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Boskone 49!

February 23rd, 2012 No comments

I’m not sure how I’ve lived in Boston for seven years and had never been to Boskone before this year. Maybe the frequent laments from the fan community that this con ain’t what it used to be kept me away. I shouldn’t have listened. Boskone still attracts some people you really want to hear sharing their ideas, as evidenced by the day of panels I went to on Saturday, February 18.

The Highest Frontier (cover)

The Highest Frontier (J. Slonczewski), a Luna-as-Ark novel

First up was Occupy Luna with Vince Docherty, Allen M. Steele, Ian Randal Strock, and Alexander Jablokov. The panel topic was how to create a progressive, non-coercive society on Luna. I had high hopes for this one, and while it was a really interesting panel, it didn’t generate a lot of discussion of the central topic. It touched a little on anarchocapitalist/libertarian versus anarchosyndicalist/anarchocommunist ideas about what a Lunar society could look like (Lunar offshore banks vs. energy collectives, for example). But the discussion got bogged down in correcting misconceptions (mostly voiced by the audience) about the technical details of founding a Lunar colony.

As someone who’s spent a lot of time learning about this, I found the discussion of topics like why doming Lunar cities wouldn’t work to be kind of a snore. I’d like to see a discussion like this again — maybe with the moderator working more to keep it on political topics.

I did catch one interesting book mention: Joan Slonczewski’s The Highest Frontier (right), a post-climate change Luna-as-ark novel. (Slonczewski was on a panel about climate change later in the day; read on).

The next panel was The Year in Astronomy & Physics with Mark L. Olson, Jeff Hecht, and Guy Consolmagno. Topics ranged from FTL neutrinos (debunked two days later!) to the recent banquet of exoplanet data we’ve been getting from the Kepler and other sources.

The data on exoplanets we’re not getting disrupts current models of planet formation. The long-held model of how Earth’s solar system formed from a stellar accretion disc explains why we have small terrestrial planets and metals close to the sun, with gas/ice giants, silicates, and water ice farther out. Finding exoplanetary systems that look nothing like this has called that model into question. At the same time, it offers tantalizing possible explanations of  things like why Mars is so small and why Uranus and Neptune have unusual orbits. Astronomers are only in the first stages of puzzling out what it all means, though.

Brother Astronomer, by Guy Consolmagno (cover)

Brother Astronomer, by Guy Consolmagno

My favorite person on this panel was Guy Consolmagno, curator of meteors at the Vatican observatory, so later in the day, I went to his solo talk, Discarded Images: Astronomical Ideas That Were Almost Correct. Wow. If you ever get a chance to see this guy talk, jump at it. He’s a font of knowledge, from stories of bartering with shadowy European collectors for access to their privately held meteorites, to tracing the winding path to a heliocentric view of the solar system. He’s also a Jesuit, and by the end, I wanted to go up and wish him Good Apert to see if he got the joke.

Next up was How Not to Produce an E-Book with Stephen Segal, Neil Clarke, and Teresa Nielsen Hayden. This panel was mostly a technical download, and while I could have learned a lot of this stuff if I got off my butt and googled it, it was good hearing opinions on the various technologies out there from people who’ve been doing it successfully.

I’ll post what I learned on this panel next week. Clarke in particular had a lot of good info to share.

Under the Moons of Mars (cover), edited by John Joseph Adams

Under the Moons of Mars, edited by John Joseph Adams

After lunch, I hit up John Joseph Adams’ reading from the new Under the Moons of Mars anthology. I’m a sucker for this one; I loved the John Carter stories and went back to them when I was working on Mars for Eclipse Phase. This antho will definitely be on my to-get list (it’s got a Peter Beagle story!), although unfortunately it wasn’t on sale at the con.

Adams chose to read the story Three Deaths by David Barr Kirtley. It’s a tale told from the perspective of a green Martian who loses a fight to John Carter, and it’s pitch-perfect.

After that was the panel Environmental Rearguarding: What to Do After It’s Too Late, with Alexander Jablokov moderating, Jorin T. Kare, Jeff Hecht, Tom Easton, and Joan Slonczewski. The topic was great: how do we adapt, and even profit, if climate change gets completely out of control? Unfortunately, both the panel and audience seemed more interested in talking about ways of stopping climate change. Hey, I love the progressivism of sci-fi, too — but I wanted to hear more about evil profiteering! Jablokov kept trying to steer the panel back that way, but it didn’t take. Oh well. I learned some interesting stuff from the engineer on the panel about proposals for seeding clouds with various albedo-raising substances (some of the proposals were crazy — pipeline to the clouds, anyone?).

The audience for this panel tripped one of my pet peeves. Please, don’t be that person who sits in the front row and tries to have a dialog with the panel. It’s just rude, both to the panelists, and to the rest of the audience. I don’t care how knowledgeable you are. And if you’re a panelist, don’t enable this behavior. You might think you’re being nice, but you’re not doing anyone any favors.

I finished off with Creating Worlds for Online Gaming, with Brianna Spacekat Wu moderating, Melinda Snodgrass, Walter H. Hunt, Timothy P. Szczesuil, and Margaret Ronald. I’d meant to avoid gaming panels (especially a month before PAX), but the panel I was originally going to had really loud filk right next door. (A pox upon filk — and also upon anime credit music singalongs, which seem to be the younger generation’s equivalent). Although I picked up a lot of interesting information about the gaming biz, my favorite part of this panel might have been Hunt, a voice actor, discussing how he had one recording session that was nothing but him grunting thirty different ways to simulate the character getting beaten on in combat.

Beyond panels, the con had a decent-sized huckster room, where I somehow managed to contain my book addiction long enough to make it to the door.

So I’m not sure why rumors of this con’s demise still circulate. It might be smaller than it once was, but I won’t be missing it next year.

 

…and a fine Gen Con was had by all!

August 10th, 2011 3 comments
Panopticon cover

"Two uplift enter, one uplift resleeve!"

Thing with Gen Con: it’s always been too damned short. When I was a kid, it always seemed like Sunday came too soon. And now that I’m going as a game designer, ironically, it seems even shorter (you’d think all that work would make it seem longer, but no!). I didn’t see even half of the people or things I wanted to, but it was a blast all the same.

The biggest news from my court was the release of the latest Eclipse Phase hardcover, Panopticon: A Focused Eye on Transhumanity, Vol. I. We had pre-release copies of the book on sale in the Posthuman Studios booth for those lucky enough to be at Gen Con.

Like every Eclipse Phase book to date, it’s gorgeous, with yet another Stephan MARTINIÈRE cover icing the cake (I’ll capitalize his last name, because he’s French, and that’s how they roll). The writing ain’t too shabby, either, although as co-author of the section on space habitats, I’m clearly biased. The other two sections of the book deal with uplifted animals and ubiquitous surveillance. No street date yet, but EP fans may be assured that we’ve delivered the goods on this one. Can’t wait to see the forum threads on how people use these imaginings in actual play!

ENnie 2011

Posthuman be bringin' home ENnies.

I also finally got my hands on a physical copy of Gatecrashing, and it, too, is pretty darned sweet. And Posthuman won another Gold ENnie, this one for Continuity, Marc & Leah Huete’s excellent scenario from last year’s Gen Con. Congrats to them on taking one of Eclipse Phase’s core concepts — body-hopping — and building an intense scenario around it.

Other acquisitions this year included one of Dragonchow’s beautifully made limited edition Eclipse Phase dice bags; Pathfinder: Ultimate Combat (congrats to Jason & team on another great rulebook); and, from the ENnies benefit auction, a bundle of everything currently available for the Dragon Age tabletop RPG. I have to admit I’m always suspicious of RPGs licensed from a big non-tabletop RPG product, but if you look at the names in the credits (Pramas, Kenson, Kulp, Tidball, to name several), it’s clear Green Ronin wasn’t relying on a franchise name to carry this line.

Meanwhile, my girlfriend grabbed a copy of Don’t Rest Your Head RPG and its companion volume Don’t Lose Your Mind and is threatening to run it, a development I’d welcome. We gave this game a spin at Paizo Con back in June, and it’s a great little design.

Additional awesome things I did or saw, in no particular order…

Giant Robo Rally

Giant Roborally with Mindstorm Robots. Squeee!

Some brilliant genius/maniacs who apparently live at the sweet spot between Maker Fair projects and extreme geek love brought a giant Roborally board to the con and had huge Lego Mindstorm robots tooling around it. I was running by on my way to the Posthuman booth when I spotted it, but Father Fletch (of PAX Tabletop Enforcer fame) was nice enough to let me borrow his photo of it, so that y’all may know this awesomeness wasn’t just something I hallucinated after 3 days of Gen Con sleep dep.

I ran a lot of Eclipse Phase, as Posthuman was short on GMs this year. Last year I spent almost all of my time in the booth, pitching the books, so it was great to get out and game with the fans. I mostly ran Xenovore, the fan-inspired scenario I wrote and ran at East Coast cons earlier this year. Hopefully I’ll get it published some time soon.

Jesus Store

Welcome to Indianapolis, Land of Jesus Stores & Ranch Dressing

And I pitched a board game designed by Nathaniel Dean & I. Far too early to talk about what the project is, but we felt the pitch went well. It was my first experience pitching a new game of my own to a serious potential publisher, and I think my co-designer and I took a lot away from the experience.

On Saturday, advance copies of Degenesis showed up at the Posthuman booth. Gorgeous art; weird, weird setting. I was joking with booth visitors that we only do RPGs about the end of the world. Davidson & Seth, the line developers, took a really tough translation project and made it sing. Unfortunately, I forgot my copy at the booth when I rushed off to the airport, so I’ll have to wait to read it!

Some people say Gen Con leaves them exhausted. True for me, physically, but on a creative level, I find it incredibly energizing. I went home very much revved up for another year of writin’ and schemin’.

PAX, a brief spell of Minecraft addiction, PaizoCon, Firefly & Points Beyond

July 21st, 2011 No comments
El Destino Verde cover

El Destino Verde, part one of an Eclipse Phase novelette

Stuff I’ve done the last few months…

  • Ran some games at TempleCon, including Eclipse Phase and the AD&D 1st Edition module White Plume Mountain (one of my all time favorites).
  • Spoke/discussed/brawled in panels at PAX (which we shall now call Prime rather than East, because it is bigger) and Total Confusion.
  • Played Minecraft until it warped my perceptions of the real world. (But I’m better now. I swear.)
  • Headed out to Seattle with my girlfriend to experience the novelty of a gaming con (PaizoCon) where I don’t do any work. Well, minimal work. Before heading back to Bahston, we spent a day in Seattle visiting friends & a few of my Clarion West haunts.
  • Built a giant bug (actually, it was a mammoth, but… long story… anyway) out of forest deadfall & burned it whilst a bunch of hippies danced semi-clad around it with fire.
  • The usual feverish writing in my off hours, including Eclipse Phase: Rimward.
  • My first piece of Eclipse Phase fiction, “El Destino Verde” came out in e-book. It’s the opening fiction for Eclipse Phase: The Panopticon, as well as first of a three part novelette. You can get it from both DriveThru RPG and the Amazon Kindle store.).

Stuff I’ll be up to…

  • Gen Con! I’m rather excited about it. I actually get to GM Eclipse Phase this year (as opposed to being in the booth the whole con). And I’ve even convinced a few people to observe the ancient Gen Con tradition of playing Dawn Patrol (aka, Fight in the Skies) on Saturday morning. Other than that, I’ll be in the Posthuman Studios booth much of the time.
  • Broken Time Blues, the anthology containing my story “Der Graue Engle” will be coming out soon. I’ll devote a post to it once I know the release date.

Panels at TotalConfusion (Massachusetts, Feb. 26)

February 17th, 2011 No comments

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get Eclipse Phase onto the schedule for TotalConfusion this year, but I was asked to sit on a few of their panels on Saturday, 2/26. So I’m going to be placed at a table with other RPG writers, where we will hold forth on the following topics…

Making Great Adventures, Saturday 11:00-Noon

Our panel of esteemed guests will discuss adventure design. Listen in as we discuss the success and pitfalls of adventure design and learn what it takes to make epic adventures. We will cover everything from the one-shot to the epic campaign. Don’t miss this opportunity to get access to some of the greats. Audience participation is highly encouraged, so bring along some questions for our panel.

Gaming and the Media, Saturday 3:00-4:00pm

Game design is only the beginning of any company’s efforts to be successful. Once the product is out, it needs to be promoted and supported. This has changed vastly over the years from primarily print to primarily electronic. Join our panelists as they discuss how the process has changed over the years. Come to enjoy the “war stories” from the trenches of gaming media and get great insight on what works best for promoting your own product. We’ll be discussing print magazines, the evolution of the pdf model, webzines, podcasts, and more. Audience participation is highly encouraged, so bring along some questions for our panel.

Overcoming Gamer/Geek Stereotypes (with Ethan Gilsdorf, author of Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks)

What does it mean to be a geek? This seminar tackles that question with strength and dexterity. . . . part personal odyssey, part medieval mid-life crisis, and part wide-ranging survey of all things freaky and geeky … playful … funny and poignant … It’s a fun ride and it poses a question that goes to the very heart of fantasy, namely: What does the urge to become someone else tell us about ourselves?”

I’m especially excited about this last one. I haven’t gotten to read Ethan’s book yet, but it sounds like part Napoleon Dynamite autobiography, part journalism, part soul searching.

Hope to see some folks at TotalCon!

PAX East Panel: Getting What You Want Out Of Your Gamemaster

January 19th, 2011 4 comments

PAX EastJust found out today I’ll be teaming up with Luke Crane (of Burning Wheel fame) and Joshua AC Newman (designer of Shock: Social Science Fiction) on a panel at PAX East. Our topic is the collaboration between GMs and players in role-playing games, how everyone can get what they want out of the experience, and how different game designs foster different types of collaboration. Come check it out!

Panel details…

Getting What You Want Out Of Your Gamemaster

Time: Sunday, March 13, 2011, 4:30 pm,  at PAX East in Boston, Massachusetts
Description: Gaming books are full of sage advice for GMs on why players play and how to keep them happy, but what do GMs want? Why do they spend so much time preparing games for us? And most importantly, how can players use this to get what they want out of their RPG campaign? Award winning game designers Luke Crane, Jack Graham, and Joshua AC Newman talk about why we play games, why we run games, and how we design them to make them engaging for everyone involved.
Panelists:

Categories: Events, RPG Tags: ,

Eclipse Phase at PAX West

August 28th, 2010 No comments

Schedule of Eclipse Phase events at PAX West. I won’t be making it, but developer Brian Cross will be there. I highly recommend checking it out if you’ll be there. Not sure if he’ll be running my scenario from Gen Con, Doctrine, but I hope so!

Categories: Eclipse Phase, Events, RPG Tags: , , ,

Liveblogging Maker Faire Rhode Island

September 21st, 2009 No comments

Sean Bagge\'s Yellow SubmarineSaturday I went to Maker Faire Rhode Island and liveblogged the event from my jeejah. Here’s a hashtag search that brings up most of my tweets. For some reason, search cuts off some of my tweets (and I forgot to hashtag the first few), so here they are:

Makerbot 3D PrinterThis was a great start for a first Maker Faire, and with all the wonderfully innovative minds out here, it was high time the Northeast threw one. I haven’t been to Maker Faire Austin, but this was a very different affair from the San Francisco event. The most noticeable difference was the scale of the inventions on display. The San Francisco Faire is notable for the presence of a lot of big Burning Man art. Out here, far from Black Rock City, the gadgets on display were no less cool but tended to be smaller (and fewer seemed designed to amuse tripping burners — although the REM inducer on display by the soldering tables looked straight off the Playa).

Whoever figured out how to coordinate the Faire with one of Providence’s Waterfire weekends was a genius. Unlike the San Francisco event, which is ensconced off in the San Mateo fairgrounds, the Rhode Island Faire took over an entire square and the streets radiating out from it in downtown Providence, meaning that thousands of casual passers by got to wander into the event, learn, and participate. The weather cooperated nicely, too. Of course, the SF Faire is big enough that it needs its own space and doesn’t need as much publicity, but the point is that it would have been very unfortunate if the first northeast Faire had been tucked away in a building out of the public eye.

Big Nazo robotAll in all, this was a great time, and I even had a few minutes to stop for tacos at AS220 (an awesome & more permanent feature of Providence) before getting back on the train for Boston.

I did try to credit all of the Makers when photographing projects. If I shot your project and didn’t include your name, please let me know, and I’ll make sure to update this post to give credit.

Finally, I’ll pass on some information I picked up:

  • For info on building open source 3D printers, visit MakerBot.
  • To download and share digital designs for fabricating physical objects, check out the Thingiverse community (and get your reputation economy on).

Photos (top to bottom): Yellow Submarine by Sean Bagge, DIY 3D printer by Makerbot Industries, Huge Foam Skeletal Robot Costume by Big Nazo. (All taken by me).

Gen Con Roundup

August 25th, 2009 No comments

Eclipse Phase coverThis is very belated, as I just gave myself about a month off to regain some sanity, but here’s my roundup of this year’s Gen Con.

The big news from where I sit is obviously Eclipse Phase. It’s finally out, and it’s a beautiful baby. At 400 pages, it’s a big baby, too. Catalyst had only a limited number of copies to sell at the con, so the people doing retail in the exhibit hall booth were cracking open one box each morning and selling out as fast as they could run the cash registers. I’m pretty sure we could have beaten some records for units sold at Gen Con if we’d had more copies, but trans-Pacific shipping (from Thailand, specifically) cuts deep into your margins if you airlift in too many advance copies.

Despite the dearth of actual books to sell, we had full tables for every demo we ran over in the Catalyst room at the Hyatt, and I was running demos more or less nonstop in the exhibit hall. I’m thankful to everyone who spent some of their time trying the game out. After all, there’s a lot to see at Gen Con. I even got to play in a demo run by Sprite (or “Rob Boyle,” as they call him there in Gondor). It was great getting to just be a player after writing and GMing a playtest group for two years. But this gets to the heart of what I told one blogger who stopped by to talk: we made Eclipse Phase because it was the sci-fi game that we all wanted to play.

 

Games for Which I Want to Write

The Gen Con exhibit hall is a non-stop assault of amazing new stuff, much of which a true gamer wants to buy and take home. One unexpected (and lucky, maybe) side effect of having moved to Massachusetts is that I can’t bring back much stuff due to airline weight restrictions. If I bring ten pounds worth of chapbooks with me to the con and get rid of all of them, I’ve got ten pounds of swag and purchases, max. This year I took a an approach to shopping I’d never tried before. I took my mandatory swing through the Indie Revolution booth and picked up a board game there (Andre Monserrat’s intriguing House of Whack). I eyed a really neat-looking storytelling game set in Asian antiquity whose mechanics apparently call for serving tea and stabbing other players’ character sheets with a knife (whose name I forgot, damn it!).

I then spent most of my time in the hall looking for games on which I’d want to work as a writer. I love running games, so for me, the litmus test of whether I’m going to love a new RPG is whether it immediately gets the creative gears turning in my head. There were some clear standouts. Some of these won’t be news, but having spent the last two years completely absorbed in making our game (and barely having gotten to leave our booth last Gen Con), I’d missed a few things.

 

Desolation RPG coverDesolation (Greymalkin Designs)

When I saw this game’s tagline, “post-apocalyptic fantasy,” I was immediately intrigued. Take your typical happy high fantasy world. You’ve got lots of self-satisfied elves, dragons soaring over mountaintops, happy halflings at work in their barley fields — in other words, a wellspring of boredom as old as the Silmarillion. Really, your only option is to destroy it and set your game in the ashes. Now the halflings are resorting to cannibalism and the elves are wearing cloaks of elvenkind that haven’t been washed in eighteen months. Suddenly things are interesting! I wasn’t able to bring this one home, but I’m definitely giving it a read when I can grab a copy.

 

Geist (White Wolf)

I’ll admit: I’ve been known to beat up on White Wolf a little when I discuss RPGs with my friends. I love Exalted, but there are times when I’ve talked about them as if they were the Quentin Tarantino of the RPG industry (“I’m not into Kill Bill, and other than that, what has he done for me lately?”). Maybe I was bored with the formula for World of Darkness game titles (parodied by White Wolf themselves in the card game Pimp: The Backhanding). Maybe it was petulance at their killing Wraith (was I the only person who ever loved this game?). And to be fair, they’ve put out some products that I just didn’t like (Hunter: The Reckoning comes to mind).

Geist is not one such product. The people at the White Wolf booth were very quick (defensively so, it seemed) to tell me that the game is not a reworking of Wraith. That said, it retains in some form what I think was one of the most powerful aspects of Wraith: the shadow. Instead of playing ghosts with an evil twin, though, this game tells the story of living humans, recently returned from near-death experiences, who’ve bonded to an entity called a Geist. The Geist is a former person whose death was so emotionally charged that it transforms them into a near-archetypal persona whose drives and desires thereafter pull constantly at the Sin Eater, the mortal to which it bonds. Less brutal in its disempowerment of the PC than Wraith, yet no less spooky, Geist looks like a nice addition to the WoD franchise.

 

Alpha Omega (Mindstorm Labs)

And here I confidently thought we were going to be the prettiest game at Gen Con. Damn. We’ll have to settle for prettiest new game, since this one’s been out since 2007. Mindstorm had their core book and a book of monsters on sale, both gorgeously produced at an appealingly unusual aspect ratio. Post-apocalyptic occult horror games aren’t exactly new ground in the industry, but this one boasts a solid combination of compelling writing, innovative mechanics, and totally eye-popping art. The added presence of angels and demons (with halfbreeds as playable characters) introduces some interesting storytelling possibilities to a world that’s already gone through some over the top transformations by fire, flood, and comet.

 

Song of Ice & Fire RPG (Green Ronin)

The history of RPGs is littered with failures, a surprising number of which are games licensed off of properties that probably seemed to their developers like a sure thing due to the built-in fan base. Some failed due to poor design (Aliens), others due to weird restrictions imposed by licensors who didn’t understand the RPG industry and developers who agreed to their terms when they should’ve just walked away (Indiana Jones, Star Trek). These failures have become no less common over the years; they’ve just gotten more expensive (witness Buffy, a property that no RPG company in its right mind will ever touch again). So after the rather spectacular failure of Guardians of Order’s Song of Ice & Fire RPG, it’s heartening to see a good company like Green Ronin taking a whack.

It looks like they’re off to a good start. Rather than producing a door stopper of a core book full of material that’s only marginally useful (did anyone really need stats for every single knight in Westeros?), Green Ronin’s core book comes in at a slimmer, saner page count while maintaining great production values. Need setting material? GRRM’s notoriously incomplete series has what you need. Need a game for it? It’s right here. The fact that Green Ronin’s web site is currently offering it on sale makes it even more tempting. Oh, and in case you still haven’t heard: George R. R. Martin is not your bitch.

 

Pathfinder (Paizo)

One of the big pieces of news this year was Paizo’s release of Pathfinder. The running joke on the con floor was that Pathfinder is what D&D 4th Edition should have been. Maybe this is a little unfair to WotC, who, let’s face it, weren’t going to make anyone happy by releasing a new edition of a game whose last edition only came out five years ago. D&D 4th Edition was clearly intended to bring new players into the hobby by producing a product that would be friendlier to massmorg players, and in this it will perhaps succeed. Whatever the case, I don’t need to be miffed that the game I’ve played for 26 years has suddenly gone from semi-realism to a much more video game-like experience, because Pathfinder is there to keep D&D 3.5 in print.

The execution is great, and the price is right. Lest you think from the last section that I don’t like big, beefy core rulebooks, think again. I just don’t like them when they’re full of useless NPC stats or other filler that any good GM could generate themself while in a vegetative coma… which this book is not. At 576 pages, Pathfinder may knock a few vertebrae out of alignment when carried in your messenger bag, but the MSRP (only $50) is right, especially when the book contains everything you need to play. Contrast with D&D 4th Edition, where just the two players’ books will set you back $70, and this is a steal (although WotC was offering a very nice deal on Player’s Handbook I at the con this year — which I took). The anime-inspired art is phenomenal, and the fact that the Pathfinder setting book won an ENnie last year doesn’t hurt in piquing my interest, either.

 

Cthulhutech (Catalyst Game Labs)

Last but not least, there’s Cthulhutech, not a new product this year but one I didn’t get my hands on until Matt Grau handed me a signed copy at this year’s Con. Despite sharing a booth with them last year, I hadn’t gotten a chance to check out their product. I’m now devouring the book and enjoying it immensely.

The first lesson I’ve learned from this game (in combination with working on Eclipse Phase) is that if you’re doing an RPG and want the art to be effin’ slick, hire Mike Vaillancourt as your art director. This is a damned pretty book, with a very consistent visual style throughout. Is there a little bit of fan servicing thrown in there with the giant robots and unspeakable horrors? Well, yeah, there is… but it’s largely pretty classy.

Second lesson: it’s possible to design a fun, playable vehicle combat system without resorting to everything-but-the-kitchen-fabricator Star Fleet Battles-esque rules. I was initially a little skeptical about this game because I didn’t see how the designers could cram workable mecha combat into such a slim core book along with everything else this game covers. But Cthulhutech’s mecha rules build elegantly off of the personal combat system without adding more than a handful of special rules for handling vehicles.

Final observation: the writing is bang on. This isn’t just some silly “Cthulhu versus Battle Mechs” genre mixing mess. The writers have successfully envisioned a world transformed by contact with cosmic horrors, and they’ve followed through on all of the implications. I haven’t yet gotten a look at Vade Mecum, the first major rules expansion for the game, but I’m now pretty psyched for it.

Lonesome Robot at Gen Con

August 11th, 2009 No comments

 

I’ll be at Gen Con 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana from August 12-16. Mostly, I’ll be at the Catalyst Gamelabs booth delivering my elevator pitch on Eclipse Phase to anyone who stands to close to me. I’ll also be running some demos of the game and will be on the panel for a Q&A seminar. I posted a full schedule of these events on the Eclipse Phase Facebook page if you’re interested in stopping by.

 

The scheduled demo games are ticketed events. I have no idea how sold out they are, but odds are usually good of getting a seat if you show up with a generic ticket, as we’ll frequently have two tables running simultaneously in the same room. I believe anyone can show up for the seminar. And we’ll be doing booth demos, for which you just need to show up at the Catalyst booth. They’ll have a schedule posted.

 

Finally, I’ll have handmade chapbooks of my stories Caribou and Chat Perdu available. They’re free if you play in a demo, buy a copy of Eclipse Phase, or just really want to have one. Donations are most welcome, though, as my chapbooks can best be described as a loss leader.

 

And now, back to packing and making aforementioned chapbooks. Hope to see some of you in Indy!