Indie RPG Spotlight - Freemarket

In a post-scarcity transhuman future Utopia, there is only one question worth asking.

What do you do today?

Freemarket is a role playing game that explores this question and the kind of world that would ask it in the first place. Conflict is mediated by cards in an elegant system that enforces an ebb and flow of success and failure. Created by Luke Crane and Jared Sorensen.

Bad Games - PAX Prime 2013

Bad Games
PAX Prime 2013

We’ve all played “bad” games, but what truly makes a game “bad?” Is gaming beauty not in the eye of the beholder? Is one’s miserable experience not simply subjective opinion? Is there such a thing as an objectively “bad” game? More importantly, however we define the term, do bad games serve a purpose? Much as how without evil, there can be no good, without the worst of gaming, how could we possibly recognize the best?

It turns out that the problem is not in defining what makes a game “bad,” but in what makes a game a “game.” Some games are great at certain things, but terrible at others. Candyland teaches children colors and counting, but is a terrible candidate for a serious tournament. Dungeons & Dragons is great for that heroic fantasy adventure, but not so much for your future cyberpunk transhumanist court drama. Silver Surfer serves as a lesson (and a warning) to future game designers the world over.

Join us for a lively discussion of the worst of gaming, what that truly means, and what we can learn from “bad” games. You may find that some of the worst games ever made can be some of the most fun you’ve ever had.

Definitions of Game - Orthogame and Idiogame

Excerpted from Beyond Dungeons & Dragons at PAX AUS 2013, we take on the definition of the word "game." Following on from Garfield's "orthogame," we propose "idiogame" for another class of what all fall under the umbrella of "game." If an orthogame is " a competition between two or more players using an agreed-upon set of rules and a method of ranking," then an idiogame is roughly "a series of interesting decisions that produce a personal outcome."

We Chose Optus (Poorly)

In the preshow for Beyond Dungeons & Dragons at PAX Aus, the audience was quick to inform us that our decision to go with Optus for our data plans was... poor.

Threats in Games

Threats in Games

What is a threat in the context of a game? Can they affect the outcome? A snippet from our larger Practical Game Theory at PAX East 2013, we briefly explore some aspects of threatmaking in games, and what it truly means to make a "credible" threat.

Judge Anime By Its Cover

Judge Anime by its Cover
Anime Boston 2013

You wouldn't judge a book by its cover, but anime is a whole different ball game. What if we reviewed anime SOLELY by their covers? Would these reviews be accurate? If so, why? Anime, moreso than other works in other media, seem "truer" to their marketing material, and it is our hypothesis that one truly can "review" anime to a great degree soley by their covers.

Mastering Game Mechanics

Mastering Game Mechanics

Presented at PAX East 2013 on Saturday in the Tabletop Theatre, our 21st PAX panel/lecture, in "Mastering Game Mechanics" we take you through a variety of "game mechanics" and consider their use and purpose.

Despite the staggeringly vast variety of games out there in the world, they draw primarily from a core set of basic mechanics. Many games which at first seem very different share fundamental design patterns, subgames, and strategies. What is a “draft,” and more importantly, what is its true function? Where to rondels come into play? What is the purpose of an arbitrary decision? What does “skill based movement” mean for a game? Are all auctions created equally?

Whether you are a player, maker, or even simply observer of games, understanding these core components will provide a surprising degree of insight into their nature. Join us in our 21st PAX panel to explore the nature, lexicon, design, and strategy of game mechanics, drawing from videogames, board games, even role playing games and sports.

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