|West End Games offices, 1993.|
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Erik “Tenkar” Stiene’s Swords & Wizardry Light, James Spahn’s The Hero’s Journey, Scott Malthouse’s Romance of the Perilous Land, among others in the back of my mind. Yet the OSR itself caters to gamers with at least some experience with any earlier flavor of Dungeons & Dragons and roleplaying games, whether someone played once in high school or has been playing regularly for years. It’s not exactly a clear entry point for newcomers to the roleplaying game hobby. Since OSR titles are primarily available through online venues, they’re not visible in hobby, game, or book stores – unlike the current edition of D&D – and none of the OSR games have really, to my estimation, catered to complete beginners.... Until now. Nathan J. Hill’s The Basic Hack, an iteration of David Black’s The Black Hack, incorporates a few elements and a distillation of the OSR gaming experience I feel can offer an entry point for new gamers, either in the hands of an experienced gamemaster or even on their own.
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Every game offers players different choices. Some, particularly kids games like Candyland and Snakes and Ladders, offer no choices amid their extremely structured play experiences (and one might argue whether they’re tecnically “games”). Others like roleplaying games revel in the concept that “anything can be attempted” by providing an environment with seemingly infinite choices. Analyzing the degree of player choice in individual games can help us evaluate their suitability for different audiences or even our own gaming interest.
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
I’m no pollster, nor am I a statistician; but I’d love to run a survey across the spectrum of the adventure gaming hobby to see how often gamers attend conventions of any size. What percentage never attend a convention each year? What percentage gets to a premiere event like GenCon? How important are conventions to the average gamer? My own involvement with gaming conventions (or media conventions with gaming tracks) has varied as I’ve grown and changed as a gamer. They offer opportunities to game with others, hang out with members of the gaming community, discover new games, and shop with vendors; but how important is the convention experience to the average gamer?
Many hobbies sponsor conventions to promote their pursuits,
showcase vendors, and provide a forum for participants to share their
enthusiasm. Given adventure gaming’s social nature it makes sense
that conventions have played a key role in both promoting the hobby
but helping it evolve. Reading Jon Peterson’s Playing at the World one sees how early conventions like the GenCon shows in
Lake Geneva (established in 1968) and the Origins Game Fair (started
in 1975) brought together enthusiast-designers such as Gary Gygax,
Dave Arneson, Rob Kuntz, and Jeff Perrin (to name a scant few) to
share ideas and forge partnerships in developing new games...not to
mention gamers eager for play experiences and new product. Reading
the game magazines of the time (primarily Dragon Magazine) one
sees a host of ads for game conventions and reports of activities
there, giving average gamers the impression attending such cons was a
much a part of the hobby as creating characters, devising scenarios,
and running adventures. The magazine and other publications also ran
listings for smaller, regional conventions that might prove more
accessible to enthusiasts.
|Running Valley of the Ape|
Tuesday, January 3, 2017
Tuesday, December 27, 2016
I’m thankful that throughout my life the holidays have always been a time to indulge my inner geek and share it with others. It’s become a quiet tradition, not always something planned, but something that simply happens on its own. But before I wander into my rambling missive on the subject, I want to wish all Hobby Games Recce readers, everyone who supports my gaming efforts here, at Griffon Publishing Studio, and elsewhere, a joyous and geeky holiday season...or, if you prefer, Christma-yu-kwanza-kah-nalia (hopefully you can find your specific holiday somewhere in there).
bring out some of the most sacred family traditions among western
cultures (and I’m assuming among some non-western cultures, too).
Growing up we had some pretty standardized practices adjusted over
time for our ages, involvement in religious rituals, and other
changing factors: the Christmas tree went up and was lit according to
a particular schedule; trains often ran around it to enhance the
holiday’s playful spirit; we shared a traditional Christmas Eve
dinner of ham, potatoes, pinkelwurst, and kale, with stollen and
cookies for dessert, with a full turkey dinner on Christmas Day (I
have no idea where my parents found the energy to do both); we opened
presents, one at a time, taking turns in order from oldest to
youngest (I assume as a lesson in patience for us younger folk); and,
of course, we attended church at some point, first the early evening
children’s pageant, later the spectacle of midnight mass with
music, lights, and ceremony rivaling the Radio City Music Hall
Christmas Spectacular. Even though the years have passed and I’m
married with a child of my own, our household’s new traditions have
evolved, some carried over from our treasured past and others we
establish together as a family. We still set up a tree and trains,
but we also festoon the front of the house with modest holiday lights
and, when I bother, decorate our eight foot-tall sasquatch stand-up,
“Skookums,” in the front yard (left over from Halloween); I bake
stollen to give as gifts to friends and family; we enjoy the
traditional ham dinner, though we graze through leftovers on
subsequent days; and we open presents Christmas morning instead of
Christmas Eve with a sense of well-ordered chaos.
|“And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,|
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”