Funny Things

Saturday, December 15, 2012

[Games Anatomy] We Interrupt This Programme

All right, boys and girls, here's the deal.

I'll be spending the festive season in the wilder and woolier parts of Merrie England (in the smog-strewn streets of Manchester, where Hark's from, and in the depths of the West Country, where I'm from), and as is the custom with me and these little away missions, I'll be pretty much off the grid while I'm there.

Now, I'll be coming back, don't worry, but I'll be coming back with something a bit different, forsaking my current role as THE ARR PEE GEE GUY here at the House of Paincakes and blogging about those tabletop wargames played with miniatures which we are (allegedly) all here to talk about.

See, I'm committed to playing quite a lot of 40K over the first few months of 2013 for my games club's slow-grow league - enough, in fact, to have a weekly or at least fortnightly battle report, and I'm obliged to produce a modelling report once a month as well, and if there's one thing I think the House of Paincakes homepage has been short on so far, it's regular battle reports.

So that's the long and the short of it. I'm taking a few weekends' break, but I'll be back early in January with THE VON REPORT. Stay tuned, kids, and happy holidays to one and all!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

[Musings of a Game Store Owner] GGP- The Big Shots

This is the last installment of the series about getting a game published. I had hoped to share some insights from folks that had published materials with the "big boys", but the interviews never panned out.

The thing is, that doesn't mean there isn't information available out there about the process. It's been well over a decade, but at one time, TheDude was in negotiations to write a supplement book for HERO. He had a great idea, and he had some friends who had worked for HERO who were willing to vouch for his work.

He made the connections with the line editor and started talking about the idea he had and how to turn it into a product. At the time, it didn't go anywhere (mostly because we saw friends not getting paid for work performed); but it was valuable to learn how to proceed in the process of being a published author in the industry.

Things are a little different now. The OGL has changed the landscape pretty seriously. While it allows ease of access to new ideas, the rules and requirements have to be accepted and met before you can publish. For those of you who aren't familiar with the OGL, it's open source material to use for game/adventure publication. It's owned by WotC, and it's community enforced. Porky has an illuminating article about the OGL here.

Something he mentions in his article is worth repeating- Pathfinder was born out of the OGL. The folks at Paizo wanted choices, but were willing to follow the rules that "conventional wisdom" said would ruin the industry. It didn't.

Pathfinder is currently the best selling RPG in the industry, beating out D&D by several percentage points. Pathfinder has let a large amount of its published material go through third party vendors to avoid a lot of risk, but also reap a ton of rewards. This "little game that could" is taking advantage of the dynamics of the industry to create a community driven game. People who want different things publish them at their own risk, but get big ups by applying the Pathfinder label to their material. Win-win.

Would any of our favorite tabletop games benefit from something like this? Wouldn't it be great to be able to publish our own scenarios, codex material and even figures for big name games and not have to worry about the hammer of a lawsuit? Or would that water down the brand and create confusion?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this one... because I think it's worth considering.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

What is the 'Official' fluff now?

Hey, folks. SinSynn here.

One of the most ridiculous arguments I've ever had with the Ultimate Rival, and believe you me there have been many, began due to the inclusion of a Land Speeder in the Horus Heresy novel entitled The First Heretic.
Mind you, this is by far my favorite Horus Heresy book. Aaron Dembski-Bowden wrote it, so that's more or less reason enough for me. More than that, however, I felt that it was the first Horus Heresy book that really focused on the particular Primarch that was it's focus. During the course of the novel, I really got to know Lorgar. I empathized with his desperate need for something to believe in; something bigger than himself.
Unfortunately for him and his Bearers of the Word, the truth you want is never quite exactly the truth you get, and by the time he realizes that it's already too late.
Poor Lorgar.
Yup, I loved that book.

When I tried to discuss it with the Ultimate Rival, he scoffed.
'Pffft! That was so bad I couldn't get past the first chapter.'
Surprised, I immediately inquired why.
'The Ultramarines show up right a Land Speeder!'
I'm somewhat confused now. Ok, a Land Speeder. So?
'The Land Speeder wasn't invented until after the Horus Heresy! There were no Land Speeders then! That's why the Traitor Marines don't have them! Duh.'
Ummm....ok, that's some sorta big deal because of why? This is science fiction, after all. It's all sorta made up, isn't it?
'Listen, if the author can't even bother to do a little research and get the fluff right, then I can't be bothered to read it. End of story.'

*And Spock was famous for saying 'never tell me the odds, kid'*