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THE BACK-UP GAME: FIELD REPORT 1

Gnome Stew - 15 August 2016 - 1:00am

In a previous article, we looked at reasons for having a back-up game. To recap briefly, adult responsibilities often get in the way of having a full table. A back-up game is a one-shot or series of one-shots that can be dropped in when necessary. In the past few months, we’ve used a back-up game three or four times. This seemed like a good point to reflect on what is working about the back-up game, and what challenges it has presented. Hopefully this “field report” will present useful insights if you’re considering a back-up game. First let’s look at our back-up game’s fiddly bits.

THE PARTICULARS

Our group meets almost weekly for 2 hour sessions. While this is much shorter than traditional sessions, it seems to work with adult schedules. There are six players in the group, and they generally don’t like to press on if only two or three people can make it. Our back-up game is a simple homebrew Star Wars system. Obviously I chose Star Wars because it’s an easy sell: I’ve NEVER had empty seats at my Star Wars con games. It doesn’t happen.

WHAT WORKED

The back-up game lets us play more often. We’ve had fewer cancelled sessions, which is good for both player and gamemaster (GM) morale. So far they seem happy to fire a few blaster bolts rather then not play at all.

Running a simple system has been a positive experience from the GM’s side of the table. It would be much more difficult to adjudicate a more complex system every other month or so. It’s been a great opportunity to playtest the rules as well. Since we don’t play it frequently, it doesn’t seem like I am changing the rules constantly (though I really am).

The game’s “Rebel Missions” structure has worked well too. Each session they get a straightforward mission from their Rebellion contact and are on their way. The goal is always fresh in their minds so they don’t have to remember things from previous sessions. Such a format would work well for a Star Trek or X-files type game as well.

CHALLENGES

Sometimes it is difficult to finish a mission in a short time frame. We’ve had things carry over, which is difficult along with maintaining the regular campaign. Also, when things run over, we may not get back to the back-up game for another month or so. To help them finish in one session, I’ve had to shorten or jettison scenes.

Since this is a back-up game, we often have different players at each session. This requires a bit more time at the beginning to get everyone up and running. We also have to take time during the session to explain the rules. However, this would probably be true with an established system as well.

Given the episodic, ensemble nature of the back-up game, it can be difficult to have player characters work towards an over-arching goal. It’s like episodic television: they can’t grow and change in the same way as in an ongoing campaign. Also, it can be more difficult for characters to develop rapport with each other or NPCs.

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

Back-up games have their share of challenges. They require us to design adventures differently than for an on-going campaign. In that way, they are more like a convention game that you get to run regularly with the same group of people. However, the ability to play more often and in different genres makes it worthwhile. For me as a GM, it’s been a great move.

Do you have any observations from the field with back-up games or alternate campaigns? Did I forget anything above? Let us know below.

Categories: Game Theory & Design

DrupalCon News: A message to our CXOs: Believe In What You Do

Planet Drupal - 15 August 2016 - 1:00am

According to marketing guru Seth Godin, ‘The secret of leadership is simple: do what you believe in. Paint a picture of the future. Go there. People will follow’.

Oh, if only it was that simple!

Categories: Drupal

Fuzzy Thinking: Why Villains Hate Hero Points

RPGNet - 15 August 2016 - 12:00am
Fuzzy escapes.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

LevelTen Interactive: We Have Started the Journey of the Results Oriented Web Roadshow

Planet Drupal - 14 August 2016 - 10:00pm

You might have read a blog a couple of weeks ago that announced we were going on the road on The Results Oriented Web RoadshowWell, guess what? It finally happened! Tom McCracken hopped on an RV to travel around the country to talk Drupal and Content Marketing. Don't believe us? Watch this clip:

...Read more

Categories: Drupal

Library manager

New Drupal Modules - 14 August 2016 - 7:10am

The module provides a user interface to create new Drupal libraries.

Categories: Drupal

Review Roundup

Tabletop Gaming News - 13 August 2016 - 11:00am
Hey there everyone, We’ve made it to Saturday, so that once again means it’s time for a Review Roundup. A bit lighter this week than usual. I’m sure that’s due to Gen Con last weekend. I expect, though, that the next couple weeks will be pretty full of new reviews. I know several reviewers were […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Migrate drush

New Drupal Modules - 13 August 2016 - 9:50am

Two useful drush commands:

  1. An entity migration skeleton generator.
  2. A migration runner. Very simple, disregards potentially parallel running migrations (solution: do not do that), resets migrate status automatically (option to keep status).

These were useful for myself and I hope they will be useful to others. Bug reports and fixes are welcome. Feature requests probably will be closed.

Categories: Drupal

Drupal core announcements: Drupal core security release window on Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Planet Drupal - 13 August 2016 - 6:07am
Start:  2016-08-17 00:00 - 23:30 UTC Organizers:  xjm catch mlhess David_Rothstein stefan.r Event type:  Online meeting (eg. IRC meeting)

The monthly security release window for Drupal 8 and 7 core will take place on Wednesday, August 17.

This does not mean that a Drupal core security release will necessarily take place on that date for any of the Drupal 8 or 7 branches, only that you should watch for one (and be ready to update your Drupal sites in the event that the Drupal security team decides to make a release).

There will be no bug fix or feature release on this date. The next window for a Drupal core patch (bug fix) release for all branches is Wednesday, September 07. The next scheduled minor (feature) release for Drupal 8 will be on Wednesday, October 5.

Drupal 6 is end-of-life and will not receive further security releases.

For more information on Drupal core release windows, see the documentation on release timing and security releases, and the discussion that led to this policy being implemented.

Categories: Drupal

Replicate Helpers

New Drupal Modules - 13 August 2016 - 3:20am

This contains helpers for the Replicate module:

  • A rules action to replicate any entity (without restriction in type)
  • A ctools / panels relation that takes any entity and provides a new replicated entity to save

Have fun!

Similar modules:

  • Replicate UI: Provides rules actions to replicate an entity of known type
Categories: Drupal

Hook 42: Iterative Web Design: A Sneak Peek at Hook 42's Drupal 8 Redesign

Planet Drupal - 12 August 2016 - 8:34pm

It’s always a good idea to give your website a new coat of proverbial paint every so often. With the release of Drupal 8, we took the opportunity to not only upgrade our technology, but to completely redesign the look and feel along with the Drupal architecture.

Categories: Drupal

ImageX Media: How to Reduce Your Bounce Rate and Optimize Your Site's Content Experiences

Planet Drupal - 12 August 2016 - 5:03pm

Data-collection platforms like Google Analytics (GA) and Google Search Console gives site owners, admins, and marketings the type of data needed to make confident user experience decisions. It gives you data-rich view of your site's performance -- and not all data is created accurately.

Categories: Drupal

Silicon brings more color to holograms

Virtual Reality - Science Daily - 12 August 2016 - 4:08pm
Silicon holograms harness the full visible spectrum to bring holographic projections one step closer, report scientists. A research team has now demonstrated the hologram of three flat images at wavelengths ranging from blue (480 nanometers) to red (680 nanometers). The images appeared in planes 50 microns apart for red and higher spacings for shorter wavelengths.
Categories: Virtual Reality

Greater Than Games Announces Prime War

Tabletop Gaming News - 12 August 2016 - 3:00pm
The gaming industry is, if nothing else, fickle. Some games take off out of the blue, while others don’t get as much limelight as many people feel it should. That doesn’t mean those games are bad, mind you. Sometimes things just don’t seem to be working out so well. At those times, game companies must […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

myDropWizard.com: YouTube videos stop working on your Drupal 6 site? Here's the fix!

Planet Drupal - 12 August 2016 - 2:47pm

If you have a Drupal 6 site that uses Embedded Media Field and the Media: YouTube module to embed the YouTube player on your site, you may have noticed it stopped working in the last couple days.

While we can't seem to find any announcement from Google, it appears that the old YouTube embed code which those modules use has stopped working.

Luckily, it's pretty easy to fix!

Read more to find out how...

Categories: Drupal

GCT Studios Previews Ujimushi For Bushido

Tabletop Gaming News - 12 August 2016 - 2:00pm
Ninjas are sneaky. It’s sort of what they’re known for. While everyone was busy looking at the Jung Pirates (along with their crab-centaur-guy) at Gen Con, a new ninja was waiting off to the side, ready to ambush us with a new preview of GCT Studios’ Wave 31 for Bushido. Well, we’ve got a lock […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Virtual world improves communication following stroke, says study

Virtual Reality - Science Daily - 12 August 2016 - 1:04pm
A virtual reality world called EVA Park can improve the communication of those who have impaired speech and language following a stroke, according to research.
Categories: Virtual Reality

Vampire Hunters adds 5/6 Player Expansion Add-On

Tabletop Gaming News - 12 August 2016 - 1:00pm
The folks over at Dark Gate Games have been chugging along with their Vampire Hunters Kickstarter campaign. It’s certainly been a successful relaunch of the campaign. The funded in 14 minutes and have made it through more than 17 stretch goals. With 6 days left, there’s still plenty to go through, though. To help get […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Hereward Wargames Show Coming This September

Tabletop Gaming News - 12 August 2016 - 12:00pm
So, as I mentioned earlier, you may be thinking, “Well, Gen Con’s over. So that’s it for conventions.” And as I mentioned, you’d be wrong. But what if you’re not going to be in Connecticut? What if you’re going to be in England? Well, then you’ll want to check out the Hereward Wargames Show, coming […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Friday Snippets

Tabletop Gaming News - 12 August 2016 - 11:00am
Well, it’s been a bit of a short week here in the office, having only come in Wed-Fri. Though, with having just a little time off from Gen Con, it felt much longer. I’m looking forward to a weekend of doing probably not all that much at all. Just some time to decompress a bit. […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Connecticut Festival of Indie Games Coming This September

Tabletop Gaming News - 12 August 2016 - 10:00am
For many gamers in the US, Gen Con is the end of the gaming convention season. How untrue that actually is, though, as there are still other shows happening before the end of the year. For those up in the Northeast, you might want to check out the Connecticut Festival of Indie Games. It’s coming […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

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