Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

Blog Watch: A Distant Plain, Random Dungeon Generation, and Flappy Bird

Tactics Without Rules (Gaming Ballistic) New appreciation for old school revival gaming — “We decided we’d fight with our melee guys at the bottom of a sloping ramp that allowed only two or three undead foes to go after us at once. This protected the thief and magic user, while restricting the number of foes attacking the fighters. The non-combatant characters could rush up and do stuff, but by and large were kept safe(r) by the meat shields. Rules for it? Nope – only the GM say-so, which was fine by us.”

A Distant Plain (Washington Post) In the world of war games, Volko Ruhnke has become a hero — “It’s great to hit preorder numbers, sell games, know there’s buzz. But if someone were still playing my games 40 or 50 years from now? Even if it were only a couple people? That’s lasting. I work in intelligence. There’s not a lot that lasts in intelligence. All I want is to see people playing. That’s immortality.”

Flappy Bird (The Bottom Feeder) Why Indie Developers Go Insane — “Dong Nguyen quit. A fortune coming through the door, and he walked away. As I write this, Flappy Bird has been removed from app stores. Think about this. I mean you, personally. Think about what it would take to make you run from a gold mine like this. Really. Think about why someone would do this.”

Game Mastering (Roles, Rules, and Rolls) Listen To Your Boredom — “As anyone who has ever sped up the action, thrown out a rule, or handwaved a procedure will recognize, the rule of boredom applies to game-mastering, too. Boredom occurs when players are neither engaged in adventure, anticipating adventure, or savoring the last adventure. All quiet moments in the game should be strongly focused on one or both or the last two of these.”

Unanticipated Consequences (Hack & Slash) On Ability Auctions — “The expectation that players should have a bonus threw everything whopperjawed, because now systems were implemented to favor those high ability scores. Qualification for classes encouraged this trend, even though the intent was to make the classes rare. Setting was keyed into the rules, and a lot of people wanted a different setting.”

Ogre (Miami Dice) Episode 132 — “I would have to rate this game a 10 for me to keep it because… where am I supposed to store this? If I’m going to go travel to a gaming thing, I have buy a kid’s car seat to put this in the car. It takes a whole seat up! It’s really huge and unwieldy– and I actually think that’s a detriment.”

Fanzines (The Semi-Retired Gamer) A Look at & Magazine Issue 7 — “& Magazine has the right feel and does, in fact, carry on the spirit of older Dragon magazine and I encourage everyone that fits into the old school type of play to check out this valuable resource.”

Turning Points (Random Wizard) Steam Tunnels — “I wonder if D&D would have become as popular as it did if that original, incorrect headline never appeared.”

Dungeon Design (The Tao of D&D) Random Dungeon Generation — “My personal experience is that dungeons work best when each ‘level’ or spreading section has one to three monsters in it. Typically, the main creature plus a supporting creature (goblins with wolves, a wizard with thirty pet owlbears, that sort of thing), and then some sort of vermin for the quiet corners, like spiders, rats, snakes, oozes, etc. This is then separated from the next section by a secret door, a cavern chimney that’s difficult to navigate (thus logically keeping the sections separate from one another) or some sort of installed block/barrier where the upper creatures are trying to keep the lower creatures from invading them.”

GURPS (Dungeon Fantastic) GURPS 101: Avoiding Combat Analysis-Paralysis in GURPS — “I’ve been playing GURPS since Man-to-Man and most of the time my characters just whack the body with a high-damage attack.”

8 Bit (The Internet Archive Software Collection) Eastern Front 1941 (Atari) (1981) — “Crawford, who worked at Atari at the time, developed Eastern Front during his own time for nine months. In a 1987 interview, he estimated he had worked a total of 800 hours on Eastern Front, and that he believed that the game had influenced the industry to simplify user interfaces and prove that there was a market for an ‘intelligent’, non-action game.”

Star Wars (TOR) You All Forgot That Luke Skywalker is a BAMF — “Obi-Wan Kenobi might have tried to mind trick them into a game of pinochle, but Luke doesn’t have time for that crap. As a definitive first action, that is a dark place to take us. It’s a move Vader uses, not Luke’s mentors. Yet it isn’t ascribed any villainous overtones—we’re meant to go along with this in good faith.”

Playing With the Rules (Renovating the Temple) A supplementary theory of rule generation — “People started making new rules not just to fix what they considered broken but because they wanted to improve the system they used. Tinkering with improvements and redesigns, while putatively useful, is actually often an end in itself. Some people garner enjoyment from the tinkering.”

Design Fail (Ten Foot Pole) Dungeon Magazine #24 — “It suffers from what I like to call ‘1E Syndrome.’ This is where things make sense but are boring. Like magic mouths saying command words that release temporal status areas full of rust monsters. There’s no wonder and mystery in that.”

You Can Go Home Again (RPG Snob) A Nostalgic Wandering Through AD&D — “It’s baffling after years of GURPS, Hero and BRP related games just how much at home I still feel in these crazy, alternatively hyper-detailed and abstract as hell rules, with the giant collection of ridiculously specific random tables cheek by jowl with suggestions that the DM should do something without any parameters provided whatsoever.”

See Also: 

7 responses to “Blog Watch: A Distant Plain, Random Dungeon Generation, and Flappy Bird

  1. Charlie Warren February 17, 2014 at 9:22 am

    Thanks for the mention in Blog Watch. I know I’m doing something right when I hit the spotlight.

  2. Jimmy Anderson February 17, 2014 at 10:32 am

    Jeff – this is not really a “blog watch” comment, but I’m curious if you’ve tried Edge of the Empire. That’s the RPG of choice for our gaming group right now and I’m wondering if you’ve tried it and have any comments.

    I have been blogging our sessions (somewhat) but am a little behind…

  3. Role Play Craft February 17, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    Really nice collection of links! You’ve got all my evening RPG reading all set up for me, thanks guy. ;)

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