January 28th, 2008

Grey Ranks Video

Hey folks. Yesterday I talked about some AP at Dreamation including the Grey Ranks game I played. Jason Morningstar, the designer of the game, put together a video of those of us who played the game reflecting on it as well as some actual footage of the session in progress.


Burning Greece

I just wanted to brag/plug the game that I've been participating in for the past 5 months.

It started sometime last summer, when one of my groupmembers suggested an Ancient Greek themed game.

It took off from there!

highlights include:
-Battling the Spartans
-A big fat Greek wedding
-political intrigue
-Ridding the curse of Posiedon
-Wrestling the golden bull


-Theseus of Athens: Olympic champion, local star of the gymnasium "I can FoRK my conspicious into ANYTHING, I'm Theseus!"
-Tymun: Priest of Athena, held in low esteem by many, but devote, pious and trustworthy.
-Bastian: Sailor, Captain and adventurer, Commands a ship in our fleet.

We're using The Burning wheel, by Luke Crane. It fits remarkably well to the game. The Duel of Wits mechanic has won us over, and we've had sessions go by with nothing more then heated verbal exchanges. It can be a bit of work to grasp all the rules, but once you get it, it's smooth, effective and very realistic, and infinantly customizable.

here are our custom lifepaths and more information:
Voodoo Dolly

Indie Game Angst

You know, I think I'm fed up with people touting 'indie games' as so much better than 'mainstream'.  What is an indie game company anyway?  The only thing I can think of, is that they're a gaming company that's not gone mainstream, they don't have the resources or means to do so yet (if ever).  Really, I think that's about it.

Looking back at the 80s, there were a lot of small press companies which released RPGs.  Does anyone remember such classics as, say, Expendables or Justifiers?  Or how about It Came From the Late, Late, Late, Late Show?  How about Doctor Who?  Of course, in the 90s, you had Dream Park and Morpheus, as well as others.

So what's the difference?

I don't think there's any.  I think touting indie games as 'better' is just being elitist.  Just like in the 80's and 90's, there are people making RPGs, and not all of them are from a 'mainstream' company.  Some are good, some are excellent, most are crap.  I bet if you went to RPG Now, and purchased every single indie RPG there, the vast majority of them you'd want to skip over.  I'm sure there's some interesting concepts, but the meld of setting, mechanics, eye candy, writing, and that certain something which makes a game click won't exist in the majority of them.

But I'm sure that there are people willing to yell from the mountains that because these games aren't from the mainstream that they're somehow... better.  And I'm just as sure there are people who will point to the vast majority of the games out there and say 'well, they don't count' for whatever nebulous reason they can think of.

Hey, I'll give credit where it is worth:  The fact these people are willing to try to make an RPG is cool.  I'm all for it, and quite happy to see people trying to live their dream.  For that, they get kudos.  But this doesn't make their game automatically better than something by WotC or White Wolf or AEG or Chaosium.

To me, an indie game is just like any other RPG.  It might rock.  It might suck.  The only way to find out is to give it a shot, and see how it goes.  But I'm willing to bet the majority suck.

Oh, and to give one other example:  Anyone remember the RPG where you're playing rock and roll space aliens come to earth with a message of peace while you try to fight 'The Man'?

That was an Indie game, too.  ;)
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