29 August 2015

A brief overview of Changeling history (part 2)

Last week, we looked at the earliest part of the history of the fae, from their genesis to the time that Banality sealed them off from the Dreaming. The sidhe had just abandoned the commoners to their fate, clogging the portals back to the Dreaming as the helpless commoner kith watched those portals collapsing.

Today, we will continue the history.

So the commoner kith found themselves trapped in an increasingly inhospitable world, without even the leadership of their traditional rulers to guide them. To be fair, a handful of sidhe did remain (most notably those of House Scathach -- pronounced SKOO-hah), but there was now a massive power vacuum. Some of the commoners tried to form new royalty, others looked to more progressive styles of government, and still others simply fell to chaos and petty infighting.

But the foremost problem was dealing with the threat of Banality. How to protect themselves from an energy which, merely by being exposed to it, could erase your very soul?

23 August 2015

A brief overview of Changeling history (part 1)

I consider myself very fortunate at this time, because I have managed to get a group of players sufficiently interested in Changeling: The Dreaming to get a new game started. I will be meeting with them next week to walk them through the process of character creation, and I have developed the backstory for the major NPCs in preparation for creating the story we'll be exploring.

So I want to spend the next few entries describing the general history of the fae.

It all began in the Mythic Age, at the dawn of humanity, when the first humans dreamed, and those dreams became the first fae. Dreams of honour and virtue became the trolls; dreams of nobility, beauty, and finesse became the sidhe, dreams of cozy homes and humble craftsmen became the boggans. Dreams of travel and adventure became the eshu, whilst dreams of hedonism became satyrs and dreams of playful animals became the pooka. There were darker dreams as well; dreams of antisocial workaholics became the nockers, dreams of ravenous horror became the redcaps, and dreams of things that go scritch in the night became the sluagh.

15 August 2015

Board Game Review: The Red Dragon Inn

I often talk about the heavy, thinky-thinky type games that I really enjoy playing. But, as I hope may be evident from some of the games I review on here, those aren't the ONLY types of games I like to play. Sometimes, it's a lot of fun to play a simple, light, fluffy type of game that's enjoyable because it's silly or funny. The Red Dragon Inn is one such game. Here are the numbers:
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: 2
Randomness: 4
Complexity: 2
Humour: Implicit and Inherent
Attractiveness: I'm torn between Average and Pretty...
Expected length of Game Play: Varies with number of players; usually about 15 minutes for two players, and add an extra 7 or 8 minutes for each additional player.

08 August 2015

The Importance of Stories

Over the last couple days, at my summer job, I was working on a project that involved this article on The Irresistible Power of Storytelling as a Strategic Business Tool in the Harvard Business Review. The general gist of the article:

Humans need stories. We live our lives through the stories we tell each other. It's been a part of our racial archetype since our ancestors were living in caves and drawing stories on the walls. People respond most strongly to stories that use Freytag's pyramid. Advertisers that use Freytag's pyramid as a structure for their advertisements have a greater return on investment than those who don't. So all companies should turn their advertisements into stories.

Setting aside my disgust at so shamelessly corrupting what may be the quintessential aspect of human existence for base monetary gain, I wish to talk (yet again) about the importance of telling stories. It's not just an enjoyable pastime; the article linked above mentions research that shows how the climax of a story triggers the release of cortisol in human neurological systems. This causes us to focus on the story, wanting to know what's going to happen next. Even if the story is completely predictable, and we have no reason to think that the hero won't save the day at the last minute, we still hang on every word.

01 August 2015

Exciting news!

I'm on holiday at the moment, so this one's going to be a short one. But there is some exciting news, and I felt I just had to share.
Remember a couple months ago, when I was talking about board game cafes? I believe I said, 'I don't know how feasible this idea would be, but it's fun to dream!'

Well, it turns out I was not alone in wishing for this. A kickstarter just went live for a group wanting to open a board game cafe right here in my own current home town!

They've had a couple of board game events at the local public library, so I've been able to play with them. They seem like really nice people, and I'm very much looking forward to helping them get off the ground. I know I'll be pledging, and I'd really appreciate it if you'd head over to their Kickstarter page and pledge something too!

Sadly, most of their reward packages will only be of use to people who live in or near this city, but there are a couple that may appeal to anyone, regardless of location. I'm certain the fine folks behind Loot & XP will appreciate your support. And I know I will!

That's all for this week. I'll see you back here next time, and until then,

Game on!