30 Days and Counting…

30 Days and Counting…

Today is May 1st.

Time to start the countdown.

High Plains Samurai‘s Kickstarter launches May 30th.

(Warning: This post assume you know what I’m talking about when I mention High Plains Samurai. If not, you need to go here.)

I’ve been aiming for a May release over the past couple months after making the decision to give myself a couple more months to get all the ducks in a row and I’m very glad I did. There’s still a lot of work ahead to get this sumbitch ready but the KS is going to be that much more solid as a result. Not just because I’ve been able to improve the game, locking down the target and stretch goals, establishing a video that will be more than just face time with the camera asking for money (like there’s going to be a cast for this video, folks), even how the campaign will function and how rewards will be handed out have all made the extra time worth it. Strategically, this KS will be off to a stronger start than if it had launched in March.

Unless the news/teaser deserves to go straight to the BRG website, I’m going to use my blog to share updates on what you can expect on the HPS KS over the next 30 days. And I’m gonna start with two things. The first is the swanky new main graphic for the KS page because that’s the stage locked down this past weekend: graphics.

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Yes, yes, very nice. What I’m really psyched to share with everyone is the swanky launch party event. It’s going to be broadcast live on Twitch and can then be downloaded for anyone to learn as much as they want about Samurai. Plus there will be a lengthy discussion on narrative combat, the techniques and best practises for using descriptive elements to create an intense and exciting fight scene in your RPGs. Oh, and it will be on the Misdirected Mark podcast on launch night. Featuring yours truly as the night’s co-host.

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Allow me to repeat that. I’m going to co-host Misdirected Mark with the crew on May 30th starting at 8:45pm EST (7:45 the Queen’s time). To rephrase that in ultimate geek out fashion, I’m going to co-host my favourite podcast to talk about my game and any topic of my choice. They’ve basically done the equivalent of asking a Star Trek fan to write the next movie. It’s been close to a week since the date was confirmed and I’ve been jumping up and down with excitement. Hope you can join us to hear me make a complete ass out of myself… and have fun doing so.

If you’ve never heard of MMP before, apologies made be submitted after you learn about them here.

Get ready, kids. These next few weeks are going to be awesome.

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It’s A Crime To Not Listen To Serial

It’s A Crime To Not Listen To Serial

Last week, I gushed over my adoration for one of two podcasts currently playing on my car rides to and from work and now it’s time to share the second. You’ll notice I don’t use a word like “gush” or “enamoured” or anything like that because I have nothing incredible respect for the work and results accomplished by perhaps the most popular podcast in the world, Serial.

If you’ve heard of it before, it’s likely from their phenomenally successful first season where host Sarah Koenig and her team probed every corner in the case of Adnan Sayed and the first degree murder conviction of his high school sweetheart, Hae Min Lee. As a true crime buff, the concept of a serialized investigation into a seemingly open-and-shut-yet-vastly-complex murder case was intriguing, but what hooked me wasn’t any startling revelations of police corruption, botched forensics, or the usual fare you discover in such journalistic exposes. It was how the podcast brought to light a disturbing gaff in criminal cases: proof beyond a reasonable doubt. What Season One demonstrated was a case with a serious dose of reasonable doubt and yet here is this young man destined to spend the rest of his natural life locked up serving serious time for a crime no one can truly prove he committed. It seemed like a good fit and his own alibi is indeed lacking, yet none of it goes beyond a reasonable doubt that he committed the murder. The entire first season is highly recommended listening, even if true crime is not your cup of tea. It may one day serve you well should you ever be summoned to serve as a juror. Or face a false accusation of your own. (On that note, one of these days I’ll have to share my tirade about a dangerous weakness in criminal justice, public accusations, and how they spit in the face of innocent before proven guilty. But that’s for another time.)

Season Two steps it up a notch by staying on the same theme, yet with someone who clearly committed their crime. Private Bowe Bergdahl went AWOL in 2010 from his post while serving with the US Army in Afghanistan. There’s no doubt about that. What’s questioned is whether or not he needs to serve time in an American military prison because of his capture and five year imprisonment by the Taliban. Torture included. A sentence far harsher than anything Americans would commit against their own (and I’m leaving all political conjecture aside, skipping past documented evidence of atrocities US forces and intelligence networks have committed around the world and cutting straight to the type of sentence Pvt. Berhdahl would serve if convicted). Like Mr. Sayed’s case, the facts presented (and they are thorough as Serial is true investigative journalism with only a slight smackering of editorialism) demonstrate the layers far beneath the headlines and show us why the story is far more morally complex than expected.

That’s what makes this podcast brilliant. It’s about the morale issues of what we consider to be blind justice. In our quest for security, when do we stop checking our souls at the door before innocent lives are shattered twice in one crime? With the recent success of Netflix’s Making A Murderer series along with Vice News, the rise of serious online investigative journalism is sure to increase. Plus it fits into one of podcasting’s true joys: learning something about yourself and the world around you.

I Have A Crush on the Design Games Podcast

I Have A Crush on the Design Games Podcast

I adore my drive to work. Between my home and the office is nothing but back country roads winding up and through the surrounding hillsides of the Ontario Highlands, a peaceful commute if ever there was one. If I pass another vehicle, I get a quarter and in nine months of this commute, I’ve only collected a buck fifty. It gives me time to reflect on various matters, particularly game design. It’s also the perfect opportunity to listen to one of two podcasts I’m obsessed with and today I’m going to gush about one then reveal the second on Thursday.

The Design Games Podcast is what I’ve been waiting years to discover. It’s hard to quantify what to enjoy about this show, featuring Nathan Paoletta (World Wide Wrestling RPG) and Will Hindmarch (Project: Dark), and maybe that’s what’s appealing. It’s a very deep weekly discussion on tabletop game design, more than your typical fair of “here’s how I do things.” Both of these seasoned designers probe into the secret layers of topics we’d normally take for granted and give them purpose. If there’s one thing I enjoy with this show, it’s knowing these two think as deeply about game design as I do… maybe more so.

Most episodes end up playing two or three times before I can fully take it all in because my mind wanders on how their reflections ripple into my own past and present projects. Then I come back to reality and notice five or ten minutes has passed by. It’s a very thought provoking podcast that doesn’t hand you the answers to your questions, it points you in the right direction so you can find your own way there.

Needless to say, I highly recommend any and all game designers give this show a listen and see for yourself. And try not to miss your intersection if you listen while driving… that’s happened to me while listening to this show. Hmm, could be an interesting testimonial.