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'Map of ancient Seoul' by sociate on Flickr

50 Games in 50 Weeks: Microscope

One fun thing about the role-playing hobby is its kaleidoscope of worlds. I get to leap into so many interesting, thought-provoking worlds. Players often move into world building at some point. And, of course, world building is hard. There are so many variables. Microscope is a structured game of cooperative world-building. It’s a game you play with friends, but instead of exploring worlds or telling specific stories, you’re […]

Better Off?

Yesterday, I finished reading Better Off by Eric Brende. It left me breathless and thoughtful, pacing the length of my hotel room. It’s a book about living without electricity, and the destructive cycles of modern technological dependence. These books worry me in many ways. Usually, I just dislike their mindless tone, as though anything the author can’t personally comprehend is automatically suspect. Fortunately, Brende is honest about his prejudices and thoughtful […]

One of Hokusai's "36 Views of Mount Fuji"

Exploration of Houston, A Museum, and Japanese Art

As I travel for work, I’ve found it’s easy to spend a week in a place and barely leave my hotel room. After 8 hours of standing in front of a class, actively teaching them, I don’t have much energy to explore. So, I spend half an hour Sunday evening planning a small excursion for some evening that week. Houston was a challenge. I stayed in the business district, where everything closes at 5:00 to 6:00pm. But after some digging, […]

'040 Witchcraft and Sorcery' by cthulhuwho1 on Flickr

50 Games in 50 Weeks: 1974 Dungeons & Dragons

While at PAX East this year, I was determined to play a game of original 1974 Dungeons & Dragons, primarily to be able to say that I’d played it. Fortunately, I was at PAX East with the Gamer Assembly, and they were interested in the idea, too. We played the Temple of the Ghoul scenario, my go-to adventure for old-school gaming. It has a skittish village population, an abandoned temple on a hillside, stirges, powerful supplies if the heroes are […]

Red Ax, page 1 detail

Red Ax: Who Are Your Characters?

This is part of an article series I’m writing about my upcoming comic book, Red Ax. Writing has always been an act of discovery for me. I devise a scenario, populate it with characters, and add layers of plot and complication. The characters begin as cocktail party acquaintances. I can slot them into big buckets: the strong and silent type, the quiet and broken type, the brash and greedy type. As I write, they become friends. I learn why […]

50 Games in 50 Weeks: Take 6

Take 6 is a card game that relies on two left-brained skills, math and probability, which usually cause my brain to leap out of my skull and run away screaming. The game involves taking a hand of cards, each of which has a number on it from 1 to 104. Each player then lays out a card, in turn, building six columns. When building a column, a higher-value card must go on top of a lower-value one. Once […]

50 Games in 50 Weeks: Pathfinder Arena

I have a difficult time reviewing this without getting snarky. So I’m going to get a bit snarky. While I was at PAX East 2012, a friend and I walked by a table the size of a Mini Cooper. It was ringed with miniature walls and its surface sprayed with a sandy finish, so it looked like a miniature gladiatorial arena. Beautiful work. We approached the two men who stood nearby and asked them […]

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