Game Review: Leaving Earth

For my birthday Edmund gave me the game Leaving Earth, published by Lumenaris.

This is an attractive game of space exploration published by a local family-owned company. Design, art, layout are all the work of a single person, Joseph Fatula. The art is beautiful, the theme richly conveyed in every component, and the hand-made wooden pieces in the shapes of various spacecraft made me squee with delight. Even the box looks lovely, and it was hard to bring myself to cut the seal to open it.

Leaving Earth: the contents

The object of the game is to gather a certain number of points by accomplishing randomly drawn missions, all within 21 rounds representing the years 1956 to 1976. You can play it competitively, cooperatively, or solitaire. The basics are the same in all three modes: Continue reading “Game Review: Leaving Earth”

Mapping the Veins of a World

I was opening a tab in my browser for a completely different reason, and I got completely sidetracked.

I’ve been using Chrome lately, and I have the Earth View form Google Earth extension installed so every tab I open shows me a new interesting image of the Earth seen from above. Altitude makes it looks like abstract art, but then you start recognizing features. Since I’m a fan of maps, I love looking at these.

This particular image just fascinated me, making me think about what’s unsatisfactory about a lot of map-making of fictional worlds, and especially in games. They are missing the key shaping factor of the ground surface:

Water is the shape of the landscape.

Karaginsky District, Siberia

This image shows the river that forms the southern boundary of the Karaginsky District on the Kamchatka Peninsula with the Ust-Kamchatsky District, just above the point where the river reaches the Pacific Ocean. It’s both a mighty stream and a little nothing rivulet, depending on the scale you’re considering.  Continue reading “Mapping the Veins of a World”

Coming to Big Bad Con: Jared Sorensen

Jared SorensenThe Kickstarter funding campaign is in full swing for Big Bad Con, the sweetest tabletop gaming convention on the West Coast. We quickly funded our basic goals on Day 1, and have been blowing past many stretch goals since. Several of these stretch goals allow us to bring great guests to the convention, to host games, speak on panels, etc. Today’s guest interview is with Jared Sorensen, of Memento Mori Theatricks.

Could you introduce yourself? What would you like the Big Bad Con attendees to know about you?

I’m a writer and game designer, one of the old-guard indie guys from the turn of the century; the creator of Lacuna Part I, InSpectres, Action Castle, and the co-creator of FreeMarket. I wrote for D&D Online, Lord of the Rings Online and a buncha other computerish things and I’m known for wearing lots of black.

Continue reading “Coming to Big Bad Con: Jared Sorensen”

Coming to Big Bad Con: Hakan Seyalioglu

Hakan SeyaliogluThe Kickstarter funding campaign is in full swing for Big Bad Con, the sweetest tabletop gaming convention on the West Coast. We quickly funded our basic goals on Day 1, and have been blowing past many stretch goals since. Several of these stretch goals allow us to bring great guests to the convention, to host games, speak on panels, etc. Today’s guest interview is with Hakan Seyalioglu.

Could you introduce yourself? What would you like the Big Bad Con attendees to know about you?

Hi there! I’m Hakan, one half of Thorny Games along with Kathryn Hymes and we’re on a mission to spread play through quirky and thoughtful games. People are hungry to tell stories in new and exciting ways, and whether that be at a table, moving around, inside or outside, we want to make that happen. With our game Dialect, A Game about Language and How It Dies, players tell a story about a language, and how the birth and death of that language mirrors the story of a community in Isolation. With Sign, A Game about Being Understood, players reflect on what having barriers to communication mean to us, through the true story of Nicaraguan Sign Language.

Continue reading “Coming to Big Bad Con: Hakan Seyalioglu”

Coming to Big Bad Con: Jason Morningstar

Jason MorningstarThe Kickstarter funding campaign is in full swing for Big Bad Con, the sweetest tabletop gaming convention on the West Coast. We quickly funded our basic goals on Day 1, and have been blowing past many stretch goals since. Several of these stretch goals allow us to bring great guests to the convention, to host games, speak on panels, etc. Today’s guest interview is with Jason Morningstar.

Could you introduce yourself? What would you like the Big Bad Con attendees to know about you?

I’m Jason Morningstar, and I’m a game designer who lives and works in Durham, North Carolina, USA. I make tabletop and live action roleplaying games through my company, Bully Pulpit Games, and I also consult on using games for teaching and learning. I would like the Big Bad Con attendees to know that I love meeting people and playing games, and that my surname is not a pseudonym or nom de plume.  Continue reading “Coming to Big Bad Con: Jason Morningstar”

Game Review: Gloomhaven

Back in 2015, Edmund and I backed the Kickstarter funding campaign for Gloomhaven, a new legacy-style miniatures game. Legacy games are campaigns where actions in one scenario may affect game world conditions and future scenarios. Because they involve placing stickers or marking cards, maps, etc. to indicate persistent effects in the game world, it can be very hard for a dedicated gamer to accept.

Many gamers can’t bring themselves to permanently alter game components! Nevertheless, the scope of the game was ambitious and the the price tag ($79 for the full version with miniatures for each player character class) was perhaps steep if it turned out to be a game we’d rarely play, but really cheap if it we worked our way through the 70 or so scenarios then expected to be included, even if we only played through the campaign once, so we decided to risk chipping in.  Continue reading “Game Review: Gloomhaven”

Coming to Big Bad Con: Misha Bushyager

The Kickstarter funding campaign is in full swing for Big Bad Con, the sweetest tabletop gaming convention on the West Coast. We quickly funded our basic goals on Day 1, and have been blowing past many stretch goals since. Several of these stretch goals allow us to bring great guests to the convention, to host games, speak on panels, etc. Today’s guest interview is with Misha Bushyager, who writes for Unruly Designs.

Could you introduce yourself? What would you like the Big Bad Con attendees to know about you?

I’m Misha, data analyst by day and gamer whenever I can. I’ve got two great kids I’m slowly introducing to gaming and a husband who tags along for the ride when he can. I’ve been a player for over half my life now, and recently plunged into the producing side.

Continue reading “Coming to Big Bad Con: Misha Bushyager”

Coming to Big Bad Con: Tracy Barnett

The Kickstarter funding campaign is in full swing for Big Bad Con, the sweetest tabletop gaming convention on the West Coast. We quickly funded our basic goals on Day 1, and have been blowing past many stretch goals since. Several of these stretch goals allow us to bring great guests to the convention, to host games, speak on panels, etc. Today’s guest interview is with Tracy Barnett of Exploding Rogue Studios.

Could you introduce yourself? What would you like the Big Bad Con attendees to know about you?

Hey, I’m Tracy Barnett. I’ve been writing and designing RPGs for the last five years or so. I’ve done most of my work via Kickstarter and have published three of my own games (School Daze, One Shot, and Iron Edda: War of Metal and Bone), as well as a novel (Sveidsdottir), someone else’s game (Dead Scare, by Elsa S. Henry), and a setting book with my creative partner, Brian Patterson (Karthun: Lands of Conflict), which is published by Evil Hat Productions. I thought I was going to be a publisher for a long time, but I feel much better with the idea of moving to writing things for other people to publish. Publishing hard and my hat’s off to anyone who does it successfully.  Continue reading “Coming to Big Bad Con: Tracy Barnett”

Coming to Big Bad Con: Tora Shae

Tora ShaeThe Kickstarter funding campaign is in full swing for Big Bad Con, the sweetest tabletop gaming convention on the West Coast. We quickly funded our basic goals on Day 1, and have been blowing past many stretch goals since. Several of these stretch goals allow us to bring great guests to the convention, to host games, speak on panels, etc. Today’s guest interview is with Tora Shae.

Could you introduce yourself? What would you like the Big Bad Con attendees to know about you?

Hello!! I’m Tora Shae, a correspondent with BlackGirlNerds where I write, vlog, and podcast about my love for anime, magic, games, and Steven Universe. Get to know me! I promise I’m not as serious as my bio picture would suggest!  Continue reading “Coming to Big Bad Con: Tora Shae”

Coming to Big Bad Con: Dev Purkayastha

Dev PurkayasthaThe Kickstarter funding campaign is in full swing for Big Bad Con, the sweetest tabletop gaming convention on the West Coast. We quickly funded our basic goals on Day 1, and have been blowing past many stretch goals since. Several of these stretch goals allow us to bring great guests to the convention, to host games, speak on panels, etc. Today’s guest interview is with Dev Purkayastha.

Could you introduce yourself? What would you like the Big Bad Con attendees to know about you?

My name is Dev Purkayastha, and I’m a creator of small-press story games, working with Laura Simpson as Sweet Potato Press. I’ve published The Dance and the Dawn, and will be publishing Love Commander soon. I’m also a fan of digital games and board games — I just love the power of what all kinds of games can bring to people. It’s really important to me find games and communities that are inclusive and welcoming, and this is what drew me to Big Bad Con. Continue reading “Coming to Big Bad Con: Dev Purkayastha”