Gamer Food!

"No Junk Food" signThis weekend Edmund and I are going to be on staff (and hopefully doing some gaming) at Pacificon Game Expo in Santa Clara, CA.  We’re on a very limited budget and we’re also trying to eater healthy meals, so we just can’t live on potato chips and hamburgers from Friday through Monday.  So we have planned to make and bring the following menu items:

  • Spicy cocoa muffins
  • Slow-roasted beef sandwiches with basil, on home-made bread
  • Cold soba noodles with shrimp and vegetables
  • Hummus, pita and tabbouleh salad
  • Oatmeal bars
  • Cold-brewed coffee
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables for snacks

It sounds complicated but it’s much simpler than it seems because we use the bread machine and the food processor a lot.  Edmund has just put the muffins in the oven, and the bread is already done.  The beef is currently seasoning and will be roasted tonight, the fruit and vegetables have been acquired, Edmund will make the oatmeal bars after the muffins are baked; and while the beef is roasting tonight, I will be making the hummus, tabbouleh, cold-brewed coffee, and some mustard since we’re out (all of those benefit from sitting in the refrigerator overnight). The soba can be prepared at the last minute.

Sadness: we decided we didn’t have time to make pita, so I bought some at the store.  But we didn’t get a single unhealthy item, and except for the pita, everything is home-made, down to the condiments.

That is also a much cheaper way to eat; do you have any idea how much freakin’ hummus and tabbouleh you can make from chickpeas and bulghur?  It’s about three to five times more expensive and far less flavourful to buy prepared foods.  The slow-roasted beef is made from eye round, an inexpensive cut from Costco which comes out cheaper per pound (or kg) than any cold cuts, deli meats, sausages or hot dogs.  Etc., etc…

Time-wise, I admit that a bread machine, food processor and dishwasher make all this food prep much more pleasant, but I have also done this with nothing more advanced than a $20 electric egg-beater in the past, and it was still worth it.

Fate of the Budayeen: Crunchy Bits

Waiting[Turning a setting idea into a game world for the Fate Accelerated Edition (FAE) role-playing game system: this is Post #3 in the series.]

Despite the process shown in Fate Core pp. 22-24 and “A Spark in Fate Core” (see previous instalment in this series), I’m not going to directly move on to “The Setting’s Big Issues.”   Unlike a game world created from scratch, I’m borrowing tons of material from an existing setting, so it’s easier for me to grab the bits I want and build my issues around them, probably in collaboration with the rest of the game group unless this is a one-off game.

Instead, let’s jump to an element most gamers tend to spend a lot of of time on — probably too much: rules questions, or what Robin D. Laws calls “crunchy bits” in his inestimably useful Robin’s Laws of Good Game Mastering.

Step 3: Adjust the rules to the setting

Philosophy.  As you might guess from my choice of Fate Accelerated Edition (FAE) instead of Fate Core, I like simple game systems that get out of the way of building a good story when we’re at the table, and don’t require too much effort to adjudicate.  There’s nothing wrong with liking more crunch, many of my friends do; but when preparing my own game, if I’m tempted to create new rules material, I always ask myself whether it’s necessary or whether I can use what is already there.

Approaches in FAE.  Fate Accelerated replaces skills with six Approaches that describe how a character does things, in what style.  It’s excellent to model very competent characters (see my earlier review), but will it be too powerful for the gritty cyberpunk feel of the Budayeen?  Well, George Alec Effinger’s books are certainly rough on main characters, so NPC opposition will have to be brutal and the stakes will be high, but on the other hand, the reader hardly wonders whether the overwhelming odds will be overcome, merely at what cost.  So at first glance, FAE would work.

Let’s check our specific Approaches and decide whether we need to rename them or even replace them in order to reflect the setting.  Can I readily think of typical character actions in the Budayeen that would be covered by each approach? Continue reading “Fate of the Budayeen: Crunchy Bits”