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Freemarket © 2009 Luke Crane and Jared Sorensen

50 Games in 50 Weeks: Freemarket

As part of RyvenCon, the online gaming con, I played a quick game of Freemarket. Freemarket’s a fascinating system and world, which I honestly had trouble wrapping my brain around. That’s not a complaint or a suggestion that either system or world are deficient; they’re just sufficiently unusual for me to feel lost on mechanics and their consequences. Freemarket is set on a space station, in a post-capital society of plenty. Everyone has enough food and clothing. Matter printers […]

50 Games in 50 Weeks: #1, Hive

50 Games in 50 Weeks: #1, Hive

Years ago, I designed a territory-building game, one in which players lay down territory cards, then spawn monsters on them in an attempt to capture another players’ castle. Never went anywhere; turns out that game design is hard. But as I sat down with a co-worker to play Hive over lunch last week, memories of my territory-building game floated to my mind. This had a similar concept, beautifully realized as a chess-like pure strategy […]

50 Games in 50 Weeks: Introduction

I want to be a better game player, a better GM, and a better game designer. I’m poor at playing. I just don’t get deeply into my characters, and I don’t remember the system well. I’m a pretty effective GM, I think, but my narrations are often bland and I hesitate often. I don’t prove a smooth play experience. I need exposure to a lot more games to have a sufficiently large toolbox of mechanics to use when designing games. One […]

An All-Digital RPG: The Flip Side

I wrote a little while ago about a model for an RPG handled entirely via apps and software, in which all the mechanics are run by computers and the humans just see the results. This is conceptually elegant; let computers handle the number-crunching they’re good at. But there are problems. For one, the system has to have apps for many different devices. In the current market, that’s a lot of work. This means, at minimum, an iPhone app, […]

An All-Digital RPG System

Imagine an RPG system that’s handled completely with digital tools. Not only is your character sheet displayed on a screen, the mechanics are handled there, too. Imagine this: a group sits around a table, each participant holding a smartphone, PDA, or tablet. The GM touches “Moderate difficulty” on his tablet and asks Maria for a Perception test. She touches her Perception stat; it immediately rolls and flashes the result, “19,” […]

A Personal Plea From Me To You

I’ve been reading personal improvement books lately. They’ve inspired me to pass along a recommendation that I hope you–yes, you, reader–will take to heart, think about, and implement. Stop watching TV. Completely. Give your TV(s) away, if you can. “But there’s good stuff on TV,” some proclaim. Yes, there is. There’s also good stuff in books and in movies. The problem is not the content; it’s […]

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