard the announcement of an announcement, I figured it would be 5e, but I wasn't prepared for my gut reaction.

What's 5e about?
How will it do that?

Yep. That was my reaction. Not, "Yeah yeah, another version of a fighting game" or "wow, another version of a game I won't ever play" or anything else cynical like that. I'm genuinely interested to know what it's about and how it's going to do that better than any other game that professes to be about the same thing, including previous editions of D&D.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

We're back and we're going

Depending on how you consume your Andrew Smith news, you might be aware that I live in Brisbane now and am about to move to Perth. If you weren't aware, now you are.

And if you're not particularly aware of Australian geography, here are some driving directions from Brisbane to Perth for you, just to get a sense of scale.


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I'm not going to drive it. Wow. That's an adventure for another time. This adventure will take me far, far away to a place where I can meet other gamers and encounter new play styles. I've already started nosing around on some local Perth forums and when I'm settled in, there should be some time for gaming.

And developing those other two game designs I have in the notebook.

Yes. Two.