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50 Games in 50 Weeks: Paranoia

50 Games in 50 Weeks: Paranoia

RPG players are conditioned to view PC conflict as an absolute bad. So how can I describe the fun of an RPG that assumes players will attempt to kill each other at every session? Paranoia is set in a 1980’s dystopia where Friend Computer directs humanity with a scented iron fist. It’s 1984 crossed with Discworld. The player-characters are all troubleshooters (“tasked to find trouble and shoot it”), given a job […]

What publishers will look like in 20 years

It’s hardest to see the future when the present is shifting so much. However, we can see clearly if we look at fundamentals and clearly understand the nature of change. There are 3 major individuals or groups involved in book publishing: Authors (usually one person, the creator) Publishers (which include a long chain of people, which all process the author’s work) Distributors (who get processed books to readers) Electronic […]

50 Games in 50 Weeks: Space Hulk: Death Angel

50 Games in 50 Weeks: Space Hulk: Death Angel

You are a space marine, a heavily armored and incredibly powerful warrior searching an abandoned ship for deadly, xenophobic aliens. Unfortunately, they will find you. This is represented in a card game. And that’s the yin and yang of Space Hulk: Death Angel. The basic idea–marines assaulted by aliens as they traverse a space ship–captures the imagination, but it’s complex and awkward to represent with cards. The players each control a couple of marines, all of which […]

Please do not buy candy from Munchies Sweets and Treats

Please do not buy candy from Munchies Sweets and Treats

Bottom line up-front: I ordered a bunch of candy from Munchies Sweets and Treats, only received half, and they’ve ignored my requests for the rest of the candy I paid for. This past Halloween, I wanted to buy a bunch of full-size candy bars for the trick-or-treaters. It’s always fun to see their eyes bug out when I offer them a pail full of big candy bars. And I figured I could buy them in bulk. After an hour of Googling, I found […]

Image from 'Mosue Guard,' copyright David Petersen

50 Games in 50 Weeks: Fudged Mouse Guard

My game group played Fudged Mouse Guard a few weeks ago. It takes the excellent Mouse Guard RPG–a game of intelligent mice with medieval-level technology–and converts the system to Fudge (every stat is a score from -4 to +4, and you roll dice that modify your score up or down for a final result, which is compared to a target difficulty). The original Mouse Guard system is a simplified and heavily modified version of the odd Burning Wheel system. The conversion to Fudge […] screenshot

Foursquare is about visiting places; Schemer is about doing things

The peerless Trey Ratcliff was kind enough to offer invites to Schemer, a new Google service, and I was lucky enough to win one. Thanks, +Trey! Jennifer Van Grove emphasized Schemer’s similarities to Foursquare in her VentureBeat article, but I see Schemer as more of a location-sensitive bucket list. Foursquare is about visiting places; Schemer is about doing things. Ignoring the home dashboard, Schemer’s biggest attraction is its “Find […]

50 Games in 50 Weeks: Dungeon World

Dungeon World is another sword-and-sorcery tabletop RPG system aiming to recapture the purity of classic Dungeons & Dragons. The surface looks the same, including the four classes of Cleric, Fighter, Thief, and Wizard. The mechanics and approach, however, are quite different. Player-character attributes mirror D&D, except for the addition of Bond, which is used to indicate how well each character knows each other character. Moreover, at the beginning of each session, two […]

If This, Then That

Just found ifttt (If This, Then That), a site which lets you easily build a two-step workflow such as “When a news item is posted on this site, add it to my news reader” or “When I upload a post to Flickr, post it to Picasa too.” A full decade ago, a CEO was telling me that the future was in “programming for the masses,” that certain elements of programming would get easier and easier for normal people […]

The 6 Most Important Productivity Tips I’ve Ever Received

In truth, I hate “tip culture,” the idea that you can achieve balance, harmony, and rightness in life with a few painless steps in 5 minutes a day. It’s never that easy. Also, I don’t want to tell you what to do. Who am I? So, these aren’t tips as much as they’re pieces of advice that I’ve taken, which have powerfully affected my productivity and efficiency. 1. Keep a list of projects […]

50 Games in 50 Weeks: Fiasco

Man, I loved Fiasco. Fiasco is a tabletop RPG that approaches die rolls from a radically unorthodox angle. The players roll the dice at the beginning of the game, and those rolls tie into various elements of the setting (the book comes with several starter settings). Once those dice are rolled, they’re never rolled again. The first half of the game involves describing and explaining the elements rolled, as well as their relations to each other. […]

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