Showing posts from 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 ga

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 pr

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 int


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

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 norm

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 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 th

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


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 all those other projects I'm working on.

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 G

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

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 fo

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 th

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 assu

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...'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.

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.