Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
my preferred version of D&D and, despite my general explorations of the Old School Renaissance, my preferred OSR game. I’m looking to make it more comprehensible for a seven year-old and provide a more heroic (read” less-deadly”) experience for characters.
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Bob Cordery recently released The Portable Wargame, a small yet illuminating booklet that vastly refines the idea of the classic Kriegspiel for today’s gaming audience. It distills the wargaming experience to a gridded surface (squares or hexes) using modular terrain on a board far smaller than the sprawling landscapes usually enjoyed by miniature wargame enthusiasts. While gamers have been using gridded boards for a while – and some, like Richard Borg’s Commands and Colors series, continue making innovations in that field – The Portable Wargame provides a rules framework to run a streamlined yet satisfying game with fewer resources and less time than traditional board and miniature wargames.
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
releasing licensed roleplaying games based on popular media properties, particularly in the context of West End Games’ often ambitious licensing designs in the mid-1990s. But in a hobby often infused with a do-it-yourself spirit nothing prevents individual gamers from running their own adventures in their favorite film, television, novel, and comic book settings. The roleplaying game hobby has always cultivated an informal tradition of gamers doing their own thing, taking established games or settings and developing them for their local player groups. Reading Jon Peterson’s Playing at the World one realizes how the entire adventure gaming hobby evolved from people taking someone else’s ideas and modifying them to varying degrees into something different. In the same vein fans sometimes unofficially channel their enthusiasm for a media property into their roleplaying games, often in a more timely manner than professionally published licensed games delayed by the production and approval process.
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
|West End Games offices, 1993.|
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|