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Tabletop QOTD 2020-04-04


 
In person is much better in almost every possible way, but sometimes online is the only option.
 
Definitely. I'm no psychologist but I would guess that different parts of the brain are activated and used when in an actual face to face social situation. Playing online the game part is pretty much the game but the event itself is much luss fulfilling.

Where possible I play in person. To this end I've never played an RPG online, only board games and other tabletop games and well video games multiplayer.

I'm sure someone has done some kind of research on the different brain state during a physical conversation and one over the phone and one through text.

 

Tabletop QOTD 2020-04-02


Borrowing from the idea of the Pluspora Check-in get some tabletop conversation going. If you have any questions that you want to get on the list to be asked, let me know. Also, if you'd like to be added or taken off the list of participants, let me know.

What do you look from in reviews or recommendations about games?

I try to find reviewers that have the same tastes and/or biases as myself in order to cut through the noise of the number of releases to allow me to focus in on those projects that might appeal to my sensibilities. In general, I only look to those when the description of the game isn't enough to immediately make me say, "I want to play that.". If I'm interested in the game from reading the box or the description, I will go with my own feelings.


# #

@Eric Franklin
@frasersimons
@Board Games Forum
@Curt Thompson
@Douglas Bailey
@Jesse Butler
@Keith Davies
@Martin Ralya
@Martijn Vos
@Nathan V
@Marsha B
@Stuntman
@Moe Tousignant
@PresGas (OSR) Aspect
@Craig Maloney
@Patrick Marchiodi
@Nathan Norway
@silverwizard
@Stephen Gunnell
@Joseph Teller
@Charles M
 
When I go looking for reviews of a product I usually look for a variety of sources, so as to round off an individual bias and to make sure there isn't a mismatch (like a reviewer that has only played, for example, D20 based games and has a bias against percentile dice or against dice pools; or who doesn't like games that focus on non-combat activity etc.)
 
For reviews, I usually just go to BGG and read user posted reviews. I often read a number of them to get different perspectives and experiences about any particular game. Also, with BGG user reviews, I have the opportunity to ask the reviewer some follow up questions and they sometimes answer or other members may answer.

I generally do not read or watch reviews from well known boardgame bloggers or video channels. I find those reviews tend to feel more like entertainment than information. I also prefer reading reviews than watching video reviews. I find videos are not an easy format if I want to skip over certain parts of a review. For instance, I am generally not interested in the aesthetics of a game. As long as I can tell pieces apart and see the game state of the board, I am generally satisfied. I don't care about how pretty the game looks. I usually just care about how it plays. It is hard to skip over this section in a video review compared to a written review.

 

Tabletop QOTD 2020-03-31


 
On the one hand, I'm more aware of the games that have higher sales. Well, that have more market penetration. Everyone knows D&D; it's one of the few RPGs that ever ascended to "household name" status. It's also the one most likely to be found in your average mall bookstore.

Of course, that's a feedback loop: get on bookstore shelves, get more sales. But that takes a heaver investment; you have to print more books that may not sell at all...

I'm more likely to be aware of specific company products. Monte Cook's products, for example, seem to hit my awareness more than most publishers.

But I don't follow the various blogs, podcasts, etc. that would keep me in the know of product releases or product reviews, so I'm not the best source to go to.

I used to buy RPGs because they looked interesting. Now, I wouldn't buy in unless I already had a group willing to at least try the game.
 
I like physical books but I also like sales. I tend to only buy physical games when they go on sale and only if they are at least 30% off. I prefer to read physical copies of books from cover to cover.

Where I like digital versions of RPGs is for reference sake, same with board game rulebooks. In that case though the PDF better be searchable. None of this we just scanned all the pages BS in 2020.

 

Tabletop QOTD 2020-03-29


Nathan Weaver reshared this.

 
@Joseph Teller I never tried to build Batman in Marvel Super Heroes. It allowed for the concept of gadgets as powers (see Iron Man, or Spider-Man's webs, etc.) and it had a power, "Hyper Invention" which lets you make things with relative ease. It doesn't explicitly say this can be used to duplicate powers, but it implies it. But that's not a perfect fit; Wayne doesn't make most of his weapons, he hires people to do that for him. Rules as Written would require Batman to inventory all his gadgets and list each as a power derived from that gadget.

It would work. But it would be clunky and awkward.
 

 

Tabletop QOTD 2020-03-28


Borrowing from the idea of the Pluspora Check-in get some tabletop conversation going. If you have any questions that you want to get on the list to be asked, let me know. Also, if you'd like to be added or taken off the list of participants, let me know.

What criteria do you utilize when inviting new players to your gaming group?

I really struggle with this, so usually leave it to others to bring in players. I usually look for someone that's agreeable and laid back more than anything else- I hate drama when playing any sorts of games. Also, a commitment to showing up, playing, and timeliness. Beyond that, I think anything is surmountable.

# #

@Eric Franklin
@frasersimons
@Board Games Forum
@Curt Thompson
@Douglas Bailey
@Jesse Butler
@Keith Davies
@Martin Ralya
@Martijn Vos
@Nathan V
@Marsha B
@Stuntman
@Nathan Weaver
@Moe Tousignant
@PresGas (OSR) Aspect
@Craig Maloney
@Patrick Marchiodi
@Nathan Norway
@silverwizard
@Stephen Gunnell
@Joseph Teller
@Charles M
 
I run a lot of public play events. Over time I get to know the regulars. Many I enjoy gaming with. Over time if I find I get along with someone and enjoy playing games with them then I may invite them to my house for a game night or two. That usually starts with big party like events with lots of people. From that subset there will be people I invite to smaller events.
 
I haven't formed a gaming group in too long. Availability, interests, and personality matter, but beyond that it's harder to define.

 

Tabletop QOTD 2020-03-27


 
I think current events sometimes do require the critical eye of art to provide perspective, and that includes game design. I'm particularly reminded of the game War On Terror, released in the wake of 9/11 and the Iraq War: a Risk-like world conquest game where you can fund terrorists to fight your opponents, but if everybody does it, the terrorists win. Clearly a jab at how Al Qaeda was originally trained by the US to fight the USSR in Afghanistan.

Maybe the issue is: does the game have a relevant point to make about the issue it's about, or is it merely turning other people's misery into entertainment. Then again, to get back at my previous comment, Mila 18 probably is the only ASL scenario that has such a point to make, and yet that's the one that horrifies everybody.
 
@Patrick That's good news. I don't object to playing the disease, but I think it's generally better to play a game where you stop a disease.

 

Tabletop QOTD 2020-03-26


 
I've got to agree with Fudge. It's still got the best and simplest damage system I've ever seen in an RPG. (Marvel Super Heroes is a good one too.)

For boardgames, there are tons of excellent little games out there that never got any attention. Two favourites of my family are Rifugio, a tile laying game about hiking through the Dolomites while discovering the beautiful landscape; and Mini Miners, about 18 dwarfs with different, interacting skills, mining for gold and diamonds.
 
Has to be Tyrants of the Underdark. I think it's the best deck builder I've played. The area control adds a level of direct player interaction not seen in many deck builders. I think its lack of popularity is due to the D&D theme. It also has the worse choice of player colours I have ever seen in a boardgame. The colour choices of the game overall is also pretty poor. Makes it hard to look at and tell pieces apart.

 

Tabletop QOTD 2020-03-25


 
This comes up a lot on our podcast talking about games. This is something that I personally have become more and more aware of over time. Part of that is driven due to the fact that these issues are talked about a lot more openly and another big part for me is that we have a big fan who is legally blind and often will open my eyes to problems in games I would have never realized being fully abled.

One of the most obvious ones are companies changing the default player colours. For years almost every game came with yellow, red, blue and green as player colours. Those are not colourblind friendly. Many modern games have swapped up those colours to be more accessible.

A step further is changing the physical shame of different things. Instead of having 5 different cubes in different colours, games have each colour also be a different shape. A good example of this is Gold West from TMG.

Personally I think it's great that this is something that more and more companies are considering.
 
I think perhaps it comes up most obviously with board games, as @Moe Tousignant describes.

I don't go really far regarding accessibility in my books, but...

Part of the reason I started the Echelon Reference Series, beyond just trying to gather and organize the damn content, was to make it more usable. This starts with no backgrounds on the pages (partly to save ink, mostly to make it easier to read) and presenting headers (section and game object, like spells and feats) so they really stand out. Aggressively so, even.

To my amusement, a well-known reviewer commented in his early reviews that these layout conventions we a bit weird but harmless... and later he found that he loved them because they increased the readability and utility of the books. He was even more excited about a couple other improvements I made.

So... 'accessibility', I hope my changes help, but absolutely I put a lot of emphasis on readability and utility.

 

Tabletop QOTD 2020-03-24


 
I felt patronized reading through the Mouse Guard Rulebook, 1st edition. The way Luke writes implies he knows more about roleplaying that you do and that he does it the right way and you have been doing it all wrong your whole life and he knows what he's doing so don't house rule anything because you don't actually know what your are doing.

Interestingly it must been made evident to him as the 2nd edition is much more reader friendly.
 
Huh. I have 2e, but never tried to read it after how much of a slog the 1e book was for exactly the reasons you outline, there, @Moe.

 

Tabletop QOTD 2020-03-23


 
None of the folks I have gamed with in recent years have liked E-Gaming via discord, hangouts etc. and my wife equates online video-conferencing is something she does only when forced to for work so my experience is real limited.
 
Back in the 80's, I tried to play Chinese chess with a friend over email. At some point during the game, we realised one of our boards was wrong and could not back track our moves. We didn't save emails back then.

 

Tabletop QOTD 2020-03-22


 
In the actual old days lots of people published games. The early RPG writers were part of a culture with lots of history of amateur publishing. Individual zines, and group APA zines. Lee Gold's Alarums and Excursions went all over the world.
To me the blog advice about minimum publishing standards is puzzling and almost gate keeping. Don't ever publish unless you are a professional. The hobby would never have gotten started if those had been the entry requirements.
 
I've never actually backed anything thru kickstarter or used it to publish anything. It always looked to me like an unnecessary middleman, and I always found myself cringing when reading kickstarters when it came to how they used tier investment strategies and stretch goals... disasters waiting to happen and in some cases looking like pyramid schemes.

Considering how close Chaosium came to going extinct because of kickstarters I would think long and hard and have rock solid contracts on printing and other costs before ever using one to publish.

@Stephen Gunnell is right about the old school/second wave folks, we started in our zines and APAs and threw caution to the wind in order to get ideas out before they were super polished and in many ways it made things happen rather than fight with gate keepers.

If not for the semi-pros and amateurs there would be no gaming, no gaming market or support to keep the companies alive. No publisher can produce enough content for their own game alone to fit the desire of the players and GMs out there.

 

Tabletop QOTD 2020-03-20


# #

@Eric Franklin
@frasersimons
@Board Games Forum
@Curt Thompson
@Douglas Bailey
@Jesse Butler
@Keith Davies
@Martin Ralya
@Martijn Vos
@Nathan V
@Marsha B
@Stuntman
@Nathan Weaver
@Moe Tousignant
@PresGas (OSR) Aspect
@Craig Maloney
@Patrick Marchiodi
@Nathan Norway
@silverwizard
@Stephen Gunnell

Borrowing from the idea of the Pluspora Check-in get some tabletop conversation going. If you have any questions that you want to get on the list to be asked, let me know. Also, if you'd like to be added or taken off the list of participants, let me know.

If you were going to teach a class on game design, what topics would you emphasize to your students?

I think that playtesting is a section of game design that is in many cases and after thought (or not thought of) that has ruined more than one game. How to playtest and how to use the results of those playtests is a soft skill that can be hard to master.

Nathan Norway reshared this.

 
Always set down a series of goals/vision as to what you want the system to do at the start, and work your design based on that. Audience is a concern only if you are on the marketing side of gaming, design to fit your ideals not what will in some way grab elements of what is already out there and draw them to what you are doing.

If all you are doing is making the 4000th variant of D&D but with element X added or elements Z & Q removed then you're wasting your time. Same with board games... no one really wants/needs UNO with different cards or Monopoly but with star systems instead of real estate locations of the 1920s.
 

 

Tabletop QOTD 2020-03-18


 
@Moe Tousignant - I'd never heard of podpledge- thanks for that shout out! And I totally agree about itch- I've been getting used to it, but it's definitely a different paradigm being geared towards digital gaming and just being repurposed for tabletop.
 
I do like that it's specifically designed for podcasters and has a lot less of the limits of Patreon. Like you can do things like giveaways and swag. There are some major board game podcasters that use it.

 

Tabletop QOTD 2020-03-17


 
@Moe Tousignant - maybe a spin on your normal reviews and such to family type reviews and things to do when you're quarantined? A lot of people have the kids in the house and are getting cabin fever- a few ideas of things to do and games to play and reviews from a family perspective might be helpful to some of your followers.
 
Yep, that's what I'm working on, the review going live today is Talisman Legendary Tales a kids game and the next advice post is on games to play when stuck at home for an extended time.

That will only get me so far, not sure what I'll do for the next 18 months. At least I'll finally get through all the two player games in my pile of shame :D

 

Tabletop QOTD 2020-03-16


# #

Sorry for the outage - was under the weather this weekend.

@Eric Franklin
@frasersimons
@Board Games Forum
@Curt Thompson
@Douglas Bailey
@Jesse Butler
@Keith Davies
@Martin Ralya
@Martijn Vos
@Nathan V
@Marsha B
@Stuntman
@Nathan Weaver
@Moe Tousignant
@PresGas (OSR) Aspect
@Craig Maloney
@Patrick Marchiodi
@Nathan Norway
@silverwizard
@Stephen Gunnell

Borrowing from the idea of the Pluspora Check-in get some tabletop conversation going. If you have any questions that you want to get on the list to be asked, let me know. Also, if you'd like to be added or taken off the list of participants, let me know.

How do you use technology to aid in your gaming?

I use a gaming wiki to log the campaign and keep track of the essential in-game information. There's also areas for the players to log information about their characters. I also use my tablet instead of carrying a crate of books around- one less milk crate being carried around.
 
There were a couple of games I either ran or played in that took place in IRC, but other than that, the only technology I tend to use is paper, pencils, dice, and books.