Back from GenCon!

22 08 2008

Hey! Shreyas and I are back from GenCon, and wow, it was a truly amazing experience. I’m so glad I got to put faces to names, and meet all kinds of new and amazing people– plus spend a little extra quality time with already-close friends. The whole experience of working a booth and selling my game was overwhelming and humbling and cool, and I especially owe Vincent and Ben big time for that. The highlight, for me, was probably Ryan Dancey coming over and buying a copy of It’s Complicated, probably with money he got by developing D&D 3 or inventing the OGL or doing something else equally amazing.

Meeting the people, though, man. I made so many friends that I am now bummed I don’t get to see every day. Our “little” community is huge and diverse and wonderful, and there’s not a single person I met that didn’t make my day a little brighter. I’m so glad to be in it with all of you.

That said! Two Scooters Press did amazingly well. I came home with a single copy of It’s Complicated to my name, and Shreyas came pretty close to selling out of Mist-Robed Gate, as well. Now, if you’re interested in some wuxia fun, you can go bug Shreyas for a copy over at summerbird— but if you want a copy of It’s Complicated, you’re in luck. I should be ordering a second print run next week, and you can order your copy for $16 (with $5 shipping) here.

Other things!

Two Scooters Press should be launching our website soon, along with a forum on The Forge. Also, we’re so jazzed and energized from the con that we’ve got a bunch of projects which are swiftly gaining steam..





DexCon fun

16 07 2008

Shreyas and I are headed to DexCon tonight! We will be running:

  • It’s Complicated on Thursday, 7-16, from 2-6 PM (R171)
  • Mist-Robed Gate on Thursday, 7-16, from 8 PM-12 AM (R182)
  • It’s Complicated on Saturday, 7-19, from 9 AM-1 PM (R249)

We have to HURRY back to Western Mass after that last round of IC, so if you want hangout time, find us before then. Also, we’ll have a bunch of the sweet promotional bookmarks for Mist-Robed Gate to give away. If you’re not going to be at DexCon, one comes with every copy of It’s Complicated, and with every preorder of Mist-Robed Gate.

The bookmark doesn’t look exactly like this, it’s prettier. But it’s close:





JiffyCon and other awesomeness

23 06 2008

JiffyCon Greenfield was this weekend! It was so great. Things got kicked off here at the farm on friday night, when our house was invaded by a ton of cool people. We ate nachos and drank iced tea and watched our favorite movie fight scenes, and a good time was had by all.

The Saturday sessions were great– I played Brennan Taylor’s awesome game called “How We Came to Live Here.” It’s set in a flavor I’ve never really had the taste for, but the structure of the game made it such that I’d love to play it again, and I was actually really drawn in by the color. (Although that night at Meg’s, I talked to him briefly about how great it would be to play a game of it with some Celtic color, because it’d work really well. Shreyas threw up a little in his mouth at the suggestion, but whatever.) I ended up winning a copy of Caper! for the JiffyCon superlatives contest– “Best character name: She Births The Dead.” (My character was known for having stillborn children.)

In the afternoon, Meg, Don Corcoran, and Nathan all joined Shreyas and I for a game of It’s Complicated. Nathan said it best: “Worst. Moon Festival. Ever.” It was a ridiculous game about virgins and unicorns that was a cross between Shakespearean comedy and porn. It went really well though, and I learned that although you might only be able to get through a round of play a session online, you can get through an entire gameboard in 2-3 hours in person. I really enjoyed it, and everyone has expressed a desire to play it again sometime, which makes me really happy.

On Sunday, we playstormed my new game Homecoming: One Soldier’s Story. The premise is something I came up with when Shreyas and I were driving to visit my family in Ohio, since my nephew just got back from a year and a half of bouncing between Iraq and Afghanistan. Meg, Emily, and Nathan were my playstormers, and holy crap, those Imagination Sweatshop people know what they’re doing. I’ve got more than enough material for a first draft, and thanks to Nathan, a super-hot conflict resolution/resource management system I’m really excited about.

It was so great seeing every single one of my favorite people! I wish every day were JiffyCon.

Oh right! I said “Other Awesomeness.” It looks as though I’m going to be doing some photography for one of the versions of Nathan’s amazing game Annalise, which is way exciting! I’m also doing the art and cover for Emily Care Boss’ highly-anticipated, much-beloved Under My Skin. Yay for projects!





Belatedly Jiffy

13 03 2008

So last weekend, Shreyas and I headed to Boston for some great gaming and great friend-time at JiffyCon. It was a fantastic time, and I got to see a lot of my favorite people and play two of my now favorite games!

Annalise, by Nathan Paoletta: I hate horror games for two reasons– I’m easily scared, and horror games either are scary or stupid. I don’t like cheesy suspense or ridiculous tropes, and I don’t want to be up all night freaking out or have nightmares. I’d heard excellent things about Annalise, including stuff about the “secret” mechanic which I thought might be a great jumping-off point for an issue we’ve been having over at Two Scooters with Thousand-Leaved Grass, so I decided I’d risk being scared silly or bored sleepy and sign up for the playtest. The system sounded cool, and I figured even if the game wasn’t my thing, I’d get to see something interesting in action.

The game was an obscene amount of fun. Obscene.

Annalise isn’t just a vampire game; it’s hard to describe what it is. It’s a puzzle, it’s dark and lovely but not sad or spooky: it’s suspenseful without nailbiting, introspective and badass at the same time. There’s a surprising amount of revelatory moments for a GMless game; you never know what’s going to happen, or how things will turn out. It was one of the finest play experiences I’ve had in a long time, and I want to play again soon, and badly.

Mist-Robed Gate, by Shreyas Sampat: You might claim that I am biased when it comes to this game, since its origins are rooted in me tugging on Shreyas’ sleeve and saying “Could you write me an Exalted game without all the suck and superpowers? You know, something sad and wuxia based, all tears and kung fu?” And you’d be right. But as anyone who was at JiffyCon (or anywhere in Central Square, I think) can attest due to the insanely loud, boisterous playtest, any bias I have is totally irrelevant in the face of the awesomeness that is this game.

What is there to say? There’s a knife-passing ritual with an actual knife that is one of the most viscerally affecting experiences I’ve had in a roleplaying game. The game generation system creates stories which are complex and nuanced and still familiar somehow. The color is astonishing. The game needs a combat system, but other than that, it was essentially completely finished out-of-the-box, which is a hell of an accomplishment for a first playtest. That was the single best playtest I’ve ever experienced, and one of the best game sessions of my life, period. I want a weekly game of Mist-Robed Gate so badly I can taste it.





Oh, I should have mentioned

1 03 2008

My apologies for falling off the radar for a while. I’ve been gearing up for a big move; this Wednesday I’m picking up and heading to western Massachusetts. I’ve got a place to live and job interviews and all of that good stuff already handled, but getting ready for such a drastic change of scenery has put my game projects on hold. I’ll hopefully get back into the swing of things as soon as my monitor and keyboard arrive at my house (I’m shipping them the day before I move), and I’ll see some of you folks the following weekend at JiffyCon!





JiffyCon awesomeness

18 11 2007

So I got back from five days of awesomeness a few hours ago. Josh and Casey were phenomenal hosts, Shreyas was impossibly delightful (as one might imagine) as an adventuring companion, and JiffyCon was sublime.

The first game I played was Transantiago, which was as good as I thought it would be. I think the playtest pointed out some important things, and also showed that the game is really playable and full of vitality; I can’t wait to see its final incarnation.

Meg Baker saw me standing, hopeless and indecisive, by the signup sheets for the afternoon session, took pity on me, and squeezed me into her full game of 1001 Nights. I gushed at Meg at length about her game, and I believe most of the rest of the indie RPG world (you know, the people who played at least one indie RPG before.. yesterday, unlike myself) already knows that 1001 is fantastic, so I won’t gush too much. But I adore that you choose dice for beauty, that you tell stories within stories, and that the mechanics are so elegant and simple– there’s so much complexity with the individual stories and the meta-story, and playing characters which, in turn, play multiple characters, that it’s great that the dice are so simple. You get all of that dense, nuanced complexity with the plot and not the mechanics; the difference between 1001 Nights and D&D is the difference between baklava and a calculus textbook. Plus, the group was a blast to game with.

I was really excited that I got a chance to meet so many new people, and got to connect with so many online friends. Emily and Kat (I wish I knew her screenname, if any) really kind of encouraged me to dust off the wacky artsy Pygmalion concept I had a while ago, so a lot of ideas for that game started to come together during my layover in Cincinatti tonight. I’ll type those up either tonight or tomorrow. And I am now the proud owner of both Breaking the Ice and Shooting the Moon, not to mention the first three volumes of Scott Pilgrim! So I’m knee-deep in reading material for quite some time.

I feel energized and inspired!





JiffyCon, arcade gaming, etc.

13 11 2007

So, if all goes according to plan, I’ll be catching a flight to Pennsylvania in the wee hours tomorrow morning. Once there, I’ll be hopping in a car with Shreyas and we’ll road trip it up to western Massachusetts, where we’ll be crashing with the completely awesome Josh and Casey! And then, on Saturday: JiffyCon!

I’m excited, because other than a chargen playtest for Shreyas’ game Skyflower, and the playtest for It’s Complicated (which I’m pretty sure doesn’t even count), I’ve never played a single “indie” RPG. My experience is all WW and TSR (yes, I haven’t played D&D since WotC bought them out.. Man I’m old) and WotC and Palladium. I haven’t even read any published indie games— just stuff in The RPG Bakery’s Oven for critique, and to give feedback on stuff my friends are working on. (Speaking of: Fingers on the Firmament and The Mist-Robed Gate are unspeakable hotness. Dancing lost and alone through the stars and emo wuxia where you stab character sheets with knives? HECK yes.)

Anyway, I digress. I’m really looking forward to getting my feet wet and seeing how all of this innovative game design actually works in play. Plus! Josh has expressed interest in getting a playtest of Addict going, which is super exciting to me. I’d like to get a rough PDF laid out today, but I have so much to do to get ready for tomorrow, I’m not sure I’ll have time.

Also: Jason Petrasko and I are working on a completely awesome project together! If it goes well, it’ll make PDF distribution much slicker– it’ll be easier to find games you’d love to play, and easier for designers to get feedback from people playing said games. I’ll probably talk more about this once the barebones site is actually up– so probably after JiffyCon. If you want to know more and you’re there, though, poke me about it and I’ll be happy to go on a happy ramble.