Game Design

Ultimate NPCs for 5th Edition Up On Kickstarter

Tabletop Gaming News - 25 January 2018 - 2:00pm
As I’ve said time and time again, having more resources for the GM is never a bad thing. They have an entire universe to populate while the players have to only worry about their own characters. I know I’ve struggled to come up with all the NPCs that my group might encounter along the way. […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

PSA: GDC 2018 attendees, book your travel and accommodations!

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 25 January 2018 - 1:33pm

If you're planning on attending GDC 2018 in March, book your travel and accommodations sooner rather than later -- you can access discounted rates via the GDC Travel hub! ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Redshirts, Vol. 2: A Starfinder Comedy Adventure Up On Kickstarter

Tabletop Gaming News - 25 January 2018 - 1:00pm
We all know that if you’re in a sci-fi universe and you’re in a red shirt, your days are numbered. That’s the one piece of apparel that almost guarantees you don’t make it to the end credits. Well, there’s humor to be found in that when you look down at your character and go, “… […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Washington state senator introduces bill to tackle the big loot box debate

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 25 January 2018 - 12:29pm

Washington State Senator Kevin Ranker has introduced a bill that seeks to answer the million dollar question: should loot boxes be classified as gambling? ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Renegade Game Studio and Hunter’s Books Team Up For New Releases

Tabletop Gaming News - 25 January 2018 - 12:00pm
It’s good when people work together. In the gaming industry, that usually means getting games out to a bigger audience than originally thought possible. In this instance, it’s Renegade Game Studio and Hunter’s Books that are partnering up. With this alliance, games like Kids on Bikes, Outbreak Undead, and The ABCs of RPGs will be […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Analyst: YouTube Gaming saw a 343% increase in active streamers in 2017

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 25 January 2018 - 11:16am

A new report from Streamlabs says that Twitch still attracts the lion's share of streamers but notes that YouTube Gaming achieved a significant amount of growth in 2017. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Thursday Terrain Corner

Tabletop Gaming News - 25 January 2018 - 11:00am
Well… I’m sick. Woke up this morning feeling worse than I went to bed last night. So, if you get a virus alert when you look at TGN today, just wipe it down with some Lysol and you’ll be fine. (ok, actually, if you get a virus alert when you open up TGN, lemme know […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Astrahys Fantasy Miniatures Game Up On Kickstarter

Tabletop Gaming News - 25 January 2018 - 10:00am
The last time I took French was my sophomore year of high school. I used it a little later on when some of my staff when I worked at the hospital was Haitian. So, needless to say, it’s rusty and then some. Thankfully, the Astrahys Kickstarter is in both French and English. And the minis […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Dead ’til Dawn Zombie Survival Horror Card Game Up On Kickstarter

Tabletop Gaming News - 25 January 2018 - 9:00am
Well, there’s zombies attacking. Damnit, Todd! I told you that you should’ve gotten that cough looked at. Now we have to pool our resources and work together unless we want to become lunch for some walking skin sac. Good thing we played a bunch of Dead ’til Dawn, so that we know what to do. […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Privateer Press Posts New Blindwater Info for the IKRPG

Tabletop Gaming News - 25 January 2018 - 8:00am
The Blindwater Congregation is easily my favorite faction for Warmachine/Hordes. Sure, I might own more Cygnar, but I mean… c’mon! Gatormen! And with the release of the new box set, more people than ever are getting into that faction. And they want more! And PP’s here to deliver. They’ve posted up a bunch of expanded […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

How to Make Healthy Games - by Ramin Shokrizade Blogs - 25 January 2018 - 7:36am
Ramin identifies the two core consumer needs in IM, and suggests that by meeting those needs directly we can improve product success and consumer health. He also shows us how. Part two of a two part series.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Steamforged Launches Fisherman’s and Butcher’s Guild Indiegogo Campaigns

Tabletop Gaming News - 25 January 2018 - 7:00am
The latest teams to come out for Guild Ball, the Farmer’s Guild and the Blacksmith’s Guild, have both been in pre-constructed boxes, with the figures made out of PVC. Meanwhile, the original teams have only been consolidated into team boxes. Well, Steamforged is looking to switch entirely over to that new format, and bringing the […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Infinity: Infinity: Player's Guide

New RPG Product Reviews - 25 January 2018 - 6:43am
Publisher: Modiphius
Rating: 4
In essence, this is a cut-down version of the core rulebook containing material of use to a player, with extensive notes on how the 2D20 game mechanic works and everything you need to generate a character using the detailed 'lifepath' system designed for this game. Given the sheer size of the core rulebook, this makes some sense, but it does leave out quite a lot of the setting background as well - stuff that a character would know, even if his player does not. If your intent is to play and never GM this game, and cost/portability is important, it's a good option.

The Introduction begins with general notes on the setting and the tone of the game, then presents an overview of the inhabited planets in the Human Sphere and the factions of the future - as despite technological advances and rises in living standards, human beings seem as quarrelsome as ever. We also hear about the Combined Army, an AI-led group of alien races who are at war with the Human Sphere, attacking at any opportunity, as well as a couple of the major alien races involved.

Next comes a section on Life in the Human Sphere which presents an overview of everyday life. While not everything is wonderful for everybody, it is the case that the bulk of economic activity is directed at fulfilling desires rather than meeting basic needs. Quite a bit of space is devoted to explaining Maya - the successor to the Internet - and the way in which information and communications are handled seamlessly and immersively, with artificial reality (AR) playing a large part. It's a mesh-based system (everything connected with everything else) with integral encryption and tracking based on 'hyperledgers', which are the successors to blockchains and probably as little understood by the average citizen! It is so pervasive that it's unthinkable for the lights not to come on when you enter a darkened room (OK, so that already happens in my office at university, even if that it merely a motion sensor!), but the idea that you could query the drink you put down a few minutes ago as to precisely where you left it appeals. Travel between the colonised planets is effected by wormhole, there are some notes on that as well as on popular spectator sports and much more.

The next discussion covers the nature of the games you'll play. The default is that characters are agents of the Bureau Noir, the 'secret service' of an organisation called O-12 that exists to maintain some level of peaceful cooperation across the Human Sphere. Within that, however, many individuals hold allegiance to one of the factions and often find faction errands piggybacked onto a Bureau-assigned mission. Of course, outside of this there are no end of adventures to be had if you prefer to go exploring or trading, join the military, or work more overtly for your faction in some manner.

We now move on to more detailed analysis of 2D20 game mechanics. This - and the following sections on character creation - are as detailed as the core rulebook versions, so if game mechanics rather than setting are most important for you, you will not lose out by getting the Player's Guide rather than the full rulebook. The cinematic nature of the 2D20 system is explained well, with the use of Heat (for the GM) and Momentum (for players) providing extra edges and drama to proceedings. There's a lot to take in, but once you understand it (and have run through the odd skirmish and other tasks) it's logical enough that things will fall into place. An added dimension is that combat comes in three types (which can run concurrently): actual brawling, infowar and psychological warfare. This can get confusing at first, but as it becomes familiar it's extremely powerful and quite fascinating.

Next we meet the Lifepath system, which creates well-rounded characters with a ready-made background. This system begins with the character's birth and tracks through what happens to them right up to when play begins. Mechanically, there are nine Decision Points that shape his life - but you have five 'Life Points' to guide him through the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. You end up with a personal background that - like your own - is shaped partly by chance and partly by the decisions that you make. It all begins with determining initial abilities, then the faction and planet where you were born, and your family's status there. After a 'youth event' you gain an education, go through an 'adolescent event' and go through one to three career phases, before putting the finishing touches to your career. There are random tables for each of these, but you may use your Life Points to make choices for some of them - with five Life Points and nine Decision Points you won't be able to choose everything, so decide what's vital to the character you want. An elegant system which can provide hours of endless fun... a good idea, as you don't knock out characters that quickly with such a system, so have a few in your folder ready just in case you need one mid-game! However, as resurrection is now possible, you might not need that.

Loads of detail about each stage is provide to help you understand everything you need to know. All through this process, you gain skills and traits just as in any character generation process. Some you choose specifically, others come associated with the choices you make or what life throws at you. There is also an alternative point-buy system which, with the GM's permission, you can use to custom-design a character without any random elements. Nice if you have a very detailed character concept in mind, but the random element does make for a more interesting character! Just reading through all the tables spawns many ideas for characters... and should give the GM plenty of plot material for when your past catches up with you! This is followed by details of how to improve a character and extensive notes on all the skills available.

A cut-down version of the information provided in the core rulebook about equipment follows, and then there are two appendices. The first contains information about 'agent handlers' - if you work for a faction, who tells you what it needs you to do? Find out here. The other appendix contains all you need to convert your Infinity RPG character into one playable in the Corvus Belli miniatures skirmish game on which the RPG is based (or, of course, the other way).

A useful abstraction of the full core rules for players, but missing an awful lot of the background information that really brings the setting to life - it's more like the setting information in the Quickstart coupled with the rules fully-expanded from that to the complete ruleset. Useful, however, if you want the game mechanics concentrated in one convenient package.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Are video games underpriced? - by Leonard Perez Blogs - 25 January 2018 - 6:43am
The objective of this article is to discuss if modern games are underpriced or overpriced, and how publishers and developers
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Red Flags on the Job Hunt: Student Edition - by Meagan Byrne Blogs - 25 January 2018 - 6:42am
Students are given lots of advice on how to make themselves attractive to employers, but very little about what to watch out for when job hunting. Let me unload a decade of job hunting and working experience and give you some red flags to watch out for.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

How to Use Persistent Systems to Improve Progresssion - by Josh Bycer Blogs - 25 January 2018 - 6:40am
Persistent systems are a popular form of progression in rogue-like and match-based games, we're going to talk about the best and worst uses of them.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Localizing Achievements, Trophies, and Other Shenanigans - by IGDA Localization SIG Blogs - 25 January 2018 - 6:39am
The localization of a console/PC game’s achievement and trophy assets can be extremely time-consuming and inefficient if not done properly. In this article, I will provide a few tips for both developers and translators to maximize efficiency.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Fantasy Flight Previews Leia Organa and Fleet Troopers Expansions for Star Wars: Legion

Tabletop Gaming News - 25 January 2018 - 6:00am
Arguably the most influential member of the Rebel Alliance was Leia Organa. A diplomat, a military commander, a strike team member. She did it all. Soon, she’ll be doing it all on your tabletops in Star Wars: Legion with the Leia Organa Commander expansion. And coming along with her, there’s also the Fleet Troopers set, […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Farlands - What Is Good Game Design? - by Stanislav Costiuc Blogs - 25 January 2018 - 3:02am
After a little hiatus, I'm back with a video discussing which directions to follow to evaluate if your design is good.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

IGDA Survey Shows Diversity and Job Stability Concerns - by Sande Chen Blogs - 25 January 2018 - 3:02am
In this article, game designer Sande Chen relates the lack of progress on diversity and job stability, as indicated by the IGDA 2017 Developer Satisfaction Survey.
Categories: Game Theory & Design


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