Last week’s post about “Attracting Newcomers to Roleplaying Games” inspired me to consider two factors that might influence people in trying new games. A game’s theme and complexity are usually topics discussed from the design standpoint: does one start with a theme and build game rules around it, or does one begin with a play mechanic and build a themed game around that? Yet theme and the complexity of mechanics also figure into the conundrum of how best to introduce people into any games within the adventure gaming hobby. For beginners – especially complete newcomers – I find an attractive theme can best engage their enthusiasm to try a game, while good mechanics (with light yet intuitive complexity) can provide an enjoyable play experience and bring them back to the table for a second try.
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Attracting Newcomers to Roleplaying Games
The recent discussion over at Tenkar’s Tavern and blog posts like Sword Peddler’s about the effectiveness of Free RPG Day started me thinking once again about how we as gamers, designers, and publishers can draw newcomers into the adventure gaming hobby. It’s a tricky gambit considering roleplaying games are still a very niche hobby, despite popular culture’s general acceptance of Dungeons & Dragons as a permissible geeky pursuit. Most people still associate roleplaying game exclusively with D&D without realizing how many amazing games exist from both established publishers and innovative individuals, in game stores and online, for sale and for free. How can we do a better job of sharing our hobby with curious newcomers?
Tuesday, June 14, 2016
Artifacts from the Vault of Schweig
I’m culling some of my roleplaying game library and reorganizing the shelves to put more relevant material in more central areas. In doing so I uncovered a few intriguing artifacts I often forget about yet keep for various reasons. Some come from an appreciation of the designers, others for the significance of the games in the overall context of adventure gaming’s history. They offer an interesting window into what engaged me as a gamer over more than 35 year in the hobby and the diversity of publishing efforts from a variety of sources.
Tuesday, June 7, 2016
WEG Memoirs: The TORG Map
|West End Games' offices, Honesdale, PA, 1993|
I never got into TORG, the game in which multiple dimensions or “cosms” of various genres invaded a near-future earth and the characters – heroic “storm knights” – had to foil their plans for world domination. But in its heyday in the early 1990s it tried charting new territory for roleplaying game campaigns...certainly new for West End Games. It launched in 1990 after an aggressive and enticing ad campaign. I remember seeing the color advertisements in Dragon Magazine, then perhaps still the best “pulse” of the gaming industry. They warned that a storm was brewing, with dark clouded, lightning-streaked backgrounds and ominous in-universe quotes from characters spanning several genres. The “Possibility Wars” were coming. It was going to be “A New Roleplaying Game Experience.” And it did pretty well initially. Several novels developed the setting from a literary perspective. The boxed set came with a slew of rule- and sourcebooks, three decks worth of cards, and two speckled 20-sided dice. The game line churned out an impressive slew of sourcebooks and scenarios, along with an occasional newsletter. I’d daresay it is one of the more notable creations from Greg Gorden and Bill Slavicsek.
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