Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Synnibarr: Kickstarter Nearing Completion!?

 A while ago, I talked briefly about Synnibarr.  I found the game to be nearly incomprehensible (and, honestly, I still do).  I even used the word "bad" to describe it. 

But, despite my experience with the game, I backed the Kickstarter because I was super-curious what three decades had done to Raven's design sense. Maybe he'd absorbed some of the lessons of newer story-focused games like Apocalypse World.

I mean ... it's not like his game could get any crunchier, right?

Realistically, I didn't expect to get anything from the Kickstarter. I honestly expected to just be throwing my money away. But, at the time, $80 was laughing fun money for me (oh to be there again). And there was always a chance I might get the game out of it. And, if I didn't, it was probable I'd get a good story or two out of it.

And then, two years post-funding, I got some PDFs from DTRPG. This was 2015, after just over a year of radio silence from the project. I figured that was all I was going to get from the project, and - I'll be honest - I've been too busy (yes, for seven years) to actually look at the PDFs.

Last month, nine years post-funding, there was an update letting us know that the game was live on DTRPG and we should e-mail them for fulfillment.

And it's true.  The game is live on DTRPG. In all honesty, I think their pricing is too high. But they have been listening to feedback - even indirect feedback.  For example, when it launched, The Ultimate Adventurers' Guide I had print and PDF available, but there were no bundles.  Now there is a print + PDF bundle available that saves a chunk of change.

So I e-mailed them for fulfillment, thinking I was going to get three DTRPG coupon codes.

I did not.  

Instead, I got two PDFs direct by e-mail and a note that the third was too large to e-mail and they were going to figure out how to get it to backers.  I e-mailed back asking about coupon codes, and ... the next day I had a coupon code for that third book.

Again: They are listening and learning and improving.

I say "they," because I don't know how many folks are involved with this.  It might be just Raven, chasing his passion, or he may have a team backing him up.  No clue. And I don't really have a way to find out (I mean ... I could ask Raven, but I kinda like the ambiguity that comes with not knowing).

So I have, in fact, now started to look at the PDFs, and ... maybe I'm just too sleep-deprived for this, because I'm still bouncing off of it.  The setting is as gonzo as ever it was, but the system is still not something I can wrap my head around. Even having read the quick-start and watched a couple of the videos Raven has shared on the World of Synnibarr Facebook page.

One of my goals for 2022 is to wrap my head around enough of the game that I can run a one-shot for some of my regular group. So that thumping you hear? It's me, beating my head on a wall as I try to understand what Raven wants me to do with his game.

Wednesday, August 03, 2022

Dungeon Twister: Still Playing, Still Learning

 I don't know if y'all realize this, but Dungeon Twister is still - nearly two decades later - my favorite game. And I love to play it. Just love it.

I know I mentioned a few years ago that it was on (which is where most of my gameplay lives these days, although I do get to play in person on Wednesdays again). It's still there, and it's only gotten better. They've been slowly adding expansions, including the rooms (but not the gameplay) from the 3/4 player expansions. And if I'm reading this correctly, it's not Premium-only anymore!

A few weeks back, I spent some time playing rules support for a new player - there are new players for Dungeon Twister!

Then, a week or two later, I got an e-mail out-of-the-blue from someone I'd been e-mailing back-and-forth with when Prison had just dropped.  He's introduced his son to the game - another new player!

I'm not going to scream that the community is growing - but I don't think it's shrinking as much as I'd thought it was.

I'm also really loving the gameplay on BGA. I'm seeing new tactics in play, and watching new players grow and develop.  I'm still a mediocre player, but that's okay. I honestly don't mind losing games.

There are occasional bugs, but I've also learned a few things. Like, for example, I'd had a couple of details about the Anti-Magic room dead wrong (for nearly 20 years, I'd thought only the spaces next to the Artifact in the middle were anti-magic, for example).

Feel free, by the way, to challenge me.  I'll play any DT, provided you make it turn-based. I'm a good opponent for when you need to boost your rating a bit.

There are other reasons for playing multiple games, too - if you play enough different games, you can qualify to test games that BGA has in Alpha. Some of these games are super-buggy, or need some work on their UI, but it's very cool to see what's coming (and just as cool to be able to contribute to the discussion of what needs fixing).

Either way, I'm still here and still chugging away. I hope you and yours are still doing well.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Getting Ready To Go Again

 In early 2020, we put in-person Game Night on hold. The state had banned in-person gatherings, and, realistically, it wasn't safe. I was still dealing with the general public and going in to work every day, and several regular attendees were either immunocompromised or were one step removed from folks who were. I had (and still have) zero interest in my weekly game gathering being responsible for illness or death.

We had a couple of sparsely-attended in-person game nights in August of 2021, when our crew was vaccinated and the governor loosened restrictions on gatherings. And then numbers went up again and we put Game Night back on hold.

Our local mask mandate was lifted in March. At the time, I expected numbers to skyrocket upwards again - like they have every time restrictions were loosened. So I told the crew, "We'll give it some time to see what happens."  Because there's no point in launching gaming if we're just going to turn right around and cancel again two weeks later.

But it's been a month, and the numbers haven't gone nuts.  They're up, yes, but not rocketing up. And the core group is fully vaccinated.

So I'm steeling myself to get things rolling again. And ... it's scary.

We're starting over from near-zero. And we may need to stop again if things get bad again.

But we're gonna try.