25 November 2017

PinkFae Archive #5: Stories in Games - Our Most Fun Experiences

We have come to installment #5 in our reposting of my articles from PinkFae. This article was originally published on 31 January 2016.

One quick note before we get to the article reprint: the Andrana Project is live on Kickstarter. At this moment, there are 10 days left before the end of the drive. This looks like a great game, and they're only at 54% funded. If you read this before 5 December 2017, please head on over to their Kickstarter page and help them meet their goal!

A game of Stipulations: people sitting around a table reading what players have written on their cards

When people sit down to play games, what exactly are they doing? I spoke of this a bit a couple of weeks ago. Depending on the nature of the game, we are doing things that can be just as difficult as a so-called 'job.' Games come in so many different forms; games of luck, of physical prowess, of strategy, of skill (broken into many different types of skill; spatial reasoning, manual dexterity, mathematical ability, and so forth), games of knowledge or memory or bluffing or deduction... It may be obvious by now that I am most strongly drawn towards games that have a serious element of telling stories.

18 November 2017

Sci-Fi vs Fantasy

One thing I've always wondered is why science fiction and fantasy are lumped together as a genre. When I go into a bookstore, the two types of books take up a single section, apart from 'romance,' 'comedy,' and general 'fiction.' Even though the general fiction section doesn't always confine itself to a specific setting (books in that area can be found taking place at any point in history – from prehistoric ages as in The Clan of the Cave Bear to modern day novels, which are legion).

More interestingly, the 'sci-fi/fantasy' section of a bookstore is often seen as the realm of nerds and geeks by many shoppers. Although it is true that non-nerds are less likely to peruse that section, it's not fair to say any of the following:
  • Nerds won't go to any other fiction section.
  • Non-nerds won't go into that section.
  • Nerds will indiscriminately read anything in that section.
But even more interesting is the idea that the two genres are inseparable. The tendency to lump sci-fi and fantasy into a single section is nearly universal, even amongst nerds themselves. Even the cable channel Syfy (formerly the Sci-Fi channel) broadcast fantasy shows with great frequency. This question is relevant now with the release of the new Starfinder roleplaying game. It basically takes the Pathfinder system and uses it for science fiction gaming (though it still contains magic and other fantasy elements).

11 November 2017

PinkFae Archive #4: Board Game Review - Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar

Some of the articles that I wrote for PinkFae were board game reviews, just like ones that I write here. Today, we come to the first entry that is a reprint of a board game review. This article was first published on 23 January 2016. I hope you enjoy it!

A thing I like to do on occasion is review board games (and, technically, card games too). I've done many over at my main blog, and I think it will be fun to do it on occasion here as well. So if you're interested in learning about some of the many high-quality (and, let's be honest, not-so-high-quality) games out there, keep your eyes on this space and we'll see how many we can cover! We'll start with a game I learned to play last week: Tzolk'in: the Mayan Calendar.

A group of four players sitting around the game board at a a   table, playing Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar

04 November 2017

Inclusive NPCs Volume 1: Cedar

In PinkFae Archive #3, I mentioned that a good way to foster diversity and tolerance within the gaming community is to add diverse NPCs to your game. I've done this myself on several occasions. However, I also realise that it's not always easy for people to develop a diverse cast of characters for use in their games.

So, to that end, I am going to start a new series of posts called 'Inclusive NPCs.' Today's entry will be the first in that series, in which I introduce you to Cedar. I encourage you to adapt and use any NPCs that I publish here in your games as you see fit. With that in mind, I will (for both this entry and for any subsequent entries in this series) provide a basic write-up in four of the most common systems: D20, GURPS, the original World of Darkness, and FATE Core.

So let us meet Cedar. Cedar is an intersex agender individual who has chosen to become a vigilante. As a genderless person, Cedar prefers the use of gender-neutral pronouns 'they' and 'them' (as in 'They are a vigilante,' and 'Cedar has few friends, but all their friends greatly enjoy spending time with them'). Cedar was the child of parents who believed in the sanctity of the human body, and so refused to allow any surgical alteration to bring Cedar in line with any particular gender identity. As they grew up, Cedar presented as female until adolescence, when they began to explore the possibilities of being intersex. Eventually, they decided to eschew gender roles entirely, and began to identify as agender. Motivated by the mistreatment that they often received at the hands of others, Cedar chose to become a protector, and studied combat arts so that they could prowl the streets at night in search of people in need of help. Now twenty-five years old, Cedar considers themself to be an accomplished defender of the weak and helpless.