Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

Blog Watch: Westworld’s Antecedents, Products Not Rules, Literati Wankeri, and Post-Apocalyptic Bodice-rippers

Movies (The official site of Michael Chrichton) Westworld — “The actual detailing of these three worlds—and also the kinds of fantasies that people experienced in them—were movie fantasies, and because they were movie fantasies, they got to be very strange-looking on the written page. They weren’t things that had literal antecedents, literary antecedents. They were things that had antecedents in John Ford and John Wayne and Errol Flynn—that sort of thing.”

D&D (EN World) Is the OSR Dead? — “OSR-style games currently capture over 9 percent of the RPG market according to ENWorld’s Hot Role-playing Games. If you consider the Fifth Edition of Dungeons & Dragons to be part of that movement, it’s nearly 70 percent of the entire RPG market.  The OSR has gone mainstream. If the OSR stands for Old School Renaissance, it seems the Renaissance is over: D&D, in all of its previous editions, is now how most of us play our role-playing games.”

D&D (The Rusty BattleAxe) The OSR and My Horrifying Lack of Products — “I am not going to quibble with Tenkar’s definition because I think it is captures where the OSR is today. It is interesting that the focus of the self-identified OSR has shifted not-so-subtly from ‘process’ to ‘product.\’ It seems we have gone from rulings, not rules to products, not rules. Certainly there has been a desire from the beginning by many to create OGL-based rule sets that would, in turn, serve as platforms for other published products.”

History (A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics) A brief survey of a day in the ongoing collapse of Western Civilization…… — “Dr. Stuart got literally everything wrong.  First of all, the creators of the plaque, Dr. Carl Sagan and his then-wife, were thoroughgoing leftists themselves and were deeply inculcated in the same kind of balkanizing grievance politics that so concerns Dr. Stuart; they took all kinds of pains to avoid being ‘racist’ or ‘sexist.’  Secondly, the man’s hand is raised not in a gesture of manly triumph but of welcome.  Thirdly the woman is not ‘behind’ the man but beside him.  She is smaller because, guess what, women are on average that much smaller than men.  And far from being an example of white pride, the image is actually a carefully constructed computer composite of the average human being alive on earth at the time of the Pioneer mission (early 70s). It was painstakingly crafted at great expense to be representative of all mankind (and there are details that make this plain, like the broad noses and the woman’s hair).”

GURPS (Gaming Ballistic) Revisiting ST (Strength) Rolls in GURPS — “This is a bit of a ground-up redesign of the ST and encumbrance rules. The usual penalties and bonuses for having a certain multiple of BL for break points and its impact on Dodge could easily turn into an all-out penalty to skill as well. That would turn heavy armor from ‘oh, that’s heavy, it impacts my Dodge’ into ‘that’s crippling and hits my ability to do anything to a ridiculous degree.'”

Books (Monster Hunter Nation) Fisking the HuffPo, because writers need to GET PAID — “You are taking this lackadaisical literati wankery method that works in one specific genre (litfic) and extrapolating out this bizarro version of the rest of the publishing industry. The rest of the publishing industry runs on deadlines. In tradepub your book is probably on the distributors calendar months before you’ve finished it, and if you can’t consistently turn in a quality product that hits those deadlines, you’re toast.”

Books (File770) Pixel Scroll 9/15 Scroll on, thou deep and dark blue Ocean — scroll! — “That’s a knockout line as long as you don’t remember Correia is delivering this fisking free of charge on a blog.”

Books (Whatever) How Many Books You Should Write In a Year — “All of my novels are contracted to be around 100,000 words, because that makes for a nice-sized book on the bookstore shelf (this is one reason, among others, why I added the codas to Redshirts). I have some flexibility there, but add up the total word count for all my published novels to date, and you get very close to 100k as an average word count number.”

Books (Kameron Hurley) The Cold Publishing Equations: Books Sold + Marketability + Love — “Contrast this to my first book, GOD’S WAR, which I was paid $6,500 for and which earned out its advance and started making money in its first 6 months – after selling only its first 5500 copies. It has since gone on to sell over 20,000, and I just got a nice little royalty check about the size of the one I got for it when it was only 6-12 months old. We continue to have some… interesting interest in this series, which is fun. Go-go little book.”

Books (Cirsova) My Lord, Barbarian, Andrew J. Offutt — “My Lord, Barbarian combines the wild high-octane action of heroic fantasy and post-apocalyptic sci-fi, the steamy romance of a bodice-ripper, and the drama and intrigue of an oriental historical novel with a degree of mastery that is cruelly undersold by its cheapo Del Rey mass-market 1st edition format.  I’d chop off my arm to write one book this good.”

MicroGames (Brian Train) Winter Thunder: a new old game on the Battle of the Bulge — “Winter Thunder is a substantial revision of Autumn Mist,an earlier design of mine on the Bulge that I did in 2003, in the waning days of the Microgame Design Group, and which was picked up later by Fiery Dragon Productions. Among the many changes are: a newly researched order of battle, with revised counter values and reinforcement schedule; cleaned-up rules including a solitaire play system; and a drastically revised map with a different ground scale and treatment of terrain. Nicely die-cut counters and a 17 x 22″ map make it look really spiffy!”

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