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.

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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.

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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”

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.

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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”

Coming to Big Bad Con: Alex Roberts

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 Alex Roberts.

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

I’m Alex, from the computer! I do this show on the ONE SHOT Podcast Network called Backstory, where I interview all kinds of people about their contributions to the gaming community – designers, organizers, scholars, and more! Behind the scenes, I do administrative and project management type stuff for Pelgrane Press and Bully Pulpit Games. I also write for games sometimes–you’ll see contributions from me in Dialect, Sig, Threadbare, the next edition of Misspent Youth, to name a few. I’m also trying my hand at design these days… I have a piece in the #Feminism supplement that Pelgrane is putting out, and Tension, my 2-player Jenga-based RPG about forbidden love, is currently in open playtesting!

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RPG a Day: The Longest Day

shokunin_clock16. Longest game session played

To be honest, I really don’t remember.  I’ve been playing role-playing games since 1983 and that’s a lot of game sessions. I know that sessions used to be longer when I was young; as age and time commitments increased, average game session length decreased. Moreover, a lot of streamlined rule sets now allow intense gaming experiences in as little as a couple of hours.

Would weekend-long LARP sessions count?  That would have to be my longest, I guess, and they date back to the mid-1990s with the Adventurers’ Inn.

#RPGaDay2015

Mini-Review: Knights of Badassdom

Knights of Badassdom movie posterOn Thursday night we attended a showing of Knights of Badassdom organized by the Ace of Geeks podcast. They sold out the projection room they had secure at the AMC Van Ness 14 theatre, 152 tickets all sold to complete geeks like us. The audience brought costumes, props, and Monty Python references; it made Rocky Horror Picture Show events look a little staid.

It was a treat for all of us, I think, to see a gamer movie with real actors — unless you count Mazes and Monsters, which after all did have Tom Hanks. The four Knights of Badassdom are Tyrion Lannister, River Tam, the guy from True Blood, and the guy from Treme.  No, wait, sorry—now that I have access to IMDb to compensate for my woeful memory for names, let’s try that again:

  • Peter Dinklage (The Station Agent, Death at a Funeral, Game of Thrones) as Hung;
  • Summer Glau (Firefly, Serenity, The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Arrow) as Gwen;
  • Steve Zahn (Treme, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Dallas Buyers’ Club) as Eric; and
  • Ryan Kwanten (True Blood, Summerland) as Joe.
  • Also notable was Jimmi Simpson (House of Cards, Psych, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) who played the game-master, Ronnie Kwok.

I was not familiar with Joe Lynch, who directed, or with first-time screenwriters Kevin Dreyfuss and Matt Wall. Clearly, though, they knew they Live-Action Role-Playing. Except for the superior quality of the props and costumes, the setting felt quite familiar. The story revolves around LARPers who accidentally summon a real demon, which then proceeds to attack unsuspecting participants in the weekend-long LARP. When the authorities fail to respond, a few brave/weirdo LARPers decide to meet the menace with steel. Hilarity ensues.

I remember that while the movie was being filmed a few years ago, some people in the gamer and LARPer community fretted that this would in fact be another Mazes and Monsters or a Revenge of the Nerds, making the hobby look stupid. I thought that Knights of Badassdom did a good job of making gentle fun of the hobby’s quirks while still making it look cool. The general footage of actual LARPer extras and staged battles looks, well, badass.

When we get to the real monsters, they’re mean and horrible and we wince because they kill some of our favourite geeks. The special effects are no more sterling than one would expect, but they get the job done competently. It’s a horror comedy, and as the lady behind us put it at the end, “The ratio of murder to LARPing was a little high.” The music is good, and the mock-documentary feel of the connecting scenes is well used to make us chuckle without diminishing the main characters.

Everybody seemed to have a good time, and I was certainly happy I’d decided to attend. As I told my husband, “The part that would be hardest to understand for some people is that no one here was perplexed by any of this,” be it LARP protocol, references to John Dee, or death metal. It made perfect sense to us — and from what I see of the few reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, to no one else. Highly recommended for gamers.

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