MetaArcade: A New Frontier in Roleplaying Games

The MetaArcade Logo: The word MetaArcade in stylized letters, the first four in blue and the rest in red.One of the more interesting things that I got to see at Gen Con was the MetaArcade booth. They’re working on an interesting new concept: digital roleplaying. That sounds like computer or console-based RPGs, like the Final Fantasy series or Secret of Mana. But it’s not. Here, let me explain. In order to explain, we’ll need to go back in time to 1975, in Phoenix, Arizona. Continue Reading →

Diversity Panel at Gen Con 2016: A Review

The official illustration of Shardra, the first trans character in Pathfinder, an excellent representation of diversity in gaming. She is a dwarven female in elaborate shaman clothing, holding a large mace, with a fantastical lizard-like creature on her shoulder.One of the panels I attended at Gen Con was ‘Diversity in Gaming.’ I expected it to be about ensuring an inclusive environment for all people in the games industry. Instead, it was three staffers from Paizo, the company that publishes the Pathfinder roleplaying game, discussing their company’s policies on inclusiveness.

Not what I expected, but still worthwhile. Continue Reading →

Board Game Review: Oceanos

A game of Oceanos in progress at Gen Con. Four people sitting around a table with their first row of ocean cards in front of them, and their modular submarine tiles nearby.One of the great things about attending Gen Con was getting to play new releases, or preview games that were about to be released. Oceanos is one of those games. It’s a new release from Iello, the company that publishes the King of Tokyo line. In this game, players control whimsical submarines exploring the depths of the ocean to collect animals for their aquariums. You also gain points for other items, such as treasure chests and coral reefs.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning, by looking at the numbers for Oceanos. Continue Reading →

Crossplay: A New Adventure in Geekdom

A young man demonstrating crossplay, dressed as Jinx, a character from League of Legends. with a blue wig with long ponytail braids, pink shorts, a bikini top, and a large fake multi-barrel firearm.Gender identity is a hot topic at the moment. With issues like the current assault on the rights of transgender individuals in Texas, the nature of gender is at the forefront of socio-political discourse at the moment. This points to a current major trend in modern culture, with gender at the centre of that trend. Many people still firmly believe that sex and gender are binaries, and equivalent binaries at that. However, others realise that sex and gender are spectra which do not always correspond to one another. One of the more fascinating phenomena resulting from this is the concept of crossplay. Continue Reading →

Interview: Emily Whitehouse of On the Lamb Games

Emily Whitehouse (nee Fontana) poses for a photo in the On the Lamb Games booth at Gen Con 2016.One of the things I was most looking forward to at Gen Con was getting to meet Emily Whitehouse. She’s one of the co-founders of On the Lamb Games, a small company which is probably best known for their miniatures game Endless: Fantasy Tactics. I went by the On the Lamb Games booth and was delighted to meet Emily, whom I had until that point known as Emily Fontana. I would later learn that she had been married in June, so it’s Emily Whitehouse now!

But we were able to find some time to conduct an interview. Now I will share with you, my faithful readers, the wisdom that she has imparted unto me.

Continue Reading →

Gen Con: An Overview of an Awesome Convention

A view of the exhibit hall at Gen Con, with people walking amongst the booths, which have a variety of signs both on the booth itself and hanging from the ceiling, including a giant inflatable Pikachu visible in the background.As most of you know, I was able to attend Gen Con last week. It was my first time ever to attend a convention (apart from the small local one that doesn’t really count). I had no idea what to expect from conventions in general, nor from Gen Con in particular. Needless to say, I had ridiculous amounts of fun. I got to play lots of games, see lots of panels, learn lots of things, and of course, buy lots of games. I have a lot of ideas for articles about my time at Gen Con, so look for those in upcoming weeks. Just a small sample of some of the entries I’ll be writing include:

  • An interview with Emily Whitehouse of On the Lamb Games
  • An article about crossplay and genderbending
  • Reviews of some new release games that debuted at the con
  • A discussion of Zombie Orpheus Entertainment

And more! So this space is going to be pretty busy over the next couple of months. Be sure to check back weekly to see if I’ve managed to get something new up.

But in the meantime, I thought I’d start out with an overview of the convention itself. This is going to take the form of two sections: a description of the convention in general, and a guide to what to expect for people who’ve never been to a con. Continue Reading →