Monday, November 11, 2019

The Middle Kingdom -- a Metatopia Roundup


We're back from Metatopia. It was freaking awesome. I came, I saw, I tested my game, it actually functioned as a game, and I have a zillion things to re-do, but I feel basically good about it.  I had some wonderful experiences and panels and thoughts about the con itself and the atmosphere which I need to think on some more, but which are broadly good.

Also, I played some amazing stuff, which I will more or less try to describe herein.

First thing, Friday I played a psionic cop game called Psicom, by Jim Dagg, which was awesome both for being pretty much my whole raspberry jam, but because of the other two playtesters, who were these dudes. Seriously, if you can play a game that has action in it with Stras, DO THAT THING. He is a full on Anime hero at the table and it is everything. John is also the nicest dude, though Jim is also the nicest dude, so it was all very happy. Instaback, instabuy.

I didn't do much else on Friday since I was stressing about my Hi-Test, which I also won't go into, as I wanna unpack and do design talk for it on another post. So skipping to Saturday, when I played Immortal Flight by the incomparable Shoshana Kessock. It was really neat; I am allll about playing some Nephilim just living in the world, and it's incredibly evocative. "The Midnight Song". Shivers. and there was a Rabbi at the table too, so we got fully down with it. Mechanics are interesting; I'm really looking forward to this one moving forward.

Another playtest for me, then we played Throne of the Void by the above mentioned Stras and John of Off Guard Games. Harbinger puts it most eloquently here:

This one was especially interesting because we got to play with Rob Donoghue, who is a political cutthroat in intergalactic space politics, but who I mostly chat with as a fellow Scrum Master and Agile development evangelist. Seriously, he did Lean Coffee Friday and Sat morning of the con and it was awesome. Also, it was my first real experience with a Forged In The Dark game by folks who really Feel that system, and I am into it.

Last game Friday was Wracked, by Matthew Malis, another ATL dude who Harbinger knows from LARP-stuff. Really strong concept-- dead folks who have escaped hell and are working for the Reaper in order to secure Redemption. So thematically similar to Immortal Flight in some ways, but not in others. Very strong Vice/Virtue mechanic, which I liked better than the way such is used in Mage, tbh. Dice mechanics were a lot like the ones I'm currently using in At What Cost, which is not a bad thing-- great minds and all! Definitely had fun, and am looking to see where it goes.

Sunday, I had one more test, and then B and I played a game called Vigilance, by AquaVertigo Games. It... was about people who come from the dead in pre-antiquity and function as Living Laws tied to constellations. you can see, I maaaay have played to a theme a bit in my game choices.

Vigilance had a really cool dice pool mechanic, and was again, thematically very strong. The personal story mechanics, once I got them, are very evocative and pull you in well. Yeah, I pretty much hit the jackpot on all the games I played for subject and intensity. While many of them did deal with similar themes, they had interesting and unique things to say about them, and contributed something different in their own way to the craft.

Also psi cops and space politics, which I am forever here for.

And that is Metatopia Roundup #1, and the one I most wanted to get out, because whatever else, the awesome games I played deserve some shoutouts, and the awesome people who ran them as well.

G'night to all of you out there, and here.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Long time passing

So, given that I've completely neglected this thing for a whole year While Things Were Happening... hi!

Metatopia starts this evening and starting tomorrow I'm doing Alpha Tests for a game that I really should be talking about here but I haven't and booooo to me.

The Game, or the hollowed-out shell of a game in it's nascent, trembling, baby-bird form is At What Cost, and it's meant to deconstruct advancement so that all character building/creation is in play, and goes on all the time. The hope is that this bakes all of that stuff into social goals and character development, so that build speculation is a statement about the character in the character's voice, rather than meta-chat. We'll see how that goes.

And I'm really making this post to procrastinate from yet more game prep, so... urm, I should y'know... get on that.

...I should also mention though two things:

first, I was on another Tome Show episode on MEGADUNGEONS last November that I neglected to mention, go clicky link if that sounds fun. I've another one on Secrets in Games that will be up at some point, and let's see if I actually link it in a timely sort of way this time.

Also, Shieldhaven & Sam Dillon are doing a whole series with the Tome called Edition Wars, which is quality content if you're a D&D history nerd, which I am.

Also, for if you like Talisman (the board game), did I ever mention that I was a writer on an RPG version of it? Because if you're interested in the playtest/quickstart of it, that's available.

Oh boy, what else have I been up to... um, Grim War II is on hiatus, but Reign II: Realities had a successful kickstarter that I totally failed to mention here because I'm the worst, except that I am super excited about the arcane and impenetrable setting that Shieldhaven and I wrote for it. I think it's my goal to always be writing the Nobilis 2nd Edition Heartbreaker, that folks will like, stick on some shelf and admire occasionally but be completely baffled about how to actually play., what's that? Am I have rolling anxiety attack right now?

Well yes. Yes I am. So glad you noticed.


Metatopia highlights to come... either tomorrow or sometime next year, maybe.