Wednesday, September 26, 2007

How's Your Game Coming?

Something I love about being a gamer is the creative streak so often displayed by those around me. Nearly every gamer I know has some sort of creative endeavor underway - it's not always game-related, but it frequently is.

For example: In addition to this blog, I have one board game designed by myself that is nearly ready to prototype. Jointly with my wife, I've got an RPG setting and a card game underway. I've got a few other games in various states of completion.

When I find out about gamer side projects, I try to support them if I can. Here are a few efforts you may have missed that are worth checking out:

Todd Downing, the driving force behind Deep 7 writes screenplays, as well as acting and directing. His latest effort, Ordinary Angels, is now available.

Side note: I've very much enjoyed all of Deep 7's games. Their Red Dwarf RPG was particularly brilliant, and the two supplemental products (The AI Screen and the Series Sourcebook) were packed with usable ideas.

Meeple People have an extremely cool board-game focused store. They don't sell GAMES, but they sell shirts and stickers and meeples and ... let's just say it's a good thing I'm well aware of how much money I have.

GameInk just launched, as well. They make Gamer T-Shirts. Boardgamer T-Shirts, that is. And some of their launch designs are brilliant.

My buddy Wade has a podcast - Writing For Pay. He's already interviewed a couple of gamers and game-industry folks (and me, but I'll post about that when it goes up).

Do you know of any other side projects I shold be aware of?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


I'm a bit late to the table, as it were, but GamerDad has apparently suffered a heart attack.

Let me be blunt: He needs surgery, and they need money to pay for it. There's a PayPal donation link up there - if you can afford to give, please do so.

I met GamerDad briefly at GenCon in 2006. We discussed Mission: Red Planet, which was supposed to have been released at the show (but wasn't due to delays in shipping). I'm not a regular reader of his blog, but I do visit from time to time. He's always impressed me with both his passion for gaming and ability to tolerate children (something I regularly struggle with).

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Next Few Days

My usual mid-week post may be a bit delayed - I received some files for review this evening.

Friday, September 14, 2007

RSS Feed

... and my RSS feed has gone insane, manically reposting posts from months ago that I haven't modified!

Those of you who read this blog via RSS feed, I'm sorry! I don't control it, nor do I fully understand it.

World View

Originally uploaded by GameThyme
I started using Google Analytics a few months ago, as I was curious as to who was visiting and how many hits I was getting.

It gives me some good information, sometimes. Like this image, showing the nations from which people have visited my blog.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Supporting Your Local Game Store Part II

So, I mentioned in my last post that I'd discuss the other two local game stores, as well as going over when I buy online.

The other two game stores locally aren't here anymore, first of all. One is under new ownership in a new location, and the other is gone. And no, I won't name either of them.

As I've matured, my taste in game stores has changed. The game store I used to support had a role-playing and miniatures focus, and it was constantly filled with miniatures gamers. I stopped shopping there when I transitioned to being more of a board gamer than a roleplayer. And when I realized that there were better ways to run a store.

It was the typical Gamer Hole style of game store. That is, there were piles and piles of games in no particular order. The store was cluttered, and the gamers there were the typical unsocialized style of gamer. The owner was more interested in playing games than in running the store, and made liberal use of his regulars for free labor, resulting in a counter which was frequently unattended. I once stood at the front for twenty minutes, waiting for help because I didn't know who was running the register. It was a classic example of monkeys running the zoo. My wife flat refused to set foot in the store after he second visit, as the atmosphere made her extremely uncomfortable - both in terms of the "It's a girl! What do we do?" factor and in terms of the Gamer Funk. Sadly, too many gamer stereotypes have a solid footing in reality.

I never even tried to take my wife into the second game store. I only visited it twice, and both times it was because a friend of mine had seen an out-of-print book I'd been looking for. It was the Gamer Hole taken to the extreme. Where the first store had stacks and stacks of games, this one had stacks and stacks for games mixed liberally with porn. You could be flipping through a stack of First Edition AD&D, and find three or four hardcore pornographic magazines mixed right into the middle of the stack. The aisles were extremely narrow - there wasn't even room to walk around other gamers without both of you holding your breath and trying hard not to touch. There were no windows, either, and the store was under-lit. Badly. I felt like bringing a flashlight with me every time I headed that way. And I took a long shower after visiting.

So if these are your local game stores, then - by all means - shop online.

I actually discussed ordering online with Brian from Phoenix yesterday, when I stopped by to play a game. It took a while to get through the game, because customers kept coming in, and they take priority (which is how a game store should be run).

But here are the circumstances under which when I'll buy online:

1) When it's an in-print game that Brian can't order in for some reason. I can think of two types of games covered by this: Self-published games such as Cobras in the Cockpit and games which are limited and exclusive in some way, such as Mordred. Funagain also used to have some exclusive games. Now that Funagain is working as a distributor as well as a retailer, Brian can get these games in. There are also games that Brian can't get because they're not distributed in the US.

2) When there is an online-only promo. Valley Games makes a special promotion available for each of their pre-orders. Brian could theoretically pre-order them for me, but the additiona effort involved more than offsets the benefit for him.

3) When a game is both out of print and not available though his distributors. Lots of games go out of print, but distributors will frequently still have the game in stock. I remember being able to order Fasa's Star Trek RPG for nearly five years after it went out of print. I loved that game.

In nearly all other circumstances, I'll purchase through Phoenix. GenCon for me is primarily a scouting run - I don't tend to spend a lot of money, there. I come back and ask Brian to order games that I saw that looked cool.

... and that's about all I have to say about that.

For now.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Supporting Your Local Game Store

Those of you who know me in person already know that I'm really big on supporting my local game store, but not all of you know what I mean by that or why I'm so firm on it.

Now, I'm not going to tell you horror stories about online game stores - I've had nothing but positive experiences with Funagain or Thoughthammer when I have purchased from them. The man who runs Boards and Bits is active on BoardGameGeek, and I have heard nothing but good about his operation as well.

But I thought it'd be a good idea to explain why I take this stance, and what exceptions I make for it.

A good game store is the center of Gamer Society. It's where gamers go to meet gamers and interact with gamers. And, of course gaming takes place in some game stores, too. Game stores are also where you learn about new products - or old ones that may have been overlooked.

When I'm exploring a new area, one of the first things I do is try to find the local game stores - they'll give you a very good idea of what the gaming is like in the area - and I'm not just talking about what games are popular in the region.

Within fifteen minutes of my apartment, there used to be three game stores. One of them has closed, one has moved, and the other is the one I support.

The game store I support is Phoenix Games in Mukilteo, Washington. I'll discuss the full whys and wherefores at some future point. It's the game store locally that best fits my needs.

It's clean, wide open, and is inviting to all ages (and genders). What he doesn't stock, he's willing to special-order (if it's available). He has tables available for gaming. He's knowledgeable about games. And he can sell Fluxx without sneering (something I struggle with).

Online game stores don't generally do special orders. There are exceptions, it's true. But it's more difficult to arrange for a special order.

I don't have to pay shipping costs when dealing with Brian.

I've never seen an online game store that has tables I can use for gaming.

While I can get rules questions answered by the online game store folks, it's a lot faster to ask Brian.

Do I pay more by buying from Brian? Yes. Absolutely. But I think the added services more than make up for the extra money I pay.

Now, I'm not saying you should support game stores who make you uncomfortable. I'll use the other two game stores that used to be nearby as examples in a future post.

I'll also discuss when I choose to buy online rather than through my local game store.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Google Update

Google juggled their algorithm.

I'm not #1 anymore.

Not a surprise.

I did receive some good news this morning, but I'm not sure how much I can say in a public place such as this.


Collin David, a friend of mine who blogs for Collectors' Quest mentioned to me about a year ago that he'd be interested in interviewing me for that blog.

Scheduling proved problematic - not surprising, when you consider we're in different time zones and I don't get home until after 7pm Pacific time (where I reside).

Well, we finally got the interview together, and it's been posted on the Collectors' Quest Blog in two parts.

Part One
Part Two

Saturday, September 01, 2007


Originally uploaded by GameThyme
I've been the #1 or #2 hit on Yahoo! for the terms "Talking Game" and "Talking Games" for a while.

Yesterday, while browsing my Google Analytics results, I noticed that I'd had a Google hit for "Talking Game." It wasn't the first, but I check periodically to see how far down the list someone has to go to find me. It's previously been about fifteen pages of random links unrelated to me.

Yesterday, I was #1 on Google! I know it's a silly thing to be totally excited about, but I've barely been able to focus on anything else. I even went gaming last night and failed to win at anything, I was so distracted!

We'll see how long this lasts.

Thank you for reading my words and linking to me.