Tuesday, February 26, 2019

A Plethora of Projects

I’m slowly nearing completion on my latest project (though still a few months out from publication) and I’m already looking ahead to my next game-related endeavor. My writing schedule, such as it is, must accommodate my other roles in life. I manage to regularly work on projects despite the constant guilt that such activity neglects my household duties, innumerable homeowner projects, and the responsibilities of a father to an inquisitively sharp third grader. The start of a new year has me recovering from a month of preparatory activities for the yuletide holidays and an occasional pilgrimage to visit distant family. My productivity wasn’t helped by recovering from sickness both after the holidays and late January’s inadvertently “plague-themed” birthday party for an acquaintance, in which most guests fell ill in the following week. Yet the days are getting longer, my schedule’s returning to some semblance of order (as much as the Lords of Chaos will allow), and my gaze turns once again to game-writing projects at hand an in the near future.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

GM Aids: NPC Cards

They don't look like much, but
they kept me organized.

In my last missive I mentioned some of the boxed sets we assembled at West End Games included cards; it reminded me how I’ve used index cards for non-player characters stats and other useful information in both my home games and products I helped design for West End. Having relevant game material handy remains essential for gamemasters, whether running a pre-published scenario or managing the characters’ free-form sandbox hex- or dungeon-crawl. I don’t always care to page through rulebooks in the middle of a game – though a scenario isn’t quite as onerous to peruse – so having cards around allows me to arrange the core information for an encounter just as I like on the tabletop to maximize ease of reference.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

WEG Memoirs: Assembling Boxed Games

Remember when roleplaying games came in boxes packed with multiple rulebooks, cards, dice, and other goodies? What a a joy to revel in opening that box and celebrating each little piece that promised to grant us an exciting gaming experience. Yet how did they get into that gorgeous box in an age before cheaper Chinese manufacturers and robot automation? Humans put them there. Humans working in a stuffy, hot warehouse, mindlessly laboring at an assembly line, putting each component into each box one at a time. For a short while in that glorious age I was one of those humans.