Monday, 23 February 2015

Down and Out In The Golden Age of RPGs (Part Three)

With so many things standing in the way of gamers trying out new game systems, new settings, and new modes of play, what can we do to change things?

The good news is that the industry is already coming to grips with the new realities of gaming in the 21st century, and has been doing its bit to make trying new things as accessible as possible. The big companies have offered a wide range of "starter" products (like the previously-mentioned PATHFINDER box set) to get people's attention, with everything you need to run a game packed right in there. Having readily-available materials that are attractive and accessible goes a long way toward getting people to try something new. If they don't have to invest more time than it takes to choose a pre-gen and add a suitably grandiose name, that's all to the good.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Down and Out In The Golden Age of RPGs (Part Two)

As I've said on the podcast, we live in a Golden Age for gaming. There's a chunk of the gamer population that looks nostalgically back on the early days of the hobby as the best of times, but I'm not one of them. I wouldn't trade the games we played back then for the games we're playing now for all the polyhedrons in Chateau de Chessex.

Today, we have a multiplicity of games to play, games that cater to virtually any taste you can think of, and some are so weirdly specific in their subject matter that gamers of my lost youth would have had a hard time imagining their existence. There are so many titles available -- new games, old games, new games evoking old games, old games appropriating the tricks of new games -- that it would be impossible for even the wealthiest gamer with a bottomless well of free time to play them all, or even keep track of them.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Down and Out In The Golden Age of RPGs (Part One)

Sorry for the lack of signal the last week, folks -- a combination of the dreaded head-full-of-goop winter cold and time spent on a promising job opportunity kept me away from the roleplaying blog-o-sphere for a bit. Back to our regularly-scheduled nerdery.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015


Urban fantasy is a genre that I keep coming back to, sometimes against my will, but always with a certain delight. It probably goes hand-in-hand with my love of comic books and superheroes, which delight in touching the ordinary with the fantastic (or, as Coleridge might have it, finding the ordinary in the fantastic). I was an early adopter of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and passed that affection on to my wife (who has not just embraced it but obsessed over it, sharing it with everyone with eyeballs to watch and ears to delight in the sharp dialogue). I've played a lot of games that drew from that well, and got a lot of mileage out of the Eden Studios Buffy and Angel games when I ran things like my formative HTHD game AMERICAN NIGHTMARE and my Victorian Slayer game SUNSET EMPIRE.

If I were going to run an AMERICAN NIGHTMARE game now, I'd run it with Evil Hat Productions' new take on the Apocalypse World engine, MONSTER OF THE WEEK.

The colourful cover is representative of terrific art throughout.