Showing posts from April, 2021

let's talk about small town gothic, part 1: context

simmons:  hey grif: yeah? simmons:  you ever wonder why we're here? grif: it's one of life's greatest mysteries, isn't it? why are we here? i mean, are we the product of some cosmic coincidence, or is there really a god watching everything? you know, with a plan for us and stuff. i don't know, man, but it keeps me up at night. simmons:  ... grif:  ... simmons: what!? i mean why are we out here, in this canyon? grif:  oh. uh... yeah. simmons:  what was all that stuff about god? grif:  uh... hm? nothing. ( red vs. blue  1.1 ) welcome to small town gothic , my vanity project about using the tabletop game as a medium to explore the christian apocalypse and its implications. some of you have noticed the thematic and mechanical similarities between STG  and the megami tensei  series (incl. persona ). you're totally right, and let me explain myself. the political and religious underpinnings of small town gothic the political situation in the united states is obviously

post mortem of bovine borough: towards a farming game

me and a lot of other hobbyists have been struggling with the question of how can we port something like harvest moon  (or stardew valley ) to a tabletop experience. to begin with, i think we need to ask why do we want this and why haven't we already received this? certainly like nostalgia is a part of it, they were cute little games. speaking as someone who was like born after the window of nostalgia, though, they're also just chill and bucolic. i like the repetition of waking up every morning and watering crops, and then finding something else to spend your day doing. wanna fish? go to the mines? get married? it's cozy and nice. so i think a farming tabletop game is desirable because it's relaxing and chill, and that also serves as a contrast from what we've come to expect from many tabletop games which are pretty antagonistic. what are we gonna do about it? bovine borough - my attempt over winter break i made a little printable board game (if even that) called bo

antifascism is fascism, fascism is not antifascism

i'm going to be speaking as a marxist whatever and not as a self-identified leftist (i.e. i don't identify), so i don't have any qualms criticizing leftists and socialists and antifascists and so on. and this amounts really to speaking as an observer, not as a political ideologue trying to persuade you to 'correct' your ideology. i'm not your mother. isn't it kind of weird that over the summer, during the riots against police brutality, there was a ton of discourse about ANTIFA? i'm pretty sure the fascists were the first to associate the riots with ANTIFA in mass media (save for antifascists who wanted to claim these efforts by black people for their own ideological project).* anyway, the result ended up being liberals trying to 'reclaim' the word ANTIFA alongside leftists, with all the facebookcore posts about how your grandpa in WWII was an ANTIFA supersoldier etc. besides this, to combat right-wing accusations of violence, leftists and libera

why doesn't pbta use d6-d6 instead of 2d6

 hear me out, this is just like a user experience thing d6-d6 is equal to 2d6-7, which is really handy. pictured below. we can convert the usual pbta conditions: success (3+): you succeed and do really well partial success (0-2):  you succeed at a cost failure(-0): something bad happens idk this seems more intuitive? i guess subtraction is always a little more funky, but not with numbers that itty bitty. plus, 3 is a really nice round number, and that negative numbers are the worst  seems really intuitive.

math rant: on the definition of a relation versus its representation

let there be two sets X and Y, and some binary relation r  ⊂ X × Y. suppose ∃( x  ∈ X ⋀  y  ∈ Y) ( x , y ) ∈ r. suppose there is also a schema to represent some (α, β) ∈ ρ ⊂ A × B in the form of (α, ρ, β). ergo we can represent the binary relation ( x ,  y ) ∈  r as a triple ( x , r , y ). let μ = ( x ,  y ) ∈  r  and ν = ( x ,  r ,  y ) ∈ {(α, ρ, β)} for the sake of being succinct. although the tuple ν can be read as "relation r  holds for x  and y ", ν is indeed only a representation  of μ and not an equivalence with μ. this is because ν ∈ {(α, ρ, β)} whereas μ ∉ {(α, ρ, β)}. that is, ν is structured according to a different schema {(α, ρ, β)} than that of μ, which is structured according to  r  ⊂ X × Y or r  = {( x, y ) :  x  ∈ X ⋀  y  ∈ Y}. i take this to mean that mathematical representation is no less self-referential than linguistic representation, that mathematics can be understood in terms of a language or a signifying system. we see this in that the representation

review: It’s Time To Plant The Beans

hello all! i wanted to review one of the games from a bundle i'm participating in, the Cozy TTRPGs Bundle ( link ). ahead of time, i wanna point out that this bundle is $164 worth of games for $20; it's a really good opportunity to sample a whole bunch of cozy creations and support their authors at the same time. so please check it out! the game i'm going to be reviewing today is It's Time To Plant The Beans ( link ) by sprintingowldesigns ( @sprintingowl ), which is about planting beans to grow feline friends. part of the reason It’s Time To Plant The Beans made me really excited to check it out was bc it was the first time i found smth that recognizes how fun it is just to play nonsense games with dice. it was part of what motivated my own game in the bundle, bovine borough: it’s fun to roll dice and ascribe fleeting meaning to it. what It’s Time To Plant The Beans does is it uses dice as the primary, if not the only, medium of play. dice represent the progress of

a critical reading of bolt, part 3

last time we finally made it to the hard mechanics of BOLT, now we're going to read about how to create a character and see how far we get from there. although before i've been copying/pasting passages wholesale for the purposes of accessibility, the book is only getting harder to format in a blogger post so i'm going to start taking screenshots. "characters are largely defined by four sets of values." love me some set theory. let's get into it! core attributes are defined through two clauses: (a) "some role-playing games would refer to them as 'statistics'," and they (b) "play into a group of Skills." i don't think either of these statements are really helpful to understand what core attributes are. clause (a) relies on you understanding what other games consider 'statistics' to be (and do any games refer to them as 'statistics' and not 'stats' or even 'attributes'?). clause (b) states their fun

towards an industrial economic simulation

Each labor factor (LF) represents 1 worker for small operations, or 100 workers for industrial enterprises. Let 20 Shillings = 1 Pound, 12 Pennies = 1 Shilling, 240 Pennies = 1 Pound. Let each loaf of bread cost 1 penny and represent 1,000 calories. Rent costs 25 pounds per household on the first of each month. Let productivity be a function of the sum of labor factors' individual productivities. For example, if adult workers are d6, child workers (11-18) are d3, and child workers (9-10) are d2, and if we have 3 adult workers and 2 child workers aged 11-18, our total productivity is 3d6 + 2d3. This may be phrased in terms of ratio, e.g. "Two child workers aged 11-18 are half as productive as one adult worker", so that we may convert 2d3 --> 1d6.

why you should get into #rpglatam!

edit: tiago rolim unfortunately passed away on april 12, 2021. please contribute to the bundle to help support his family. the RPGLATAM community is literally my favorite group of hobbyists and players and designers, whichever word works best, on twitter. they are all so creative and thoughtful and sincere, just wonderful. recently m.a. guax ( @maguaxRPG ) ran a jam called RPG LATAM JAM  (check #RPGLATAMJAM on Twitter) to create supplements for RPGLATAM games, and it's about to close on april 11th. unfortunately this month has been super busy and i could not contribute anything, so i wanted to write a blog post talking about three of my favorite works produced by the community. even more pressing: tiago rolim ( @arcileuto ) has been hospitalized with covid-19, and members of the RPGLATAM community have come together for a bundle on to help cover the costs of his hospital stay . please please please support this effort . i've limited myself to three works because there

a critical reading of BOLT, part 2

read the first post i thought i would skip the rest of the introductory bits to go straight to the rules, but i wanted to take a look at some other paragraphs: > Dice:  Dice are clicky-clacky math rocks. They return a randomized number based on the number of faces they have. However, they are not edible. BOLT requires the use of the following dice: [...] let me offer this question: is this a useful paragraph for anyone who doesn't know what dice are? the first sentence, that they are clicky-clacky math rocks, is basically a silly verbatim stock twitter epithet for dice; if someone really doesn't know what dice are, although "math rocks" i'm sure gets the point across if the reader (ignorant of dice) had some in their hand, is this a useful descriptor? the second sentence uses the language of mathematics or data science, that a die returns  a randomized number. this is true by those fields, but is this intuitive for the reader not familiar with either field? the