Game Design

Strategies for In-App Marketing of Casual Games - by Juned Ghanchi Blogs - 14 August 2017 - 7:07am
Who did not try his hand at some simple casual games at the leisure hours? In fact, to immerse into a fun game playing experience at times, you do not need to be a diehard game lover.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Scholars Discuss Urban Empire - by Bob Whitaker Blogs - 14 August 2017 - 7:06am
Historians Bob Whitaker and Kyle Shelton discuss Urban Empire. Topics include city building games, the history of urban development, and the politics of big cities.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Scholars Discuss Urban Empire - by Bob Whitaker Blogs - 14 August 2017 - 7:06am
Historians Bob Whitaker and Kyle Shelton discuss Urban Empire. Topics include city building games, the history of urban development, and the politics of big cities.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

What good is a ruler if they have nothing to rule, a game of numbers. - by Gerard Morris Blogs - 14 August 2017 - 6:56am
Sharing one of my more surprising experiences since my hobby project got Greenlit :)
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Headed to Indy

Tabletop Gaming News - 14 August 2017 - 6:00am
Hey everyone, It’s travel day for me. Gen Con’s just a couple days away and I’m on my way to Indy. I’ll try and get some posts scheduled in for you when I make it there. Until then, safe travels to everyone this week and I’ll see you at the show! -PB
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Playing Characters Gamers Hate

Gnome Stew - 14 August 2017 - 1:00am


Oh no, not one of THOSE!

There is one thing I can say on the internet in game spaces that I know will garner immediate eye rolls and groans of “oh, you’re one of those players.” All I have to say is, “I play kender.” Visions of spotlight hogging, thieving, obnoxious, self absorbed players dance into everyone’s minds like sugar plums the night before Christmas. Yet, when I take the way that I play a kender at the table and apply it to a different character trope, like a magical girl who’s a little hyper, or a hengeyokai rogue, folks have fun and no one bats an eye. There are lots of tropes that fall into this category — the lawful stupid paladin, the lone badass, a Gungan. Sure, they can be tricky to work with, but they’re just as likely to be a fantastic rainmaker style character. So why do we assume that a particular race or class is at fault for bad play experiences when we are all at the table to play together?

You want to play a what now?

There are several assumptions people make when you say you want to play an “annoying” character:

  • You will not share the spotlight with everyone else at the table.
  • You will take actions without consideration for what the rest of the party would like to do.
  • You will steal from your party members/specifically work against your party in some way.
  • You will use this character as an excuse to be a jerk.

Unfortunately there are people who play like this anyway, without regard for their friends at the table, and they are disproportionately drawn to the kind of races/characters who will give them the excuse to do so. If that has lead you to ban kender from your games, more power to you; I understand.

I’m Shellzy Oakjumper, Very Pleased to Meet You!

 I played a kender in my very first D&D game, before I knew any better.  I played a kender in my very first D&D game, before I knew any better. The campaign lasted two years of weekly play, kender and all. While at first I suspect I was a bit problematic, we soon found the rhythms necessary to keep everyone happy at the table — and considering that it was many of our first time playing, there was a learning curve for everyone involved anyway. Soon enough, little Shellzy Oakjumper was the fearless face of the party, doing the talking and Charisma-ing and definitely all the sneaking. Playing her meant feeling my way through some specific social dynamics to make it all work.

  • No stealing from party members (learned that the hard way…I was young!)
  • Letting other people take the lead whenever it made sense
  • Letting my party stop me if they ever didn’t agree with my actions…or begging them to if I hadn’t expected them to let me go through with something
  • Talking like a kender — a lot, in a rush — but only when it was my turn (and never ever expecting to finish a story about my Uncle Trapspringer, which only got me in trouble when they actually did want me to finish the story)
You Must Have Dropped It! Can I play It?

As with any edgier gaming idea, playing with a crazy race/class/persona requires the whole table to be onboard, and for the players and GM to trust each other enough to create the sense and feeling of a character without it taking over the entire game.

Although I lucked out the first time I played, you will have a much better experience if you plan it from the start. Communication, as always, is the key for being successful at the table. With good communication, those races that everyone loves to hate can add depth and forward momentum to a game. Here are some things to sort out before your game starts:

  • Make it known that when you do stupid things, you are okay with and expect to be stopped. This is the RPG equivalent of being an actor who is planning to be interrupted but will keep the sentence going until their partner jumps in.
  • Make it known that as a player you are happy to work with the group to make decisions. If your Gungan curiously starts wandering off down a side path, use the same expectation as above that if the party has decided on a different direction, you expect to be dragged back by the back of your shirt.
  • Create clear expectations about what is acceptable in your party. Can your kender “borrow” things from other party members, or just NPCs? Can your lawful stupid paladin take physical action against a party member they think is being evil or are they limited to vocalizing their displeasure? Sorting this stuff out before the game starts means you can find in-game reasons for the boundaries if necessary.
  • Have a reason to be in the group. If you are the kind of character who is just going to brood and wants to do something totally different, make sure you have a reason to play the same game as everyone else, even if in character it’s reluctantly. Don’t make your party talk you into every single action they want to take as a group. Express your reluctance in ways that don’t slow down the game, like muttering to yourself.

As a player, there are some things you also need to be okay with going in that won’t really effect anyone else at the table. Just because your character is always talking doesn’t mean that you should always be talking, player. 

  • Be okay with taking the consequences for your actions in game if you aren’t stopped from doing something stupid or self harmful. They may see you walking towards that trap and decide they don’t feel like babysitting that day. That doesn’t mean in character you should not take that action, but be cheerful about taking your lumps.
  • Share the spotlight. Just because your character is always talking doesn’t mean that you should always be talking, player. When it’s your turn, give the feeling and impression of not stopping, but always stop when it’s time for someone else to talk. Don’t linger on your brooding ways at the expense of everyone else having a moment to take action, or, paladin, even if something is evil, sometimes let someone else react first.
  • You may have to jump out of character to differentiate that you, the player, are onboard with group actions or do not have a strong opinion. This is part of clarifying that you will not be offended or hurt as a player if your lone wolf gets plunked on a horse sitting backwards glowering while you all go off to do a thing.
  • Don’t slow down the game. Pick your moments to express the character and give that flavor to your play, but don’t make it every single minute and every single decision. If no one is jumping in, ask another player if they would be comfortable doing x to stop you (“would it be okay if you snagged my topknot and dragged me away from the display of shiny rings before I get there?” or “I’m going to do this! Please stop me…”). Don’t interfere with the game running smoothly.
So…Can I Play a Kender At Your Table?

The thing that makes character types that people despise work in games is a player who is extra careful not to be a jerk and very attuned to the table around them. Playing this kind of character requires better than your average dungeon crawl communication, but when done properly they can be a memorable addition to any campaign. Do you have any experience playing the characters everyone loves to hate? Have they been in your game? Did it buck the trend or were they just as bad as you expected?

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Fuzzy Thinking: GM Screens Made Easy

RPGNet - 14 August 2017 - 12:00am
Fuzzy GMing.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Video Game Deep Cuts: GTA Online's Flash Dream

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 13 August 2017 - 10:27pm

This week's longform articles/videos include GTA Online's crime issues, the history of the Flash game scene, & the triumphant completion of The Dream Machine. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Necromunda Returning

Tabletop Gaming News - 13 August 2017 - 6:36am
I’d been hearing some rumors floating around that this was going to be the case, but it looks like it’s now officially being announced. Games Workshop, who has been bringing back a lot of their older stand-alone games such as Blood Bowl, has announced that fan-favorite Necromunda will be making its way back to gaming […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Review Roundup

Tabletop Gaming News - 12 August 2017 - 11:00am
Usually, I’m all like, “hey! It’s Saturday! Go get your gaming on!” and, in a way, I’m still that. But I’m also, “It’s the Saturday before Gen Con… … … I Have So Many Things I Still Need To Do!!!” A couple people have asked me, “are you ready for the show?” My answer is, […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

With LawBreakers loose, Bleszinski says livestreaming the alpha was a misstep

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 11 August 2017 - 5:12pm

"It deflated some of the expectations, and we have to work three times as hard to win people back based on that perception." Boss Key cofounder Cliff Bleszinski says in a new interview with Eurogamer. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Juegorama Launches Iron Wars Board Game Kickstarter

Tabletop Gaming News - 11 August 2017 - 3:00pm
Giant robot alert! Giant robot alert! We giant robots spotted off the port bow! In this case, it’s Iron Wars by Juegorama. The game is a tactical board game with both cooperative and competitive modes, including a campaign system. Hop into your mechs, load your weapons, and get ready to fight it out. The game […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

WizKids Announces Empires Board Game

Tabletop Gaming News - 11 August 2017 - 2:00pm
It’s the 18th century and European countries are expanding all over the globe, taking over territories in order to amass great wealth from all the resources available abroad. The leaders of countries such as France, Russia, and Great Britain are vying with one-another for those colonies. That’s where you come in. As the leader of […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Corvus Belli Taking Pre-orders For Chibi Musashi Mini

Tabletop Gaming News - 11 August 2017 - 1:00pm
A while ago, Corvus Belli let us know about their Infinity deals they’re going to have at Gen Con next week. At the time, they had this Miyamoto Mushashi figure as part of it. Some people were wondering if the figure was going to be available separately. Apparently so, as they have started taking pre-orders […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Fantasy Flight Games Announces Twilight Imperium Fourth Edition

Tabletop Gaming News - 11 August 2017 - 12:00pm
Just because something has been broken doesn’t mean it’s not worth something. There’s a lot of symbolism, especially in historic cities. Such is the case with Mecatol City. It had been the capital of the Lazax Empire. Now it’s a blasted, shelled-out husk of what it once was. But all the races of the galaxy […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Friday Snippets

Tabletop Gaming News - 11 August 2017 - 11:00am
Fridays are generally pretty cool. But this is the last Friday before Gen Con. As I’ve been talking with a few people today, when they say, “are you ready for Gen Con?” my answer is, “you’re never 100% ready for Gen Con. You’re just ‘as ready as you are when Gen Con runs into you’.” […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Now's the time to pitch great Business & Marketing talks for GDC 2018

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 11 August 2017 - 10:05am

If you aim to speak at the Game Developers Conference next year, better hurry -- time is running out to submit your talk! The deadline is next Thursday, August 17th. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Wyrd Games Previews the Lord of Steel for The Other Side

Tabletop Gaming News - 11 August 2017 - 10:00am
Fridays are pretty damn awesome, if you ask me. This is well-known. Part of the reason is because Wyrd has their regular previews. Today, for The Other Side, we get a look at another Abyssinian commander. Now, when I think of the name “the Lord of Steel,” I have a certain picture in my mind. […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

New Bolt Action Pre-Orders Available From Warlord Games

Tabletop Gaming News - 11 August 2017 - 9:00am
Some new vehicles will be making their way to your Bolt Action tabletops soon. Warlord Games has a couple new skits they’re taking orders for. One’s the Opel Blitz/Maultier truck. The other is the Australian Matilda MkII tank (inc.CS/Frog flamethrower). From the announcements: Providing transport for the German army from the Blitzkrieg and on into […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

New Hobbit, Blood Bowl Releases Available To Order From Forge World

Tabletop Gaming News - 11 August 2017 - 8:00am
It’s Friday, so that means it’s new-order-day over at Forge World. Today’s releases could’ve partially ended up in a Terrain Corner post, too, but since everything’s all in one place, we’ll put them here. They’ve got a new set for The Hobbit in the form of Bard the Bowman’s Family. They’ve also got a new […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design


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