29 September, 2010

My Game Chef Review Criteria

As I said yesterday, I've been plugging away, reading the Game Chef Entries. A long slow train trip to my parent's house gave me time to take some notes as I read. I figured that I'd try to be pretty transparent in my review criteria and my reasons for liking some games and not liking others. As a result I've come up with a general scoring system based on the things I think are important in a game and the things that I think should be sources of challenge in a contest like Game Chef.

Game Chef Review Criteria:

0-5pts: Use of Ingredients and theme in an appropriate manner

+0.5: per ingredient used in a cursory manner (either a flavour addition or a throwaway mechanism name)

+1.0: per ingredient integrated into the game through flavour and mechanism

+0.5: if the game has a cursory connection to the theme.

+1.0: if the game resonates with the theme at a deeper level.

0-5pts: Clarity of Rules

0.0: The rules are an absolute disgrace; I can’t even fill in the gaps through intuition.

1.0: The rules are pretty sparse, and they don’t seem to address the actual methods of playing the game.

2.0: The rules seem pretty solid but there seem to be a couple of pieces left out (or just not explained clearly).

3.0: The rules carefully explain the methods of play, either through elegant terminology, or careful play examples.

4.0: The rules are at about the quality you’d expect from a good game entry; easy to read and clear to understand.

5.0: The rules are very good, at least of the quality to expect to find in a professional game from one of the “big” companies.

0-5pts: Completeness of Rules

0.0: There aren’t any rules at all.

1.0: There aren’t enough rules to play any part of the game in any meaningful way.

2.0: There are rules enough to handle the basics, but I can foresee a lot of situations that just aren’t covered by them.

3.0: The rules are a solid set; they may not tie in with the themes and there might be a few disjoints, but reasonably complete.

4.0: The rules cover pretty much everything; and they do so in a way that gives a sense of uniqueness to the game.

5.0: The rules are extensive and well flavoured; anything you could want to do is easily covered by their depth and scope.

0-5pts: Originality of Rules and Concept

0.0: It might as well have been copied verbatim from a book pulled off the shelf in my local game store.

1.0: Nothing overly original about it, but at least the author changed some of the names or added their own touches.

2.0: It fits squarely into an existing genre, or game system; but there are some intriguing elements thrown into the mix.

3.0: It combines a few systems or setting I’ve seen before, but in a way that makes it a bit different or original.

4.0: I’m unable to remember where I’ve seen some of the elements, either it masks them well or adapts them effectively.

5.0: This has simply blown my mind with its originality.

Bonus Points:

0-2pts: Layout

0.0: No Attempt at formatting

0.5: Minimal formatting (maybe a font befitting the game or a two column layout)

1.0: Decent formatting (different fonts for headers and text, maybe some text boxes)

1.5: Good formatting in a style suiting the game (maybe with text boxes for rule clarity/actual play)

2.0: Well formatted in a style suiting the game (with decent indexing/table of contents)

0-2pts: Imagery

0.0: No images what-so-ever

0.5: One or two images, or some kind of play aid of basic quality

1.0: A title image, and a map or other play aid of good quality

1.5: A scattering of images through the text to evoke mood or theme.

2.0: Fully illustrated with evocative pieces (whether hand drawn or otherwise)

0-1pt: Title Page

0.0: No title page

0.5: Simple title page, maybe a list of contents

1.0: Elaborate title page.

Multiply total result by 4 to gain a percentage score.

28 September, 2010

Game Chef Reviews (In Progress)

I'm still living the life of an internet nomad at the moment.

We've luckily got a neighbour who is tech-savvy enough to have a Wi-Fi network, but not quite tech-savvy enough to have a password protecting it.

Depending on where the laptop is in the current house, there might be good reception, poor reception or a signal so weak that it doesn't actually allow signals through.

When I work on my laptop in bed, I can't get any signal at all because we have metal security shutters on the window, and the winder snapped...thus a thick metal plate barring any signals from getting to me. So I find myself typing in a room filled with packing boxes while most of the other rooms in the house are bare, or packed similarly.

The good news is that we've secured a new house, the bad news is that it's a bit of a distance out of Sydney. Our broadband network supplier doesn't have cables or ADSL boards installed in the phone exchange that far out...and most of the service providers I've managed to contact are the same. As a result we're going to have to spend $100 to break our internet contract, annoying since we couldn't continue with them if we wanted to. What's even stranger is that the $100 contract breaking fee is less than the $150 change of address fee that we would have had to pay even if they were in the area we are moving too. I'm sure it makes some kind of corporate sense to somebody, but it makes no sense to me.

So, for the next three weeks, the joys of moving house.

I've read through a few Game Chef entries and I could easily see myself playing some of them. I've written up a page of notes each, for the five entries I've read so far. I'll compile them into some semblance of a decent review shortly.

23 September, 2010

Game Chef 2010 Critiques

Now that Game Chef 2010 is over, I've looked through a few of the games produced and have been generally impressed with the diversity and quality of the games produced.

9 Days isn't a lot of time to generate a professional quality piece of work, but a lot of people have produced some finely polished pieces of semi-professional writing and game design. Quite a few of them could probably do with a good read-over and like all new games I'm sure they need a bit of playtesting to iron out the bugs. But, all in all, there are some great games in there and quite a few I'd like to play if I wasn't in a limbo state of trying to move house, and caught between groups of roleplaying friends. I don't know how many of the games would hold up well under a two person play scenario (I can probably rope in a third, but only for short periods of time).

As a result, I'm going to give a general critique on the games that stuck out to me as being interesting. My criteria of interesting is based on the blurb written on the game chef site, the number of comments made on threads during game development (on praxis, the forge, or 1km1kt), and whether or not I've been interested in the games produced by the author in the past.

With 59 finished games produced for the competition, I could have just limited myself to to the 10% that met all those criteria, but I really could have missed some of the gems of the competition. Instead, I've downloaded and printed out the top half of the entries according to my criteria. Remember that 2 of my criteria are highly personal things regarding my tastes in gaming, so my top half might not be your top half. But the third is pretty quantifiable.

The first five I'll review will be from the praxis feedback group to which I belonged in the contest; but beyond that, there's no particular order that I'll be reviewing them in. I'll try to alternate between longer games and shorter games where possible.
If there are any games on the short-list that I haven't critiqued, I'll make sure to add them to my list.

I'll be trying to get a critique done once a day; but given that I'm in the middle of moving house, I
can't 100% guarantee that I'll keep up that schedule.

Feel free to make your own comments if you think my critique is off in some way, of if you appreciate what I've written about the games. Anyway, on with the reading, and then the critiquing.

21 September, 2010

Walkabout

In case anyone's interested in downloading my entry for Game Chef 2010...it can be found at a new page on my website.

http://www.vulpinoid.com/walkabout.html

After getting 400+ downloads of Walkabout from the shopfront on RPGNow, it was fun to see how well I could twist the fundamentals of the game into a new setting and story style.

I think it seems to have turned out relatively well, but now it could do with a few weeks of fine tuning and some good playtest sessions.

11 September, 2010

Game Chef 2010 ideas

This has been cross posted to 1km1kt and the Forge.

Awesome list.

I'm really tempted to do something along the lines of Dark Sun, but a lot of people have already suggested this as a possible inspiration.

Mechanically, since hacks are allowed, I think I'll try a twist on my own recent game FUBAR. Instead of a revenge tale, I'm going to twist the rules to reflect a post-apocalyptic road trip, or perhaps a chase across a shattered desert landscape.

That's the intention for the surface layer of the game, but I like things to have a bit of depth to them.

With that in mind, I'm thinking of the alchemical journey of the soul...a progression from initiate to adept to master...and beyond

A single session will be about a physical journey between places or the pursuit of a quarry. The campaign play will be about the enlightenment achieved by engaging in the metaphorical journey multiple times.

These are my initial thoughts prompted by the ingredients.

But like normal, I'm starting to deviate from the actual words and delving into abstracts. So I'll try to pull things back to the actual terms of the contest.

City - An urban location...the voyage beyond the accepted culture is a path taken by outsiders, it is in this path that enlightenment is achieved, but without the buffers of the community it is easier to fall into insanity or simply lose one's way.

Desert - As a noun or adjective this could refer to a wasteland basically devoid of plant and animal life ("this place is a desert")...as a verb it can mean to flee an area with no intent to return ("she doesn't like it here and is going to desert the place")....then it also has the meaning of a reward or punishment ("he got his just deserts")...so much potential in this term.

Edge - Another ambiguous term that could be used many ways...as a noun it could represent the border between two things, the sharp side of a knife, or the advantage someone has in a situation (I already use it in this way in FUBAR)...as a verb it can mean moving cautiously toward something ("he edged his way toward the fence"), or sharpening something. Hmmm.

Skin - This has a variety of meanings that typically apply to the outer surface of something, examples include the outermost flesh of a creature and the visible interface of a computer program (which can be "re-skinned")...but colloquially it could refer to a drum, a condom or a dollar note. As a verb, "to skin something" typically means peeling away the outer layers.

Straight up, two of the terms have a juxtaposition...Desert/City. One is devoid of life while the other is a place of community.

Two of the terms have a commonality...Edge/Skin...both refer to an interface between two objects.

It's a push to link "edge" and "desert" as movement terms. As movement, edge tends to imply moving slowly toward something, while deserting implies moving away with reckless abandon.

Again....just more thoughts.

I keep pulling back to the idea of enlightened tattooed nomads, living between the worlds of city and desert. A journeying people who take sacred journeys between the civilised realms and into the wastelands of the physical and the metaphysical spirit deserts. They make these journeys to reclaim the lost, or discovers insights about the future...with these journeys achieved, they return to their home cultures to reveal the truth. If they travel too far (physically or mentally), they may get lost. Becoming physically lost means being unable to return to their home, while becoming lost in a mental/spiritual sense means that the character has lost their ability to commune meaningfully with their people, perhaps they have gone insane, or maybe they have transcended the mental state of their people to such a degree that people simple can't understand them.

With this last idea in mind, there could be other wanderers in the desert/wilderness...dangerous lunatics who have devolved and gone insane...and strange enlightened mystics who have lost contact with their people but who might still have useful advice for those who are still capable of returning from their sacred journeys.

Maybe doing something about the Australian aboriginal community and the Dreamtime. They didn't have tattooing as a common practice, but traditional scarification processes fulfil the same basic function...and if I make the setting a post-apocalyptic wasteland, then tattooing might become a viable option again.

With these ideas bubbling away in my head, it's time to head off and think about some other stuff. The ideas can ferment for a while, who knows where they might lead.

08 September, 2010

Deathwatch Collector's Edition

I've long had a passing interest in the rich mythology surrounding Games Workshop's Warhammer 40k. The Space marines with their almost Nazi zeal aiming to eliminate the other races of the galaxy, the ancient Eldar who are a vague mask for the normal elves in a fantasy setting, the inhuman Tyrannids, and the other races that make up the milieu.

They've been pumping away at this stuff for decades, and they've had a dedicated following...but it's only recently that they've had a proper roleplaying game within in the setting.

I never really got into the setting as well as I could have because I didn't want to paint up hundred of figures just to get into a game. I liked Necromunda, and I had a couple of teams for that game...it came close to role-playing, but with a story guided by the exploits of a small team...the scope didn't cover the breadth of the Warhammer 40k universe though, and the other races simply weren't represented (not in the same way that Mordheim allowed teams in the fantasy equivalent). Then we had Inquisitor, a curious game focused on the exploits of long Inquisitors and their entourages of lackeys, cybernetically implanted slaves and flagellants. This was a lot closer to what I was after in a role-playing game because it allowed a wider range of exploration. I even generated up a few hacks to play other races using this system. I never got the chance to play them though.

But with Dark Heresy, Rogue Trader and now DeathWatch we're getting the chance to really delve into the rich mythology of the setting. I haven't actually opened up one of the books and started reading, but they seem to be keeping the fanboys happy, and I haven't heard much bad about them in the reviews I've read.

But now I look at the Deathwatch Collector's edition. If I had the money, I'd drop it in a heartbeat for this sucker. Solid metal case, parchment pages within, each copy printed with dedicated lines for it's prospective owner. A true gaming artefact that sets the tone for the product within.

Great marketing ploy.

I'm wondering if I could do something similar with a product of my own....sculpt up some bas-relief forms...use moulds to cold-cast metallic front and back plates with a hinged spine...use this to encase a gaming tome of some type. It would certainly be a step in a different direction to the pdf market, providing a uniquely crafted artefact in exchange for the money dropped by the consumer. Might be worth exploring.

07 September, 2010

Off Kilter Globe


I had an idea a while back...


There are a few theories about the shifting magnetic poles, and how the world might shift off it's axis and rotate in a new way if they become too far out of alignment. The movie 2012 touched on this a bit, and at least one theory about Atlantis uses this as a hypothesis.


As a result I've considered the idea a few times.


What would the map of the world look like if you pplaced the north pole at an arbitrary point on the globe, placed a south pole diametrically opposite, and then spun the world on a new axis as defined by these points.


It either of the pole locations was on land then it would become locked in polar ice (much like Antarctica), if it were close to land then there would probably be an ice-shelf packed with glaciers along the shoreline. Much like the northern coasts of Russia and Canada.


A map of the world drawn from the perspective of this new spin would probably look vaguely familiar in places, but dramatically different in others. After a few hundred years you'd note changes in the vegetation. With rain tending to fall toward the east of mountain ranges while a rain-shadow of dry land falls to the west. Imagine enough of a tilt to cause the Amazon rainforest to now become a vast desert, while the rolling desert plains of Western Australia and Africa might become a lush and fertile ecology.


I've looked for programs that might redraw the map from a tilted perspective, but haven't met with any success so far. I haven't been expecting such programs to account for ecological changes, I've just been looking for coastline manipulations. But no luck. I didn't think I was after anything that was overly revolutionary (no pun intended).


I'm considering the idea of drawing up a few sample maps, perhaps to use as the basis for a new project. It's just one of many ideas at the moment.

RPGNow



I now have products available through RPGNow through two distinct stores.

Avalon Games has put up it's first piece of work by me...How to Make a Great Dungeon. Hopefully there will be a few more of those going up on a monthly basis.


And more importantly (to me anyway), Vulpinoid Studios has established a web store on RPGNow.
In the first 12-hours, I've sold 4 copies of the Eighth Sea pdf. Sure it's only $1 for the pdf, but that's more copies than I've managed to sell in the last few months. I hope there will be some feedback on the game from at least someone who has purchased it.
The new version will hopefully be made available before the end of the year...like all those other projects I'm working on.

06 September, 2010

Alt 1977 - Retro Funk


As a child of the disco era, born in the heady days of the mid 1970s, I spent my earliest years listening to the dulcet tones of Tom Jones, the experimental sounds of Led Zeppelin and the smooth sounds of old-school soul and chunky bass of funk. I looked in wonder as amazing techologies like the Atari 2600 were purchased by aunts and uncles, the Vic-20 was plugged in by a friend's family, and another uncle broke into the modern world with this first CD player (while my parents didn't have any need for such things, until I moved out of home and suddenly the money for toys and gadgets increased exponentially).

Looking over these advertisements is like a trip back to a world that should have been. It's a great inspiration for a game....someone may already be working on that game. But it doesn't mean that other people can't draw inspiration from the same well.

Edit: While adding in the links, I've just realised that the game is in development by Contested Ground, so if this means it will be a part of the Cold City/Hot War oeuvre, then I've already got space on my shelf for it.


05 September, 2010

Vector Theory #29.5: Object Oriented Design Methodology (Part 2)

Hmmm...

I guess I forgot to actually link my post back to Vector Theory.

I don't think everything needs to feed back to Vector Theory but since I titled the blog post "Vector Theory #29", it probably should.

What are design objects from the perspective of Vector Theory?

Any aspect of the narraton's path can be manipulated by design objects. The wavelength of the narraton can follow a certain pattern (a specific array of stats, or a group of traits), and this can be defined as a design object. The nodes themselves can be design objects.

If I want to handle combat the same ways that they do in "Riddle of Steel", I take the design patterns that form the combat system and I know that my narraton will follow through a certain set of procedures every time I get into a combat sequence.

If I love the magic system in "Mage: The Ascension", I take the nine spheres, the concepts of Arete, Coincidental and Vulgar magic, and I find a way to interlock these with the randomisation mechanic I'm using.

I had a game like this just over a decade ago, using the magic system from Mage, but the rest of the game was played using the systems of Amber, and in fact we didn't use character sheets at all, and had no idea about the true capacities of our characters. It was all about immersion without the distraction of rules, everything was about the story and the roles of the characters within that story.

But this just serves the point, the GM in that game was trying to create a story that would follow certain tropes and he knew that those systems had a good chance of providing the types of twists and turns that suited his storytelling method. He certainly wouldn't consider himself a game designer, and this is probably the first time public notes have been revealed about it, but it was one of those moments in gaming that really got me thinking about how games can be something more...communal literature.

All from the gathering of a few suitable component objects.

Vector Theory #29: Object Oriented Design Methodology

Object Oriented design is a concept that has swept across computer programming over the past twenty years (probably longer), but it seems to be something that has been restricted to the computer world, and hasn't really spread much further to my knowledge.

That's not entirely true, but I'll explain a bit more later.

Traditional computer programming looks at developing an outcome, then works toward designing a solution to fulfill that outcome. In traditional methodologies, each program develops independently. They may achieve something similar in the end and they make take a number of similar steps along the way, but the development process is discreet for a particular project. For example, if you need to develop a program that will print out facts about a person, you create a series of specific routines that gather information about the person, consolidate the specific information into a specific format, then print the specific information.

Object oriented programming follows a different theory. Instead you build a bunch of chunks. The same program developed from an object oriented perspective might take a chunk that's designed to gather information of all different types and add it to a chunk that provides a data structure for the class referred to as "people". It would then take another pre-designed chunk for sorting any type of data, but since it's a generically functioning piece it can work just fine in this overall system...finally a general use printing chunk is attached to the end.

This is a very simplistic scenario, but you get the idea.

Traditional design builds everything from the ground up, object oriented design develops a series of generic pieces that can be built together like pre-built clusters of Lego blocks into a larger structure.

Computer programming might have received countless pages of theorising about object oriented design, but a simple look at Lego shows that the practice is more widespread.

What sort of computer do you have?

Do you simply say "I have a Mac" or "I have an HP"? Or do you look at the motherboard a singular object, the graphics card as another object that fulfills a specific range of functions, specific sticks of RAM, a specific sound card, a Central Processor Chip....

I remember being amazed the first time I had a friend open up a computer and fix things for me by simply taking out one of the boards and replacing it with another modular piece. The mystery was shattered. A computer isn't a monolith, and the little sticker that says "VOID WHEN REMOVED" is just a social barrier, it doesn't actually affect the workings of the computer if you open it up, and you can actually make it better if you are willing to get your hands dirty.

Cars are much the same once you get down to it; sure, it takes a different skill set to fix a car and each of the tasks becomes easier with a very different range of tools, but at the essence you can look at the car as a range of assemblies and systems, or it can be looked at as a collection of numerous tiny pieces.

In a similar way, all cars from a certain company might share the ability to use a certain range of parts...mufflers might be interchangeable across the range. They all share the same function on the car and a single company finds it cost effective to mass produce a single part to be used on various models in their range.

Let's pull this back to game design.

John Kim and John Kirk have written some great stuff about the patterns used in RPGs. I'd thoroughly recommend any prospective designer to have a look through their works. I've mentioned Kirk's work in the past.

Take a look at generic systems like GURPS. In most cases they aren't truly generic, instead they provide a toolkit of generic objects and then in the sourcebooks and genre books they'll offer a way to combine the components to provide an experience that reflects the genre, or maybe they'll add a few new subsystems to plug into the generic toolkit.

But you don't need to get deeply involved in game theory to appreciate the concepts of object oriented design. I've seen it applied in almost every game that I've run, and most other GMs seem to do it pretty frequently as well.

"I like this game, but I don't like the experience system, so I'll allocate experience the same way they do it in that other game."

"This game has a really great combat system, but that game handles magical stuff much better."

"I like the official game released for that licensed property, and I'll use some of the ideas, but if I combine these parts from this game, and those parts from that game it'll be much closer to that dramatic episode that we all like."

Home Brews. Hacks. Call them what you will, they're a staple part of the hobby. We take components from one game, add components from another and get something that we like. We might use a bit of trial and error to get things just right. Exposure to a wider variety of games gives a wider assortment of components to choose from. A bit of good knowledge and grounding in theory can help to make the process a bit easier. Visiting game design forums and looking at insightful blogs, might teach you some new ways to incorporate pieces, or discover how other people have failed when trying to combine certain game design objects.

I"m thinking of design objects as Game Chef looms closer. I've got a whole bunch of unfinished components that could be plugged together into a range of new game forms. It's just a case of which ones to use.

04 September, 2010

250 POSTS!!!

When I first started this blog, I didn't think that I'd reach 100 posts. But now that I've past the quarter millennium it really feels like I've been getting some interesting ideas out of my systems through this blog.

Thanks for reading, and hopefully there will be plenty more interesting topics and discussions to come.

Game Chef 2010

It's time for Game Chef again.

Awesome.

It will be running from September 11th through to the 19th. From the anniversary of the World Trade Center attack, through to annual "Talk like a Pirate" day.

Or if you're Jewish, this post on 1km1kt shows the coincidences from that perspective.

I like Game Chef because it always ends up challenging my ideas about what a roleplaying game can be, especially when I start looking at what the other contestants have produced.

It gets me feeling experimental, sometimes producing absolute train wrecks, but on other occasions producing something that acts as the kernel for a new track of design thought.

I recommend any game designer give it a try at least once in their design lives.

I don't know what it will have in store for us this year, but it's going to take all of my mental restraint to prevent myself from rewriting my entry and editing it into pirate prose on the final day.

At least I can share the day after the contest with my wife on our anniversary, I'll have gotten a whole heap design angst out of my system for another year (or at least until the next contest comes around).

Unexploited Resource #4: Rosary Beads


What the...

Yes. Rosary Beads.

The kinds of beads that form chains used for Catholic prayers. Buit this could just as easily be extended to other forms of prayer beads, such as those used by Buddhists, Sikhs, Assorted Orthodox Christian denominations, and numerous other religions around the world.

I got the idea the other day when driving behind someone who had a sticker of rosary beads on the back window of their car.

To use Daniel Solis' coined phrase, they'd make a great "mechaphor" (a mechanically present metaphor) in games where faith is an issue. Especially if you wanted to make some kind of mechanism related to the vagaries of faith, rather than simply leaving these issues addressed by a fruitful void.

A quick look at Rosary Beads and Prayer Beads in Wikipedia shows that there are many different types and variations within the theme, so it would make sense to have some kind of balancing mechanisms present between different types of beads, or simply assume that each of the characters using the bead shares a common path of faith and therefore uses an equivalent string of beads.

Here's my 10 possible suggestions for using these in a mechanism within a game:

  1. The catholic rosary typically has 54 beads, and a string of that denotes it's start and end. There are 5 "decades" of ten beads, each separated by a distinct bead that is smaller, larger, or simply of a different colour, then the separation from start of the chain to the end comes from the string, which may be a cruciform.


    If we assume that the rosary mechanisms is a generally ambivalent story tool. It should provide an equivalent number of positives as negatives. Each of the 50 standard beads might give a -1 to a roll, while each of the beads marking the change of decades (or the string at the start/end of the ring) provides a +10 bonus to a roll. Players simply progress through the rosary for each action they take....standard action (-1 to roll), standard action (-1 to roll)...continue for ten times...change of decade (+10 to roll). This would make most rolls more difficult, perhaps earning complications as a result of the adherent's faith, but every now and then the grace of a greater powers smiles down on the characters and makes something go really well.
  2. Perhaps the idea of trudging around the rosary one bead at a time is too slow. Maybe you could roll a die with each action. The player might choose to have their character make a test of faith. If the character doesn't test their faith, their position on the rosary remains the same. If they do test their faith, a d6 is rolled. For every bead they progress around the chain, they suffer a cumulative -1 to their roll...but if they pass a change of decade, they get to add +10 to their roll. This way, on average, every third test of faith will come with a benefit.
  3. Islamic prayer beads come in chains of 99 beads, or 33 beads that must be cycled 3 times. This represents the 99 true names of Allah. In each of these cases, the methods of progressing through the beads described above could be used, but instead of providing each skill attempt with a bonus or penalty, each bead would flavour the results of the task at hand by the name of Allah according to the character's current place on the chain...If Allah is known as "The Wise" during this action then the character might learn something useful...if Allah is known as "The Avenger" then the character might smite their enemy through the task at hand.
  4. Perhaps the beads could be used as a counting method for "spiritual hit points". A character might move both ways around the chain, improving their position through acts of faith, or falling through acts of hubris and sin. Each time a decade is passed, a new penalty might be achieved or overcome.
  5. Conversely, the beads could signify spiritual enlightenment. Where a character ascends around the chain, gaining a new power each time they pass one of the decade changes.
  6. In faiths where the prayer beads represent reminders for specific prayers or number of times a prayer must be incanted, the game significance might be a bit different. Perhaps the beads could form an analogy for the combat wheel in a game such as Exalted. Actions take a certain number of beads to occur. Quick actions count as 1 bead actions, typical actions might take 2 or 3 beads, while drawn-out effects might take 10 or more beads. Characters progress around the chain based on their actions and time cycles around it as well. This works well in faiths professing the belief in cycles or reincarnation.
  7. Perhaps the rosary could be used as a randomisation method in itself. Especially if it is marked into decades or smaller increments. The rosary might be tossed into the air and caught by a single bead. The position of the bead around the chain determines a value to be applied to the task at hand...or in the case of Islamic prayer beads it might signify which aspect of Allah is watching over the current situation.
  8. Another common form of symbolism within prayer beads is the completion of a journey. With this in mind it might be possible to make each bead a step that must be overcome on the path to completion. A single success on a roll might move a character (or a group) by a single bead, while multiple successes might move the character(s) further around the ring.
  9. Closely related (from a Greek point of view) are worry beads, and the progression around the chain could represent the amount of stress the character is currently suffering, rather than any kind of religious parallel.
  10. In Catholic Prayer, there are a number of "mysteries" that may be obtained through observance of the prayers associated with the rosary. In this manner, progression around the chain might symbolise improvement and development within a specific field of endeavour, a proxy experience system.
There are probably plenty of other ways that the symbolism and the beads of the rosary could be used in a game where faith is a component. But this time I had enough trouble trying to come up with 10.

02 September, 2010

Killa Burger


Now for a bit of blatant commercialism.

For the last few months we've been eating at a great new fast food place called Killa Burger.

Their website is here.

And their masterpiece burger...


...it's not like going to MacDonald's where you have to put the chips onto the Big Mac yourself. They know that people do this anyway, so they actually serve the burger with chips on it.

...and the Killa size is a burger that comes in a cake box, it's 30cm/1 foot in diameter.

Great gaming food.

01 September, 2010

AFK for a week...but back.

I just spent a fascinating week away from the outside world.

Separating my thought patterns from previous cycles, discovering new thought patterns, illustrating my long standing comic project, reassessing priorities, gathering insights.

One day I might share a bit more about my experiences, once I get the chance to process them properly.