Archive for October, 2011

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Crossroads done

17 October, 2011

Crossroads, a “short story” scenario to be run at Danish convention Fastaval in 2012, is pretty much done. There are still two playtests happening in October, but unless they throw up big issues, it’s a wrap. 24 pages comic book sized, of which half are the player characters and bonus cards. Inside is black and white without illustrations and there’s a colour cover. I’ve been trying to write shorter convention scenarios over the years, and I think this is a really good format and length, for both the facilitator and the players. You can probably read it on the bus on your way to the convention and still be able to comfortably facilitate it without problems.

Crossroads back and front covers

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Nerdinburgh brought the awesome

10 October, 2011

My head is still buzzing after a weekend of socialising, great food and beer, and especially some awesome gaming at Nerdinburgh II. The venue was totally fantastic and blew us all away, but it did help to have a great bunch of people around.

I got to play three solid roleplaying sessions and a couple of hilarous late evening rounds of Cash n Guns.

My top session this year was definitely the playtest of my Crossroads scenario for Fastaval. One of the best sessions I’ve played in a very long time, and as far as I’m concerned everything went fantastic and worked as I had hoped. I was facilitating while Adam, Daniel, Neil and Debbie played the four main characters. Although we sometimes screamed in laughter and/or disbelief, we had some very tense and emotional scenes. Perfect, perfect, and this will definitely go down well at Fastaval next year. I think we managed to finish all four storied in 1 hour and 45 minutes, and we had a good talk afterwards discussing why the game worked so well. I’m very very happy with how it turned out.

The two other game sessions I played in was a game of Dust Devils on Saturday run by Neil. The setup was along the lines of the film Unforgiven, and I played an ugly, and indeed inept, bounty hunter coming to town to kill a man and get the reward. Much mayhem and killing happened during the session, which in fictional time only lasted a few hours.

Sunday afternoon I played Fiasco with Neil and Scott. We were trying out a new playset by Graham Walmsley, themed as Cthulhu romance, whatever that might be. It was a sick session with unspeakable scenes. Again, Fiasco rocked as a tight no-prep convention game.

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Nerdinburgh II

5 October, 2011

Nerdinburgh is the most private of conventions. To be able to attend you have to be invited. By me. The first time I organised it was a couple of years ago, in my house, and while it was totally awesome, the venue wasn’t ideal.

This is not Photoshopped. This is real!

Now, this time around we have gone all the way. And I do mean all the way. With the help of Joe and Debbie, we are collectively renting the Old Observatory House, on Calton Hill right in the centre of Edinburgh. The observatory, now long obsolete due to light pollution, is still there, right next to it. But be envious, be very envious. This is the awesomest of roleplaying locations you’ll ever see. The only bummer is the number of people it actually accommodates – sleeps 8, plays perhaps 16.

We have people travelling in from Sweden, China, and indeed Milton Keynes. You will cry yourself to sleep tonight just because you are not part of it, so apologies for that right away.

What’s happening at Nerdinburgh II? Well, for starters we have a Mechaton extravaganza on Sunday, and there have been announced Sorcerer games, Apocalypse World, actual copies of Matt Machell’s new game The Agency straight from the printer, playtests of Sunshine, Crossroads and Vincent Baker’s new game Murderous Ghosts. It’s crazy.

One of the playing rooms. Awesome doesn't even begin to describe it.

Nerdinburgh is also very special because the participants not only pay to attend, they prepare gourmet food to bring along. You think I’m kidding, probably, but no, it’s actually true. One participant wrote in an email yesterday: “I’m currently cooking some duck legs. If someone local could swing by a chinese supermarket and pick up a pack of frozen pancakes for duck, and some hoi sin sauce, that would be great. Cucumber and spring onions, too. Thank’ee kindly.”

If that’s not dedication, I don’t know what is.

Oh, we’ll be tweeting and podcasting from the event, hopefully. Stay tuned.

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Crossroads cover

4 October, 2011

While I am waiting for the chance to playtest Crossroads over the coming weekend (at Nerdinburgh, a nifty and exclusive invites-only convention here in Edinburgh), I have been creating a draft layout and, not the least, a cover. It’s going to be comic book sized, check out the front page.

If any of you are interested in reading through the draft copy and give me some feedback on what works and what might not work, it would be much appreciated, and credited of course.

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Play-by-post: the slow option

2 October, 2011

It’s Sunday morning and Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue is on the stereo. In the last couple of weeks I have been re-visiting “forum play”, or play-by-post, roleplaying. I have played in many games in the past, but they often run dry because especially the tempo in play-by-post is excruciatingly slow. Judd Karlman posted some thoughts on forum play, and it was indeed Judd’s ideas to play a 1-on-1 forum game of Burning Empires that rekindled my interest.

Thing is, I don’t know any other gamers near me that are interested in investing the energy and time it takes to play Burning Empires, and I even think it’s worse today than when the game was published in 2006. These days it’s all no-prep instant pickup games that engage people. I think that’s sad, and I hope the gaming equivalent of slow food will become popular again.

The only way I will get to play Burning Empires will be play-by-post. I’ve run a BE game on a forum before with three other players. We made it through world burning and halfway through the first maneuvre and then one of the players bailed. It was slow. Very slow. On the other hand I played a couple of big BE firefights with none other than Iron Empires/Burning Empires artist Chris Moeller on a forum, and that worked very well indeed.

That’s why Londoner John Anderson and I have started a 1-on-1 Burning Empires game on Obsidian Portal, a website dedicated to forum play. Now, Burning Empires is not really designed for 1-on-1 play, so we’ll possibly have to tweak it a little to make each side more GM-like.

Forum play is the slow option, but sometimes it’s the only option.