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Indie RPG Awards and IGDN Groundbreaker Awards

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Both the Indie RPG Awards and the IGDN Groundbreaker Awards have been announced recently, at Gen Con Indy. They cover products released in 2017, at least for the most part.

Indie RPG Awards
The Indie RPG Awards are voted on by indie rpg designers. You can read more about the details on their website. They are now in their 16th year. For each category, I'll list the winner and runner-ups. Games are linked only on their first appearance. Some products are not entered into our database yet. For more details (number of votes, occasional remarks by voters, all products registered for this round of awards) visit the website for the 2017 Indie RPG Awards.

Indie Game of the Year
The Watch by Anna Kreider and Andrew Medeiros

runner-ups:
Alas for the Awful Sea: Myth, Mystery & Crime in 1800s UK
Velvet Glove (Notebook Edition)
TimeWatch
Threadbare Stitchpunk RPG
City of Mist Core Book
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No Boundaries by Marc Hobbs (blog post, download link, I'm sure we'll have it added to the database soon enough.)

Indie Supplement of the Year
Itras By: The Menagerie by a bunch of awesome people

runner-ups:
Smoke & Glass by Shoshana Kessock
Veins of the Earth
Rotted Capes: Survivor's Guide, Vol. I
Dark Hold Goblin Adventures: Terror from the Black Isles

Best Support
Timewatch by Kevin Kulp (II), published by Pelgrane Press

runner-ups:
The Watch
Juntu's Floating Ice Hell by Jason Morningstar (listed as Juntu's Frozen Ice Hell), a Dungeon World adventure
Alas for the Awful Sea
Itras By: The Menagerie
Threadbare

Best Production
Timewatch

runner-ups:
Veins of the Earth
Alas for the Awful Sea
Velvet Glove
Itras By: The Menagerie
Dusk City Outlaws Core Game

Most Innovative Game
Alas for the Awful Sea by Hayley Gordon and Vee Hendro

runner-ups:
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The Watch

IGDN Groundbreaker Awards

The Indie Game Developers Network (IGDN) first presented this award in 2016 "to shine a spotlight on excellence in the indie game design community. These awards will recognize games (and game designers) who are creating new and innovative game designs that push the boundaries both in innovation and in promoting diversity." The game must be considered a tabletop RPG, LARP, Card Game, or Board Game, or some variant within (such as a dice game). A panel of four judges (two from the IGDN, two from the greater industry) checks through submissions and picks nominees and then winners in handful of categories.

While the IGDN has only put up the nominees on their website so far, Rob Wieland blogged about the winners on Geek & Sundry.

Best Art

Bluebeard's Bride (winner!)
Damn the Man, Save the Music
Dreamchaser: A Game of Destiny
Eden (info)
The Watch

Best Setting

Arecibo (winner!)
Urban Shadows: Dark Streets
Harlem Unbound
Rockalypse
Threadbare

Best Rules

Damn the Man, Save the Music (winner!)
Eden
Let Me Take a Selfie by Brie Sheldon (interview)
Opera Buffa (info)
Pip System Corebook

Most Innovative

Feast (2017) (winner!)
Bluebeard’s Bride
Let me Take a Selfie
Opera Buffa
Two Hearts Beat as One (full game on 200 word rpgs)

Groundbreaking Supplement

Harlem Unbound (winner!)
Arecibo
Dark Streets
Deck of Villainy (for Masks)
Rockalypse

Game of the Year

Bluebeard’s Bride (winner!)
Damn the Man, Save the Music
Feast
Let Me Take a Selfie
Threadbare

I know. Lots of good Indies.
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Thu Aug 9, 2018 6:45 pm
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2018 Diana Jones Award shortlist announced

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The Diana Jones Award causes, for me at least, much more curiosity because its goal to award "excellence in gaming" is never just focused on individual games, but also looks at the larger gaming scene. (Which *gasp* does include boardgames.) So when the shortlist was announced yesterday, I was sure it would be interesting. And it is! Here's what they say about it themselves:
Quote:
Two games, an academic journal, a competition, and RPG streaming vie for hobby-gaming’s most exclusive trophy, awarded ‘for excellence in gaming’

So what have we got?

Charterstone by Jamey Stegmaier is a "legacy" boardgame that, once played, leaves you with your personalized version of an (infinitely replayable) worker-placement game.

Harlem Unbound is an RPG sourcebook from a design team headed by Chris Spivey, bringing 1920's Harlem into Cthulhu games such as Call of Cthulhu or Trail of Cthulhu. Music, style, possibility in the air, horrors lurking underneath, and a crash course on how to address race in gaming...

The 200 Word RPG Challenge came about quite spontaneously, and became an immediate success. Now in it's fourth year, it has inspired hundreds of people to design and submit role-playing games of no more than 200 words. The challenge is organised by David Schirduan and Marshall Miller. This year saw about 800 submissions, several of those designed by folks from RPGGeek.

Analog Game Studies is a journal edited by Aaron Trammell, Evan Torner, Shelley Jones, and Emma Leigh Waldron. AGS provides an accessible forum for the academic and popular study of analog games.

Last but not least, the jury put Actual Play on the short list, that is: video streaming of RPG sessions or campaigns, such as Critical Role or The Adventure Zone does. Actual play videos are popularizing RPGs in an entertaining way for a whole new audience. (Also, the Critical Role fanart I'm seeing on twitter is really cool.)

Read the appraisals on the shortlist on http://www.dianajonesaward.org/

The winner will be announced on the eve of Gen Con, that is August 1st.
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Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:13 am
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The Tragedy of GJ 237b nominated for a Nebula Award

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The Tragedy of GJ 237b, designed by Caitlynn Belle and P. H. Lee, has been nominated for a Nebula Award in the short story category. It was nominated by sf writer Yoon Ha Lee and maybe others. After some debate whether it could qualify as a short story or be excluded because it is a game, it appears the nomination has now been accepted.

You can read about the game and Yoon Ha Lee's nomination on his blog. Ben Lehman reflects about the question whether game texts can be literature on Google+.

The Tragedy of GJ 237b is a "role-playing game for no players", taking sci-fi gaming to an interesting level. The game is available as pay-what-you-want and on medium.com. A French translation is available, too.

I'm not sure I would "play" the game, but I'm glad I read it. It's a short read (just about 700 words), and a good one IMO. I guess you can view it as just a joke, but you could also make the case that not only is it a game that addresses topics like genocide (or, in this case, xenocide) and interaction lacking awareness of differences, but also about the nature of games. You could also celebrate that games are being recognized as literature, and re-read your favorite rpg book.
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Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:17 pm
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2017 ENnie Award Nominees and Judges Spotlight winners announced!

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The ENnies judges have announced their nominees for this year's awards. For about twenty categories, ranging from Best Game to Best RPG Related Product, they have picked five candidates each. The winners will be decided by public voting which will happen online from July 11 to July 21.

You can visit the full list on the ENnie Award website. Skimming the list I think it looks less Paizo-dominated, compared to previous years. There's a broad range of publishers (more than 30) nominated, not just the few "usual suspects".

Do you think the listed products are well-chosen, or is something missing that should have been nominated by the jury? Any guesses on which will become the Product of the Year?
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Thu Jul 6, 2017 1:17 pm
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Interview with the designers of Bluebeard's Bride

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Last year Strix did an interview with me on a broad range of topics (you can find it here), and we also touched upon Bluebeard’s Bride. This time, I’m delighted to talk with all three designers of this game of feminine horror. Please welcome with me Sarah Richardson, Marissa Kelly, and Whitney “Strix” Beltrán!


Jonas: Would you please introduce yourselves to those of us who don’t know you? Who are you, what do you do?

Strix: I’m Strix Beltran. I’m a narrative designer and writer for video and analogue games. I’m a gaming academic, a diversity and inclusion consultant, a Twitch host who explores indie game content, and I also work in tech startup full time. I don’t sleep.

MK: I am Marissa Kelly, the first of my name, the Unburnt, Mother of Dragons, Breaker of Chains, and co-owner of Magpie Games.

Sarah: I’m Sarah Richardson. I am a game designer, layout artist, illustrator, and employee of Magpie Games. Sometimes you’ll find me under the name Doombringer. I bring my clan much honor.

Jonas: Just in case we want to refer to one of us in the third person, what are our preferred pronouns? For me it’s he/his/him.

MK: Traditional lady gender vocab for me.

Sarah: I’m also she/hers/her.

Strix: Same here.

Jonas: How did you get into gaming, and how did you get into game design?

MK: My father used to run his own hacks of Traveler and D&D for me growing up. So I got hooked early. Storytelling is one hell of a drug and it stayed in my life through adulthood. Eventually I spread my beautiful design wings and founded Magpie Games in 2011 with my partner, Mark Diaz Truman. I dabbled in design with our first few projects and freelanced here or there, but my first full game was Epyllion a dragon epic.

Strix: I was playing with the NES before I could walk. I got into role-playing games as a pre-teen. Started running game organizations in my early 20s. Started designing a few years ago. Into elves and Vulcans and basically anything that’s not mundane. I got it all from my mom.

Sarah: I started out playing AD&D with my uncles, and went to my first game convention dressed as a hacker from Shadowrun. I’ve played a variety of games over the years, and began working in the rpg industry as an illustrator and layout artist in 2013. I made a few small hacks, but my first real foray into game design started with Bluebeard’s Bride. Currently I’m working on a new game called Velvet Glove, about teenage girl gangs in 1970s America.

Jonas: Some of you have already published other games that are “powered by the apocalypse”. D. Vincent Baker’s game Apocalypse World has excited many and led to an impressive number of new games that use its basic framework. What does AW and the PBTA “design tradition” mean to you?

Strix: AW’s rules structure is hackable and accessible. The accessibility is especially important to me. It also fits with what we want to do with Bluebeard’s Bride. Out of the three of us, I’m probably the least tied to design traditions as a whole.

MK: It is a way of thinking about games that I find particularly stimulating. I like the challenge of fitting all the design cogs together, starting it up and seeing if it runs. Overall, I am proud to be a part of a movement of players and designers who are as excited about it as I am.

Sarah: There have been some amazing games using PbtA, like Monsterhearts, that show off how strong that basic framework is. I really like seeing how the MC and players parts work together in an unique way to generate a story. Apocalypse World was one of the very first story games I ever played, and it made a really strong impression. It’s also great for horror, which is why we used it for Bluebeard’s Bride.


Jonas: Where do you see Bluebeard’s Bride in the PBTA tradition? What inspirations did you use, what adaptations did you make?

MK: We pushed the bounds of PBTA a bit, but once folks get a taste, I hope it inspires others to drink the PBTA Kool-Aid.

Sarah: I played Murderous Ghosts before starting work on Bluebeard, and the way it facilitated horror at the table really took my breath away. Bluebeard is a little different, though, in that it’s a pretty specific thing, this specific story that gives a specific structure to what you’re doing.

Strix: I hope Bluebeard demonstrates that you can design with PBTA’s structure, but that you can still wholly make it your own.

Jonas: Bluebeard’s Bride is based on a fairy tale: A woman is married to Bluebeard, and he introduces her to his home, showing her everything, but pointing to a particular door and telling her never to go in there. When he’s gone, she discovers the corpses of his previous wives in that room. Bluebeard returns and becomes violent… Does your game retell that story? Does it follow some narrative script?

Strix: There is definitely a narrative arc. Most of the time it doesn’t end well for the Bride, and that’s the point! This game is not about beating Bluebeard, it’s about the feminine experience of horror, the struggle for agency in the face of terrible things. Who are you? What do you become? What do you sacrifice in order to survive? Can you survive? It’s thrilling and deeply terrifying.

MK: Bluebeard’s Bride allows you to tell your own version of the dark fairy tale. It makes the tale into a sort of haunted house game where you travel from room to room, gathering evidence to prove your husband’s intentions - either malicious or innocent.

The game explores a lot of very mature content including violence against women, but we give guidance to help you and your players explore messy themes in a safe way while keeping the tension high.

Sarah: It’s not just for fairy tale or horror fans, although they may be particularly pleased with some parts of the game. I’ve played the game with a pretty wide range of people. It’s not for kids, though.


Jonas: You mention that players explore the rooms of Bluebeard’s house, which makes it sound a bit like a dungeon crawl. But if I put it that way it is probably wildly misleading, right? Can you please speak a bit more about the content of the game?

Strix: I would say this is very different! A dungeon crawl assumes that you can solve your problems with violence. You can’t. The house and the rooms in it hold a lot of symbolism, not the least of which is that it reflects the Bride’s own mind. It’s really about facing the darkness within yourself. What could be lurking there? The rooms create a container for that.

MK: It’s a lot like a haunted house game with underlying feminine motifs. The themes of the horrors in the house call upon struggles that women face. This is a fun way to explore mature feminine horror for folks of all genders.

Sarah: I love dungeon crawls, so I know what you mean. This is different, however, as you’re not looking for treasure, and fighting isn’t an optimal choice. You have a purpose in going from room to room—investigating what happened to Bluebeard’s other wives, and what role he had in that, but there isn’t a map, or pre-set rooms that you go through.

Quote:
Let the players scare themselves.
Let them define what is scary,
and then draw it out of them.

Jonas: The roles that players take on are not separate characters, but aspects of the Bride’s mind. Can you talk about that a bit? I imagine the “intrapersonal relationships” might help creating a sense of community (or rather, identity?) despite differing voices, which seems intriguing. What experience does your design aim for?

MK: Horror that explores a lack of agency often revolves around one character and their experiences. The story of Bluebeard has only one Bride at a time and we wanted to be faithful to that narrative. When you have a whole party it is easy to fall into a groove where everyone works together to overcome obstacles, but we wanted the conflicts to be internal rather than external.

Sarah: Exactly. We wanted to mimic the internal struggles everyone has when faced with a difficult decision—the part of you that is a little bad, the part that tries to be rational, and so on. Assigning archetypes to each player gives them a character to play, with their own motivations and desires, but they’re also tied into the whole, forming a well-rounded person.

Strix: Yes, certainly we wanted to evoke internal conflict. What person doesn’t struggle with themselves? But also, thinking about the makeup of the Bride archetypally is really useful for telling a fairy tale narrative. It helps give the players a foundation to work with.

Jonas: Can you tell us a bit more about the safety measures you provide? I’d imagine that playing with folks I know and trust would be an important element for me, so I’m curious what sort of mechanics you employ to help players feel safe when letting their guard down and the horror in...

MK: Bluebeard’s Bride pushes a lot of boundaries and explores many taboos, but the book goes over some methods for helping you manage the experience. One tool mentioned is the X Card, developed by John Stavropoulos. It is one way to make sure that content that will ruin your fun at the table is avoided.

Sarah: Playing with people you know and trust is great, and definitely makes for a fantastic Bluebeard’s Bride game. However, I’ve run it at conventions for groups of strangers, and getting scared together is pretty fun.

Strix: I’ve run it for strangers at conventions too, and it’s gone extremely well. Aside from the resources mentioned, we absolutely believe that there should always be full transparency around this game. People should know what they’re in for before they sit down at the table.



Jonas: Do you have more advice for getting the most out of game of Bluebeard’s Bride, for GMs and players?

MK: Doing some fun homework might be in order before play. Watching some horror movies that have a feminine tint to them is alway a fun way to get those creative juices flowing. During the game I like to get everyone in the mood by dimming the lights and playing a creepy soundtrack, like John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness.

Strix: For GMs: Let the players scare themselves. Let them define what is scary, and then draw it out of them. Use long, pregnant silences. Let them sit in that silence. Turn up the heat gradually. Give them breaks and time to recover. For players: Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. That’s when you’ll have the most fun. Embrace the inevitability of the outcome and focus on occupying the experiences as they come to you.

Sarah: I’d stress clear communication, and making sure everyone at the table is in the mood for a horror game. There’s advice on generating rooms and such in the book, but mainly I’d tell GMs to remember that what scares them, will probably scare their players.

Jonas: How are your own experiences in the RPG community shaped by your race and gender?

MK: My outlook and ideas are clearly shaped by who I am and what traditions I come from, but when faced with adversity, I keep my nose to the grindstone and work harder to get what I want.

Strix: Until only a handful of years ago, my minority identity as a Hispanic woman made me very much an outsider. It’s been hard to claim space in the gaming world. To be listened to, taken seriously, or even welcomed at all. Parts of the community are amazing, other parts are abjectly terrible. I’ve learned to curate my circles and avoid unwelcoming spaces and that’s helped, but there’s still a lot of work to do.

Sarah: I’ve had both good and bad experiences. I can say I wouldn’t have gone to the Hacking as Women workshop if it hadn’t been only for women, but obviously I’m glad I did.

Jonas: That Hacking as Women workshop you mention was the starting point for Bluebeard’s Bride - it was at GenCon 2014, I think? How has it developed since? Are there any major changes (or design twists, setbacks, cutting of significant material) that you feel are memorable?

Strix: I think we found the heart of the game during that game jam. Everyone in the room felt it, not just us. Our job was to keep that heart beating throughout all our various design iterations, to keep that magic thread of what makes this game special alive. I believe we managed to do that. We were lucky and had to sacrifice very little, all told. Mostly we kept open and flexible, which helped us move on from ideas that weren’t working well enough to satisfy us.

MK: Yep! I was Strix and Sarah’s coach for the 2014 “Hacking as Women” workshop. Since then the game has transformed many times. Because design is kind of like an elegant monstertruck show, we had to wreck a few cars to get here. The most memorable jump was making some of our basic moves diceless. It took some convincing (of myself included), but I think it mimics a tradition of ghost stories that I hold dear.

Sarah: The game still has some of the core concepts we came up with at the workshop, but they’ve been refined over and over again. We did end up cutting one playbook, the Oracle, and integrating it into another, the Witch. We ended up with a stronger, better set of playbooks from that cut.

Strix: I mourn the loss of the Oracle!

Jonas: Looking back beyond GenCon 2014, are there any major influences, personal experiences or creative sparks that led to Bluebeard’s Bride? Can you tell something like a prehistory of this game?

MK: Making a horror game is a dream come true! Now I can freak people out through my art instead of pulling off freaky stunts that risk jail time in order to get a scare.

Strix: I studied mythology in graduate school, which included fairy tales, so I have a deep background in the material. Chelsea, one of my friends at school was a diehard Bluebeard fan, and managed to always keep the fairy tale lurking in the back of my mind. That’s the reason why I put this particular fairy tale forward as a game design idea at the game jam. Without Chelsea’s influence, we might have gone somewhere entirely different! I also wanted to make a game that spoke to experiences that belonged to me as a woman, that were authentic. That drove a lot of my design principles. I think this game has been crouching inside of us, waiting to spring forth for a long time.

Sarah: I’ve always been a big fairy tale and horror fan, so it’s hard to point to any one specific thing. I do feel like my time spent reading feminist analysis of fairy tales and watching horror movies has paid off, though. Some of my favorite media did support some of what I brought to the game, like Angela Carter’s short stories and poetry, books like the Handmaid’s Tale and Fitcher’s Bride, and movies like The Company of Wolves and The Orphanage.

Quote:
I’ve run it at conventions for
groups of strangers, and getting
scared together is pretty fun.

Jonas: Bluebeard’s Bride is on Kickstarter right now. Within a very short time crowdfunding has practically become an accepted standard for publishing role-playing games. I believe you all have some experience both as backers and as creators. What are your thoughts on this?

MK: Kickstarter has been amazing for our industry. It allows creators and small companies to grow and deliver content in a way that was more-or-less impossible without huge cash upfront. I try to keep it fresh with every kickstarter I am a part of and Bluebeard’s Bride has some great new content to appeal to those who like to indulge their darker side.

Sarah: It’s great in how it allows more creators to reach their audience. I know I have backed some projects that wouldn’t have been available through normal publishing channels, from horror anthologies to games to art.

Strix: I’ve been on both sides of the Kickstarter coin many times now. It’s an integral platform for our industry. It gives indies the leverage they need to make their art. I think it’s great. Kickstarter combined with Print on Demand third party sites have made creating RPGs tremendously more accessible.

Jonas: Can you please tell us a bit more about the kickstarter? What is your favorite reward tier and why?

MK: My favorite has got to be the $150 limited edition level, the Wine Cellar. I am a sucker for swag and deluxe books and that level has it all.

Sarah: I really like the $100 level, the bedroom. Not only do you get both of the main books, dice, tokens, and the Deck of Objects, but you also get PDFs of the books and any stretch goals. I love having pretty physical books, but I also like having the PDFs to refer to.

Strix: I agree with Marissa. The Wine Cellar is my favorite. A beautiful limited edition book, a ring to use for the game.

Jonas: Some of you have also worked as artists. Are you doing illustrations or art direction for Bluebeard’s Bride, too?

MK: If I contribute any art it will pale in comparison to our other artists: Kring, Rebecca Yanovskaya, and Juan Ochoa. As art director, they are my beloved angels of horror.

Sarah: Not this time, although I’m doing the layout for the core book. I’m incredibly excited to have such lovely illustrations to work with, though!

Strix: Don’t look at me. I stick to the narrative stuff. But I love our artists. I literally cried when I saw the first pieces come in from Rebecca. Everything is gorgeous.

Quote:
Storytelling is one hell of a drug.

Jonas: Thanks for the interview! Is there anything you’d like to add?

Strix: I am extremely proud of Bluebeard’s Bride, proud to put my name on it. It’s been a labor of love undertaken with these two other amazing women over the last two years, and it’s all be worth it. As we wrap this project up we’re all starting to ponder what our next projects will be. I’m already working on something that I hope turns out to be as fun to design as Bluebeard. You can keep up with me on Twitter @The_Strix, or my site StrixWerks.com

Sarah: I can’t think of anything. Thanks for talking to us!


If you want to look closer, here are some links:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1921129910/bluebeards-b...
https://twitter.com/BluebeardsBride
http://www.magpiegames.com/bluebeards-bride/
https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/11286569144352749487... (G+ community for Bluebeard's Bride)

Artwork by Rebecca Yanovskaya
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Wed Oct 19, 2016 7:54 am
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2016 Diana Jones Award shortlist has been announced

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The nominees for this year's Diana Jones award have just been announced and, again, offer an eclictic mix of escellence in gaming. On the shortlist are:

ConTessa (http://www.contessa.rocks/), headed by Stacy Dellorfano
Quote:
ConTessa is fresh, passionate organization dedicated to getting more women to play, discuss, and create tabletop roleplaying games. They started out as a blog dedicated to this purpose and quickly developed a series of free online seminars, hangouts, and events to bring women into the RPG fold. Last year they moved into face-to-face encounters by launching a track of their own inside Gen Gen, the largest tabletop gaming convention in the world, innovatively creating a con inside a con.

Eric M. Lang
Quote:
Eric M. Lang is the prolific designer of a staggering collection of board and card games whose volume is exceeded by their quality and acclaim. His deep love of games, gaming, and gamers inspires his co-designers and publishing partners with such grace and good nature that it’s impossible to feel the worse for failing to live up to his example. A very small sample of his achievements include Blood Rage, Dice Masters (with Mike Elliott), Chaos in the Old World (a 2010 Diana Jones nominee), and Living Card Game designs for properties including A Game of Thrones, Star Wars, and Warhammer 40,000.

Fall of Magic by Ross Cowman (Heart of the Deernicorn)
Quote:
Fall of Magic is Ross Cowman’s elegiac fantasy game about loss, travel and discovery, all played out in a slowly unfurling landscape full of genuine wonder and weird surprises. The game marries a peaceful, carefully paced aesthetic with tack-sharp design elements that are smarter than they look. It’s hard to get more fantastic or magical than an actual scroll. As a hand-crafted object, Fall of Magic’s cloth-map-as-setting powerfully evokes its themes, and sets a lovely bar for production – small press or otherwise.

Larpwriter Summer School, a course organized by Fantasiförbundet (Norway) and Post (Belarus) (http://larpschool.blogspot.co.uk/p/about.html)
Quote:
Larpwriter Summer School is a week long intensive course on larp design. Organized annually since 2012 in Lithuania, the curriculum is packed with lectures on design and theory, design exercises, educational games, and playing larps. The summer school is attended each year by around fifty students from around the world who have very little or no experience in larp design, with a crew of twenty people teaching and running the practicalities. The summer school has taught a new generation of designers, developed design theory and tools, and built an international network of alumni – who are all invited back each year. The alumni have gone on to create not only larps, but numerous larp festivals to showcase their works.

Pandemic Legacy: Season 1, a board-game by Rob Daviau and Matt Leacock, published by Z-Man Games, Inc.
Quote:
The Diana Jones Award shortlisted the first Legacy game, Risk Legacy, in 2012, but Pandemic Legacy is such a leap forward from that forerunner that it more than deserves its place on this list. The game brings in elements and influences from other genres inside and outside traditional board-gaming to create an experience where the whole is greater than the sum of its amazing parts. A Pandemic Legacy campaign is an experience unlike anything else in gaming, and the waves it has created are felt across this and many other areas of interactive entertainment.

The winner will be announced on August 3rd, the night before the Gen Con games convention opens to the public.
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Tue Jul 12, 2016 3:57 pm
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My personal guess is that more people in the world have read James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake than our Guide to Data Entry. Both are masterpieces, but RPGGeek lacks the publicity that Joyce got.

Anyway, we want to make our Guide more accessible. We've started by breaking it down into smaller chunks, copying them into separate pages. But we'd very much appreciate to get help from fresh eyes - not least those of people who have little experience with data entry - and hear your feedback. What works, what doesn't? Please don't hesitate to ask what seems like a stupid question - if you can't find an answer in the guide in short time, that's definitely worth pointing out!

Feedback and questions isn't the only way to help: You can edit the wiki pages to fix problems yourself. Don't be shy - previous versions are saved, so if you accidentally delete the entire page (or replace it with Finnegan's Wake) we can easily recover it. Just go ahead and make improvements.


If you're making a lot of changes, that's fine, too - but note that it's possible for multiple people to work on the page at the same time (it doesn't look down for others once somebody starts editing), so you could accidentally overwrite somebody else's edits if you're working on it simultaneously. Maybe keep your edits down to just a few minutes each, and save before continuing.

So, here's the link to the work in progress:
EEE RPGG Guide to Data Entry WWW
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Sun Feb 21, 2016 11:03 am
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A look back at 2015 for RPGGeek (and a look ahead, too)

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Almost from its inception, RPGGeek as a site and community has set itself goals to reach from year to year, and 2015 was no exception.

How did we do in 2015?

Details can be found here, but I'll give a summary:

Organize 12 PbF games per month (on average)
Stretch goal: 20 PbF games per month
Check! We started 230 PbF games in 2015, just ten shy of reaching the stretch goal. 70% of those are ongoing or were successfully completed. That is an awesome amount of gaming. Kezle has been keeping track of PbF games, for which I'm very grateful. She also provided some stats, so if you're interested, head over to her post.

Run a Newbie (PbF) GMing initiative
Check! This one got rolling right at the start of the year], and Kyle has already set up a new initiative to follow up: 2016 PbF GM Initiative - Now for new and dormant GMs!.

3 Homegrown play events
Steve (our favourite slipperboy) championed these! He organized three events focusing on games and scenarios that were created in design contests here on RPGGeek. The Playtest-A-Palooza 2015 is probably still ongoing.

Run a new PbV initiative/ Virtuacon15
This was a team effort, and though smaller than previous years, the event had people from across the globe hang out together online, chat and play games. There was also another Pandacon, a different format/ initiative, but as international and as much fun as Virtuacon, I dare say.

1200 owners of the RPGG level 1 poster microbadge mb
We started into the year with about 880 users owning that badge. 1200 proved to be too lofty, but we reached the milestone of 1000 level 1 posters, which is still pretty cool. Sure, we are still a comparatively small community, but growing steadily.

Release Raskalar! (Project O.L.I.V.E. Project O.L.I.V.E.)
A small team has kept working on this RPG, and they are close to the finish line AFAIK. But unfortunately we still have to wait a bit for that game. Contact Carrie for details or if you'd like to help!

Run 6 design contests (at least 3 sponsored)
Check! Contests, creative participants, cool prizes. Nuff said.

Run 6 contests not focused on game design
There were a dozen contests during Virtuacon week alone, plus others throughout the year. If I had to single one out, it would probably be the review challenge because of the great user content it brought about. Also, without it we probably would not have met the following goal.

Add 750 new reviews
We actually reached more than 800 new reviews. Great job! (There's a new review challenge you can join: glory and geekgold for your opinion on games!)

Add 750 session reports
We fell short of this goal, although 600 new session reports is nothing to scoff at. For whatever reason, session report numbers have always been lower than reviews (at least during the last couple of years), so the goal was probably a bit too optimistic.

Reach 45,000 rpgitems and 10,000 rpgissues
We did it. Over 6,000 new rpgitems and over 1,000 new rpgissues were submitted last year, which is mind-boggling. Hats off to all data submitters. You're contributions make sure that RPGGeek continues to be the most comprehensive RPG database on the planet.

Reach 5,500 rpgs and 800 periodicals in the database
Check. We got more than 1,000 new RPG entries and more than 100 new periodical entries in 2015.

Reach 85,000 articles
Stretch goal: 88,888 articles

These were rather ambitious goals, compared to our respective increase in previous years. We've blown past them. In fact, we've reached 100k articles in December.
You might think there's an end in sight. It isn't. If you'd like to be part of this huge success, join the RPGG Heroes guild and post your article submissions to the appropriate thread (and earn geekgold)! Ask for pointers if needed.


Publish 12 interviews
Personally, I had hoped to contribute more towards this goal. Thanks to interviews done by Keith and Steve D., we published nine interviews in 2015. I'm a big interviews fan, so I hope to see new interviews on RPGGeek in 2016.

4500 Twitter followers
Stretch goal: 5000 followers
Our twitter account is now at over 4,700 followers. You're such a lovely audience, we'd like to take you home with us. Thanks to Dave who managed the account and built our following through the years.

Hold, host and award the GM'ies
The idea was to host an award in various categories, like Most Epic Battle, Best Location Description, Best NPC... (See the original discussion here.) Unfortunately, Tyraziel had to drop this, and since no other volunteer stepped up...

All in all it was a rather successful year. Lots of great initiatives, events, and games organized in and by our community, and an incredible amount of submissions to the database.

So, what's ahead for this year? I don't know, but I've asked for your suggestions for new goals. The outcome of the discussion follows below:

Our goals for 2016

Organize 200 PbF games
Stretch goal: 240 PbF games
1150 owners of the RPGG level 1 poster microbadge mb
Stretch goal: 1200 level 1 posters
700 owners of the RPGG level 2 poster microbadge mb
Stretch goal: 750 level 2 posters
Hold 3 RPG Math Trades with an average participation of 25 users (or more)
Reach 5500 Twitter followers @rpggeek
Stretch goal: 6000 followers
Reach 500 followers for RPG Geek on G+
Reach 500 members of the RPGGeek community on G+
Run 12 design contests or challenges (at least 3 officially sponsored)
Add 800 new reviews
Add 600 new session reports
Reach 53,000 rpgitems in the database
Reach 6250 RPGs in the database
Reach 11,111 rpgissues in the database
Reach 900 periodicals in the database
Reach 125,000 articles in the database

If you'd like to help out or follow along, go to RPGG Goals 2016 - Progress
Keep being awesome. (You have nothing to prove.) Thanks for being part of RPGGeek!
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Tue Jan 12, 2016 5:04 pm
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Milestone reached: 100,000 periodical articles indexed!

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We recently passed the magical threshold of 100K articles in our database.

RPGGeek has been the largest index for articles in rpg magazines for years - but this milestone is a nice opportunity to celebrate the sheer magnitude of stored knowledge that is available at our fingertips.

So, a huge THANKS to all users who submitted these one hundred thousand articles!

To make use of the information, change the SEARCH box at the top of the screen to 'Article' and, to make some suggestions, search for "paladin" or "dungeon design" or "space station" or "Dave Arneson".

The periodical and article features were added to the database in 2010. In just five years, our users have consistently entered more article data, making ever more content from 'zines searchable (at least by title and description).

By the way, article submissions are tracked by the system and we have some microbadge awards for helping with this project, depending on how many articles you've entered:

100 mb - Hear Ye, Hear Ye: Copper Article Uploader
250 mb - Hear Ye, Hear Ye: Silver Article Uploader
500 mb - Hear Ye, Hear Ye: Golden Article Uploader
1000 mb - Hear Ye, Hear Ye: Platinum Article Uploader
2000 mb - Hear Ye, Hear Ye: Herculean Article Uploader
3000 mb - Hear Ye, Hear Ye: Ultimate Article Uploader

To also claim some geekgold reward, post the issues for which you've entered the article information to this thread: 2015 & 2016 RPGG Article Thread
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Fri Dec 11, 2015 12:12 pm
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Over a thousand RPGGeek users with poster level 1

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Sometime recently the 1000th user received their level 1 microbadge (awarded for 100 posts to RPGGeek forums). Woohoo!
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Right now we're at 1002 users with this poster level 1 badge (and have a dozen level 20 RPGG posters). There's a high likelihood to meet either level in random encounters in forum environment. They're friendly, so you can freak out together happily and gain XP!
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Sat Nov 7, 2015 1:39 pm
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