Month: February 2013

Geek Jitsu – how I roll

ryu ken street fighter bjj brazilian jiu jitsu

“Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Logo Design” by MinohKim

So, after giving you some really basic tips and food for thought in previous installments of Geek Jitsu, I feel like it’s time to share something more personal and dear to me: the sport that keeps me healthy. In one of the very first articles of this column, I told you that you should find a way of exercise that is fun and challenging, and the poison I picked is the gentle art known as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. In this week’s Geek Jitsu, I’ll tell you what it’s about, what keeps me fascinated and why you should find a gym close to you.

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Actual Play: Courage – Chapter II

courage logo

And we’re back with the next chapter of the Courage chronicle. In this installment, we’ll meet two important NPC’s: one being the Lunar’s love interest, the other one being her future husband. Isn’t that just unfortunate, little shapeshifter kitty? Anyway, click below for the PDF. Once you’re done reading about what transpired in the underground baths of Whitewall, please leave your feedback, criticism or oaths of fealty below in the comments. Happy reading!

Courage – Chapter 2

It’s a kind of Magic

mana magic symbols

“Magic the Gathering Mana” by hush66

Last weekend, I did something I should have done a long time ago: for the first time in a few years, I bought and played with Magic cards. I didn’t just buy a few packs and a theme deck, no: I got myself a whole booster box of Gatecrashand Winston Drafted my Saturday night away with my buddy Dee. I had totally forgotten how much fun this game is, and now I’m considering getting back into the game. Should I, or should I not? This article is devoted to my temptation to dive back into this time-consuming, money-devouring game, so why don’t you read further and see what I’m looking for in Magic: the Gathering.

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Strange Sunday – Sidekicks & sponsored heroes

Lately, I’ve been watching a show I should have started watching some time ago: Young Justice. It’s all about those sidekicks of well-known DC heroes, working together as a team to prove their own heroic worth. It’s a cool concept, putting the spotlight on the number twos. It also got me thinking: why always play the big ones in games, when so much can be told from the point-of-view of the up-and-coming? That’s why I dedicate this week’s Strange Sunday to the sidekicks & sponsored heroes, showing you some cool themes that can be explored from their perspective!

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I didn’t want to write about this

playstation 4 looks design fan

“Playstation 4 Concept Final” by Artificialproduction

No, I really did not. Actually, my plan was to write about Game of Thrones Ascent, the first Facebook game I bother with since that one where you run your own farm and annoy your friends with stupid requests. But I can’t. There are two reasons for that.

First of all, the current state of Ascent makes it nigh impossible to play. Loading times are bizarre, some of your clicks don’t register at all and it seems in general that this game should have stayed in Closed Beta for a few more weeks. But I don’t want to talk trash about it too much, because it might be all better in a few days. No, my second reason is far more important.

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Geek Jitsu – a word on supplements

When I ordered a new load of protein bars and powder this morning, an awful truth hit me totally unprepared: there are so many people out there that have a completely skewed view on nutritional supplements. This cannot stand, so I’m dedicating this week’s Geek Jitsu to them, including what they are and why they could help you!

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The other kind of experience

Gosh, my players love experience. Especially Dee, who is usually the first one to ask “So, how much XP do we get?” at the end of the session. I can’t blame him, though: getting those sweet points to turn into new, even sweeter points on your character sheet is one of the essential parts of our hobby, so it’s alright.

However, I don’t want to talk about experience points today, but about the other kind of experience. I’m talking about how the players actually experience a game, and remember some parts of a session even years later. This little essay will be about my experience with experience, inspired by this post over at The Pathfinder Chronicles.

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The Destiny of multi-device games

fallen

 

Just a few hours ago, Bungie announced its much-awaited, rumours-surrounded project simply called Destiny. Going only by the short promotional video on the site and the concept art, I’m drooling like an idiot and having multiple nerdgasms (what, it’s easy to get me started!).

What’s even more interesting than the promotional talk and great artwork, is that short shot in the video. Y’know, the one where we see some kind of Destiny app running on a phone. It shows a character and a short chat with what seems to be another player. Well, my readers, it seems like Destiny will be build up from the ground to be used on multiple devices, which makes me even more excited than that cool looking tank in the picture above.

You see, when it comes to games, I always have the feeling that developers underestimate the possibilities of having access to (parts) of their creation from multiple devices, be it smartphone, browser or the client itself. In recent years, mobile apps like the WoW Armory and RIFT Mobile App have opened up MMORPG’s to your smartphone, and many titles allow access of some functions through your browser. However, I feel like more could be done, and I hope that Destiny will take a step into the right direction.

What I’m hoping for is mostly increased immersion, to be granted ways to dive into the digital world while not actually playing the game. I want to use my lunch break at work to see what’s going on in-game, and possibly have some ways to influence the world from my phone or browser. Of course, to really play the game I should be actually in the game (though…am I not also in the game when using other devices? This is getting philosophical…) but why shouldn’t I be able to see my party’s chat or fork over some credits, so they can buy that turret they need to hold back enemy forces?

Also, access to the game through other media increases immersion by making use of the nature of the medium. If a game is somehow linked to my social media, showing up in my stream and giving me access to the world through my Facebook / Twitter / what-have-you, it becomes a natural part of my daily life. I can’t evade it by simply not launching the client, for it will pop up while I’m checking my brother’s party pictures. It’s everyone’s marketers dream come true: customers can’t flee because the product has been nestled in their daily routine. Devilish!

But well, we’ll see what this suppossedly 10-year long epic will bring us. I will be hear keeping an eye on it, and reserving some MB on my phone’s hard drive for it’s awesome app!

Strange Sunday – highlighting the special

special rpg needs

Yesterday, my group and I played a one-shot-turned-into-a-two-shot of Dungeon World, using our Industrial Revolution Roman Empire with space dragons idea. Dungeon World is a pretty awesome game, and judging by the tweets I unleashed during play, I enjoyed it more than I can actually describe. However, on my way back home yesterday night, I thought about how this really special background we had made up didn’t feel all that special. Sure, the player characters had stumbled upon steam-powered mining operations in the Alps while serving a toga-wearing Roman named Maximus Gracchus, and they even fought a dragon, but it didn’t feel like anything but your standard fantasy world. Is that typical?

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Tweeting Dungeon World

dungeon world owl bear

“Owlbear” by Kyle Ferrin

Last Sunday, I told you about how my crew and I were brewing up a nice little setting for a Dungeon World one-shot. Well, we’ll be playing today, and you can watch it live!

Alright, you can’t exactly watch it, but starting tonight at about 18:30 GMT+1, I’ll be tweeting about what’s going on at the game. Before that, you’ll also hear about the character creation and crazy talk my group and I have around the table.

So, if you want to see what it’s like to have me as a GM, follow my tweets over here, and bathe in the madness that is about to be unleashed. Really, you will probably never ever see another game where the Roman Empire, the Industrial Revolution and space dragons meet each other.

Twitter’s the place to be, and I’ll be happy to hear from you there or right here in the comments.

Game on!