Some of us are less game 'designers' than game 'providers'. In my castle, I am the master-at-arms of gaming and it is among my duties to seek and provide appropriate amusements. Some might say that makes me the jester or a common fool. The lady of the castle would likely not disagree with you. It is not a bad thing, laughter and fun are important things. But the kingdom's coffers and lady's leisure time are not endless. Great care must be taken in managing the entertainment provisions. And for this I depend on player analysis just as designers might.

I find it extremely interested to watch and learn the way that people approach making characters for games. How do YOU make characters?

When polled for their top three favorite games, NGW Members gave hundreds... and at their events of course played thousands, at 7,483 events this year. We hereby present you with the top 100, for National Games Week 2006, as named by the Members themselves. Your favorites can be in on the list for 2007- join, for free, at

Gamegrene is taking some time off to enjoy the holidays. We hope everyone out there has a great holiday season, and that you get many, many gaming-related presents, be they under a tree, in a stocking, or otherwise. Be sure to post in this thread to let everyone know what great gaming gifts you got. We'll see you in 2007.

Player Considerations is part-2 of the Design Essentials discussion series. The topic opens with the question of player analysis as an element for game design and works out toward identifying specific player interests and desires.

Empty Room Studios does more than just role-playing. While they are the guys behind PIG's Steampunk Musha (an alternate setting for Iron Gauntlets), they're also a full service art studio, with over 17 members. We talked with Rick Hershey about what they're up to and what's on the horizon.

The second part of a series of "How-I" articles. This specific article covers what I (as a GM) determine regarding characters and character creation, before the players get their hands on the issue. An ambitious, generous, or ambivalent GM might discuss these things with his/her potential players and collect feedback, but it's not a democracy; the GM should enjoy the game also. "How-to" implies that there is a best way. There might be, and this might be it, or maybe not. This is how I do it.

White Wolf is pleased to announce a special product, slated for release at Gencon in August 2007. For his last book written in the roleplaying genre, Monte Cook is penning his own unique version of the horror setting known as the World of Darkness.

I've always had ridiculously bad luck when it comes to the rolling of dice. Usually I can get by in spite of terrible die rolls, but a recent experience almost made me want to go diceless forever.

Chad Underkoffler is the man behind Atomic Sock Monkey Press, creators of the PDQ game engine that's used in games like Dead Inside, Truth & Justice, Ninja Burger 2nd Edition, and the new Zorcerer of Zo. I've seen an early cut of this game and I have to say that it'd make a great stocking stuffer for any gamer or lover of fairy tales, no matter what their age.

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