Jul 15 2008 5:36am

The Gaming Beat: Intro

Greetings, all you readers in readerland!

 I'm here to cover "gaming" as a subject, broadly enough construed to cover roleplaying games (my particular field of expertise), computer games, board games, and so forth and so on. In some cases I'll know something about the topic and have an opinion to express; in others I'll be reporting the results of my going and talking to someone who knows something about it, and on occasion I will no doubt hold forth in glorious ignorance, because opinions are what blogging is all about.

 I think that play in all its various manifestations is very important to a well-balanced life. We all have a lot of responsibilities - just being a decent person in your daily life can be a lot of draining effort sometimes. In playtime we get to set aside a whole lot of that and focus on just what's fun for us and the people we're playing with. People who don't get any opportunities (or don't make any) to set their burdens down have a habit of breaking; it's in the moments of relaxation that we get our selves back. One of my running concerns will be what we can know about what makes playtime more or less relaxing, and what we can do with what we know.

It's an interesting summer in the gaming world, with a new edition of Dungeons and Dragons, buzz in the World of Warcraft world about the upcoming expansion, some new MMOs (massively multiplayer online games) finding (or not finding) their audiences, and this, that, and the other. If there's a subject you'd like covered, please feel free to mention it in comments.


Alison Scott
1. AlisonScott
Hey, Bruce! I'm a casual gamer, by which I mean I've played games of many different types obsessively, often to the exclusion of normal bodily functions like eating and sleeping, for as long as I can remember and far more than I should. I am not sure that gaming is entirely relaxing for me. Or at least not as relaxing as it should be.  Topics you might cover: the increasing overlap between games as gamers understand the term, and games as everyone else in the world understands the term (think Wii Fit and Scrabulous); why do we call Bejewelled, Freecell and Tetris casual games, when so many people play them for hours on end; gaming on the iPhone, oh, anything really...
Arachne Jericho
2. arachnejericho
Will you be covering German-style boardgames? 
 Of course, they are not terribly science fictiony usually, although a couple of interesting ones have come up recently (such as Race for the Galaxy and Galaxy Trucker... uh... I swear not all the names have Galaxy in them). 
JR Peck
3. stoolpigeon
I'd love to hear more about what is going on in the table-top world.  There are so many video game focused sites, but I'd love to hear more about board games, rpg, anything like that.
Adam Lipkin
4. yendi
Arachnejericho, plenty of them are fantasy-themed (or horror-themed), though! 
Josh Thomson
5. tikilovegod
I'd like to see an exploration of board gamers. I doubt that the board-gaming community is entirely comprised of the people who comment on sites like BoardGameGeek and FunAgain Games.
6. BruceB
I'm not very up-to-date on the state of board games...but I will be fixing that! I have friends who are, and are willing to help me get clues. Alison, that's a great set of topics, and on my agenda. Tikilovegod, I have a standing fascination with gamer communities. Expect to see blather about that. :) 
Avram Grumer
7. avram
I'm almost up-to-date on the state of German board games (maybe a few months behind the times), so maybe I can pick up the slack. 
Arachne Jericho
8. arachnejericho

That's true! I really love the Arkham Horror boardgame from Fantasy Flight, which is as close to a Lovecraft RPG with automated GM as you can get, with minimum investment in characters/etc. The CCG (which has moved to being an LCG -- Living Card Game, which isn't blind-collectible) is also pretty good.
s g
9. skg
I'm glad to see that gaming-related posts will be a (?semi-)regular feature on tor.com, though I don't have particular subject requests. I'm a longtime computer gamer with fond memories of Zork III and Ultima VI, as well as many things since.

+1 to Arkham Horror boardgame = awesome, btw.

(Interesting--italics are rendered as smallcaps?)
10. Robotech_Master
I would personally like to see a discussion of the problems and opportunities inherent in games (in particular, pencil-and-paper RPGs) based on licensed settings. It seems like there aren't an awful lot of these anymore (except for Palladium's Robotech RPG), and the big reason I've always heard is that after the owner of the property takes out their pound of flesh, licenses just aren't profitable at all in today's shriveled-up pencil-and-paper RPG market.
Andy Leighton
11. andyl
As well as a new version of D&D there is also a new version of the Runequest system (without the Glorantha/Runequest bits) - Chaosium's Deluxe Basic Roleplaying, and their might be a new version of Traveller this year. A new Doctor Who RPG is also due this year. With smaller companies putting out quality games like Solomon Kane there is more interesting RPG stuff this year than many I can recall.

I'm also a board-gamer. As arachnejericho writes there seems to be quite a number of new SF/fantasy/horror themed board games this year as well.

It will be interesting to see what Bruce (and everyone else) writes about. One thing I will be interested to hear about is style of play and importance of story - especially with D&D 4e. From what I have seen character development and story is de-emphasized in favour of a more tactical minis style of play. But I haven't played D&D in years.

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