Trying to get back into using Monday’s to point to things I’m excited about and remind me why I like the internet. And we’ll start with Strands of Fate, a new Fate based game that has just been released after a pretty robust beta. You can read more about it here, but the quick pitch is that it looks like a well-engineered version of Fate that makes a few different choices of emphasis (like removing the adjective ladder) and goes a little more crunchy. Someone describe it as a love child between GURPS and Fate 3.0 (and I think they meant that in a good way) but I’m not sure I’d even go that far. I think it’s still close to Fate at heart, keeping a lot of the fast and loose, but nailing down a few more quantitative things like equipment. I’m still reading my pdf, but it’s pretty cool so far.
I have been reading the hell out of Gray, Brown & Macunfo’s Gamestorming, and enjoying it enough that I’ve been taking my time going through it (and taking notes! Voluntarily!). I’d been following the blog and I enjoyed Gray’s previous writings on visualizing information (I have the initial copy of the unbook Marks & Meaning), so I was already ready for this to rock. See, Gamestorming is about games you can play in a business context to get things done in meetings, such as brainstorming, team building, problem solving and so on. There’s some fantastic analysis of games and creativity, but the bulk of the book is dedicated to the actual games themselves. In a weird bit of nerd recursion, I’ve been looking at a lot of these games he’s adapted to business and been thinking about them in terms of adapting them back into games, and it’s been quite useful. It especially offers some useful insight on shared creation, as in games like the DFRPG. Sometime after I finish, this one will probably merit a full review, but for now suffice it to say I’m very much enjoying it.
On the fiction end, Harry Connolly’s Game of Cages is out. I mentioned this when it was released, but having finished it I need to mention it again because it rocks hard. As with its predecessor, it’s much more on the action-horror end of the Urban Fantasy spectrum, full of dark, painful stuff. But it rockets forward, once again underscoring how scary you can make something without ichor by illustrating it’s impact more than the thing itself. This is shaping up to be a great series, and since there are only two books, this is a great time to get on board. However, I would definitely remind any prospective reader that I do not lightly describe this as dark. Very bad things happen to people, and the usual protections of fiction are no place to be seen. I find it a breath of fresh air, but I also have warned my wife off the series.
I have to recommend reading What Batman Taught Me About Being A Good Dad. As a newish father, it kind of doubly struck home and got me thinking about what I will be watching with my son as he gets older.
These are too pretty to go without comment: Typographic Maps.
Linnaeus (Who has been doing some FANTASTIC daily game analysis) has offered a summary of why Race for the Galaxy works so well for him that I am in strong agreement with. Race is one of my absolute favorite games, but one I only get to play every so often because it’s got a bit of a learning curve.
Alex Epstein, one of my favorite writers about writing, breaks down the 6th element of story. John August, who is also in that category, provides the short answer for how to write a romance.
Gamefiend has started a kickstarter to fund his 4e villain book, Worldbreakers. If you haven’t seen the stuff he’s done so far, you should. With the Worldbreaker’s he’s basially creating boss fights where ther transitions, environment and flow of the fight are all baked into the monster. This is good stuff, and more it’s exactly the sort of stuff that D&D 4essentials could use more of. The fact that Gamefiend is probably one of the most insightful guys writing about D&D these days is just a bonus (and if At-Will isn’t on your 4essentials radar, it should be)
That should do for now. I already feel reminded that the Internet is full of awesome.
These are awesome and informative links, man. Good stuff!
Funny aside, after reading that Romance link. My novel was awarded a “Best Unexpected Romance” prize a couple years ago on Tia Nevitt’s blog. I was flattered and a little taken aback.