Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

My Games Writing at Castalia House

On the off chance that you’ve missed my games writing over at Castalia House, here’s a complete run down. I am not shy about pointing out how happy I am with how this is shaping up. I cover the full range gaming topics: vintage stuff, current releases, role-playing games, wargames, everything! I write in such a way that you can get something out of a post even if you don’t buy or play the game in question. I put things into the wider context of gaming history and touch on the literary antecedents of the games we play. And yeah, I occasionally get esoteric, but I try to stay readable and comprehensible to people that aren’t gamers. No matter what, though, I never stray from the voice of someone that actually knows how to articulate how these things work in actual play… and that just freakin’ loves to play the heck out of these things.

I have complained about how games are covered in magazine articles and so forth in the past. I am just so rarely satisfied with how “journalists” and commentators portray games and gaming in general. Voicing that sort of concern almost invariably summons a smarty pants type that sneers back, “oh, you’re just complaining; the best answer to this sort of thing is to go out show us the right way to do it.” Well listen here, bucko… I’ve done it now.

If you dig this stuff, by all means… link and comment and talk this up. God willing, we’ll serve up a good deal more in the coming year. But hey, your best bet on making sure this sort of thing keeps coming is for you to explain to all the publishers out there how they need to offer me big piles of cash in order to get the right to carry my column in their newspaper, magazine, or on their website. Besides, you know you want to walk into a Barnes & Noble and see my stuff on the shelf instead of stuff by that other guy. You know… that sort of writer that doesn’t understand gaming the way that we do. You know what I mean.

A pipe dream? Maybe. I still think this about the most interesting thing around. Not just the games themselves… not just the innovations in game design techniques… but the close connection that gaming has with classic works of science fiction and fantasy that are now unaccountably obscure. There’s a huge story here and we’re only beginning to uncover it!

Here’s to the new year… and thanks for sticking with me.

RETROSPECTIVE: Warriors of Mars by Gary Gygax and Brian Blume

REVIEW: Domains at War (Battles) by Alexander Macris

REVIEW: Space Empires 4X

REVIEW: Adventurer Conqueror King

REVIEW: Space Empires Close Encounters

Bonus Rant: “So are you the author of this article?”

REVIEW: Dwimmermount by James Maliszewki, Alexander Macris, and Tavis Allison

11 responses to “My Games Writing at Castalia House

  1. Cirsova December 29, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    “Actually, it’s about ethics in Appendix N Journalism.”

    Congrats, and best of luck in the New Year!

    • jeffro December 29, 2014 at 4:46 pm

      Or maybe… people that like games want to read about games from people that also like games, gamers, and gaming. Just a hunch there…. (!!)

      Thanks, Cirsova!

  2. mistaben December 31, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    I have devoured your posts at CH, Jeffro. Keep it up!

  3. BobtheCertifiedIdiot December 31, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    I’ve especially enjoyed the Appendix N stuff, and found it a gateway to a fair amount of binging on related internet reading, particularly ODD.

    • jeffro December 31, 2014 at 9:10 pm

      That was the plan! I’m glad it worked…. My most deep and insightful observations are usually something I read on a game blog. I try to credit the people that do the original work as much as possible.

  4. Scooter December 31, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    Jeffro, if you raise the bar any higher even the South Park version of James Cameron is going to be jealous. Well done! It’s a pleasure reading your reviews.

    • jeffro December 31, 2014 at 9:15 pm

      Aw, shucks. (I gotta say, I was blown away by your piece on “If you were a Dinosaur”, and have been hoping for a long time that you’d do a series on fantasy foundations in the vein of your “chronocompulsive obsessive disorder” post. Sort of a “Tolkiens Appendix N” type thing.)

      • Scooter January 4, 2015 at 2:00 am

        Thank you. I’d love to do a series on fantasy foundations. I’m no scholar, so it’d have be a unique perspective

  5. Wilfred Provost December 31, 2014 at 7:07 pm

    Off topic question: Do you like GURPS? XP

    • jeffro December 31, 2014 at 8:43 pm

      Yes. I’ve generally found that for “realistic” combat, anything I’d want to do is easy to find, is well thought out, and is more cogent than a ruling I might improvise. Even applying stuff from Martial Arts in the heat of the game, I end up finding out that I pretty much had the basic answer in my Basic Set books all along. It takes some effort to dig into it, but the effort is rewarded.

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