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Showing posts from May, 2016

Problematic Settings: Excuse Me, Your Privilege is Showing

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This past couple weeks I've had about three white dudes (all good people) come up and ask me to look at their game they're designing or talk about their game they're designing with me. All three of them were Victorian/Steampunk. Steampunk is a fun genre, to me. I mean, I had a Steampunk wedding and I love the aesthetic of it, because who doesn't want to wear a corset?



But aesthetics aside, Steampunk offers a time of exploration. The Victorian era is often called the Age of Wonder, because of the way anyone could be a scientist or an explorer and there were adventures to be had. It's a time when they believed in Aether and the potential energy source and power it could provide. It's a time when the world was rapidly expanding and becoming bigger with each passing moment. It's at time when cultures were meeting new cultures, new foods and religions and spices and aesthetics were being discovered. It's a time when mass production allowed anyone to have wri…

Game Review: Urban Shadows

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So in every gamer's life, there's comes a game that is your game. Y'know? The one you've been waiting for. The one that does the exact type of fiction you like telling. The one that has the cool bits you love and added shit you didn't even think of. The one that offers all the things and you dig your teeth into it and your nails and you go 'FUCK YEAH'. You know that game? That's Urban Shadows to me.

I mean, I'll be honest. I thought Monsterhearts was that game to me. It turns out, Urban Shadows is the grown up, complicated version of Monsterhearts. It's the game Monsterhearts becomes when you realize there are more vampires out there, more werewolves, more wizards, and way more hunters. You're not the chosen anymore, kiddo, you're just another hunter in the sea of a city that wants your blood.

Urban Shadows is the effort of Andrew Medeiros and Mark Diaz Truman. These guys are doing cool things and you should totally check them out and h…

Empty Your Wallet: Games to Watch

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Happy Friday!

Whatever. I don't really get days off, but everyone else on Facebook and social media seems so damn excited Friday comes around ONCE A WEEK that they post shit and I'm bitter about it. So here's my revenge.

There are totally some great games and game like things coming in the next few months. There are things on Kickstarter you absolutely should go throw some money at, some things that have already funded, and some things that I'm keeping an eye on because it looks really really great.

I can't possibly tell you about all the things you should be watching, but I will list the top three things I want you to check out this week.

Noirlandia
Brought to you by the epic Hannah Shaffer of Make Big Things, Noirlandia is a great game about making a city, making a crime, and then solving that crime. Unlike most the games I back, this game is designed to be a one-shot. You sit down with some friends, create a city together, and collaboratively tell the story and u…

Sex in Gaming: What the Fuck is the Point of Fucking?

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So a number of years ago I was invited to join a game of Apocalypse World for playtesting by a friend. He didn't explain much to me, other than it was a dark, sexy game set in the Post-Apocalyptic world. So I showed up, grabbed a playbook (the Battlebabe) and started playing. I didn't even notice there was a sex move. I didn't like the game and I never thought of it again. It was a one shot, so no big deal.

A year or so later, another friend invited me to play Apocalypse World, a sexy, gritty game of the post apocalyptic future. And I thought it sounded familiar, but whatever, I'd go. So I show up, and it's this weird little game I had played before, but slightly different. I grab the Battlebabe again, circle some things, and notice a special move.  Special. It was a way of saying sex move. And I'm sure I stared at it for a bit, annoyed that my special wasn't all that special, and continued to play. There wasn't any sex in that game. There wasn't an…

Game Review: Don't Rest Your Head

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So normally I don't really copy and paste anything from the game text. Or from the websites. Or anything, really, from the game itself because why would I when I have a decent vocabulary and fingers to type with? But check this shit out:

"You can't sleep. It started like that for all of us, back when we were garden variety insomniacs. Maybe you had nightmares (God knows we all do now), or maybe you just had problems that wouldn't let you sleep. Hell, maybe you were just over-caffeinated. But then something clicked. 

That was when you took a long walk down the streets of the Mad City, stopped being a Sleeper, and started being Awake. But that click you heard wasn't from the secret world snapping into place. It was the sound of the Nightmares flicking off the safety and pointing a gun at your head.

They can smell you. The Paper Boys are closing in, and you'd better pray you don't become a headline. You're chum in the water, my friend, and it's time you …

Historical Roleplaying: We Were Here, Assholes.

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"So you're going to play a woman? In 1920? What profession did you choose? Because women didn't do that."

"You can't be a pilot. Women weren't pilots. They were wives. Who's your husband?"

"Women weren't knights. Do you want to be a courtier?"

"You have power. Who did you marry to get that power? Or was your father powerful and your bother died?"

"Well, I mean, it's medieval times. So you can't really do that. Women were mostly there for marrying. Do you want to be engaged to one of the men? Or... you can be a lady of the night..."

"It's Norse culture. I mean, sure, sometimes women picked up a blade, but mostly they were home keepers. So let's say you're the daughter of one of the warriors. You mostly keep the home."


This is how much I care about your historical accuracy rant.^
Women have always existed. At least, as long as humans have. So have people of colour and queer people and…

Game Review: Dungeon World

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I am late to the Dungeon World party. I mean, we all know I hate Fantasy games, at least, I pretend to real hard. Once in awhile a great story lands in my lap and it happens to use a system I can't stand, but overall Fantasy (TM) games are not for me. There's a big discussion on why this is, namely power fantasies surrounding the usual and standard Quest storyline are not stories often told about women, at least, not in pop culture. You can talk to any lit nerd feminist who can throw a bunch of books at your face, but when I look at fantasy movies and tv shows, most of them aren't about people I identify with. Except Xena.

And I hate crunchy bits. And encumbrance. And all the stupid simulation rules that GURPS and D&D tries to make me like. I don't like it. It can go away. You can't make me play! But... I heard good things about the game Dungeon World. It's a game, like many games whose names end in World, that is Powered by the Apocalypse. It uses the ele…