The first of a short stream of articles concerning TV shows I've watched and liked, why I liked them, and what I learned from them gaming wise. This one addresses Carnivale, one of my favorite shows, and one that I've raved about previously on this site. Now you get to see why.

Sometimes the independent role-playing industry releases some real gems, and Dead Inside is definitely one of them. It has enough storyline for any player who focuses on character development and the ease of play allows newcomers and veterans alike to enter into the game quickly, without spending hours scrutinizing on character archetypes and the crunchy mechanics.

Shadowrun is a game filled with imagination set in the postmodernist dystopia of the bleak near-future. Shadowrun is also one of the biggies, a game created by one of the roleplaying giants that generated video games, action figures (well, all right, they were like giant mage knight figures) and a novel series. Because of this, why is it so underground?

More fun with Analog games is in store for those of you looking for that. Two games are featured in today's article, which is all about TRAINS! Specifically, we'll look at Ticket to Ride by Days of Wonder & TransAmerica, published by Rio Grande.

It's a Friday night after a long week that was both physically and mentally challenging. What better way to start your weekend than with a new system and a bunch of newbies (myself included). The system was Risus, a system where the only goal is humor, and where anything goes.

Steampunk Musha is an alternate setting for Iron Gauntlets by Precis Intermedia Gaming (formerly Politically Incorrect Games) and uses the Impresa Express gaming system. Steampunk Musha combines asian-flavored fantasy with Victorian technology in a setting where the old and new ways are clashing, where generations are fighting for their beliefs and traditions, and the world of Rosuto-Shima is changing.

Steam implies the age of steam say late 1800s, punk indicates the inclusion of weird science, and Musha meaning Stir-fried (OK, I made that up) gives an indication of oriental flavor. Taking this we get an Oriental game with Western flavor and a willingness to combine with traditional fantasy. This is pretty much what you get with Steampunk Musha, a worldbook for the Iron Gauntlets RPG.

In the late 1970s and early 80's there was a profusion of RPGs unmatched until the dawn of D20 OGL. The difference being that in the earlier renaissance each game came with an entirely new mechanic. Many of these games were amalgams of other systems where authors stuck things together that probably shouldn't have gone. During that bygone era, this game would have rocked.

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.

"Design Essentials: An Introduction" is an invitation to a year-long discussion on the topic of general game design. It includes a self-introduction of the writer's motivations and proposes the book "Game Design: Theory and Practice" as an inspirational guide. Readers are welcomed to participate with their own ideas and references. A sampling of terms for defining is provided as the intoductory topic with an alternative subject of "early gaming" to kick off the conversation.

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