Beyond Candyland - MAGFest 11

Beyond Candyland
MAGFest 11

When most people think of board games, they imagine Monopoly, LIFE, Candyland, Pop-o-Matic Trouble, or perhaps Risk: games primarily of luck. There are, however, board games of skill that you've likely never heard of. Carcassonne and Settlers of Catan may have appeared on the Xbox, but these are just the tip of the iceberg.

Moreso, despite playing a multitude of games, many people never really move beyond Candy Land. Sure, they're playing games that are (in theory) much more complex than Candy Land, but do they truly progress? Move up the ladder and explore the next level of gaming, game design, and play. These aren't the games you played as a child.

PAX Prime 2012 - On the Ethics of Mind Control

PAX Prime 2012: On the Ethics of Mind Control

At PAX Prime 2012, we presented three mini lectures as part of Short Subjects in Gaming on Friday in the Wolfman Theater.

"On the Ethics of Mind Control," the third and final of these, and discusses the possibly uncomfortable questions surrounding the ethical considerations of game design. Is it truly ethical to design a game to be addictive, or is "addictiveness" simply a sign of good design? Do games change us in more ways than we might realize? Is regulation on the horizon, a good idea, or even possible? How are games different from other media (or are they different at all)?

PAX Prime 2012 - A Competitive Test of Skill

PAX Prime 2012: A Competitive Test of Skill

At PAX Prime 2012, we presented three mini lectures as part of Short Subjects in Gaming on Friday in the Wolfman Theater.

"A Competitive Test of Skill," the second of these, is a treatment of one particular class of games: competitive games where "skill" determines the victor. But what is skill? How do we determine what "skill(s)" a game is actually testing? What does fairness mean, and can it be measured? This is a deep examination of versus games from a variety of perspectives.

The Penny Arcade Expo is a place where gamers of all stripes come together, and while the competitive ones do pay at least subconscious attention to the idea, most don't really consider what it means to play, and more importantly, to try to win, games. We've lectured on this at previous PAXes (How to Win at Games)!

For more GeekNights lectures, see our Convention Lecture Youtube Playlist!

Let's Play Money Making Game: PAX East 2012

Games can make their money many ways, but how do these models affect, intentionally or not, the design choices of the game makers themselves? What about the players? Do you play a game differently depending on how you paid for it? Free to play, pay once, subscription, or silly hats, what do these different models mean to games at their core? Only ten rupees; hopefully you won't have to pay the door repair charge.

We presented this first at PAX East 2012.

PAX Prime 2011: Highlights - Spy vs Spy and Sopwith

Rym and Scott of GeekNights (www.frontrowcrew.com) presented "Discover the Forgotten Masters" at PAX Prime 2011. Discussing many largely forgotten games, including Sopwith, Spy vs Spy, Aerobiz, Outlaw, Metal Marines, and more, they consider what can be learned from these lost treasures, both for game players and game designers.

How to Win at Games - Conclusion

GeekNights presented "How to Win at Games" at PAX East 2011. As part of the lecture, they went into great detail as to how to win at "Stratego" and "Settlers of Catan." Unfortunately, as the audio device on stage failed during the lecture, the latter will not be available online.

Here is the conclusion to the panel. Apologies for the audio: it was the best that could be done. Be sure to catch the bulk of the event in this Youtube channel!

PAX East 2011 Triple Threat: The Game Makes the Community (part 1/2)

Rym and Scott of GeekNights presented three mini-panels at PAX East 2011 within "The Triple Threat: Short Subjects in Gaming." These were "MMOs are Anything But," "The Game Makes the Community," and "Dudebro: How to Win at the Internet."

This is the second of these mini panels from the Wyvern Theatre. They argue that the communities around particular games are not independent of their foci, but rather are actually direct extensions of the underlying mechanics therein. Games literally create their own communities, promoting particular behaviors as a direct result of their design.

This is part one of two for this segment of the lecture.

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