Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The Tsushima Project

Even before the covid-19 pandemic shut down society as we know it I’d started a new project inspired by my son’s varied interests in history: wargaming naval actions from the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05. After chancing upon some 1:2400 scale period Russian ships at the Williamsburg Muster game convention in mid-February I set out to acquire a small Japanese force, adapt some naval wargaming rules, and prep my play surface. It’s been a diverting side-project the past few weeks while my son’s been home, first with a mild illness, then with the state-wide shut-down of schools through March 27 (now extended through the end of the academic year...). So far I think we’re well on my way to some successful naval wargaming.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Solo Gaming in Pandemic Times

The covid-19 coronavirus seems like something from the intro to a post-apocalyptic roleplaying game. Or a night playing Pandemic. Anxiety remains high, especially with our 24/7 information highway overload and a problematic centralized federal government preparation and response. Hopefully everyone employs good hygiene practices and uses “self isolation” to whatever degree possible (I realize not everyone can engage in it, especially first responders and medical workers, but also those who have little choice but to report to work lest they lose paychecks and jobs). We need entertaining diversions to occupy our inflammably anxious minds and provide some positive, imaginative experiences. Solo gaming to the rescue!

Thursday, March 12, 2020

The Expanse, Mysteries, and RPGs

I am late to the party immersing myself in The Expanse television series, but I’m enjoying it immensely.* The setting, storyline, and characters offer plenty of puzzles to explore from one episode to the next in a fast-paced, well-built story. Aside from the constant concerns about how the protagonists are going to make it through the latest crisis, it challenges viewers to figure out the parameters and possibilities of the setting, the significance of plot elements, and the characters’ motivations. The show keeps viewers wondering...and engaged. My experience watching The Expanse reminds me how much mystery one can infuse into a media series...and how roleplaying gamers should keep engagement with mystery fresh in our game worlds.