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 →

GMing (part 3) Designing Your Campaign (2nd of 2)

A hand preparing to write the design for a game on a page in a notebook that has the words 'My Plan' written across the top.Last week, we began looking at the essentials of designing your campaign. It was a big topic, so I had to split it into two sections. Today’s entry will finish what we started, as we look at the remaining three basic campaign arrangements. In case you’ve forgotten, last week we discussed the ‘Episodic’ and ‘Set-Piece’ design systems. Today, we will cover ‘Branching,’ ‘Puzzle Piece,’ and ‘Enemy Timeline.’

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Video Game Review: Sonic Adventure

Sonic AdventureBefore I get started on the review, I’d like to give some background information on my feelings on this game, and some quick info on the port.

I was first introduced to Sonic games with Sonic Heroes and Sonic Adventure 2 when I was 7 or 8, and before that I would watch Sonic X every morning on the weekends. As a kid, I knew those games had flaws and shortcomings, but I never cared, because they were video games, and they were fun. As I got older, the shortcomings of Sonic Adventure 2 became more and more apparent to me, so when I heard that the Game Grumps were going to be playing Sonic Adventure DX (the first in the Adventure series), I knew I had to watch it and see how terrible it would be. They focused a lot on glitches, and constantly got lost and didn’t know what to do. They made it look like an absolutely horrible game. When I saw Sonic Adventure DX in the Humble Bundle, I had to get it to experience for myself just how bad it was for myself.

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GMing (part 3): Designing Your Campaign (1st of 2)

A hand holding a marker appears to be drawing a flow chart, as if designing a gaming campaign, in midair, against a background of blue cogs.Things are looking up for you; now you’ve chosen a game and have a group of players willing to play it. What do you do next? The first step, obviously, is to design the overall campaign. This sounds like a daunting task, so let’s look at some advice and tips on how to do that in the most effective manner possible.

Please note that this section is going to cover a lot of material. I don’t want to overwhelm you, though, so I’m going to break it up into two parts. We’ll do part A today, and I’ll finish with part B next week. Continue Reading →

GMing (part 2): Finding Players

A group of players sitting around a table covered with books and dice playing a game of Dungeons and Dragons.So you’ve found a game that you want to GM. You’ve looked at the systems, examined the genera, and decided which one was best for you. Now you have to complicate matters by adding extra people to the mix. You need to find some players to play in your game.

Today’s entry will be an examination of the things to consider when selecting players. We’ll look at fitting players to your game, fitting players to each other, choosing a group size, fitting players to you as GM, and (some might argue, most importantly) fitting everyone’s schedule together.

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GMing (part 1): Selecting a Game

The Game Master peeks over the GM screen whilst GMing the latest session of his amazing game.I’m going to do something a little different. Today’s post will be the first in a series, which will run until I’m done. How many posts will there be in this series? I don’t know. I’m making this up as I go. 😀 But this series of posts will be an analysis of GMing. How to do it, how to get players, how to prepare, how to be good at it… that’s what we will look at in this series. The series won’t be consecutive; I’ll intersperse it with my other articles. But for today, we’ll start with How to Choose a Game System.

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