How to Win Every Game
PAX Prime 2014
It seems obvious that, when playing a game of skill, one attempts to win. Interestingly, this is often not the case, and even skilled gamers rarely analyze to any real depth the underlying mechanics and strategy of a given game. By deconstructing the games we play, you too can make them far less fun for yourself and beat the everliving hell out of your friends. We'll hit the theory pretty heavily, but also specific examples from games like Stratego, Settlers of Catan, and even Football.
How to Love and Hate Tabletop Games
PAX Prime 2014
How do I get into tabletop gaming? How do I talk about board games I like? How about the ones I hate? How do I find more I want to play? How do I avoid those that would waste my time? How do I preserve my hard earned dollars? Join this expert panel as they get into the details you need and want to know about board games – from how to talk like a board game enthusiast to criticize them and find a critic you like.
Senior Tabletop Editor
Luke Crane - Games Specialist - Kickstarter
Donna Prior - Professional Game Evangelist - Green Ronin
Christopher Badell - Design Director - Greater Than Games
Rym - Producer - GeekNights
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.