Sunday, 1 January 2017

This Week: Holidays, 80 Days, Rogue One, and Podcasts

Welcome to This Week, a weekly series where I discuss all the gaming (both video and tabletop) content I've played, made, prepped, run and seen that's cool this week.

Before I begin, I want to say HAPPY NEW YEAR! Last year was a shit storm, for a number of reasons, and 2017 threatens to be worse... Which is why we gotta not let it drag us down, and we gotta celebrate the good, and fight against the bad. I'll be talking more about this in the weeks to come, so watch this space.

Otherwise, I've been on holidays for the last just under two weeks, which actually hasn't been as restful as it sounds. Between getting the keys to our new place and moving some stuff across, and visiting family in far-off Newcastle, it's been pretty busy. Sadly, I've also been away from my group so haven't gotten a chance to actually run anything for a few weeks...

Let's jump in with what I've done This Week...

What I've Played

A colleague introduced me to a mobile game (among a ridiculously long and excellent list of others) called 80 Days, set within the same premise as Around The World In Eighty Days. You play as the manservant of a rich aristocrat, attempting to travel around the world in 80 days, whilst seeing what you can see. It's a text-based adventure game with a LOT of branching paths and agency, as well as charming writing and exploration mechanics. I'm playing it on iOS at the moment (though it is also on Android and even PC), and am really enjoying it - I highly recommend it!
(Image from inkle.)
I also purchased my fiancé a copy of Archaeology, a rather simple yet brilliant set collecting card game. It's super quick to play, and the strategy is quite interesting, with alternate pieces to increase replayability. Who doesn't love pretending to be Indiana Jones? Not us, that's for damn sure.
(Image from Board Game Geek.)

What I've Made

I've managed to squeeze in a few more hours on Do or Dice in the lead up to Ameshirel: A World Reforged beginning its test campaign. Most recently I've been working on magic systems, and I have to say, the basis of Fate Core and Blades in the Dark makes for some really weird things you can do with dice. Granted, Do or Dice is now firmly different enough from either of them to begin losing its recognisable roots, but I still think those foundations allow me to really think outside the box.
(Image from William McAusland, used with permission.)
I'm hopeful to be able to share some actual mechanics publicly soon. The general release plan for Do or Dice seems to be heading down a Pay What You Want model for the core rules, and then small price tags for add-ons, worlds, and adventures. This is a model I've seen and enjoyed personally, so I think it's the one I want to go down.

What I've Seen

Like most of the rest of the known world, I watched Rogue One this past fortnight. I really enjoyed it - I thought it gave satisfying answers to a lot of weird things in IV that I never got (like why there'd be such a vulnerability in the first place) and tied into the flow of the Episodes well, whilst still clearly not being just another Star Wars episode. I did have a few gripes with it, but over all, I thought it was a great movie. I'm glad a few more risks are being taken, and that the studio was happy to sell a less viable movie for the sake of something new. Kudos for that one!
(Image from Wired.)
Every year my RPG group participates in a Secret Santa, and this year one of my lovely friends got me Storm King's Thunder. I'm yet to properly crack it open and read it, but I feel a while after I've finished my Curse of Strahd campaign, you'll probably be hearing about a new Giant-focused campaign I'm running!
(Image from Wizards.)
I also got a new roleplaying game for Christmas - the beautiful Torchbearer, which I've been reading feverishly. The Burning Wheel was a big inspiration for me behind Do or Dice, and the themes of Torchbearer are very similar (but happily different) that I'm able to draw a lot of inspiration and cool ideas from its design. There are parts of Torchbearer which I distinctly want to steer away from (such as class = race, which I've never understood) and yet parts which I've fallen in love with (Nature, I'm looking at you). You WILL be hearing more about Torchbearer from me... Soon.
(Image from A Game of Telephone.)
Finally, whilst driving between Melbourne and Newcastle twice, my partner got me to listen to a few podcasts. Generally, I don't do podcasts - I find my brain isn't good at following a purely audio story (same reason I dislike audiobooks). But the two I've been listening to have changed all that. 

I managed to finish Alice Isn't Dead part 1, a creepy and weird show that fits into that paranormal roadtrip genre that I love so much, from the same folks who brought us Welcome to Nightvale (which I am yet to listen to, for the aforementioned aversion to podcasts). It was great, and if you're into American Gods, Part-Time Gods, Supernatural, or urban fantasy at all, you should check it out.
(Image from Ars Technica.)
I also started Limetown, which is another supernatural investigative series which is really damn intriguing with ridiculous production values (honestly, if Amelia hadn't told me it was fiction before the first episode, I would have assumed it was real). Regardless of what you like, you should stop doing that thing and go listen to Limetown. You'll like that more...
(Image from Vox.)
That's all for This Week this week. I'll talk to you next week, and tell you of all my adventures again! In the mean time, fill your own week with as much awesome as possible.