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Classic Cartography: Star Frontiers

Time for some map nostalgia! When Star Frontiers came out in 1982, we were so excited about lasers and gryojet pistols that we briefly dropped our long-running D&D campaign like a hot potato and went all-in. I remember wistfully wondering whether we’d ever return to our gelatinous cubes and +3 longswords. In the end the […]

Ben Robbins | September 18th, 2022 | , , | 2 comments

Mind of Sandra Birch

“It’s Inside Out, the game” I have a short list of go-to GMless pickup games, “games to play at a moment’s notice.” What I’m always looking for are games you can jump into easily but still have endless replay, usually because they handle a lot of different flavors of fiction. Mind of Margaret is one […]

Ben Robbins | September 6th, 2022 |

2021: A Year of Legacy

Despite the pandemic — or more likely because of it — I played more role-playing games in 2021 than any other year since I started logging my games back in high school. It’s a fact. Playing online via video chat used to seem like a pale imitation of face-to-face gaming, but for logistics it can’t […]

Ben Robbins | January 16th, 2022 | , , , , , ,

The Sword of Thanormyr

I’ve been playtesting Marc’s game Epitaph for years. It’s finally available on Kickstarter, which means soon you can play it too! If you look at the Kickstarter page, you can see the story of “Cyrna of Thanormyr” is one of the graphics. That’s one of the games I was in, but trimmed down and simplified […]

Ben Robbins | September 17th, 2020 | ,

Goody Patience of Salem

Ahhh, Salem! Good old terrible Salem! I’m no stranger to the Salem Fiasco playset, but this time around we had sexism, racism, and assorted acts of bad parenting… honestly witchcraft was the least of our problems. The witches might have been the most level-headed folks in town. They certainly caused the least damage. I love […]

Ben Robbins | November 7th, 2019 |

We See Dead People

Shock at Story Games Seattle. Our issues (picked independently and secretly, as we do) were Loneliness, Inheritance, and Over-Medication. What kind of sci-fi Shock could we brainstorm that addresses all three of these issues? How about a drug that lets you go into a trance and talk to your ancestors? We have a whole society […]

Ben Robbins | February 2nd, 2018 | , ,

Hide In Your Own Body

Playtesting Eden again. Baruch has troubles. He accidentally broke Hosanna’s precious dagger so she paid him back by luring him into webs of biting spiders. But it didn’t end there and now she’s just terrorizing him. Baruch is afraid and asks turtle what to do. Turtle (slowly) pulls his head and legs into his shell. […]

Ben Robbins | June 2nd, 2016 | ,

The owl knows better

Playing a lovely game of Eden at Story Games Seattle. Narwhals and bunnies try to explain reproduction to the innocent humans. Narwhals are convinced it is essential to sing together and have a magnificent horn, or else it won’t work. Poor humans have no magnificent horn or lovely songs, so they are doomed to failure. […]

Ben Robbins | May 13th, 2016 | , ,

Lights, Camera, Downfall!

We got together to film Caroline’s new game, Downfall, so you can watch the action in living color. Was there drinking? There might have been some drinking. I’ve been playtesting Downfall over the last two years and I have to say, it rocks. It’s on Kickstarter right now so check it out!

Ben Robbins | July 23rd, 2015 | , ,

For Neptune! For Freedom!

A blast from the past, because it’s awesome: “Yes, that’s interplanetary war. Can the ‘seidonians throw off the yoke of the invading Uranians, the cold war puppet satellite of the tyrannical Crimson Republic? Love, war and orbital death rays in the Outer Planets.” For Neptune! For Freedom! This is easily one of my favorite one-shot […]

Ben Robbins | August 19th, 2014 |

The Temple Stands Empty

Playing A Thousand Years Under the Sun @ Story Games Seattle: The humble Temple of the Winds becomes of place serenity and wisdom, where the Gods speak to men. A thriving market grows around it, catering to the pilgrims and seekers who come from distant lands to visit it. In time, hawkers and charlatans in […]

Ben Robbins | December 13th, 2013 | ,

Flight of the Hornet

We sit down to play Battlestations, a space combat RPG, last night. I’ve had it for a while but this is the first time we’ve tried it out. We plan to spend the evening blasting ships and taking names. I tell the players they’re fresh-faced cadets, straight out of the Union academy. They’re eager to […]

Ben Robbins | February 7th, 2013 |

Polaris: Freedom of the Press

We’ve done a whole slew of Polaris setting hacks recently. Aztecs, Fall of the Roman Republic, 1920s Empire City cops and Battlestar Galactica (twice). The key ingredients of a satisfying Polaris analog are pretty simple: 1) a grand society on the verge of collapse because of some doom it has brought upon itself (a Mistake-analog), […]

Ben Robbins | June 24th, 2011 | ,

Mars Colony Triple-header

“I start a campaign… a totally _fascist_ campaign.” –brand new gamer, solving the problems of Mars I love Mars Colony. It’s hands-down the best game I picked up at GenCon 2009. That’s not even considering that it’s technically only an ash can release, not the final version, which is coming out at GenCon this year. […]

Ben Robbins | May 19th, 2010 | , | 3 comments

We have forks

Great moments in Mouse Guard. The patrol is welcomed to Darkwater after an arduous journey. Tired mice are tired, and hungry mice are hungry. Hearty meals are arranged by the happy hosts. player: mimes picking up food with his paws and nibbling on it city-mouse: “We have forks.” player: “I have a high Nature.” This […]

Ben Robbins | March 26th, 2010 |