In recent days, it’s been mostly about Traveller. My friends and associates have been getting their Kickstarter rewards. Coworker showed me his stuff. Went up to Oakland the day after the Berkeley tournaments to help explain how Traveller works.
Then, we realized the printing issue where the crew skills lack clear silver and gold borders. That’s unfortunate. We had a summit to go over the plan for making things right and I would expect an update from Jeff on what Horizon Games is planning to do.
See, I may not be able to see things at a distance so well, especially writing on flat surfaces, as I didn’t wear glasses in college except when I was trying to read blackboards (yes, that old). But, I can still perceive small details, so I wasn’t that perturbed until a couple of things. One, the realization that I have a huge advantage over people seeing the cards for the first time because I largely know what the cards already do, including what levels of skills the crew have. Two, internal comments have been that the lack of clarity on the skills is a monumental deal.
Anyway, I didn’t post just to dwell on how many things can go wrong with publishing material. I’ve been building decks now that I have real cards and not just samples – something that only happened yesterday, days after other people got real cards. I’ve been answering questions on travellerccg.com‘s forums because I’m actually not just an authority but a “designer intent is this and since I’m a …” type person thingy. I usually eschew answering rules questions for card games because, as a player of those games, I never wanted some random playtester to tell me how something worked but wanted someone who decided what the rules are to tell me how something worked. Of course, I also happened to often be a random playtester myself.
Every once in a while I remind myself that: we put out a game. Yes, there are some miscellaneous things that didn’t go as planned, but it looks good. I think it plays as intended, though it is not a simple game to get down right away.
And, we hope to keep making it better – expanding the card pool, addressing any production issues, addressing rules questions and concerns.
Shifting gears. The John Carter KS continues on in a similar way to various other RPG [sic] KS’s that I’ve seen where the original threshold is just something to blow through for the stretch goals.
Now, what doesn’t get me as excited is that it’s not just a RPG KS but a minis KS as well. I don’t hate minis. I, in fact, backed a KS that was all about a board game with lots of minis. But, I also have essentially no use for them. I don’t know how to store them (and, I have way too much stuff already). I’m a theater of the mind style player/GM. I don’t hardly ever play games that require minis. I also don’t see how more “different dice” is actually a goal of any sort or worth anything. I want winners … er … I want content.
I got to thinking about content. First, JC content. There are nine books published based on various compiled magazine stories or whatever. Decent number of locations are used or referred to. Various cultures, as defined by races with different skin colors … uh … yeah, exist. Some monsters. Some tech. Some weird psionic style powers exist. There’s material. Now, how you finesse putting a book out that goes into the differences between the black martians, the white martians, the red martians, the yellow martians, and, maybe, someone very PC will also find the green martians a problem is not entirely clear to me. At least some of these have other names besides what color their skin is, but we live in a precarious age, which is no doubt some of the problem with pushing JC 100 years after it was written.
Putting aside the potential for getting people who don’t understand the source material riled up, I was just wondering why more RPG books weren’t part of the early stretch goals. Because, I think about how insane the material is for both Conan and L5R. Now, L5R is a game world, so you can expand it as much as you want. But, I’ve read a good amount of Conan and I don’t recall there being that many locations and cultures and whatever well defined to where you can write an entire book about Aquilonia or, even more ridiculous, Cimmeria or Khitai and somehow find it challenging to write an atlas of Barsoom. Maybe it isn’t challenging. Maybe it’s just not a priority compared to having ship to ship combat rules or whatever.
I happen to have Savage World’s Lankhmar book handy and I have repeatedly wondered why there’s so little material in it and/or the property. I haven’t read many stories, but I know there are a number, and I’m pretty sure they are more vivid than the game supplement.
But, then, I thought of a few things. One, not every estate is as eager to expand on material that isn’t in stories written by the original author or official authors. Two, Conan is different. Barsoom is a made up world. Lankhmar is in a made up world. Conan’s world is a world of historical cultures mashed together. You can expand on the societal norms of Shemites by just opening up an anthropological book. Want to get Hyrkanians? Well, not super challenging. Brythunia was a bit of an uncertain match, but I interpreted as kind of like Ireland and kind of like Poland and maybe something else.
Conan’s world so good. I can bring in famous Yemeni poets into my LBS gaming or Saudi festivals or whatever to flesh out that underdeveloped setting and find that entertains me as a worldbuilder. But, with Conan, you can choose any corner of the continent you want and draw inspiration from this world.
I just haven’t been as enthused with KS as the end/intended results of things I’ve backed or tried to back haven’t been to my tastes. Sure, I want to have PDFs for supplements rather than not, but what I really want are printed versions, and, yet, where would I even put more books? I can’t fit what I have in terms of either books or cards.
Speaking of Savage Worlds, we have started playing a Spelljammer game using SW mechanics. Still early. Not what I would pick as a person’s first RPG experience, but that’s the case. New setting for others. We have intentionally not proclaimed “this is our new RPG campaign” to see if it works for people. Is kind of interesting to me that my gaming seems to be expanding again, what with trying to play L5R LCG, Traveller, trying to have RPG play on a regular basis, plus Shadowfist getting back on track, the potential to get V:TES in the South Bay back on track.
It’s almost like everything new is old again. How wanderful.