River Horse Previews Gipsy Avenger for Pacific Rim

Tabletop Gaming News - 28 February 2018 - 8:00am
Giant Robot alert! We have a Giant Robot alert! In this case, it’s Gipsy Avenger, the first preview that River Horse has posted up for their upcoming Pacific Rim: Extinction board game. They’ll be launching a Kickstarter for it starting on March 12th. I’m sure we’re all looking forward to more previews. From the post: […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Drupal blog: Three ways we can improve Drupal's evaluator experience

Planet Drupal - 28 February 2018 - 7:41am

This blog has been re-posted and edited with permission from Dries Buytaert's blog. Please leave your comments on the original post.

Last week, Matthew Grasmick stepped into the shoes of a developer who has no Drupal experience, and attempted to get a new "Hello world!" site up and running using four different PHP frameworks: WordPress, Laravel, Symfony and Drupal. He shared his experience in a transparent blog post. In addition to detailing the inefficiencies in Drupal's download process and end-user documentation, Matt also shows that out of the four frameworks, Drupal required the most steps to get installed.

While it is sobering to read, I'm glad Matthew brought this problem to the forefront. Having a good evaluator experience is critical as it has a direct impact on adoption rates. A lot goes into a successful evaluator experience: from learning what Drupal is, to understanding how it works, getting it installed and getting your first piece of content published.

So how can we make some very necessary improvements to Drupal's evaluator experience?

I like to think of the evaluator experience as a conversion funnel, similar to the purchase funnel developed in 1898 by E. St. Elmo Lewis. It maps an end-user journey from the moment a product attracts the user's attention to the point of use. It's useful to visualize the process as a funnel, because it helps us better understand where the roadblocks are and where to focus our efforts. For example, we know that more than 13 million people visited in 2017 (top of the funnel) and that approximately 75,000 new Drupal 8 websites launched in production (bottom of the funnel). A very large number of evaluators were lost as they moved down the conversion funnel. It would be good to better understand what goes on in between.

As you can see from the image above, the Drupal Association plays an important role at the top of the funnel; from educating people about Drupal, to providing a streamlined download experience on, to helping users find themes and modules, and much more.

The Drupal Association could do more to simplify the evaluator experience. For example, I like the idea of the Drupal Association offering and promoting a hosted, one-click trial service. This could be built by extending a service like into a hosted evaluation service, especially when combined with the upcoming Umami installation profile. (The existing "Try Drupal" program could evolve into a "Try hosting platforms" program. This could help resolve the expectation mismatch with the current "Try Drupal" program, which is currently more focused on showcasing hosting offerings than providing a seamless Drupal evaluation experience.)

The good news is that the Drupal Association recognizes the same needs, and in the past months, we have been working together on plans to improve Drupal's conversional funnel. The Drupal Association will share its 2018 execution plans in the upcoming weeks. As you'll see, the plans address some of the pain points for evaluators (though not necessarily through a hosted trial service, as that could take significant engineering and infrastructure resources).

The Documentation Working Group also plays a very important role in this process. After reading Matthew's post, I reached out to Joe Shindelar, who is a member of the Drupal Documentation Working Group. He explained that the Documentation Working Group has not been meeting regularly nor coordinating initiatives for some time.

It is time to rethink our approach around Drupal's documentation. Adam Hoenich, a long-time Drupal contributor, recommends that documentation becomes a full-fledged core initiative, including the addition of a Documentation Maintainer to the Core Committer team. His proposal includes blocking commits to Drupal on documentation.

I've no doubt that we have to evolve our governance model surrounding documentation. It's hard to write world-class documentation by committee without good governance and Adam's recommendations are compelling. Drupal's API documentation, for example, is governed by the Core Committers; while there is always room for improvement, it's really well-maintained. Some of you might remember that we had an official Documentation Maintainer role in the past, filled by Jennifer Hodgdon. Reinstating this position could bring documentation back into clearer focus and provide the necessary governance. I also suspect that a stronger emphasis on coordination, governance and recognition for documentation work, would inspire more contributors to help.

Last but not least, this also affects the Drupal (Core) Contributors. Evaluators often spend hours trying to get their web server configured, PHP installed or their database setup. As a community, we could help alleviate this pain by deciding to have a single, recommended default installation environment. For example, we could maintain and promote a Docker container (including an official docker-compose.yml) that ships with the latest version of Drupal. It would simplify many of our documentation efforts, and eliminate many roadblocks from the evaluation process.

To narrow down my recommendations, I would propose the following three steps:

  1. A single, recommended default installation environment (e.g. Docker container) for evaluators or developers taking their first steps in Drupal development.
  2. Infrastructure budget and engineering resources for the Drupal Association so they can offer a true hosted "Try Drupal" service.
  3. A Documentation Maintainer who can focus on end-user documentation, is a member of the Core Committer team and is responsible for defining the scope of what should be documented. Given the amount of work this position would entail, it would be ideal if this person could be at least partially funded.

Of course, there are many other solutions, but these are the areas I'd focus on. As always, success depends on our ability to align on solutions, coordinate all the work, and allocate the time and money to implement the necessary improvements. If you think you can help with any of the proposed steps, please let us know in the comments, and we'll help you get involved.

Categories: Drupal

Palladium Updates Robotech RPG Tactics Shipment Info

Tabletop Gaming News - 28 February 2018 - 7:00am
Palladium Books and their Robotech RPG Tactics game has been one of the long-drawn-out dramas of the gaming industry for several years now. The game was one of the first really huge successes on Kickstarter. Unfortunately, it’s become also the campaign that’s now looked upon as “the one that really went wrong.” Palladium has posted […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

The Rise of Ratchet & Clank’s Transforming Weapons - by Ian Colquhoun Blogs - 28 February 2018 - 6:36am
We examine the changes Insomniac has made to their signature transforming weapons.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Leaving CDProjekt RED, a first step in the dark (Part 2) - by Ryan Pergent Blogs - 28 February 2018 - 6:34am
The second part of the story on how I came to build my startup.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Meeple Like Us, February 2018 - by Michael Heron Blogs - 28 February 2018 - 6:30am
This is what's been going on in the world of Meeple Like Us in February of 2018.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Batman: Gotham City Chronicles Board Game Up On Kickstarter

Tabletop Gaming News - 28 February 2018 - 6:00am
Monolith is at it again with a new miniatures board game. This time, they are the night! They’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign for Batman: Gotham City Chronicles. Take on the role of Batman and other Batman-family characters, or step into the shoes of some of his greatest foes, as you work to either save or […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Developer portal

New Drupal Modules - 28 February 2018 - 5:05am
Categories: Drupal

Unsolicited Advice and Player Agency

Gnome Stew - 28 February 2018 - 5:00am

In role playing we are all the actors and the audience. It is important to pass the spotlight to the other players to ensure everyone shares in the fun!

Recently a gamer friend sent me a message asking for my perspective about a situation that unfolded at a game table where they were a player. In the situation, some players and the game master were directing a player on how to spend her turn. Shortly afterwards, an article began circulating on social media that covered an extreme case of the same topic, titled “Honey, Let the Real Gamers Play.” The confluence of these two events inspired me to share my perspective on what can generously be referred to as providing unsolicited advice but can be more directly referred to as taking away a player’s agency.

Note that this article is not about the intention of the people offering unsolicited advice. This is about catching people, including yourself, on the edge of overwhelming another players agency and how to move forward in game.

The Situation Here’s one of the golden rules in role playing: Let the other players do their thing.

In the aforementioned article, the writer shares a situation in which the GM and other players take away the writer’s sense of control by taking her turns for her. In the ultimate denial of agency, she was not allowed to select her own actions or even roll dice to determine the outcome. In my friend’s situation, the game master and several players at the table “helped” the player (playing a caster with some healing capabilities) to choose how to play her character by collectively suggesting what action she take or what spell she cast. By the end of the game the player called out the other participants for effectively taking over her turns.

My Perspective

It sucks to be the player on the receiving end of unsolicited advice. It makes assumptions both about the character’s personality and the player’s ability to bring that character to life. Unsolicited advice tells a player in not so many words that their fellow players – often their friends – think they are better at playing the character than the player herself.

It can feel like bullying to be on the receiving end of even well-intentioned, excited, or enthusiastic suggestions. A player may feel like they are disappointing a friend or the team if they don’t use the idea, and that’s basically the best outcome. Bottom line: It is not fun.

Here’s one of the golden rules in role playing: Let the other players do their thing.

Transforming Unsolicited Advice into Help  If a player seems to be floundering but remains silent, go ahead and ask, “Do you want a suggestion?” Full Stop. Wait for consent before offering advice, that’s the magic that transforms the unsolicited advice into help. 

Don’t get me wrong, cooperation is great – this is a team game after all. But that has to be a two way conversation. A person’s control over their character’s decisions is absolute – otherwise it’s not truly their character.

If a player is stumped and needs ideas or rules clarification I hope that player speaks up and asks for help. But silence doesn’t always mean someone needs or wants help. They may just be trying to decide their reaction to the prior player’s actions. That’s part of the collaborative nature of RPGs, the story evolves as we play – contemplation is part of responding effectively.

If a player seems to be floundering but remains silent, go ahead and ask, “Do you want a suggestion?” Full Stop. Wait for consent before offering advice, that’s the magic that transforms the unsolicited advice into help.

Why shouldn’t I freely voice my awesome ideas?  Part of being an all-star player is passing the spotlight to your fellow players and helping everyone to have fun. 

I’ve done this. I’ve got a big personality and when I have ideas bubble up I want to share them with the world. But when I realized how much I hate it when people tell me how to play my character, I started making a conscious effort to rein myself in. Part of being an all-star player is passing the spotlight to your fellow players and helping everyone to have fun.

Tables where everyone feels like their ideas are enthusiastically encouraged are where players thrive and surprise us with their ingenuity. It is the starting place for games that are pure magic. It would be absolutely boring to play an RPG with a table full of people who think exactly the same way as each other. No one would ever be able to surprise anyone. That’s the beauty of role playing, the story unfolds in unexpected ways for the players and facilitator alike.

How can I help tamp down on unsolicited advice at the game table?

As the player offering unsolicited advice:

  • Always get permission from a player to give them advice before doing so. If they do not want your advice, do not voice it. Kick some ass on your turn.
  • Charge yourself an in game resource to give advice. Spend your action role playing to persuade your counterpart to take an action. Spend a Benny or a Fate Chip to offer advice. In essence you are potentially getting a second turn, so yes it should cost you enough that you consider whether it’s worth doing.

As the Game Master at a table where unsolicited advice is flying:

  • Take control of the situation and shut down people who are overwhelming another player. Part of the role of game facilitator is to create a space where everyone shares in having fun. If players don’t feel in control of their own character they are not going to have fun.
  • Regardless of if the player takes the suggested action, charge the player(s) giving the unsolicited advice an in-game resource: an action, a Benny, an Advantage, or something else. Make the cost matter.
  • Ask the player directly “What do you want to do?” Make eye contact and use other body language to make it clear you are giving the spotlight to the current player.

As the player on the receiving end of unsolicited and unwanted advice:

  • If you are comfortable being assertive, tell the other player(s) “I’ve got this.”
  • Ask if they are spending their action trying to persuade you in character.
    • If not, tell them if they aren’t keeping it in game your character would have no idea what they want and move forward with your turn.
    • If so, have them role play it. Accept the suggestion or not as best suits you and your character.
  • Above all, remember: you are playing pretend. Your ideas are equally as right as anyone else’s, and you are always right when it comes to your own character. If anyone takes away your sense of agency in the game, don’t play with that person anymore.
Power Dynamics

Power dynamics come into play when offering advice. Before voicing advice, consider if the person you are advising may see themselves as having a different status within the gaming community. If so, you may unintentionally be creating a situation in which it is hard for them to say no.
If you:

  • are a more vocal player
  • are a more experienced player
  • know other participants in the group better
  • have a different gender identity, cultural heritage, age, etc.
  • are a gaming celebrity, game master, game event staff, or otherwise well-known member of the gaming community

Then you may have a perceived higher status, and you should be especially careful about offering unsolicited advice. This is tough because it means flipping a switch in your own mind to try see how other people may view you as having higher status even when you like to think “I’m just a regular person.”

Whatever the situation may be: always assume the other person is equally as adept at playing pretend as you are and act accordingly.

Final Thought

As either a player or the game facilitator, make a conscious decision to support and encourage all of the players at your table. Challenge yourself to build off of other players’ ideas by employing the improvisational technique of “Yes, and…!” Your enthusiasm for what someone else brings to the table will help them to feel valued and your own role playing ability will grow.

Here’s my wish for everyone at the game table: assume you and all your companions have an equal level of creativity. Then together, play a game that surprises everyone.

Have you received unsolicited advice at the game table? How did you deal with it? As a game master how do you support and uplift the ideas of players who seem unsure or hesitant? What are some other ideas for how to rein yourself in or others who are offering unsolicited advice?


Categories: Game Theory & Design

Cheeseburger Menu

New Drupal Modules - 28 February 2018 - 4:26am

This block will display the main menu, taxonomy and the children in an ordered list.

Categories: Drupal

The RPGnet Interview: Tomas Härenstam, Free League Publishing

RPGNet - 28 February 2018 - 12:00am
All about the publishers of Mutant and more.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Views Attach Library

New Drupal Modules - 27 February 2018 - 9:26pm

The views attach library module is designed to attach JS and CSS library in views,
by providing just library name.

How to use?

Installation is as simple as copying the module into your 'modules' contrib
directory, then enabling the module.

To add library in view follow below steps
1) Create or edit view
2) Find Attach Library section
3) Click on add library or edit library
4) Add or edit library name in textfield.

########## default view section #########

Categories: Drupal

Hook 42: Using Lando for Drupal 8 Core Issue Patch Testing

Planet Drupal - 27 February 2018 - 6:54pm

Drupal thrives with love and care from the community. We help move the Drupal project forward by mentoring, sharing knowledge, helping with (d.o) issues, and more. If you want to help in the d.o issue queues, you are very welcome! While there are many ways to help, one important piece is reviewing and testing code patches.

Categories: Drupal

Far Away Land RPG Up On Kickstarter

Tabletop Gaming News - 27 February 2018 - 3:00pm
I’m a fan of the theater of the absurd. Random non-sequiturs, odd mash-ups of themes, and gonzo journalism (in the Hunter S. Thompson form). If you’re like me, a game like Far Away Land might be just for you. It’s like if you mushed together something like Adventure Time and Rick & Morty and a […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Summerland Tabletop RPG Second Edition Up On Kickstarter

Tabletop Gaming News - 27 February 2018 - 2:00pm
I know, as a polar bear, you’d think my favorite environment would be the tundra. But that’s not so. I love forests. And if one were to just happen to bring down most of society, well… I mean, forests are pretty cool. That’s what’s happened in Summerland. The Sea of Leaves is a vast, supernatural […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Drupalize.Me: Symfony 4 and Drupal

Planet Drupal - 27 February 2018 - 1:30pm
Categories: Drupal

Skirmisher Publishing Releases Mysterious Relics: Pantheon-Specific Temple Objects & Furnishings

Tabletop Gaming News - 27 February 2018 - 1:00pm
As I’ve said many, many times before, it’s always good for the GM of a game to have resources on-hand to help flesh out their game world. Players are great at asking questions that a GM might not have expected, and thus have to come up with answers on the fly. A common trope is […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Wickedest Of Them All Card Game Now Available

Tabletop Gaming News - 27 February 2018 - 12:00pm
I’m a fairly straight-laced individual. I don’t tend to get in trouble. But, occasionally, sometimes it’s fun to not be so goody-goody. Y’know, go out there and do something like becoming the head of a witch coven by causing chaos and havoc among the general population. As you do. That’s what you’ll be doing in […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design


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