Game Design

Is GTA5 a glaring example of what is wrong with the gaming Industry? - by moses vandenberg

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 27 July 2018 - 7:28am
Rockstar games…an industry icon in games development. A group of studios that is known for breaking conventions and have all the creative freedom they want.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

The story of Nelo - by Fatai Opawoye

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 27 July 2018 - 7:28am
Nelo is the brainchild of Kevin Bryant and Michelle Morger, 2 Game designers residing in Dallas. As far as indie goes, this is as indie as it gets.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

IDW Games Posts Gen Con Preview

Tabletop Gaming News - 27 July 2018 - 7:00am
Less than a week away. Gen Con is less than a week away. This weekend’s the last one before the show. Still tons of planning and prep to do. For you, that includes figuring out what booths you want to visit. Well, to help out, IDW Games has posted up what sort of things they […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

July Releases For Infinity Now Available

Tabletop Gaming News - 27 July 2018 - 6:00am
It’s coming up to the end of the month. July will soon be gone. But that doesn’t mean that there’s no time left for July releases. In fact, Corvus Belli has just posted up their July releases for Infinity. Go on and check them out. From the post: July releases now available at our online […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Change Your Campaign With Grace

Gnome Stew - 27 July 2018 - 5:00am

Summer. It’s that time of the year, where publishers launch new games during the major gaming conventions. With all sorts of new games hitting the market, we gobble them up, anxious to get them to the table. The problem is we already have a game we are playing. And so comes the age-old conundrum of how to finish up one game and start a new one gracefully. How can we have both a satisfying end and an exciting beginning? Because seriously, I just got this game and its burning in my hands — I need to run it nooooowwwww.

The Shiny

Yea. The shiny gets all of us. We recently talked about it here on the Stew and on the Gnomecast. It’s tough to resist. For me, right now, I am running this amazing Tales from the Loop game, but I got my PDF copy of Scum & Villainy. I really want to play S&V. I loved Blades in the Dark so much, that doing it in space can only be better…like really better. At the same time, my Loop game is all sorts of amazing, and building up to a big reveal. Ok, so how do we do this?

It’s More Work For The GM

Welp, here is the honest fact. If you want to transition between games well, you are going to have to do some extra work. If you are up for it, it will totally be worth it, but make sure you have the time to commit.

In a nutshell, you will need to bring your game to a satisfying conclusion, while at the same time prepping your new campaign. While this seems pretty easy, you are going to have to keep focus and remain committed to the campaign that is ending, while you crack open the new shiny and bask in its lovely glow. You are going to have to resist the urge to dump everything and fall into that siren’s song of the new game.

Why Bother?

Too many campaigns end without satisfying endings. They just one day stop. And we as humans are creatures that are conditioned to stories. Deep in our animal brains, we like things that have a start, middle, and an ending. It is why we lost our shit when Firefly was canceled. The same is true for campaigns. They are so much more satisfying when they end cleanly.

Bringing The Old To An End

So the first thing we need to do is plan the end of our campaign. Finishing a campaign with the end of a meaningful story or arc is a good way to wrap things up. Look at your current storyline and the arc you are in and look for how that will logically complete. Also, consider if you also need to conclude any minor arcs, character arcs, etc in order to give the campaign a sense of completion.

Next, with some understanding of how the campaign could end, go and talk to your players. You need to get their consent for this. In many cases, they are just as excited for the new shiny as well, so you won’t have to sell them too hard, but depending on the game it could be harder than you plan. As you are telling them about wanting to run the new game in the future, you can also give them an idea of where the campaign will end, and likely when based on how many sessions you think it will take to get there. Talk it through, ask if they have any arcs they would like to see completed before the game wraps, and if possible, make sure they are included.

BTW – it’s not that you need all the players’ consent to switch games – after all, you are the one who is running the game – but it is polite to ask everyone for the input, especially if this is the group that you are planning to run the shiny game with.

If everyone is on board with the plan to end the game, then make the commitment to do so and work towards that goal. Often there is an energy to the game when everyone knows that a major arc is going to conclude, and this can add some new excitement to the game.

Prepping the New Game

Now that you know when and how your old game is going to end, you can start your work of getting the new game prepped. The first thing you likely have to do is to start reading the rules, so get cracking. As you get into the rules, you are going to start to have ideas for the campaign you want to run. Start jotting those ideas down. Eventually, you will need to get some player input and that is where it gets tricky.

We Suck At Finishing Things  …we humans love starting things and we hate finishing them.

So everything we have been talking about up to this point is really straightforward advice… finish one thing before starting another. But from experience as a GM and as a Project Manager let me tell you that we humans love starting things and we hate finishing them. Rarely does a Project Manager have issues getting a new team started on something, but rarely does that team surge across the finish line with the same excitement.

The same is true about GMs and players. All of your instincts are going to drive you towards dumping that campaign and playing the new shiny next session. First, there are going to be the doubts that creep into your mind… why do you need to finish the campaign, it was fun enough. Then the new ideas from the shiny are going to jump into your mind… oh man, I can’t wait to do this and that in the new game, it’s going to be so awesome. Third, it will all get worse when your players get excited as you ask them questions or tell them about the game, and they start having that feeling of doubt about the old and excitement of the new.

This is where you need to dig in and hold the line. If you are going to do this right and give your campaign the ending it deserves, you are going to need to fight your own inner voices, and you are going to have to keep the group focused on finishing.

Here are a few tips:

  • Share info with them as late as possible. The less excited they get the more energy you can use on keeping yourself focused.
  • Have a target date in mind. It helps to know that there is an ending and it’s getting closer. When we don’t know when things will end we lose hope of getting there.
  • Get it out of your head. The reason we obsess over things is because your brain does not trust you to remember them. For example, why can’t you remember you need a light bulb when you are in the store, but you do two seconds before you turn on the light with the burnt light bulb. So when you have some great campaign idea, write it down into something you can look at later. Get it out of your head, and your brain will calm down.
  • When you do involve the rest of the players, remind them of the goal of closing out the campaign and when that it is. Set expectations.
Be Ready To Start After You Finish

So if you have held it together, you have been prepping all your stuff for the new game while bringing the old one to a conclusion. Pay that off to the players by being ready to jump into the new game the session after the old one concludes. Finish the rules, start working on campaign ideas, and get materials ready for your session zero. Be ready to start right after you close out the current campaign.

On that note, take a little time after you close the old campaign to reflect with your group on the fun you had. In fact, a little ending ritual or party never hurts.

It Is All About Self-Control

Our human nature to chase the greener grass can mean that we play the newest and shiniest games, but we sometimes leave incomplete campaigns in our wake. With a little awareness, planning, and a bunch of self-control, we can transition between games and end a successful campaign before starting a fresh new one.

Right now, I am reading S&V while planning out the last 3-4 sessions of my Loop game. I am pretty calm and committed to bringing the Loop to its season finale. I will let you know how it goes.

How are you at this? Do you drop campaigns for the new shiny, or can you get them concluded properly? How tempting are new shiny games to you? How do you do it?

Categories: Game Theory & Design

CMON Announces Zombicide RPG

Tabletop Gaming News - 26 July 2018 - 3:00pm
You’ve fought zombies in the malls. You’ve fought them in the morgues. You’ve fought them in the prisons. You’ve fought them in castles. You’ve fought them in hedgerows. You’ll soon be fighting them in space. But this new Zombicide lets you fight zombies in an all-new way. CMON has announced a new Zombicide Role-Playing Game. […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Modiphius taking Pre-Orders For Print Version of Capharnaum – The Tales of the Dragon-Marked

Tabletop Gaming News - 26 July 2018 - 2:00pm
The Middle East has a rich history that stretches back thousands of years. And, of course, there’s all sorts of myths and tales that have been created throughout that time. Capharnaum – The Tales of the Dragon-Marked sets you into that mystic land and time and lets you run around, dealing with thieves, finding genies, […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

New Super Dungeon Explore Releases Available From Ninja Division

Tabletop Gaming News - 26 July 2018 - 1:00pm
Ninja Division decided to take the figures from Ninja All-Stars and bring them into the Super Dungeon Explore world. With all the different clans, that was going to take some time. Well, the next one is ready to hit the field. It’s Clan Tanchyo, and there’s several extra heroes to pick up as well. From […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

New Virai Available For Beyond the Gates of Antares

Tabletop Gaming News - 26 July 2018 - 12:00pm
The Virai are the latest faction for Beyond the Gates of Antares. So they’ve got a little catching-up to do in terms of unit numbers. Warlord Games is looking to fix that, as there’s several new sets you can order from them now. Gotta pump up those numbers. Those are bio numbers. The Virai are […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Don't Miss: A deep dive into Forza Horizon 3's online co-op multiplayer

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 26 July 2018 - 11:19am

Playground Games designer Grant Orban describes the challenges in designing Forza Horizon 3's smooth-as-silk online co-op multiplayer campaign. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Thursday Terrain Corner

Tabletop Gaming News - 26 July 2018 - 11:00am
Thursday, and it’s one week from the official start of Gen Con. Proceed to panic/celebrate as you see fit according to your level of preparedness. I’m sure there’ll be hundreds of tables with some awesome terrain. Let’s make your home tables look just as good, ok? Today in the Terrain Corner we have: Heroic Maps […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Steamforged Previews Fathom for Navigator’s Guild

Tabletop Gaming News - 26 July 2018 - 10:00am
In every Minor Guild, there’s two players that can work with the Major Guild the team’s tied to. Fathom is one of the two for the Navigator’s Guild, being able to play up to the Fisherman’s Guild, my personal favorite Guild. On that team, Angel is one of my favorite players, and almost always hits […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Plaid Hat Games Posts Gen Con Preview

Tabletop Gaming News - 26 July 2018 - 9:00am
You know, I see a lot of “Gen Con Preview” posts, but I think this one has taken the prize so far for most items in it. Plaid Hat Games is not going to be messing around when they hit Indy next week. They’ve got all sorts of new games ready to show off to […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Privateer Press Posts Gen Con Preview

Tabletop Gaming News - 26 July 2018 - 8:00am
A week from now, Gen Con will have started (well, even really, before then, since there’s Wednesday night stuff nowadays). How horrifying is that (for all of you that have tons yet to do before the show)? For those that are excited to see what’ll be there, Privateer Press is giving you a sneak peek […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

CMON Announces Munchkin Dungeon

Tabletop Gaming News - 26 July 2018 - 7:00am
Just about all of us, at some point in time, has played a game of Munchkin, or possibly one of the dozens of separate sets, or the CCG. But CMON and Steve Jackson are teaming up to bring a new form of Munchkin to your tabletop. It’s Munchkin Dungeon, a new board game set in […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Wyrd Announces Malifaux 3.0

Tabletop Gaming News - 26 July 2018 - 6:00am
The Year of New Editions rolls onward. This time, a favorite miniatures game is getting an update. It’s Wyrd Games and their flagship, Malifaux. It’s moving to version 3.0, and they’re looking now for people to be part of the Closed Beta for it. Check out some of what’s been changed and see how you […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Gnomecast #45 – Actual Play in the World Today

Gnome Stew - 26 July 2018 - 5:58am

Join Ang, Jared, John, and Senda on Gnomecast for a follow-up discussion of Ang’s Gnome Stew article “Actual Play, Character Death, and Fan Toxicity” and a discussion about RPG sessions as public, consumable media and how they affect the hobby. Can these gnomes rally enough fan support to keep out of the stew?

Download: Actual Play in the World Today

Keep up with all the gnomes by visiting gnomestew.com, following @gnomestew on Twitter, or visiting the Gnome Stew Facebook Page. Check out Gnome Stew Merch, and support Gnome Stew on Patreon!

Follow Ang at @orikes13 on Twitter or find her in the Misdirected Mark Google+ Community.

Follow Jared at @KnightErrant_JR and his blog What Do I Know?, and you can find his actual play videos on his YouTube channel.

Check out John at johnarcadian.com and you can see his TED Talk “Tabletop Roleplaying Games as Social Practice.”

Follow Senda at @IdellaMithlynnd and follow her podcast She’s a Super Geek at @sasgeekpodcast.

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Rockets Away!: Backgrounds in Spaaaaace!

RPGNet - 26 July 2018 - 12:00am
The third 5e menu: backgrounds.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Skirmisher Publishing Running 12 Titles, for 12%, for 12 Days

Tabletop Gaming News - 25 July 2018 - 3:00pm
The folks over at Skirmisher Publishing are no Scrooges. They are looking to celebrate Christmas all year around with their special 12 Days, 12 titles, for 12% sale. That’s right, it’s a collection of 12 of their most popular titles for only 12% of their regular price. Obviously, you only have 12 days to get […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Entromancy Sci-Fantasy RPG Coming To Kickstarter

Tabletop Gaming News - 25 July 2018 - 2:00pm
Every day, we’re looking for new power sources for our world. Fossil fuels will run out eventually, and we need to replace them with something. In Entromancy, part of that replacement is made by ceridium, a new element. However, along with energy, it’s unleashed magic on an unsuspecting world. Your characters find themselves in San […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

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