Posts

Playtest Focus: Cartel

Image
If you've managed to stay under the safety of a rock, let me congratulate you but also let you know that Cartel has hit Kickstarter and you should probably go check it out. I haven't had much time lately for genuinely playing many games. Between Breakout, Gen Con, Gauntlet Con, and Fan Expo, my plate is so full of con organizing that finding time to actually play games has been almost impossible. That being said, after reading and noticing all the hubbub around Cartel, I wanted to see for myself what the game was about.

Cartel is the newest game from Magpie, the company that brought us Epyllion, Masks, Urban Shadows, and most recently, Bluebeard's Bride. Each of these games packs a punch in terms of how comprehensible and inspiring the rules are. Cartel, from what I've read and seen, is no different and will make a stunning addition to the Magpie line up. The Kickstarter is evocative, the playbooks are beautiful, and the game itself hums with bits of Mexican culture i…

Girl Gamer: The Path of Perfection

Image
I remember when I was asked to join the Gauntlet Podcast. Jason and I had been having a great time at Mark Diaz Truman's Zombie World game during Metatopia two Metatopia's ago. We clicked. Our gaming style was so on point with each other. I didn't know who he was and he didn't know who I was. But it worked. It was a solid game and I delighted in it. That night, the Gauntlet Podcast became a patreon supporter of my blog. Later, on the podcast, a shout out was giving to me by Jason and it was hinted that he might ask me to join the show.

Well, spoilers, he did. I was so excited. I had enjoyed gaming with Jason and had never entered an online gaming space. There were so many cool people who were already supporters of mine that existed in the Gauntlet community that I couldn't help but want to dive in. When I began to tell friends and community members about joining the Gauntlet, I didn't get the response I thought I would. People I thought valued me and my voice …

The Hated Ones: We Just Wanna Have Fun

Image
As I settle in for a cup of tea and a good old fashion hate-watching of Fifty Shades of Grey, I'm absolutely shocked and appalled and genuinely disturbed by what's happening in the gaming community just North of our town of Toronto. While I had no intention of getting involved, shit happens. Two years ago I got involved when asked about safety tools and making a con inclusive. Several women organizers spoke up. We were told to tone it down, we were dismissed, and we were shouted down by con attendees who hated the idea of changing their ways to accommodate a safer space.

Silenced, we women departed. Until a lovely person wrote an article about the sexism she experienced at this convention. The con organizer posted it to the group (which was awesome) and then promptly everything fell apart. The behaviours from 2016 happened again. Deleting of messages that weren't supportive of the con. 24 hour banning of those who were saying harassment was happening. Silencing. We were be…

Victory: The Importance of Winning

Image
Recently I played and finally finished Horizon Zero Dawn. It's an amazing game, full of all the things I want in any game. Diversity, incredible story, impressive characters, badass moments, and meaningful layers of nuance. Except the ending. The ending is one of those endings that promises other games (fuck yes) but it does it in a way I can't stand that I'm solidly convinced is bad story telling and bad GMing. And yes, I see all media as GMing in one way or another.

At the end of this game, the bad guy you thought you killed is still alive. The threat is stopped, temporarily. It's not a real win. You were promised it was, but it wasn't. Just like in the end of Season 2 of Stranger Things. You thought you won, but you didn't, jokes on you! Monster is still there! What is this nonsense? Honestly, it's just... cheap. It's an easy out for a cliffhanger to get you back in. It's a cheap trick to keep the story going. When this trick is used in gaming, …

A Year In Reflection: Lessons from the Dicelands

Image
A year has come and a year is going. Silence has become its own language. I won't lie, part of me is still trying to decompress what's happening in our community. Always forward has become a marching song, so similar to what we say in wake of the world's state. Things are changing. Kind of. We move forward or get left behind. There are so many platitudes about time waiting for no one.

I keep looking forward, eager to step into the New Year, but find myself chained to the present, finding it almost impossible to move at all. Always forward, they say, but lately it's almost impossible to do anything in the present without feeling the weight of it all. This year was a struggle. It had great moments of beauty and of simplicity. It had moments of struggle. It had moments of defeat.

One of my favourite musicals is Into the Woods. The Baker's Wife has this beautiful song about how life can't be just made of moments, because then you'd never know you had a moment t…

What Happened to You: Playing After Trauma

Image
"I don't go to that con anymore," she says.

"Oh. Why?"

She hesitates. I can see in the way her lips purse that she's weighing the odds of telling me something. She's deciding if I'll listen and believe her, or if I'm going to call her a liar and abuse her. It's a debate I've done myself, multiple times. "I was groped there."

"Jesus. I'm so sorry."

"Mhm." She goes quiet for a minute. "I talked to the con about it. They didn't do anything. They didn't remove him."

I stare, blankly, at this person who was hurt and abused. I am looking at her, looking down at the ground, the safe neutral area where she can't see my response. She doesn't want to see my pain on her behalf because this is about her, not me. I swallow. "Fuck 'em. I don't need to go that con. I'm so sorry that happened."

She hesitates again and finally looks up at me. "Are there policies, at your con…