ars ludi

if you asked Ben's brain about gaming, this is what it would say

PAX: Talking ’bout GM-less Games

There is life after kickstarter! I’m chugging away getting the sneak previews of Microscope Explorer material ready for backers. I’ll be at PAX next week playing games at the indie RPG games-on-demand area and I may have some cool new Microscope tools in-hand.

I’ll also be giving a talk about the secrets of GM-less games, so if you want in, show up Friday morning and you can listen to me rant, rave and probably sip coffee:

GM-less Role-Playing Games

Good GMs are awesome, but you don’t need a Game Master to play an awesome game. Join game designer Ben Robbins and explore the world of GM-less RPGs like Fiasco and Microscope. Whether you’ve never played a GM-less game before or you’re already an expert, come learn what makes them tick and expand your gaming horizons.

Friday, 11 am
PAX Chicken Theatre (Convention Center, Level 6)

Check your local listings to confirm the time and place when the PAX schedule is released (update: it just went live).

“That dot is intrepid. Doesn’t even have hands, still slays dragons.”

With the frenzy of crowdfunding I’m not sure I ever linked to it, but I did an interview with Jade Gaming News a little while back.

The Spot Check: Ben Robbins and Microscope

We talk about Microscope, game design, and the best video game character *evar*.

ECCC Games On Demand

Emerald City Comic Con is coming up this weekend! I’ll be at the Indie RPG Games On Demand area, which is now on the 2nd floor of the convention center, in the open area just north of room 208.

I may be trying out some of the new tools that are going to be in Microscope Explorer.

Ooo, I think we’re right next to arcade games. So if the gaming is slow there may be some Galaga.

Playing Games at PAX

If you’re going to PAX and you want to play some Microscope or Kingdom, you are a lucky, lucky duck.

Unless the Games on Demand schedule is lying to me, there is Kingdom on the menu for about half the slots. Not only that, but there are talented volunteers offering to facilitate some flavor of Microscope during every single slot on the schedule.

Every. Single. One.

Are there other games too? Yes! All the games! We have all the games.

First come, first served. Seating is limited. Do not stand up until the ride comes to a complete halt.

Rooms 305-306. That’s where I’ll be. Gaming.

Love for LUG Con

Not everybody can find folks to game with. Gamers can be rare and precious, like nuggets of sideros, the star-metal. Luckily for all of us, scientists have been working on this problem day and night and have finally invented a solution. They call it: THE INTERNET.

Enter LUG Con, the Let Us Game convention.

Free Online Gaming Con! Let’s Game all day and night for a week!

It’s always been tricky to schedule gamers with busy lives. Especially when we get older, have kids, cats, dogs, lizards, even husbands and wives. Maybe you don’t have any problems getting into gaming groups with lots of your gaming friends. Maybe you already have a daily/weekly/monthly gaming group. Maybe your local group is not willing to try something new, or different. Dang it! You want to kill some zombies or play a supers game for a session.

It’s September 1-7. Check it.

Terraforming VikingCon

May 3rd I’m heading up to Bellingham to attend VikingCon. I’ve never been. Will there be actual Vikings? Horned helmets, longships and kenning skalds? I’m kind of hoping.

In between hunting down authentic recitations of the Prose Edda, I’ll also be doing a panel:

Terraforming the Tabletop: World-Building in Tabletop RPGs (Sat 3-4 pm)
Tabletop roleplaying games like Dungeons & Dragons rely heavily upon their rich worlds and interesting lore to generate interest among players. However, the process for building a world for a pen-and-paper game is not the same as building one for a novel or television series. This panel will explore those differences with the help of some of the industry’s world-building greats. Panelists: Bruce R. Cordell, Ben Robbins, jim pinto, Jennifer Brozek, Jason Andrew

I happen to know that a few other cool cats from the Seattle area are going to be there as well. I’m looking at you, Abducted by Sharks.

My Emerald City Comic Con Schedule

Emerald City Comic Con approaches. I happen to know there is a whirlwind of behind-the-scenes activity as enthusiastic gamers get ready to man the battle stations of the Indie Games on Demand area in the Sheraton Hotel. Morgan and his team of ninjas are going to be using the same model they used at PAX (facilitator game menus, sign up sheets). I liked that system a lot, so I give it a big thumbs up. We’ve had alarmingly good gaming the last two years at ECCC and all signs are pointing towards a trifecta.

I’ll also be taking a break from the gaming to do a panel:

Designing Tabletop Games (Sat 4-5 pm, Sheraton Issaquah Room)
Five creators of board games, card games, and RPGs discuss designing games and answer your questions. Drew Nolosco (Design Manager at Wizards of the Coast), Chris Pramas (Green Ronin Games), Joshua Balvin (Salem, Oktoberfest), Ben Robbins (Microscope, Kingdom), Jeremy Holcomb (Rorschach, the ink-blot game, Mad Scientist: Lab Rats), David Fooden (Continuum, Machine of Death: The Game of Creative Assassination).

There are rumors I may also be on a “crowdfunding your game” panel at 2 pm on Saturday, but that might just be misinformation to confuse any cyborgs returning from the future to assassinate me before I lead the rebellion that crushes SkyNet.