Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Reading, Prepping, and Playing

This post is basically just an overview of what I've been reading, prepping, and playing for the last few months. And I'm only going to talk about the ones I like. Fair warning: It's long, and I'm naturally a bit long-winded (as I'm sure you know by now).

I have been excited about this game since I played a prototype at GenCon last year. And now it's mine, received in my latest care package from Asmodee. It's also my wife's first print credit. And I've found that I really like the game. As it's distributed by Asmodee, you can find it at your FLGS, on, Thoughthammer, and Boards and Bits.

Another gift from Asmodee. I've been a fan of Bruno Cathala's games for a while, now. This continues the trend - it's fast-playing and simple. And oddly entertaining.

Heartily recommended.

Dixit 2
I honestly hadn't expected to like Dixit. I don't tend to like party games, you see. I don't like games with subjective elements most of the time, either. Just looking at the game, it looked like both of these.

I'm glad I gave it a shot, though. The art was totally enchanting, and the stories and fragments that spilled forth once gameplay started ...

This expansion is more of the same. Marie Cardouat continues her pattern of hauntingly beautiful story-drenched art which often tiptoes along the edge of disturbing.

If you liked the original, don't miss the expansion.

Ghost Stories
I'm still playing Ghost Stories. After playing it constantly for all of GenCon last year, I'm still playing. And the expansion has just improved things for me.

And no, I still haven't won on Wednesday. Soon. Soon.

Battleground: Kingdoms
I had a match a week or so that reminded me just how much I enjoy this game. Battleground: Fantasy Warfare is fun, and adding the campaign system from Kingdoms kicks it up a couple of notches in my book. Provided you and your opponent(s) can make your schedules work.

Dungeon Twister. Of course. I love this game, and need to write more about it. Especially since the XBox Live version is due in June.

I just acquired this one. The game play is not hugely awesome, but it is entertaining. I think my issue is a lack of deep decision-making; once you've drafted your team, you only need to make one decision per turn. Well, two. Which of your characters will act (usually an easy decision), and which opponent to target. It reminds me a bit of Pokemon. It also provides an excellent segue into what I'm reading, as the designer published a book to go along with the setting of the game.

This one is currently only available from the designer.

The World Of Rynaga: Prelude
I've barely started this one, but I like how it's put together. The art is phenomenal, and it provides an excellent travelogue. And its laying roots in my head that I may be able to create an RPG setting for. I'd love to see an RPG in this setting.

Io9 has a Book Club. This month, the book is Infoquake. I look forward to the discussion - it's a Cyberpunk-genre novel with some definite posthuman elements to it. You could definitely run an Eclipse Phase game with this setting and a bit of tweaking, but it'd fit a Cyberpunk game better.

Speaking of Eclipse Phase, I'm also reading The Quiet War. This is a novel which reads as though it were designed as an alternate setting for Eclipse Phase. Characters are locked into a single body, but the main conflict of the setting has its roots in several elements, one of which is the fact that the "Outers" have significantly modified themselves to better survive in space. You could also use Blue Planet V.2 for this setting.

As a bit of an alt-history geek, I was excited to hear about a book, Lost States, on NPR recently. It's a very funny book, but has a great deal of fodder for alt-history geeks who want to incorporate one (or more) of these states into the game. And it makes me wonder, too: How would Congress be different if we had a state of Lincoln in Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho? How would the various Dakota divisions that were proposed have changed the political landscape? The (beautiful) maps are just gravy on an already tasty feast.

I just recently read The Night Angel Trilogy. These books would not work as a D&D setting, but I think it could really shine with Fudge. Or you could use the Cyberpunk system (just rework the setting, of course).

The Kobold Guide to Game Design is the single best resource I own with regards to adventure building. Volume 2 is also very good, and, even though I'm not an adventure designer, I think it'll be useful as a tool for critique. And if I ever feel the need to publish, I'm sure I will find this invaluable.

A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying reminds me of Pendragon crossed with the Legend of the Five Rings RPG. In a good way (in both cases).

Speaking of Pendragon, that's the next one-shot I'll be running. Once I'm ready. I have a good group of talented roleplayers who are actually interested in both trying and actively engaging these one-shots. I'll admit that I have some concerns about a one-shot of this one, but that's a discussion for another time.

I'm also reading Traveller (the latest edition from Mongoose). It reminds me a lot of the classic game, with a few of the old rough patches ironed out. It's "on deck" for the one-shots. Unless I can talk someone else into running one so I can play.

Over the next few weeks, I'll be writing more about Dungeon Twister (especially with the XBox Live Arcade version due in June). I've got a guest post coming (at some point) from my wife about gender and gaming. And, of course, more randomness. Just like you have come to expect from me.

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