Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

Blog Watch: Epic Fights, Backup Plans, and Serious Business

Game Mastering (Dungeon Fantastic) Gauging an Epic Fight in GURPS DF — “So really, I say I don’t balance fights, but that’s not quite true. It’s better to say I don’t decide which fights I want to be epic, I just set the stage for that potentiality. I don’t balance the fights so it all falls to clever PC tactics and good die rolls, but I make the fights appropriately challenging enough that this could happen. And I don’t decide what the outcome or costs of a fight will be, I just place it and scale it so it’s worthy of the time it takes to play out.”

Player Skill (Gaming Ballistic) Fight Planning – Know When to Fold ’em — “The party really should have some plan in mind when one of the niches that are carefully preserved by DF templates is no longer filled. This could be a fighting (or screaming) withdrawal, a concentrated effort to get the party healer to the downed foe, or launching bottles of paut and Greater Healing at the guy with a sling. Whatever works, use it – but have a plan.”

The Way it Was (Polar Bear Dreams and Stranger Things) How I got started — “Everybody was using daggers as their weapon of choice for several weeks after that until an 8th grader corrected us.”

MegaDungeons (Dungeon Fantastic) Megadungeon Play Reflections – The Immediate and the Cumulative — “So your choices, tactically and strategically, matter both immediately and cumulatively. This means you can make a tactical choice to back off from a fight, and pay for it later as the threat still exists. Or you could be making a strategic dent in the opposition by whittling away their resources by attrition. Or both – you can be cutting them down, reducing their numbers, but giving away knowledge of your capabilities and relative threat level. All of this is because it’s a reactive environment, not a static one, and it’s not a one-trip dungeon but a location you return to many times. This works for the GM and the players, who can mix bold immediate goals with cautious long-term ones. Or the reverse – plan a series of cautious immediate goals, which lead cumulatively to a long-term benefit from the dungeon.

Game Design (Really Bad Eggs) Seriously — “Writing and creating for my campaign is fun, but even taking that same information and putting it into a publication-friendly format is too much like Serious Business for me. I have nothing but respect for those who make that leap, but I have no interest in joining them.”

War Games (Pulsipher Game Design) Video Wargame Conversions from the Tabletop — “In a real war, a commander barely knows what’s going on within his immediate sight.  He doesn’t know how well his units are going to actually act under fire, he doesn’t know where most of them really are, he doesn’t know where the enemy is for the most part, he doesn’t know how well the enemy units are going to react under fire, he doesn’t know how well his commanders are going to follow orders, he doesn’t know how well his commanders are going to react to changed situations when they receive orders that are an hour old or a day old, and the situation is changed from what the overall commander understood – or he never understood it to begin with owing to all these limitations.  ”

Science Fiction (Megan McArdle) Frederik Pohl’s Great Fiction and Sketchy Economics — “What’s remarkable about this is that just as Pohl published this book, OPEC’s dominance was undone. Higher prices had encouraged not only conservation, but also exploration. Oil companies put tremendous resources into finding new fields, drilling new wells and finding ways to refine stuff that previously wouldn’t have been economic, like Venezuela’s heavy, sulfurous crude…. Of course, the vanishing of Saudi Econoia left an empty niche. Almost immediately, a new strain sprang up to fill it: Japanese Econoia.”


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