Why No One Will Game with You
Presented by GeekNights at PAX East 2014 on Friday at 1:00pm in the Badger Theatre.
In gaming forums around the world, variations of the same thread forever grace the front page: "Looking for a Gaming Group." Games are ubiquitous, barriers to entry are ever-lower, and the Internet (never mind conventions like PAX) provide what should be a sea of gamers ready and willing to play games with us. So why all the trouble? Why, in 2013, is it still so hard to form a gaming group? Why won't anyone play Air Hockey with me?
In exploring the "LFG" space, there are a myriad of issues which come to light. Skill gaps leave players stranded. Matchmaking systems hurt as much as they help. The longer tail of games available spreads niche audiences further into increasingly specific sub-sub-sub-genres. Play styles differ. (Indeed, in some groups it is impolite to spend more than ten seconds on one's turn, while in others spending less than ten MINUTES is the height of rudeness)!
Let's explore why it's so hard (or why it SEEMS to hard) to find people to play games!
GeekNights Presents: Utena
In this episode of Shoujo Kakumei Utena, we learn about the awful things Nanami has done in the past to preserve in her heart the love and sole attention of her brother Touga. What was Nanami fighting for truly? She certainly wasn't apologizing to Touga for trying to murder Utena after losing her duel.
We learn in this episode mostly of Touga's true intentions. He's been playing everyone all along, and his plan has finally come together. This was the last step before his expected duel with Utena. But, why are both Anthy and End of the World helping him?
PAX Australia 2013
Beyond Dungeons & Dragons
D&D is a great way to get into tabletop role playing games, and for most of us, it was our first foray into that world. As classic and dear to us as it is, however, it has certain limitations. If all you have is a hammer, then suddenly everything starts to look like a nail. Role playing systems are no different. The system that handles a raucous dungeon crawl is probably not well tuned for a cyberpunk procedural or modern romantic comedy.
GeekNights has flown here all the way from New York, and we'd love for you to join us for a discussion of the role mechanics play in role playing games. They have more of an effect than you might realize. If D&D was your first venture, then we're here to give you your next. Broaden your gaming horizons, flex your role-playing muscles, and learn what lies beyond Dungeons & Dragons.
This was performed at the first PAX Australia in 2013. Friday in the Wombat Theatre.
Luke Crane's Burning Wheel is the game that got us into tabletop roleplaying games that weren't for all intents and purposes Dungeons & Dragons. It exemplifies role playing games as idiogames. It is a system of conflict resolution that facilitates collaborative storytelling. It makes drama happen whether you want it to or not. Burning Wheel isn't for every gamer, nor for every game. But, if you want to play out a gritty, dramatic, medieval story, there are few games that serve the purpose so well.
Jared Sorensen's Action Castle is a modern take on old computer adventure games like Zork. Distributed turns, many players controlling one character, multiple endings: one would be hard pressed to say that this is not, in some sense, a "role playing game." It is an idiogame in a classic sense.
There are now many more games in the Parsely Games series. Action Castle was just the beginning.
Lady Blackbird is on the run from an arranged marriage to Count Carlowe. She hired a smuggler skyship, The Owl, to take her from her palace on the Imperial world of Ilysium to the far reaches of the Remnants, so she could be with her once secret lover: the pirate king Uriah Flint.
HOWEVER, just before reaching the halfway point of Haven, The Owl was pursued and captured by the Imperial cruiser Hand of Sorrow, under charges of flying a false flag.
EVEN NOW, Lady Blackbird, her bodyguard, and the crew of The Owl are detained in the brig, while the Imperial commander runs the smuggler ship's registry over the wireless. It's only a matter of time before they discover the outstanding warrants and learn that The Owl is owned by none other than the infamous outcast, Cyrus Vance.
How will Lady Blackbird and the others escape the Hand of Sorrow?
What dangers lie in their path?
Will they be able to find the secret lair of the pirate king? if they do, will Uriah Flint accept Lady Blackbird as his bride? By the time they get there, will she want him to?
This is a game where backstory is written in play. it starts (and often ends) in media res. Star Wars Firefly, with a touch of steampunk.