GenCon 2016: Day Three

I did the game thing! In fact it’s been most of my day. Started off with Games on Demand for a 2 hour game of Leverage (probably my only chance to play it since most my friends don’t like it), and concluded by running a Firefly Fate Core game for friends (using my hack!). In between, I listened in to a rules explanation for RuneWars, played a short demo of Star Wars Rebellion (which I know isn’t new, but it was to me), and following the recommendation of another great Shut Up and Sit Down live podcast, went hunting for Captain Sonar. Even after a short try, I can understand why SU&SD declared it their most exciting game of the con, and I’m devastated it’s now sold out at the booth. Definitely one to pick up when I get home though. Continue reading

GenCon 2016: Day Two

Halfway through the con and I’ve still not played any roleplaying games! No games of any kind in fact, except for yesterday’s Dresden Files co-op card game demonstration. This is something I’ll definitely be fixing tomorrow, and to be fair social considerations have taken up a big chunk of my Friday – including reuniting with an old friend that I’m delighted to see again after such a long time of separation. Continue reading

How to Run a Bad Leverage Game

Back in my university days when I pretended I was going to be a screenwriter, I read some useful advice about getting your work reviewed and edited by someone else: when someone suggests that a part of your writing has a problem, they are usually right. When someone suggests a fix to that problem, they are usually wrong.

The other day I ran a one-off game of the Leverage RPG. It was… well, it wasn’t exactly terrible, but it was weirdly uneven, and my players were far from satisfied. We discussed the game afterwards, and the prevailing view of the players was that the game system had problems which had accounted for our mediocre experience, in spite of our determined efforts to have fun.

But I don’t think I agree that Leverage is a bad game. Continue reading

Ennies Update

Gotten a bit lax at blog updates recently – it’s been a busy summer – but now that the Ennies nominations have landed, it seems like a good time to glance at my predictions, mark my homework, and give a bit of an update on some of the weirdness I talked about last time. Continue reading

Not-So-Crystal Ball: Ennies Predictions and Weirdness

Following last year, when I reviewed the announced Ennies nominees to predict winners and generally snark, I thought it would be fun to make things more challenging for me this year and try and predict the nominees for the year’s most prestigious roleplaying awards show. Seemed like a fun/dumb enough idea for a blog post.

Putting this together led to some kind of weird places. Continue reading

“This Goes Right When…”: Philosophy of Aspect Invocation in Fate

Fate is one of my all-time favourite RPG systems, but after a hundred or so games, there are plenty of things I’ve learned to dislike. Perhaps the thing I dislike about GM’ing it the most is how often you’re required to say “No” to players. There are so many calls to be made in Fate – stunt balance, compel penalties, the legitimacy of invoking an aspect – that the book gives a little guidance for, but mostly leaves for each gaming group to work out on their own. And whilst table consensus is usually the best way to make those calls, the players have a conflict of interest, because they always want their characters to be awesome. That pitches the GM into the position of naysayer, if any semblance of balance is to be preserved.

Antagonistic GM’ing isn’t my thing. I’d far rather manage storytelling collaboratively. So rather than shutting down players with a “No” over and over again, I’d far rather teach them how to get me to say “Yes” – to approach the distinct elements of Fate with the same mindset that I do. That way, everyone is on the same page, which makes telling a story together that much easier. Continue reading