Here’s the one they did for Tough Justice

May 16, 2011: Wigged Justice

Tough JusticeTwo things struck me instantly about this book: first, that it details a personal favorite subject of mine; second, that it has a skull with a wig on the cover. You can’t beat being a brutal English lawyer so dedicated to his job that he continues it beyond the grave, and you can’t beat Georgian crime and punishment. True story: I recently finished reading an entire book on the history of 19th century London crime. Not for a class or anything; just because I wanted to.

If you’re like me — or even if you’re more sane than me — you could have fun withTough Justice. It’s chock-full of the history of crime and punishment in a much more brutal time and place than the present. You’ll come away with one piece of knowledge if nothing else: the worst we can imagine is only a door to the worst that we’ve already done.

Samantha Smith

I love these new intros e23 is doing: SWING

May 21, 2011: Life In Plastic? It’s Fantastic!

Agents of SWINGReturning to the style of the 1960s doesn’t have to mean granny dresses or Joe Friday’s blocky suits. Mod styles, for example, could include ascots, velvet, and white go-go boots — absolute necessities for being a proper spy. Hats are still in, cigars and martinis are handed out like flowers in an early-80s airport, and it remains acceptable to call your secretary “pet” and pinch her bottom. In Agents of SWING, players can feel free to James Bond it up! Note: while you can play an agent of SWING, it is unknown at press time whether you can in fact play a sultan of SWING.

Alternately, the game can shift forward into the 1970s. Replace the velvet with corduroy, replace the martinis with bourbon, replace the cigars with cigarettes (maybe), and accept that your secretary may well kick more tail than you can. Either way, who can resist playing spy games? Foiling (or masterminding) plots to Take Over The World is all part of this balanced breakfast.

And if it isn’t, it should be.

Samantha Smith

News via RSS | News via E-Mail | Past News

SWING Reviews!

Andrew Fix:
This is an excellent game that perfectly captures the feel of the 60s and 70s “spy-fi” genre. It can be used to emulate anything from James Bond (from the serious early and latest movies to the goofiest of the Moore movies from the 70s) to The Prisoner to The Avengers to Austin Powers. It is a worthy successor to Spycraft as the go-to game for action-oriented superspy adventures.The game uses the excellent FATE system and it keeps that “pulpy” feel from earlier FATE games Spirit of the Century and Star Blazer Adventures. It expands some mechanics (organization rules), cleans up some rules (skills and stunts), and introduces some interesting new twists of its own (Swing dice). It also includes lots of examples, including sample characters, vehicles and organizations.

Don’t let the page count intimidate you. The physical book is a nice, tidy, compact digest-sized book. It’s neatly organized and easy to flip through.

Agents of S.W.I.N.G is a good buy for anyone looking for an action spy game or any fans of the FATE system.

Rating: *****

Tim Loud:
This is how you write a FATE or Fudge game. Clear organization, plenty of sample characters. Even an adventure. Although based off Starblazers and Legends of Anglerre, it is light enough to play on its own.

Favorite bits: the characters, everything from Emma Peal-inspred Avengers to The Doctor (circa John Pertwee) to a Moriarty-style Fu Manchu. The only FATE/Fudge game to change the attribute ratings (instead of a character being Average, they are Yawn. Instead of Mediocre, they are Bent; Good is Cool). I also enjoy the silohettes that may be traced for easy character drawings (as on the cover). The tone can range from somewhat ludicrous to serious and cinematic (or seriously cinematic). To use one of the adjectives on their own ladder: Far Out.

Take the strong Mature Audiences Only Warning seriously. I counted at least one f-bomb, but in context it made perfect sense.

One of the best written and easiest games. I went and ordered the paper back. It’s that good.

Rating: *****

Marginally Less Sweary Challenge Version

Lots of people whine, moan, complain, lambast and bitch about games not being ‘inclusive’ of race, gender, sexuality etc, etc, etc. A while back I made an offer that I’d put together some stock art packs of inclusive art (#inclusiveart hashtag on Twitter) and there was surprisingly little response, considering the amount of ‘Ra!’ that goes on around these topics all the time. In fact there were no suggestions or ideas at all pretty much.

I don’t give up so easily though.

As a writer/creator I write about things that interest me and I write from a viewpoint that I either a) hold or b) want to explore. Lots of writers do this and their work is generally better for it because it comes from a place of sincerity and conviction. It’s often all the better for it EVEN if you don’t agree with the writer’s outlook. China Mieville’s work is greatly influenced by his political opinions, Dawkins’ ascerbic wit would not be so entertaining if he were not so fervently anti-religious, Peter F Hamiltion is a bit of a rightie, but his books are the better for that ideological foundation, Heinlein was a libertine socially and… a bit odd politically, his work retains impact and relevance because of that. There’s plenty of other authors this is true of.

You see this a bit less in games – at least outside the Indie/Self Published scene partly due to commercial pressure but also due to the nature of games themselves. We don’t write a novel, we create a context in which other people create their own stories. If your particular hot button issue is not addressed or is ignored the most likely explanation is not that you’re being slighted but because it simply doesn’t matter to the author, they don’t consider it an issue or it’s undefined – leaving you free to.

Still, games are useful places to address these issues.

In my work I’m interested in left wing and Anarchistic politics and social structures, I’m interested in the religious/atheistic dynamic and the conflict between rationality and faith. I’m interested in sex positivism. I’m interested in questions of morality, evolutionary psychology, social structures, science, speculation and obscure corners of genre fiction.

So that’s what I write about and the viewpoint I come from.

If you want to see games about other things, that pay service to your concerns and your viewpoint, you have to write them. There’s too much inertia and too little money in gaming for huge risk taking outside the indie scene, which is very small, but very enthusiastic, like concentrated gamer amphetamines.

If you genuinely think addressing these issues head on or creating games that go out of their way to be inclusive and make a point and an issue of it, then you need to put your money where your mouth is.

I’d love this to be true and I love controversy – another topic that interests me – so I’ll even help.

Here’s what I’ll offer you to help you:

Option 1:
I’ve been publishing PoD and PDF for some time now as well as working freelance for a hell of a lot of gaming companies. I know the industry, I know how to self publish, I know how to do things cheaply, I know how to work.
I will help you get set up, get writing and get producing your game. I’ll give it a once over and help you out any way I can, time and workload permitting.

Option 2:
Write it for something of mine
Not up to writing a whole game yourself?
Fine, write it for one of my systems/settings. I’ll give you permission if I think the project is cool and you can publish it yourself and even keep all the profits. You want to use Xpress? Write a women’s lib adventure for SWING? Go for it. Let’s talk.

Option 3:
I’ll publish it with you.
You’ve got a groovy game idea that’s inclusive and shiny and tackles the issues you think are marginalised in gaming? You want to make a game that properly reflects your ethnicity/sexuality/gender/whatever… go for it. So long as the idea’s good I’ll do all of the above PLUS lay it out, handle the art and design direction and so on and I’ll split the profit (after costs are met) 50/50 with you.

If you want to see the things that you want to see, the best way to do that is to make it happen. Not expect other people who don’t share your outlook and concerns to do it for you.

Step into my office…

Agents of SWING: Nefarious! Commissioned

Nefarious! Which will be a short sourcebook on villains, henchmen, goons and villainous organisations for SWING has been commissioned and will be written by Chris Helton, @dorkland on twitter.

When it’ll be ready? Don’t know…
What EXACTLY it will contain, other than fab, swinging, gear and groovy stuff, not sure.

It’s comin’ though…

Agent’s of SWING: Agent’s Casefile – RELEASED!

And it’s FREE!

The Agent’s Casefile contains several character sheets, room for case notes and all the reference tables you’ll need to make and play a character.

You can download it free from HERE
Or order a bunch of hardcopy little notebooks for your group HERE

Paying it forward: Art Pimping

There’s a school of thought that suggests that when you find a cool resource you should keep it to yourself and hide it, protect it, stroke it, call it your precious…

Bugger that.

Ace of Hearts and Agents of SWING both benefited greatly from the photography of MJ Ranum from Deviantart.

His stockart gallery can be found HERE

Many of his images are adult oriented, but I’m sure you’ll agree they’re wonderfully done and full of lovely looking women – and men. They’re a great resource for silhouettes, image manipulation and for artists looking for interesting poses in fantasy-appropriate attire.

Just make sure you ask permission first.

Pip pip.

Ian’s Updates

Tough Justice
Shadow World