Monthly Archives: November 2007

How Do I Win?

A trend I’ve observed in games, especially small ‘pamphlet’ sytle ones the likes of which are generated by the Gamechef competition, are roleplaying games that include a winning condition, or address the nature of ‘victory.’

While not a bad thing- I strongly enjoy gamist elements and a chance to show my uppity friends who the real deal is- they are often misused, an ill-fated attempt to add spice to an otherwise bland narrative parlor game.

Here’s what my stance boils down to: if your game is not about Winning, your game should not have rules for Winning.

The correlary- the more you want your game to be about Winning, the more the rules should explicitly address Winning.

Let’s look at Gamism-supporting designs first.  Agon is an example of how to do so nicely: there is a clear winner- he who has the most Glory.  Were Agon to lose the Glory track, and only rely on peer perception of who succeeds most, Agon would be a weaker game for it.  The conflict would be muddled, and less clear.  Agon succeeds because there are different paths to victory, but the nature victory is very clear.

Some games muddle the nature of victory.  Victory is survival, accumulating the most treasure, and having a good time- all at once.  This is bad gamist design.  The nature of a competition must be clear and evident.  A softball game where no one keeps score and everyone just plays their best may be fun, but it’s hardly a juicy competition.

Gamism needs a measureable way of quantifying victory.

What are the lessons for a would be gamist-game designer?

Have rules for victory clearly supported in the text.  How to players/characters compete?  How do they win?  How is it measured?  How do other people know that you won?  Tie the rest of your game into the victory and the competiton.

Thanks, But No Thanks

I am tired of Thanksgiving.

In the past two days, I have had not one, not two, but three Thanksgiving meals.

I do not like cranberries.  I do not like yams, or sweet potatoes, or mashed potatoes, or beets.  I do not particularly like turkey.  Stuffing is alright.

I do not like a tradition of overeating and obesity, of being guilted into eating, of making more food than you require and eating the same leftovers for a month.

I do not like having to drive long distances to eat food I don’t particularly like.  I do not like watching football.

Next year, let’s just have a nice meal at a restaurant.  No prep, no cleanup, and everyone can eat whatever they want.  And there won’t be much of a crowd.

Ask Me A Question

Go ahead.  Take it to the comments.  Ask away.

Index Cards Rock

I just want everyone out there to know: Index Cards are one of the best game tools out there.

You can jot notes on them.  You can shuffle them.  You can move them around the table.  You can put them in your pocket.  You can stack them.  They are cheap.

Some things I’ve used them for:

Having one for each player in Awesome Adventures, so I have all the aspects laid out in front of me.

Keeping notes for a Villain- just enough room that things don’t get unwieldly.

Dealing out Novels for Guest Star roles in Awesome Adventures.

The D&D Initiative Deck:  Deal ’em up, stack ’em up in order.  Whoever’s on top goes next, then put their card on the bottom.  If someone holds, take their card out, put it back in when they act.  Cyclic actions made easy.

I’m reading Dirty Secrets, and it uses Index Cards for mini character sheets.  Hellz yeah.

What are you using index cards for?

Keep Chasing That Horizon

I dreamed that I was playing Halo 3, and I was going on a sword spree, and killed three dudes in a row, getting the Steppin’ Razor achievement.  Which is hard to do.

But then the cold truth hit me- you can’t unlock achivements in social play, only ranked.  And you can’t unlock them in dreams, either.

Calling all Artists!

I’m working on a game (Awesome Adventures), and I need some Awesome Art!

What I’m Looking For:
Pictures of awesome people doing awesome things. (Preferably Black & White, in electronic format.)
Non-exclusive rights to use the pictures in Awesome Adventures and any derivitive products.

What You Get:
Unfortunately, I don’t have an art budget, so I can’t offer any monetary compensation. But you do get:
To keep all other rights to your art (which means you still own it, you can sell it to someone else, you can use it in whatever other means you please)
Full credit in the book- you name, and a link to your online gallery, if you like.

There’s no need to make any new art for this- if you have something you’ve got laying around that’s awesome, and you’d like to get a little free publicity, that’s the kind of arrangement I had in mind. If I find an artist who’s work I really really adore, I may want to commission a full color cover, with money being involved.

If you’re interested, send me an email, or just leave a comment, and we’ll go from there.

Awesome Adventures

The first draft is done.  Done done.  All that’s left is editing, playtests, and revisions.

It’s a damn good feeling.

Crazy Internet Radio

I’ve recently discovered Pandora Radio, which is a neat little thing that lets you create your own radio station, and rate songs thumbs up or thumbs down- and uses that data to find songs that you’re likely to enjoy.

So far I’ve got two stations- “Funky Radio” and “Pop Radio,” the latter of which could be equally named “Songs that Tim Hates.”