Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Dragonmeet & other Meetings

I'm in London for Dragonmeet alongside the Pelgrane crew!

Last year on the train into London from Heathrow, before Dragonmeet, I was reading Lavie Tidhar's The Violent Century, glancing out of the train at delapidated warehouses as the novel's superbeings negotiated the London fog.

Saturday afternoon at last year's Dragonmeet, the man wanting to talk about roleplaying games over the table at the Pelgrane booth turned out to be Lavie Tidhar! He said that RPGs weren't something he had really tried, though the friend beside him seemed to be more familiar with the genre. I gave Lavie a copy of 13th Age, and when Ken Hite came back to the booth Ken got him a copy of The Dracula Dossier.

This year, on the train ride into London, I was reading Catherynne M. Valente's Six-Gun Snow White, a beautiful strange little book. I'm pretty sure there's no chance of seeing Catherynne M. Valente at this convention, but perhaps something similarly magical will reveal itself.

Looking forward to seeing friends from this Eastern side of the pond in a few days.


Monday, November 7, 2016

Voting & Supporting Hillary


The stamp felt perfect for this ballot! 

On the way back from casting the ballot, I passed Neil Stephenson, out for a stroll in the neighborhood he works in. I'll take passing a socially progressive writer who appreciates good weaponry as a good omen. 

Earlier in the day, I appreciated this Rolling Stone summary of why voting for Trump is a terrible thing to do. Parts left out include the GOP's position as the major political party in the world that denies climate change and Trump not caring that Russia is mucking around in USA electoral politics because it has been in his favor. That would have been some sort of deal-breaker in previous Republican candidacies--but not this one. 

Earlier in the weekend, Jonathan Tweet, Mike Selinker and Gaby Weidling and I organized a game designers' support letter for Hillary Clinton. It's called #gamers4her and it's up to 327+ signatures and still growing, as seen here

I'm aware that Clinton isn't perfect. In politics as in creative work, the perfect is the enemy of the good. Clinton will be a good president, maybe even a great one. It's time to prove that a powerful woman can be President of the United States and make a way for great women leaders of the future. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Two snippets about Glorantha and The Gods War

Sandy Petersen's The Gods War kickstarter is ending in about twelve hours and I didn't get around to mentioning that I'd written a couple short bits about Glorantha involving that project. Even if you aren't in for the mythical battles, it's worth checking out Sandy's site for wonderful art.

Snippet #1 is something I wrote for Kickstarter and the Chaosium blog, statting up one of the miniatures from Sandy Petersen's The Gods War for 13th Age in Glorantha (you can never have too many broos).

Snippet #2 is something I wrote about growing up with Glorantha and having it become my favorite game world.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

PAX Schedule and beyond

We don't have an official booth at PAX this year, and by we I mean my company Fire Opal Media and the two other companies I work with most: Pelgrane and Chaosium. We will be at GeekGirl Con on October 8th and 9th in the same Seattle Convention Center.

I'll be around PAX a bit on at least Friday and Saturday, and definitely between noon and 2:00 on Friday at the table outside the Uncle's Games room, alongside Jonathan Tweet and Wade Rockett.

Here's the full schedule of of game designers who'll be at that table during the weekend. Vlaada Chvatil isn't scheduled to join us, but I'm glad his new version of Codenames is sharing the billing!


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

GenCon Notes: Lights! Camera! Action!

I had a great GenCon. So did most of my friends, both old and new. I’ll post a couple highlights, now and maybe later.

Lights!
Will Jobst and I left the exhibitors’ hall on Saturday night and went upstairs to watch the 13th Age and GUMSHOE games in the Pelgrane-focused game room. I admit that I was 13th Age-focused: where GUMSHOE is concerned, I’m not really a pro.

Early on, we were startled by what looked like impromptu chair dancing at a 13th Age table. Everyone’s hands went up in the air, the bass started thumping, hands spinning as disco balls. Turned out that the first time the sorcerer had used their dancing lights spell, the table discoed-out; and now it was a thing for the rest of the session! Dancing lights! I thought about filming it but decided to let it fly solo in memory.

The musical ambush left us happy and gave us a story to glide on the rest of the evening as we joined Steve and Paula Dempsey to ramble through the entire convention center.

Camera!
The night before the show, Eric Lang won the Diana Jones Award! I’d talked with him earlier in the day and he said he had zero chance of winning—he expected it to go to Pandemic Legacy by Rob Daviau and Matt Leacock. We agreed that if Eric won, I should yell “Daviau was robbed!” Which I did, utterly happy and knowing no one could hear me, since you can’t hear much of anything at the Diana Jones Award ceremony and certainly not when everyone is roaring for Eric!

Then I got to see Greg Stafford, last year’s winner for The Guide to Glorantha, hand the award over to Eric, and the whole thing made me so happy I *did* get out my phone to take a picture. I knew it would be crappy but I didn’t care, it’s the fact, not the photo. That’s Jeff Richard of Chaosium in the middle, and Luke Peterschmidt all shiny in the foreground.


Action!

I knew that Upper Deck would be releasing the Legendary game I designed, Big Trouble in Little China. It’s a playful take on the Legendary deckbuilding game system designed by Devin Low for the Marvel Legendary games. Big Trouble in Little China was a game I had a huge amount of fun designing but I wasn’t sure how much of a marketing push the game would be getting, given that the film has been out for awhile. I’d heard that there was something going on with the GenCon lanyards, but I didn’t know that everyone wearing a GenCon lanyard would have Big Trouble in Little China art around their necks. And I had no idea that Upper Deck was gonna set up a Big Trouble exhibit with the Pork Chop Express big rig in the dealer’s hall! Right alongside a bit of a Chinatown shrine and a signboard for Egg Foo Yong Tours. That’s some action. 


Sunday, July 31, 2016

Doubling Up on the Three Storms: Big Trouble in Little China preview

I'm headed to GenCon soon, where previews will no longer be necessary, though an occasional design note may still be relevant.


Today's quick show-and-tell introduces the two versions of the Three Storms. Upper Deck's original card list called them, for example, Battle Armor Thunder and Business Suit Thunder. I loved the observation that when Sorcerous Lo Pan is cackling, he has the battle armor Storms with him, or at least martial arts gear. When Rain goes to see David Lo Pan, he changes into his business suit as a responsible member of the Wing Kong Exchange.




You can see I had fun giving them business titles! Thunder, Public Relations is one of my favorite combinations of image and card name.

As to the toughness of these villains. . . they can cause problems, But in the film they seemed pretty bad at killing the heroes that mattered, so I enjoyed making them melodramatic problems that can  also offer solutions if everyone plays nice!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Lords of Death: Big Trouble in Little China preview

I was gonna write my next preview about the two versions of the Three Storms, but I don't have time to tackle that topic today. Instead, here's a henchman.


The Lords of Death seem like a bunch of low-lifes with awesome sunglasses, but nobody ever wants to tangle with them. In the movie it's always, "Ooh, Lords of Death. Don't wanna mess with them." So I tried to capture that with the game mechanics. You can beat the Lords of Death. Heck, anyone can beat the Lords of Death. But if you're not already hurting, you're going to be hurting. Of course, once you've taken out one, you should just keep on going, because you're not going to be hurt any worse . . . until you shuffle your cards and the Wound gets buried in your deck.


As a bonus, Upper Deck followed through with the Lords of Death sucker punch on the game's Wound card!