Archive for the ‘Game Design’ Category

This just in from This Just In From Gen Con, Sat 5 PM

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

As Day 3 of the “Best Four Days in Gaming” winds down, we’ve got your show notes for the Saturday 5 pm TJI show. Guests Adam Jury and E Foley (aka @geeksdreamgirl) join hosts Ryan and Kevin for the Saturday evening show.

  • @geeksdreamgirl ran multiple dating events at the show, while Adam and Eclipse Phase managed to snatch away a few silver and the gold for Best Writing at the Paizo Awards ENnies last night. (See the winner list here.)
  • The costume parade forces Ryan to make a hard choice. Everything from stormtroopers in kilts to walking tetris blocks was represented.
  • In case you forgot, Eclipse Phase is under the Creative Commons license. Rules remix, people!
  • More about geek dating events, including speed dating at Gen Con Indy. On the other hand, some guys just need to be slapped silly for honking what isn’t theirs.
  • The fit4gencon movement.
  • A little social pressure is applied to… um, us at Don’t worry, Ryan, we’re working on the podcast. Expect the OgreCave Audio Report 2.0 soon!
  • Hosts and guests all want an adult-sized LEGO bounce house.
  • DC Adventures: “freakin’ gorgeous”.
  • Praise for Twitter, and the gaming community therein.
  • Stupid Ranger and the Roleplaying Therapy for the Severely Disturbed event.
  • Ryan manages the most spectacular segue ever – with urine.
  • A parting shout-out to Campaign Coins.

One show left, midday Sunday – pardon me, “Day 4”. Check back tomorrow!

This just in from This Just In From Gen Con, Friday 5 PM 2010

Friday, August 6th, 2010

Catching up after the one-two punch of delayed-then-released shows – here’s show notes for the Friday 5 pm show. Guests Steve Kenson and Ken Hite sit in on the Friday evening show.

The crew ends the show thinking forward to the evening’s ENnie Awards ceremony, which has happened by now – click here to see the 2010 winners list.

This just in from This Just In From Gen Con, Friday 11 AM 2010

Friday, August 6th, 2010

It seems the technical difficulties have been resolved, and shows are flowing again, so now we have show notes for the Friday 11 am show. Guests Darren Watts and Jennifer Brozek lend a hand for the Friday morning show.

  • Ryan swears! Crap!
  • Fat Patrol and Felicia Day. No relation whatsoever.
  • Jennifer, Ed Greenwood, and others read a really bad book… out loud.
  • Ryan ran some Mythender. Darren recounts the tale of when Luchadore masks got him thrown out of a bar a few Gen Cons ago.
  • The Authors’ Alley has yet to provide @jenniferbrozek with a Twitter contest winner.
  • Darren’s splitting his time between Hero Games, the GPA, and IPR.
  • Geeky Pinups, and the Weregeek webcomic.
  • Ryan predicts the Dresden Files RPG will sell out at the show.
  • DC Adventures: Hero’s Handbook. Awesome layout guys are mentioned: Hal Mangold, Fred Hicks, and Adam Jury.
  • Wizards is doling out Dark Sun at the rate of 100 books/day.
  • Free Market again.
  • The Evil Hat PDF Guarantee: people like it.
  • Grants Pass didn’t make the show, which happened to Gameplaywright’s The Bones at Origins.

I’ll have the next batch of notes up in a bit.

2010 Diana Jones Award shortlist announced

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

It’s that time of year again: Gen Con draws ever closer, heralding the announcement of the Diana Jones Award and its shortlist for 2010. Each year, this independent award is bestowed on prime examples of “excellence in gaming” by the Diana Jones Committee (made up of past winners and other luminaries). The nominees are an interesting group, and are described thusly:

  • BoardGameGeek, a website edited by Scott Alden and Derk Solko
  • Chaos in the Old World, a boardgame by Eric Lang, published by Fantasy Flight Games
  • Kagematsu, a role-playing game by Danielle Lewon, published by Cream Alien Games
  • Montsegur 1244, a role-playing game by Frederik Jensen, published by Thoughtful Games

Follow this link for more details on what brought these four nominees to the committee’s attention. As always, the winner of the 2010 Diana Jones Award will be announced on the evening before Gen Con Indy gets started at the Diana Jones Award and Freelancer Party in downtown Indianapolis.

[Update: The votes are in, and the winner has been announced!]

Betrayal at House on the Hill 2e coming October 5th

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

Betrayal at House on the Hill 2eMike tweeted about this earlier, but it deserves a main page mention: Betrayal at House on the Hill: Second Edition is on final approach for release October 5th. Co-designer Bruce Glassco announced the new edition back in November 2009, and has recently hinted at new features of the updated game. The new game will feature eight new Haunts, a new “hidden traitor” mechanic, five new items, redesigned die-cut tokens, and new artwork. In all, great news for fans of the original edition (which we reviewed here), especially those who waited too long to pick up a copy.

OgreCave GNU: Matt Leacock (Forbidden Island)

Monday, June 14th, 2010

We’ve all marveled at the elegant way certain games work, and the cooperative masterpiece Pandemic has impressed more than its fair share of gamers. In our latest Gaming News Update interview, I caught up with Matt Leacock, the man behind Pandemic, as he celebrated his new cooperative game, Forbidden Island. The new release was all the rage at last month’s KublaCon, and gamers came out to Dr Comics & Mr Games in Piedmont, CA to play GameWright‘s foray into cooperative games with the man himself. Have a listen for Matt’s thoughts on game design, giving “life” to games that defeat players, being nominated for this year’s Spiel des Jahres award (for Roll Through the Ages), and more.

Origins Awards 2010 nominees announced

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

As per the usual pattern, as the GAMA Trade Show ends, this year’s contenders for Origins Awards get sorted out and announced. As per the selections made by the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design, the nominees for 2010 are listed below. In Card Games, The Stars are Right is up against Thunderstone and Martian Fluxx for the award; in Board Games, Castle Panic is fighting to beat Small World and the Space Hulk rerelease; and the Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space RPG is hoping to snatch the RPG award away before Eclipse Phase or A Song of Ice And Fire can grab it. But we won’t know the results until the Origins Game Fair this summer, where the attendees will vote to decide the winners. (By the way, more than a few of the nominees were part of our OgreCave Christmas Gift Guide 2009. I’m just saying.)


Windhammer Gamebook Competition Entering Third Year

Friday, March 5th, 2010

In case you missed out on the first two years, the third annual Windhammer Prize is posting its rules and schedule early to allow plenty of time for writing and judging original gamebooks. While this hasn’t quite reached the scale of the computer-based Interactive Fiction Competition, it’s a similar opportunity to be creative in a medium with a lot of potential, and I hope it keeps growing. Do your part and check it out! Oh, and did I mention the cash prize?

This Just In from Sunday morning at Gen Con 2009!

Sunday, August 16th, 2009

It’s Sunday, and Gen Con 2009 is in its final stretch. This Just In… From GenCon! has posted its Sunday 11am show, with co-host Derek Rex from Pulp Gamer, and guests John Wick and Robin Laws. Until host Ryan Macklin gets back home, OgreCave will be providing the show notes, so here’s the latest write-up:

  • Derek’s been meeting army buddies, attending Phil & Calye Lacefield’s wedding, attending the RPG Podcaster meet-and-greet, and more, all at Gen Con.
  • The White Wolf party
  • Robin has been at the Pelgrane Press booth, pushing the Gumshoe system, and getting ideas “into the bloodstream of gaming.”
  • John Wick’s Shotgun Diaries (see the cool little YouTube preview) and Houses of the Blooded have blown out of the show.
  • Epidiah Ravachol’s Time & Temp
  • Joe MacDonald’s Ribbon Drive and it’s mix CD.
  • Jeremy Keller’s Chronica Feudalis
  • Paul Tevis’ Penny For My Thoughts
  • Serial Homicide Unit
  • Mist-Robed Gate
  • John was impressed with the Pathfinder RPG, and it has inspired him.
  • Thoughts on what has and hasn’t been impacted by the economic downturn.
  • A plug for Action Castle.

Check back after the 3 pm Sunday show for more notes, or just hang out at OgreCave for a while, ‘cuz we like you and appreciate your business.

2009 Origins Award winners

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

We’ve known the nominees for a while now, and resisted judging too harshly for having a t-shirt in the “Game Accessory” category. This year’s winners were awarded in a ceremony overseen by James Ernest last night at Origins. A notable winner was the Mouseguard RPG for Best RPG, despite being up against the Dungeons & Dragons Fourth Edition Player’s Handbook and Trail of Cthulhu. (I could say it “eeked” out a win, but then I’d feel ashamed.) Serenity Adventures won for Best RPG Supplement, and Magic: The Gathering – Shards of Alara was named Best CCG Supplement. As many expected, Dominion took the title as Best Card Game, while Pandemic got he nod as Best Board Game. Click below for the full list of nominees and winners.

The story of raising Hellas

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

Avid roleplaying gamers, prospective game publishers, and anyone even mildly interested in how the wacky tabletop game industry functions should take note of a new column launching today over at RPGnet. Michael Fiegel, creator of the Ninja Burger phenomenon and co-author of Hellas, has begun HELLAS: From Alpha to Omega, a four-episode column detailing the trials and tribulations of publishing the impressive 300-in-space RPG. Fiegel starts his tale in Theogonia, wherein the disastrous Games Expo helps cement a new project. RPGnet will reveal new episodes of the Greek sci-fi game’s story over the next three months. Whether you like the concept of Hellas or not, you owe it to yourself to have a read. (And if you haven’t heard our PAX ’08 Audio Report episode with its Hellas interview, you’d be doing yourself a favor by listening to it now.)

James Wallis getting ARGy with Perplex City creator

Friday, October 5th, 2007

Now and again, and it seems like lately it’s a little more often, I stumble across some neat little bit of info, and it may have been known to others already or by some much more obvious means, but it still makes me go “holy crap” and get all bouncy with anticipation of what could result. Take yesterday: I was reading James Wallis’ blog (Mr. Wallis, former Hogshead guy and doughty game designer, will not be unfamiliar to longtime Cave readers), specifically a post about a neat thing I’d seen a few days prior but hadn’t gotten off my ass to post for some reason, and… hey. Wait a minute. “My colleague, Adrian Hon”??? At a firm called Six to Start, that comes right out with “we make alternate reality games”? Well, damn if that’s not a glimmer of hope for a genre I was starting to lose faith in. Very interesting news for Wallis’ career as well.

So I’m all into that, but I shouldn’t keep burying the equally-interesting news that Hon and Wallis are trumpeting to begin with: Let’s Change The Game, a design contest to create a fundraising ARG for Cancer Research UK. Stories are the best motivating force on the planet as far as I’m concerned, and they seem particularly potent when juiced up with the particular energy of alternate-reality gaming – this is a smart and heartening project.

I’m in ur Magic, walkin ur planez: crazy new upcoming card type merits a look

Thursday, September 13th, 2007

If you’re like me and have a spot of Magic: the Gathering in your past, but have more or less lost interest in all the little furniture-rearrangements and wacky new kitchen appliances they’ve added to that house over the years… well, it looks like as of the next big block of cards, they’ve added a whole new room. The Planeswalker cards have an entirely new currency (Loyalty points), don’t interact with all the other cards in conventional ways, and (like a lot of other recent new stuff in MtG) seem crazy-powerful. It really feels like they’ve added a chunk of new game, rather than sub-games. And the above-linked article is surprisingly readable if you have only primary-school-level Magic knowledge (again, like me). Will this become a thriving part of the game, or is it the new phasing? Discuss.

Battle Of The Board Game Design Stars!

Monday, January 9th, 2006

Because “discussion” is not as cool. Discussion is never as cool. Come on, people, I shouldn’t have to tell you that. The industry gathering Protospiel brings us an engaging virtual panel discussion of game design with industry luminaries James Ernest, Reiner Knizia, Tom Jolly, Bruno Faidutti, Alan Moon and more.

ARG: another acronym to embrace before it destroys you

Thursday, September 30th, 2004

Many of you likely know all about I Love Bees, the mysterious site the URL for which was flashed briefly at the end of an online trailer for Microsoft’s upcoming first-person shooter Halo 2. You may also remember the promotional online puzzle games that tied in with Steven Spielberg’s A.I., which games came to be known collectively as “The Beast” and whose community of players called themselves the Cloudmakers. Rich with game-world detail, convincing characters and sometimes-fiendish puzzles, these alternate reality games, or ARGs, are… well… basically just LARPs. I Love Bees recently took another step closer to LARPhood when it not only challenged players to find and answer pay phones being called by an in-game AI, but anointed the answerers of certain calls with membership in the “crew” of the AI’s lost spaceship.

One player is not happy. Eric Burns laments that the collaboration with strangers in real time that made his experience in the Cloudmakers so compelling will be weakened and eventually destroyed by this singling out of a few lucky players. But collective-detection to unlock a story is basically How to Host a Murder – you can keep fiddling with the puzzles and the means of revelation, but you can’t disguise the fact that, after all the fire and motion, you are still just waiting for the next piece of story to consume. A story is not a game. ARGs are now making the leap from that model to the model of Mind’s Eye Theater – by adding actual gameplay. So far, it’s just the game of Prisoner’s Dilemma; do you, the individual, stick with the group, or do you defect? Other games are possible in ARGs, and we will no doubt see more than a few of those possibilities soon. The question is whether going from the How to Host a Murder model to the model of today’s LARPs will come with the same loss of accessibility – and popularity.