#RPG #Boardgame – Updated Gamecrafter Hardcopy

The old game boxes have been discontinued, so the card and board games I produce at The Gamecrafter have had to have been updated.

You can get:

Cthentacle Deluxe
Final Straw Deluxe
Gamergate the Card Game (banned elsewhere)
Machinations of the Space Princess Tarot Deck
Privilege Check the Card Game
Steamed – Steampunk Mecha

Digital versions of many of these are also available at our own web store.

#TheTriggering – Commemorative Discounts!

triggeredThe Triggering is a social media event (#TheTriggering) proposed by libertarian commenter and reporter Lauren Southern as a sort of ‘online demonstration’ in favour of free speech and free expression and to raise awareness of Social Justice Warrior interference and threats to those fundamental human rights and to a free internet. Lauren knows better than many the kind of problems that face free speech advocates having both been thrown out of a protest for staging a counter-protest and, more recently, being assaulted (with a bottle of urine no less) for having a different opinion.

The ‘public square’ is increasingly in private hands and under private control, but is also being used by proxy to censor and control opinion. Whether it’s Twitter’s dubiously Orwellian ‘Trust and Safety’ council or Zuckerberg cooperating with the German government to suppress negative stories about immigration, we have to admit that there is an issue and it’s an issue that has been thrown into sharp relief by the conflicts on college and university campuses and the febrile atmosphere surrounding almost any piece of entertainment that intersects – however fractionally – with PC hotbutton issues.

You don’t have to agree with people to agree that they have a right to speak. I’m a left-anarchist and a pragmatic socialist, yet I support Lauren Southern’s right to espouse her Libertarian ideals. I worry about the demonisation of immigrants, but I believe people have a right to express their concerns about that (and genuinely worrying stories are being suppressed there too). There’s suggestions recently that media companies, including social media companies, are going to collude to exclude and undermine Trump now. I would gladly gnaw my own leg off if it would prevent Trump being president, but he has a right to express whatever opinions are most popular at the time and will win him votes. That’s democracy, that’s freedom, that’s the principle of free speech.

I’ve made games and presented ideas that people find objectionable and I’ve been censored, pilloried, boycotted and banned for it (or, more often, for ideas that people have assigned to me) so I’m presenting some of those ideas (games) under discount to participate in #TheTriggering because not only have these games ‘triggered’ people, but shilling a product on a hashtag will ‘trigger’ a whole other set of people.

Exercise your free speech and free expression today. Say something controversial. Air an opinion that might upset someone. Buy some porn, read 1984 or Huckleberry Finn, post a ‘problematic’ joke. Flex those rights and shake the tree, see who actually believes in free speech and who doesn’t.

And for those SJWs blocking the tag, or anyone that posts on it… you’re proving that we don’t need censorship and that you’re capable of maintaining your challenge-free bubble all by yourselves. You’re also proving the need for this event – which I hope becomes as annually celebrated as Draw Mohammed Day.

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DISCOUNTED GAMES FOR #THETRIGGERING

Discounts are available for 48 hours ONLY, ending on the 11th of March.

The Little Grey Book [Pay What You Want]: A simple party game that plays off the hypercritical panopticon of social media.

Hentacle [Marked down to $2.50]: A comedy print-and-play card game of tentacle rape, which is such an absurd concept it’s just inherently laughable. Apparently some people fear for the welfare of drawings and genuinely fear being molested by cephalopods. #TeachOctopiNotToRape

Cthentacle [Marked down to $2.50]: A slightly different and simpler/faster version of Hentacle, but with a Cthulhu theme and many, many horrendous Lovecraftian puns. Of note is that poor, dead racist HP Lovecraft’s head used to be used as the World Fantasy Award prize, but this was changed due to conerns about his racism. Short of a visit by Herbert West I don’t really see how Lovecraft’s racism could really be a problem for anyone any more. He’s dead. Then again #RhodesMustFall so apparently we have to erase history and ignore influential figures for wrongthink. Down the memory hole…

Privilege Check [Marked down to $2.00]: The less privileged you are… the more privileged you are. This was the basic hypocrisy behind ‘the progressive stack’ which came to prominence during the Occupy movement. Equality, apparently, is not a good way to treat people and the best way to cure *ism is to be *ist. Irony is missing from a lot of dictionaries it seems. This game triggered the hell out of a lot of people when it came out and it’s a bluffing/tactical card game that mocks the progressive stack.

Gamergate Card Game [No discount, sorry!]: This was SO triggering that it, unlike the material above, was censored off my usual sales site. This despite it containing no graphic depictions of tentacle sex, nor any off colour jokes about racial/gender/etc politics the way Privilege Check does. Just invoking the name of the consumer revolt was sufficient to bring down a gang of crybabies to get it taken down.

If you’re interested in our other products, though none are really as controversial, you can grab our catalogues, which make it easier to find stuff than using the site navigation.

Sophie Lancaster Foundation Update

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Last month we made a pledge to make a donation to the Sophie Lancaster Foundation on the back of people’s poor reactions to Privilege Check and as it was World Goth Day at the time.

I am pleased to announce that after royalties, prior commitments and other costs, we were able to donate $200 (US) to the Sophie Lancaster Foundation.

Visions and ideas about combating intolerance and bigotry may vary, ideas of what constitutes appropriate humour may vary, but hopefully we can all agree that working against these things is a good idea. I encourage you to donate further.

Our ongoing charitable effort is a memorial to DarkZel, a long time artistic associate of Postmortem Studios and a friend who is sorely missed. If you would like to help us further with our charitable efforts, the DarkZel Scholarship is intended to help young art students pay their way through college and you can help with donations of art to be sold to raise funds for the scholarship, or with explicit monetary donations – contact me for details.

How Awful ‘Goodness’ Is – Privilege Check design diary

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Despicable racism… oh wait, that’s not my game.

Having suffered the slings and arrows of ‘outrage fortune’, I’d wanted to do something to ‘kick back’ in some way but nothing quite felt right for a long time. A system wouldn’t really gel and the timing never felt particularly right. That and, of course, I was working on other things, long term projects and didn’t have much time for personal projects.

A few things conspired to make it feel like a good time to go ahead.

  1. I came up with a system that worked and had some surprising depth to it, that would work for other things.
  2. My erstwhile writing partner of days of yore (Munchkin’s Guide) had a similar idea and proposed it to me.
  3. Things around ‘social justice’ got even more ridiculous.

On the face of it the system is quite simple, you’re playing cards – revelations really – about yourself and the other players in a way that has to be compatible with what’s already in play. You’re trying to win by getting the best score while sabotaging others. Early in the game it can be good to play cards that might otherwise harm you or aid your rivals, simply because they’ll block other cards that could be worse. The same is true of cards that contradict your ‘trump’ card, but you have to be careful in that you don’t want to tip anyone’s hand as to what your trump card is. Gameplay is surprisingly deep with the combination of randomisation, blocking, compatibility and bluff making for interesting play, especially over several rounds.

To further complicate matters, I kept some of terms and the scale of points relatively small on this one. The game is deliberately designed to lead to stalemates and – thus – the very kind of bitter arguments that so plague Twitter and Tumblr with people fighting to see who is ‘more oppressed than thou’.

AgnosticSo I had the game together, ran a few playtests, all seemed to work, the humour has pretty close to the edge but mostly understood. I worried a little that the culture I was satirising was not too well known. Then it hit the mainstream in a big way. Suey Park in particular being an insane case of unintentional self-parody.

It being Everybody Draw Muhammed day was just good fortune, though a good reminder of the value – and dangers – of free expression and the utter vacuity of ‘I’m offended’ as a criticism.

See, I really do believe in free expression. I really do think we’re facing some serious problems and I don’t think it’s valid to think of groups that can access mainstream media for bullshit campaigns, bring trigger warnings into academia, engage in public shaming, drive people out of jobs for their personally held views and try to force social and corporate censorship.

Yes, I genuinely believe this is a problem and I also believe that the Tumblr style ‘social justice warriors’ are a blight and an embarrassment to anyone who genuinely does believe in equality. They represent the worst of social media, all the vile spite, venom and bile of trolls, but while actually believing in their ’cause’. Worse than trolls because of that last bit.

And yes, I believe satire is a good way to attack this problem. Satire is used to prick the egos, self-importance and presumed ‘immunity’ of public MiddleClassfigures. Typically this has been politicians, celebrities and others considered individually powerful but it has also been used to prick at the ridiculous beliefs of those who aren’t necessarily, conventionally, powerful.

Who, or what, could be more arrogant than the self-appointed social justice warriors? What better way to prick the egos of the Tumblrinas than to make their oppression olympics explicitly a game, rather than only metaphorically?

That the very people the game is satirising have walked right into it – fulfilling the long form of its title – is strangely gratifying.

There’s links to buy the game HERE, the hardcopy version CAN be bought, but hasn’t been proofed yet (but should be fine). Still, you’re buying at your own peril!