Game Design

Review Roundup

Tabletop Gaming News - 9 December 2017 - 11:00am
Ok, so I was being a little facetious, saying that we were expecting a Snowpocalypse here in Atlanta, with the little bit of snow that was coming down at the time… but… yeah… we had a bit of a Snowpocalypse. That was the view from my front door last night and it was still much […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

IDW Games Announces Masque of the Read Death Game

Tabletop Gaming News - 8 December 2017 - 3:00pm
Edgar Allen Poe is one of the world’s great authors. Inventor of the detective novel, he’s more well-known for his study of the macabre. One of his famous stories is Masque of the Red Death. Next year, players will be able to put themselves into the dark narrative, as IDW will be having a Kickstarter […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

New Ninja Sets Available For Test of Honour

Tabletop Gaming News - 8 December 2017 - 2:00pm
Even though ninjas never really wrapped themselves in black like we see in pop culture (that was a kabuki theater thing. Ninjas dressed like everyone else so they didn’t stand out), it’s still fun to have ninja figures running around on our battlefields in their iconic look. Well, if you’re a Test of Honour player, […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Revised Edition of Kingsburg Now Available

Tabletop Gaming News - 8 December 2017 - 1:00pm
Games can occasionally need a bit of an update. Mechanics can be smoothed out. Art assets can be redone. Components can get a change in material or quality. In the end, you’ve got an old game that has a new feel to it. For those that are fans of Kingsburg, you’ll be happy to see […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

New Saxons Available For Hail Caesar

Tabletop Gaming News - 8 December 2017 - 12:00pm
There’s quite a lot of you out there with Saxon blood in your veins. Now, there can be quite a lot of you with Saxon minis out on your gaming tabletop (and, depending on how careful with your craft knife while cleaning and assembling the figures, you might have your Saxon blood out there as […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Friday Snippets

Tabletop Gaming News - 8 December 2017 - 11:00am
Apocalypse! Armageddon! The End of Times! Yes, it’s lightly snowing here in Atlanta. … Ok, so it’s kinda hard to see in that photo, but it’s actually picked up a bit more here. So, while we prepare our milk sandwiches with bleach, we can also nibble on some bite-sized gaming stories. Today on the platter […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Wyrd Previews Barbed Crawlers For The Other Side

Tabletop Gaming News - 8 December 2017 - 10:24am
Fridays are a magical time. They’re the gateway to the weekend, giving us a bit of freedom at the end of the work day. Fridays are also magical because Wyrd likes to give us regular previews. In this case, it’s a bit of a spiny preview for The Other Side. Have yourself a look at […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Majesty: For the Realm Now Available From Z-Man Games

Tabletop Gaming News - 8 December 2017 - 10:00am
The throne is empty. A new monarch must be set upon it. But whom should lead? Obviously, it should be the ruler of one of the realms that has shown that they are the most-prosperous and best leader. No bloodline nonsense. This is a merit-based system. Prove you’re the best ruler and you’ll be put […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Team Yankee: Stripes Releasing Now

Tabletop Gaming News - 8 December 2017 - 9:00am
Team Yankee looks at what WWIII might look like as the forces of NATO go against the Soviets on the fields of Europe. This week, the Stripes book came out, adding to the American forces. This new book can be picked up now. Next week, we’ll be seeing new versions of several American units, including […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

New Beyond the Gates of Antares Release and Free Rules Download From Warlord Games

Tabletop Gaming News - 8 December 2017 - 8:00am
It’s a two-fer of Beyond the Gates of Antares news bits today. The first is that there’s a new Boromite Hauler available over in the Warlord Games Webshop. The other is that they’ve posted up a free download of the rules. This primer, called Antares Base One, will give you the rules overview, as well […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Do PCs Dream of Dire Sheep?

Gnome Stew - 8 December 2017 - 7:28am

Today’s guest article is by Chris Baker, who talks about the role of dreams in gaming. – Never quite awake John

Most of us experience dreams as we sleep, but do your player characters have dreams? A dream can be a pleasant reminder of times past, a previously unexpressed desire or, possibly, an omen or a deeper, more troubling experience. Dreams are an opportunity for a GM to further character development in a “low risk” environment. A dream can be used to give the flavour of an impending encounter – especially if that encounter is one where the party is unprepared or has underestimated the hazard of the situation. A dream can also help a character examine their past or relive an important experience.

They can also be used to foreshadow an impending plot development or, if beneficial, help the players circle back on an item or event that has gone overlooked. The dream does not need to fit the current plot or situation. It could inform that situation, of course, or prepare a player or party for a sense of deja vu. A dream could comfort the afflicted as much as it can afflict the comfortable. A dream can be an encounter or an event (or both).

What is a dream?

As dreamers know, there are few rules when it comes to dreams. They need not follow logic or the classical unities of time, space and character. In fact, most dreams have a tinge of the unreal while being very immediate and compelling.

Despite the unlimited possibilities, a GM should be mindful that dreams are often fast paced and brief, even if they contain many scenes. There is no need for a supporting logic – you can skip from the youthful sunny day in the backyard to confronting a nameless terror as an older version of the character.

Personally, I would avoid the “you die in your sleep, you die in real life” conundrum. Your players may have that belief, which may heighten the stakes for them, but I would not recommend that you actually follow that rule. Likewise, damage taken in a dream state should not be imposed on the character. There are exceptions, such as the dream being a malicious manifestation of an enemy, but dreams should likely be a safe space for everyone, including the GM.

The Dream Itself

As GM, you control all the variables within the dream. The character (or characters) can be fully-equipped, partially-equipped or not equipped at all. They can be dressed for a social situation or clinging to a blanket (or shrubbery) for modesty’s sake. Their favoured weapon may be stuck in a scabbard or completely discharged. They may even be attending their own funeral.

As a GM, you should consider the use of the dream as part of the individual or group story arc. This may help you to reinforce a plot point or foreshadow a new arrival. There is no reason why a party cannot share a dream – especially if that dream is a “sending” by another creature, a patron or other “interested observer.”

Dreams can also be interrupted. For example, Samuel Coleridge was dreaming his great poem Xanadu when he was interrupted by an unexpected visitor. Imagine a situation where a character (or characters) are about to learn a key piece of information when they are woken by the housekeeping staff bringing fresh towels.

 “We are the stuff that dreams are made of.”

Dreams can be a powerful tool for a GM. They can help course-correct a party in a more gentle fashion than the old railroad. They can offer insight into a character or situation. Dreams are also mysterious and can fit into almost any RPG scenario.

One final caution. The television series Dallas wrote off two seasons of their show as “a dream” by one of the principle characters. While this might be an inventive way to reboot a stale campaign – taking the characters back to an earlier “fork in the road” – it did not save the show.

Have you used dreams in your games? How did you handle dream logic vs game rules? What did doing dream sequences add to the game?

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Make games inspired by the public domain - by Yannick Elahee

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 8 December 2017 - 7:08am
Public domain works-based games isn't something you should fear or hate. In fact, I believe we could make much more games based on public domain. This is a completely different exercize than making a game out of nothing.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

How we taught Dimension Drive’s unique mechanic through its trailers - by M. Joshua Cauller

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 8 December 2017 - 7:07am
Dimension Drive is out today, delivering a unique twin-screen take on the SHMUP genre. We needed to make a trailer that presented this new mechanic in a way that transmitted this new novel mechanic. This is how we did it.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Designing player death: Using intention and meaning to add depth - by Jay Johns

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 8 December 2017 - 7:07am
A series of questions and examples I use to inspire creativity while designing fail states. I hope this can be useful for anyone that wants to be more innovative while dealing with player death within their games.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

The emotional rollercoaster of making a video game - by Florent Maurin

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 8 December 2017 - 7:07am
For the last year and a half, the team behind Bury me, my Love have been working on this reality-inspired game about a Syrian migrant's journey to Europe. Florent Maurin, the project's creative director, tells all the steps to a very intense 18 months.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

BRDFs as style choices - why it matters for art direction - by Farhan Noor

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 8 December 2017 - 7:06am
A brief look at the importance of BRDFs in stylized work- something that is often overlooked in favor of simply changing art assets.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

RIP Flash: don’t miss your opportunity to port the games into Unity! - by Paul Grebenyk

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 8 December 2017 - 7:06am
Over the last year Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Safari have stopped supporting Flash. And by 2020 Flash will be completely dead. Does this mean that many of popular games will also die? There is a solution to avoid this undesirable scenario.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Welcome to SSL (aka 'SS-Hell') - by Ben Vinson

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 8 December 2017 - 7:06am
An explanation of the engineering work behind Kongregate's switch to SSL.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Should game designer learn foreign language? - by Andrii Goncharuk

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 8 December 2017 - 7:05am
In this article I will present important concepts and arguments about culture and language differences in industry. Article is about upsides and benefits of learning additional language for game developer.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

The 5 most common indie game PR mistakes (and how to avoid them) - by Lewis Denby

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 8 December 2017 - 7:04am
A run-down of the easiest traps to fall into, and advice on how any developers - even those without any budget to speak of - can avoid them.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

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