Apocalypse World, which the indie luvvies have all gone ga-ga over is an impenetrable mystery to me in terms of its appeal. Dungeon World does a far better job of explaining how it is all supposed to work and be played but it can’t overcome the central plank of fail that courses through the system like a dose of castor oil ravaging your intestines.
Moves suck. Moves suck the creativity out of role-playing, coming up with on-the-spot actions and improvising absurd plans and Hail Mary’s out of the creativity of sheer desperation.
Characters in Apocalypse Powered games are, meanwhile, lumbered with a pretty restrictive set of ‘moves’ that channel them into a narrow set of actions. This is something that goes against the very nature and appeal of RPGs to me. This is ‘narrative’ chess, the horsey moves like this, the battlebabe takes on diagonals.
If there’re redeeming features to this game, they are that it makes a good workbook for plot-mapping and tracking, and that some of the artwork is borderline fetishy.
Otherwise, it’s a pretentious, bag-of-wank, ‘indie darling’ and when you don’t like it, people treat you like you don’t know how to use the three sea shells.
By doing what I’m doing and continuing not to bow to pressure.
The Finnish have a term ‘Sisu’. It doesn’t have an exact translation, but it roughly correlate to grit, determination, stubbornness, strength of will, perseverance and a resolute commitment to a course particular course despite the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. I never knew I had it, until it was described to me and now I wonder if there’s some Viking ancestry that leads back to that area of the world…
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I’ve left it far too late to get to any cons. I can only really afford to go to them as a stall-holder and prices for doing that have been going up for years. Then the mental health issues also tend to get in the way. We used to go to Indiecon, but that got scuppered by uncooperative site owners, so for the last couple of years, my regular gaming group has put together our own little mini-convention, ‘Awesomecon’, just for us. That’s a lot of fun but does miss out on the opportunities to buy or sell cool stuff and to make new friends…
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No, really, I don’t tend to synch up that well with other people creatively. I accomplish far more as an auteur, or given some instructions and left to get on with it. I think any collaboration or group effort would suffer in both quality and focus for it…
I have TRIED to work with other people to create games and the end result has either been an aborted project, or me finishing it by myself. This is pretty remarkable in and of itself, thanks to my mental health issues which can impact negatively on my capacity to work…
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There’s so many…
I’d really like to tear apart and remake Dust Adventures. I don’t think it did a good job at all of transitioning between the wargame/board game and an RPG and I feel it failed to capture the spirit of the game and its aesthetic. My version would have been virtually directly compatible and would have played out far more pulpy, almost a more gritty version of Feng Shui in a lot of ways, with Nazis dying left and right in droves, taking on units rather than individuals. I even wrote a version of what I would do before the official game was announced. Given all of Dust’s issues and the likely length of any license, getting a crack at that seems unlikely though…
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Because that’s what I enjoy.
Oh, you want more?
Well, besides the fact that I tend to enjoy complex and well-defined worlds, conspiracies, plots, horror and emotional attachment, there’s the fact that these are hard to engender in a game. ‘Delve into the Dungeon of Prolapse the Underwhelming to fetch The Headpiece of Fring’ is pretty simple, ‘Take the Buttplug of Doom to Mount Snoozemoor’ is longer, but pretty simple. Overthrowing a government, rooting out a secret society, making your neighbourhood a better place or falling in love against the odds and raising a family, running a mercenary company during a conflict between many parties – these are more difficult.
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Just one person, and you do mean a game, right, not sexy shenanigans?
A lot of people would have said Gary Gygax, up until his death, and to an extent I can agree with that. To see the ur-Dungeon Master’s take on how the games he spawned should be played. Then again, from everything I’ve read and seen, his way of running games is counter to what I consider enjoyable…
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The beauty of roleplaying games is that where you play doesn’t have to matter that much. The creativity takes place in your mind, in your mutual imagination and so your surroundings don’t much matter. There have been times and places that have been more conducive to effective roleplaying, certainly, and have fed my creative side – especially when it came to LARP.
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I most enjoy playing games in a comfortable environment, amongst my friends. With a group of people you know and can trust you have a freedom to explore and I natural ease around gaming that is conducive to a much more productive and hassle-free session. A nice warm house with a good music system, adjustable lights and easy access to take away food is, now, pretty much a must.
I used to relish playing with new people and strangers, up to a point, anxiety permitting. The atmosphere around conventions and game stores has changed over recent years though in a way that discourages this kind of pick-up-and-play as a way to find new people and make new friends. The mood has become hostile and fraught with danger. Especially for someone like me who has fun with transgression and horror.
A stranger today isn’t so much a potential friend or player, as a potential minefield. Things like ‘X-cards’ can throw a spanner into the best-laid plans and you never know what someone is going to take offence or umbrage at. I am resentful that this has happened in a hobby I have always considered welcoming and open to anyone and everything, but that’s the state of the hobby and society as a whole now.
Where dyed hair and piercings used to mean ‘Cool! One of us!’ now it’s like stripes on a wasp or a poison arrow frog. Warning, stay away!
The more comfort and control you have in your environment and players, the better things seem to go. You have an unspoken social construct, know each other well – and each other’s limits – and I’m especially finding the ability to control and use sound and light to be a boon – as well as easy access to players to a smoking area to minimise disruption!
Access to spirits doesn’t hurt either!
I get my inspiration wherever I can. Ideas tend to sit and percolate for as long as years before coming out in game designs or settings. TThere area few themes that are fairly common to my work, but what really gets my attention is a novelty – something new – or a problem that I find systems don’t really cope well with. My current obsessions are influencing the environment and effective teamwork.
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