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game design

Where do Gamemasters Get Their Fun?

Where do Gamemasters Get Their Fun?
Every single RPG with a GM has a motivation to run the game, an agenda, for the GM. Most of those games would be better if they stated that agenda explicitly. Because beyond telling the GM what to aim for, these motivations tell the GM where their fun is coming from in the game—they tell the GM why they should want to play. I don’t often think too much about the enjoyment I get from GMing, exac...
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Velvet Dreamation

Velvet Dreamation
Brendan Conway and I will be heading up to Dreamation 2017 next week. We will be running and playing games, and hanging out with other con-goers. I’ve never been to Dreamation before, and I’m really looking forward to it! Both Brendan and I will be GMing a Dungeon World longcon, but he’s also running a Masks: A New Generation longcon, while I’ll be running a session of Velvet Glove. I’ve ru...
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Games of 2016: Pandemic Legacy

Pandemic Legacy Zman Games 2015
It’s the end of the year! And that means it’s time to talk about end of year assessments of the most important piece of culture: GAMES! I might come back to this, so I’m not going to cap myself at “TOP 5” anything. But I might not come back to this, so I’m going to start off at the top. I want to talk about one of the most important board games for my 2016: Pandemic Legacy. In particular, I wan...
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Bluebeard’s Bride: Behind the Curtain

Here is a glimpse behind the curtain of how one of the ring moves for Bluebeard’s Bride was developed. I will explain my thought process when my fellow designers and I took the functioning version of dirty yourself with violence and reshaped it into a version that encompasses everything the game really demanded from it.   Dirty yourself with violence is triggered when a player with the ring res...
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Tabletop Mashup: XCOM 2

Magpie Team in XCOM 2
In this series of posts, Brendan will tackle games outside of the tabletop RPG realm, dissecting them for any useful tidbits to apply to tabletop RPG design. XCOM 2: a game of soldiers, aliens, bad calls, upsetting mistakes, a really cruel RNG (random number generator), and many, many explosions. There’s a tactical level of squad-based combat, in which you move your soldiers around what amou...
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