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The Coaster Double-Dares You

A long, long time ago when I was taking Psych courses, I got the idea drilled into me that subjects must voluntarily and willingly take part in your studies. You must get consent. Which, as an experimental psychologist, is a bummer, because you can learn all sorts of exciting things if you pounce on people […]

Ben Robbins | November 3rd, 2014 | kudos

Fleeing From Goblins, West Marches-style

In Ben’s original West Marches campaign, he arranged the adventure-filled regions of his wilderness in order of challenge, more or less. The further you were from town, the more likely you were to be in an extremely dangerous place… Ben tells an anecdote about his players fleeing from goblins for days, ultimately having to run […]

Ben Robbins | October 20th, 2014 | kudos

Watch the Unwatchable Foreign Film

Jackson Tegu has been working on a hack of Microscope called Kaleidoscope: Gather 3-5 players, set aside 2 hours, and make up an unwatchable “foreign” film using a pile of index cards and your crazy brains! Use this step-by-step guide to guffaw your group through non-chronologically remembering a wildly bizarre movie that you apparently just […]

Ben Robbins | September 16th, 2014 | kudos

Return to the Angry Red Planet

Tim C Koppang has a sequel to Mars Colony in Kickstarter right now: Mars Colony 39 Dark. Nope, it’s not just a new improved Mars Colony. It’s Mars Colony from the point-of-view of the rebels. What’s different is that 39 Dark is a look at the colony from the people up instead of from the […]

Ben Robbins | March 24th, 2014 | kudos

Aaron Allston

A long, long time ago, Aaron Allston sent me my very first rejection letter. He did me a huge favor. Rest In Peace.

Ben Robbins | February 28th, 2014 | kudos

A Battle of Men Against Men

It was Sam’s first view of a battle of Men against Men, and he did not like it much. He was glad that he could not see the dead face. He wondered what the man’s name was and where he came from; and if he was really evil of heart, or what lies or threats […]

Ben Robbins | January 20th, 2014 | kudos

That Old Idea of “Game”

To call D&D an innovative game is a bit like calling the Wright Brothers’ vehicle an innovative car. The definition of game has expanded to include D&D, but there is really no reason that a neutral outside observer would categorize it that way. A definition for game would previously have been something like: A contest […]

Ben Robbins | August 20th, 2013 | kudos | 3 comments

Eowyn

“Shall I always be chosen?” she said bitterly. “Shall I always be left behind when the Riders depart, to mind the house while they win renown, and find food and beds when they return?” “A time may come soon” said he, “when none will return. Then there will be need of valour without renown, for […]

Ben Robbins | January 7th, 2013 | kudos

Making Music

“Several times I have attempted to talk about music with you. It would have interested me to know your thoughts and opinions, whether they contradicted mine or not, but you have disdained to make me even the barest reply.” He gave me a most amiable smile and this time a reply was accorded to me. […]

Ben Robbins | May 24th, 2011 | kudos | 2 comments

Why can’t you just have that?

Here we have Ryan kicking all sorts of concise-ass about making awesome characters. The whole discussion is about political intrigue, but this bit is solid gold. I snipped the quote a little to be even more concise, for I tamper with greatness: That said, I can boil down the advice to two questions I ask […]

Ben Robbins | March 7th, 2010 | kudos | 2 comments

You are probably not taking enough risk

“How do you know when you are taking enough risk? If nobody is complaining about your work, you are probably not taking enough risk. If nobody is slapping themselves upside the head, if nobody is saying ‘I knew that!’ If anybody can afford to ignore what you are doing, you are not being strange enough.” […]

Ben Robbins | November 25th, 2009 | kudos

Crazy. Crazy. Crazy. Obvious.

“[Harvard economist Lant] Pritchett says he has a model of how game-changing ideas are received over time, and it works something like this: “Crazy. Crazy. Crazy. Obvious.” – Kerry Howley, The Atlantic And yes, the Microscope playtest is going quite well, thank you.

Ben Robbins | July 9th, 2009 | kudos | 1 comment

Say Yes or Face the Dungeon

So you love story games but you are drawn by the irresistible lure of the crunchy 4e battlefield? You want to smack some orcs but you want it to have meaning? Check out Simon Carryer’s Say Yes or Face the Dungeon: The GM should give a very short description of the dungeon, something like “It’s […]

Ben Robbins | June 29th, 2008 | kudos | 2 comments

Play is the point. Become an expert player.

Clinton R. Nixon on game design: Here’s how you contribute: you play a variety of games. You go play Dust Devils, and Trollbabe, and Dogs in the Vineyard, and Universalis, and My Life with Master, and The Pool. You play the hell out of them. Then you make something better, later, when you’ve played these […]

Ben Robbins | January 28th, 2008 | kudos