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:

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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!






Who I wish you were

7 05 2008

So I had a breakthrough on my paper-doll Pygmalion game, Created, yesterday at work. Everything in that post still stands, pretty much.

There are five slots for clothing, right: head, arms, feet, chest, legs. That’s also the order of play, because this is a relationship game. A relationship game where you don’t get under-the-sweater action until the fourth date, apparently. (Not that this game is going to progress in dates.)

The clothes for each slot will be available in two primary colors, and one secondary color. The primaries will represent a personality dichotomy. Example:

Head: Beauty (Yellow) vs. Wit (Red)

Arms: Building (Blue) vs. Performing (Red)

Feet: Grounded (Red) vs. In Clouds (Blue)

Chest: Armored (Red) vs. Bared Heart (Yellow)

Legs: Planted (Blue) vs. Wandering (Yellow)

We’re sticking with primary colors because we’ll need some differentiation for the special third piece of clothing for each slot, which is a secondary color made up of the two primaries. This third piece of clothing (purple, orange, or green depending) represents coming to a halfway point. You can’t start with a piece of secondary clothing, and there is only one piece per clothing slot.

Every time you choose a piece of clothing in character generation, you also write a secret desire/imperfection beneath the piece of clothing which is in opposition to the clothing’s trait. Example: Alexis chooses “Feet: On the ground” on her turn. Beneath the clothing, she writes “I wish you’d dream of something more.” During conflict resolution, when the clothes come off, this secret desire for that character will be revealed.

After resolution, two things happen: first, both characters change the article of clothing for that scene, to reflect how the other person has permanently affected their personality. The change can either be to the opposite color or to the secondary color– but there is only one piece of secondary clothing, so someone changes completely and the other person changes partially.

The second thing that happens is that the desire gets replaced with a lesson. Whereas the desire was written in the voice of the second character, the lesson is written in the voice of the character whose sheet it is.

I realize this is complicated and I’m not explaining super well, because my notes are spotty and I’m not caffeinated. Here is an Example!

CHEST

Douglas has chosen Armored (Red), and Jenny has chosen Bared Heart (Yellow).

The secret desire written on Jenny’s character by Douglas says “I wish you were less sensitive.”

The secret desire written on Douglas’ character by Jenny says “I wish you’d tell me about your past.”

There’s conflict, which I’ve not written the rules for yet.

Jenny replaces Bared Heart (Yellow) with Armored (Red).

Jenny replaces her desire with a lesson: “I won’t let anyone in.”

Douglas replaces his Armored (Red) with Compromise (Orange).

Douglas replaces his desire with a lesson: “I am not an island.”

Essentially the game is about how we’re profoundly affected by the people we love, whether we want to be or not, and how– no matter how sure you are that you want something– sometimes you can never be sure what it is you want at all.





No se apoye contra la puerta

20 03 2008

Waiting ’til Wednesday:

 Notes for an M Doughty Roleplaying Board Game

To play this game, you need:

  •  A large map of the United States
  • A shitty-looking matchbox car
  • A deck of playing cards
  • A deck of dream cards (included)

The concept:

You are a singer-songwriter drowning in self-destruction and loneliness. Your name begins with the letter M,
because that’s what people call you. You’re driving from LA to NYC in your shitty car, stopping to play accoustic concerts in dive bars along the way in order to write new material and fund the trip and find yourself. There’s a metamorphic shadow woman who haunts your dreams; you don’t know who she is or where to find her, but she gives you lyrics for sad and poignant songs. It’s Thursday.

The goal: to kick heroin and make it to NYC by Wednesday.

How it works, maybe:

There are three stats: Car, Heroin, and Girl. If Car hits zero, your car is busted. Game over. If Heroin hits zero, you get penalties during your concert performances, but you need to hit zero before you get to NYC. If Girl hits zero, you don’t get any new songs. Lots of car doesn’t do anything in particular; your car is always shitty at best. Maybe you get special car songs that aren’t as good as the songs about shadow women but people like to sing along to them anyway. Lots of girl gives you more songs for your concerts! Lots of heroin gives you concert bonuses.

Every concert you have gives you points, which you can spend on your three traits.

Insert concert rules, possibly stolen and warped from Dev’s awesome game Ancient Committee is an Emo Band here

Insert stuff about the dream cards, which you draw at the beginning of rounds and have snatches of lyrics on them which affect play in certain ways, here





Minigame fun

16 03 2008

So I’m away from my computer (no monitor yet), and therefore away from my draft-in-progress of It’s Complicated. I’m still itching to work on a game though, but I don’t think the game I’m itching to work on is that one, since I’ve got some serious writer’s block there.

I’m toying with the idea of writing a minigame based on the music of Mike Doughty– lots of travelling the country in shitty cars, chasing metamorphic shadow women, trying to kick heroin and make something beautiful. We’ll see.





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.