Sunday, March 30, 2008

Board Game Review - Carcassonne

Here we go again, with another week of Gaming stuff.

This week, I'm going to review the board game Carcassonne. Here is my board game review system, and my analysis of Carcassonne:
Strategy and Randomness are rated from 0 to 6. A 0 means the rated aspect plays no part in determining the game's outcome; and a 6 means that it is the only factor that determines the game's outcome. Complexity is also rated from 0 to 6; a 0 means that it's so simple a six-year-old can play it, a 3 means any adult should have no trouble playing, and a 6 means that you'll need to refer to the rulebook frequently. Humour can be rated as 'None,' meaning the game is not meant to be funny, or it may have one or more of the following: Derivative (meaning the humour is based on an outside source, such as a game based on a comedy film), Implicit (meaning that the game's components are funny, such as humourous card text), or Inherent (meaning that the actions the players take are funny). Attractiveness has nine possible ratings. Ideal: the game is beautiful and makes game play easier. Pretty: The design is beautiful and neither eases nor impedes game play. Nice: The design is beautiful but makes game play harder than necessary. Useful: The design is neither beautiful nor ugly, but eases gameplay. Average: The design is neither beautiful nor ugly, and neither eases nor impedes gameplay. Useless: The design is neither beautiful nor ugly, but makes gameplay harder than it needs to be. Utilitarian: The design is ugly, but eases gameplay. Ugly: The design is ugly, and neither eases nor impedes gameplay. Worthless: The design is ugly, andmakes gameplay harder than it needs to be. Average Length of Game Play describes how long an average game will probably last, give or take.
Strategy: 3
Randomness: 3
Complexity: 3
Humour: None
Attractiveness: Useful
Expected Length: One hour.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


It's Easter today! What goes with Easter? Bunnies! Why? Because the Christian Church stole the holiday from pagans, who celebrated Easter (or Ostara; nobody really knows what it was called before the Christians got hold of it. All are merely guesses) as a fertility rite. Thus, symbols of new spring (like baby bunnies and newborn chicks) were common, and the Church just knicked those and said, "They're symbols of Christ's resurrection! Yeah, that's it!"

So to tie in this week's gaming post with the bunny theme, I will discuss an idea that I worked on, briefly, with a friend of mine many years ago. The idea was "Anthropomorphics." We had originally intended it to be a GURPS sourcebook, but that idea never came to fruition.

The idea was that you would play animals. There were three campaign styles: realistic, cinematic, and silly. Realistic is just that: you play an animal in a realistic manner. This campaign style is generally best suited for people who (out of some masochistic reason) want to play someone's pet. However, it can include things such as the Watership Down setting. That is, all the characters are playing one type of animal, living in a colony (a warren of rabbits, a pride of lions, a murder of crows, et c.).

Sunday, March 16, 2008

GURPS Divination: part 2

This week, I'm going to return to the GURPS Magic System for the Divination spell. If you need to review so you know what I'm talking about, you can read the original post. This week, I will detail those variations that involve telling the future by observing an event. We start with:

Alatimancy – This is one of three forms of divination involving salt. The first (alomancy) was detailed in the original post, and dealt with patterns in scattered salt. This variation is the reading of patterns formed in salt deposits left behind by the evaporation of salt water. It requires a special ceremonial bowl, and takes several hours (often a full day or more, if there is a large amount of water). The amount of water used depends on the nature of the question, as well as the level of detail desired. Prerequisites: 3 Water spells and 2 Earth spells.

Anthracomancy – The observation of burning coal. Any coal will do, so long as the spell is properly enacted before igniting the coal. The spell requires at least an hour of observation. The answers to the caster's question are obtained by watching the movement of the coal and the behaviour of the fire as it burns. Prerequisites: 5 Fire spells and 3 Earth spells.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Gamer Types

Greetings again to you, my faithful readers! This week, I shall discuss the Lawsian Gamer Types. A prominent creator of gaming resources in the gaming industry, named Robin Laws, wrote an amazingly useful book called Robin's Laws of Good Game Mastering. Although this book is geared towards GMs, it has some very useful information for players as well.

One example of these doubly-applicable tidbits is the idea that gaming is supposed to be fun. You know, that sounds pretty obvious, but the problem is that a lot of people forget that gaming is a collaborative effort, and work hard to have fun at the other players' expense. The book suggests that everyone involved work to have fun together as a team, rather than antagonistically.

But that's not the topic of this week's rant.

Today, I thought I'd talk about Gamer Types. This was particularly useful for me, both as a GM and as a player. I'd struggled for years with the others in my gaming group, getting upset at them for ruining what I thought was an otherwise incredible game by insisting on doing nothing but killing the enemies for personal glory. It never occurred to me that different people play role-playing games for different reasons. And for that, I owe a debt to Robin Law.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Game Dork Profile Photo

Welcome back! Time for another fun-filled episode of The Game Dork's Gaming Corner!

A blue one-hundred sided die, with two hands superimposed over it, each hand holding up a single finger pointing upwards.
This week, I thought I'd discuss my profile photo. If you're viewing this page on a mobile browser, like a phone, it may not show up, so I'll post it here as well:
It all started many many years ago. I had a friend, a very imaginative and creative friend, named John Trobare. John has a tendency to launch into some lengthy speeches, which are astoundingly funny and will have everyone in the area laughing uncontrollably for twenty minutes or more. Of particular noteworthiness was the time he described the adventure in which he and his friends Mike and Stephen went to Alaska in an attempt to make $30,000 each in a single summer aboard a fishing boat.

But the instance that started this whole mess was when he described the species laevus ludorum, commonly known as the Game Dork. He described their habitats, behaviour, and mating habits. In particular, he devised the Game Dork Mating Call.