Wednesday, April 25, 2012

"New" Avengers trailer is INCREDIBLE!


Props to

Game designer Monte Cook leaving Wizards

Looks like famed game designer Monte Cook on-again-off-again romance with Wizards of the Coast is, er, off....again. This is from his livehjournal page:
Last week I decided that I would leave my contract position with Wizards of the Coast. I am no longer working on Dungeons & Dragons, although I may provide occasional consultation in the future. My decision is one based on differences of opinion with the company. However, I want to take this time to stress that my differences were not with my fellow designers, Rob Schwalb and Bruce Cordell. I enjoyed every moment of working with them over the past year. I have faith that they'll create a fun game. I'm rooting for them.
He goes on to say that he'll keep peeps informed about future endeavors. It was announced just this past January that he'd be the lead designer and driving force in the latest edition of D&D (5th edition) so it will be interesting to see how things congeal without his involvement.

Not so many "Wizards" at WotC any more!
See the full story.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Speaking of "cardboard roots"....

My last post about the Forbes article on gaming mentioned getting back to "cardboard roots" in order to revitalize some authentic creatvity. Nine-year-old Caine Monroy has it in spades.

If you haven't seen this video or been touched by the immense creative spirit in this kid, watch this right now. It's been making the rounds since last week when more than $165k was raised to send this him to college--and a matching fund was setup to help fund other kids' creativity.

THAT, ladies and gents, is how you bring some old fashioned imagination to your game--be it pen & paper, video, or of the skee-ball variety.

Check out the full story on the Caine's Arcade website.

Are board games and RPGs better than video games?

Get ready to nerd-fight! Let this recent Forbes article be your primer, which basically boils it down to board games/RPGs are infinitely re-playbable but take bunch of time to create:
“You can buy a great board game for under $20, and every time you play it, it’s a new game,” Silver noted. “This is a toy that can be played over and over again, so the consumer sees value in this type of purchase.”

Compare that with any major release on the consoles. Gamers play $60 for a vanilla title, and often fork out more for downloadable content or expansion packs.

Quintin’s argument is pretty compelling, but I’m not entirely sold. Yes, board and pen-and-paper games do come from a pure spring of ideas, and aren’t bogged down with the limitations of tech or the high expectations of massive profits. But aren’t we actually just comparing apples to oranges?

A good Dungeons and Dragons campaign is hard to beat on its own terms. You have to imagine a great deal.

And you have to set aside a pretty substantial chunk of time. Not just your time either. You need to find actual people to play with. Video gamers often play with friends either in the flesh or online, but at least in my experience the time requirements of a good board game or pen-and-paper RPG are vast in comparison.
...I get that, but isn't that doing that "work" the fun part? One passage I take umbrage with though:
Whereas board games require us to think, and pen-and-paper RPGs require us to imagine, video games tap more directly into the actual play.

We have to actually fight that skeleton knight, not just tell the DM what we’re doing and then role the dice. There’s pros and cons to each form, and while both low and high-tech gaming can be extremely fun and gratifying, I think we’re talking about two very different experiences that can’t really be held up the one against the other.
I'd aruge that "fight" in this example is really just semantics. Mashing buttons ain't fighting anymore than rolling dice. The one instance I could see that point is with gestural-based game systems like the Kinect or Wii (full disclosure, I own a Wii and it's a lot of fun). While I agree playing video games is more physical, I'd suggest it's better to just state that low-tech and high tech gaming gets you to use your brain in different ways and leave it at that.

I do agree though, with his clincher:
Maybe the gaming industry has mirrored too often the film industry, and needs to get back to its cardboard roots.
Indeed. Let's hear it for a healthy dose of homebrew, bootstrap creativity!

Read the full article at

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

M.A.R. Barker Memorial set for May 5 in Minneapolis

Here's an important announcement for any Tekumel fans out there. There's going to be a memorial for the creator of Tekumel, M.A.R. Barker here in the Twin Cities--including some kind of A/V presentation. Below is an email that I received this morning from the Source Comics & Games (my FLGS) weekly update. Pasted verbatim:
Professor M.A.R. Barker Memorial From the Tekumel Foundation: Mrs. Ambereen Barker and the Tékumel Foundation invite you to a memorial celebration of the life and work of Professor M.A.R. Barker -Saturday, May 5th, 2012 -5PM to 9PM -Sheraton Midtown Minneapolis Hotel -2901 Chicago Avenue South -Minneapolis -Minnesota -55407.An audiovisual presentation will begin at 6:30pm, with stories and memories to be shared afterwards. Special announcements to follow. We hope that Prof. Barker's devoted fans, friends, colleagues and former students will be able to attend and share in this celebration. Please RSVP to the Tékumel Foundation so we may keep you informed of any changes. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
So there you are--just FYI in case you're out of town and looking to make the trip.

EDIT: I should have guessed there'd be more info at Chirine's Workbench blog.