Game Design

The Primary Coming To Kickstarter March 15

Tabletop Gaming News - 2 hours 53 min ago
No matter who is in charge, we often feel that we could do it better. You look at what’s going on and think, “You know, I could fix this all really easily. If only I was the boss.” Well, in The Primary, you are looking to become the President of the United State of America […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

New Hail Caesar Sets Available To Order From Warlord Games

Tabletop Gaming News - 3 hours 52 min ago
A couple of different time periods on display here in Hail Caesar today. Starting off, there’s a new supplement book, Shield Wall, which covers the Dark Ages. As with all Warlord Games books, if you order direct from them, you get an exclusive figure. They’ve also got a huge set where you can get the […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Friday Snippets

Tabletop Gaming News - 4 hours 53 min ago
Fridaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! Gateway to the weekend. AND! I placed an order for some new dice yesterday. So you know I’m stoked. When dice sets sell out in a matter of minutes, and you manage to get some, it’s a pretty good feeling. Still riding high on that wave today. #NoSuchThingAsTooManyDice Anyway, as I wait for those […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

New Bolt Action Releases Available From Warlord Games

Tabletop Gaming News - 5 hours 53 min ago
Two new releases are available today for Bolt Action. One’s a new British Commandos HQ set, giving your troops some command out on the field. The other is a Waffen-SS Schwimmwagen diorama, depicted in winter. I know that most of the Northern Hemisphere is still pretty cold, but here in Atlanta, we’ve got 70s for […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Naoto Ohshima discusses Michael Jackson on Sonic 3 - by John Szczepaniak Blogs - 6 hours 41 min ago
Creator of Sonic the Hedgehog, Naoto Ohshima, reveals the plans for Michael Jackson to create music for Sonic 3. Jackson was creating the music as a human beat box! In this video Ohshima also does impressions of this "a cappella" music
Categories: Game Theory & Design

The Two Biggest Design Traps of Multiplayer Games - by Josh Bycer Blogs - 6 hours 42 min ago
Multiplayer is one of the most popular features requested by gamers, but today's post looks at two of the most unassuming ways for designers to mess up when implementing it.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Why a "Flappy Bird Clone" Took More Than 7 Years to Make - by Matias Kindermann Blogs - 6 hours 43 min ago
The story of how a game that has absolutely nothing to do with Flappy Bird took over 7 years to make. During that long process it became known as a "Flappy Bird Clone" and we decided to not care anymore and let people play it and decide for themselves.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

The Design Job Matrix - by Michael Fitch Blogs - 6 hours 44 min ago
Looking for a way to tell where you are in your career progression? Try talking to your manager about their job matrix, a simple tool for defining roles and responsibilities.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

WizKids Announces Curio: The Lost Temple

Tabletop Gaming News - 6 hours 52 min ago
A staple of the tropes in ancient tombs is the requirement to solve intricate puzzles in order to proceed forward. Theoretically, this meant that only true followers of those that built the structure would know how to get through them (oftentimes with deadly results for those that failed). There’s often a time element involved. You […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Dawn of Rebellion Sourcebook Now Available For the Star Wars RPG

Tabletop Gaming News - 7 hours 52 min ago
At the end of the first three movies (number-wise, not release-wise) in Star Wars, Emperor Palpatine has seized power and is ruling the galaxy with an iron fist. Very quickly, those that want the Republic back form a resistance movement that would be known as the Rebellion. But that early start wasn’t easy. The Dawn […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

New Space Wolves Available To Pre-order From Forge World

Tabletop Gaming News - 8 hours 52 min ago
Space puppies! I know, I know. They’re Space Wolves. But, to me, every dog’s a puppy, even if it weighs 240 pounds and it can bite through a parking meter. I’m sure the Space Wolves don’t like being called Space Puppies, but they’ll get over it if you scratch them behind the ears and tell […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Digging Up Trouble

New RPG Product Reviews - 9 hours 22 min ago
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
Rating: 4
A neat little adventure that can be slotted in to your campaign when the party are going about their own business (if their own plans don't take them to the right place, an errand for them is provided), with the opening being an encounter with a dog beset by bandits. Hopefully, like the Good Dogs they are, the party will come to his rescue.

The background provides an explanation about who that dog is and how he came to be there, and tells of who is after him and why. The main NPCs are introduced in detail, and then we're off with the various encounters and scenes explained clearly and vividly, everything laid out so that a novice GM should have little difficulty in running the adventure. Likely player choices - including those that might derail the adventure - are anticipated and dealt with in a way that brings things back on track without it appearing forced. There are at least two good brawls, probably three plus the excitement of finding buried treasure... and a few suggestions for further adventures.

Oh, and there are pirates involved! You never go far wrong with pirates...

Overall it is a nice straightforward adventure for an inexperienced party to get their teeth into. Any Good Dog ought to enjoy it!
Categories: Game Theory & Design

February Releases Available For Infinity

Tabletop Gaming News - 9 hours 52 min ago
5 days from the end of the month and Corvus Belli is finishing off February in style. You thought all the love was gone a couple weeks ago, but such is not the case. The latest releases for Infinity are now available over in the Corvus Belli webshop as well as at an LGS near […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

The Dominant Player

Gnome Stew - 10 hours 52 min ago

Yeah, dominant can mean that guy too.

They’re easy to spot when you start playing. Confident and forthright or pushy and obstinate, they’re often the first voice the GM hears. You certainly can’t ignore them. Dominant players are difficult to miss and they end up being either a blessing or a bane at the table.

At a recent convention, I ran a one-shot of Nights Black Agents that didn’t go as well as I had hoped. I had run the scenario before, but the previous run had been with four players that worked well together. At the con, I had a full table of six players and for a variety of reasons, they didn’t gel into a cohesive team. Almost immediately in the scenario, they ignored the clues that were in front of them and started going in drastically different directions from one another. They were definitely not embodying the tight team of elite mercenaries that were on the character sheets. While I try very hard not to railroad players, I still had to resort to some ungentle nudges to keep the game moving forward. As it was, we ended up having to handwave much of the big finale fight with the vampire villain because it took so long to get to him.

That wasn’t the worst problem, though. Because I was so frustrated with their lack of cohesion and how often they were refusing to look at the clues they already had in hand, I missed a social dynamics problem at the table until it was too late to fix it. One of the players was talking over the other players, not listening to them, and outright stealing ideas on occasion. This was the bad kind of dominant player and I had missed how frustrating his behavior had become to the rest of the table.

Now, understand, dominant players are not always a bad thing. In fact, hopefully you usually get a good dominant player. These are the folks that make the GM’s job easier by offering a natural leadership that pulls the rest of the players into the game. They’re often the rainmakers who can take a tiny seed of an idea and grow it into one of the best plot threads of the game. When they’re good, they’re inclusive with the other players and always helping push the game forward. The best ones I’ve ever played with keep me on my toes and challenge me to be a better GM, and I know they’re making the game something even better than I could do on my own.

The best ones I’ve ever played with keep me on my toes and challenge me to be a better GM, and I know they’re making the game something even better than I could do on my own. 

When they’re a problem, though, they’re still taking that leadership role and demanding attention, but they’re not doing it for the benefit of the table. Sometimes it’s a matter of being a spotlight hog and wanting all of the GM’s attention during the game. Occasionally it’s an arrogance that dismisses the ideas of the other players and pushes them aside because they think they know better. There can be varying levels of this, but eventually it will frustrate the other players and create a social dynamic that will be untenable in the long run.

As a GM, it can be difficult to realize when this is happening. In my case, I was so caught up in trying to make sure the players actually had the information they needed for the plot that I wasn’t realizing how problematic that particular player was being. It’s important that we TRY to keep tabs on the social dynamics at our tables, but it doesn’t mean it is easy. When you’re trying to handle the adversaries, all the NPCs, the entire world of the game while keeping it moving forward at a reasonable pace, and keep the spotlight moving around the table, you can sometimes miss the little clues that will let you realize you’ve got a problem.

The moment you realize you do have a problem, step in and try and fix it. Be more mindful of how that one player is dominating the game. If they’re a regular player, have a talk with them after the game and maybe you can nudge them into being a more beneficial dominant player. During the game, keep the spotlight moving and be aware of when the bad dominant player is getting up to their old tricks. If you can’t get them to work on the problem, maybe consider asking them to find another game to play.

For players, you need to stand up for yourselves and each other too. When you see someone getting pushed aside or talked over, absolutely speak up. Maybe you’re not comfortable taking that domineering, leadership role yourself, but you can still defend and support everyone at the table. Occasionally those dominant players may not even realize they’re being that big of a problem and just need a nudge to remember it’s a cooperative game for everyone at the table.

Hopefully, all your dominant players are the good ones. When you’ve got a good one at your table, you know your job is easier and the game is going to be a good one.

Categories: Game Theory & Design

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild big winner at DICE Awards

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 22 February 2018 - 9:34pm

At the 21st DICE Awards in Las Vegas on Thursday night, Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild won game of the year, in addition to three other awards. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Tompet Games Launches Donning the Purple on Kickstarter

Tabletop Gaming News - 22 February 2018 - 3:00pm
“It’s good to be king.” Sure, we’ve all heard that. But you know what’s better? Being the emperor. And being the emperor of one of the most vast empires the world has ever seen is even better. But, being emperor, as you put on the regal robes, you know that there’s a target on your […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Discord expands verified server program to eSports teams

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 22 February 2018 - 2:39pm

Discord announced in a press release today that it will be expanding its verified server program to include eSports teams and organizations.  ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Devil’s Run RPG Back Up On Kickstarter

Tabletop Gaming News - 22 February 2018 - 2:00pm
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. It’s another way of saying that if you fall off that post-apocalyptic car while being chased by marauders, you get back up on it. At least, I would suggest you do so. And that’s what Red Scar has done with their Devil’s Run Kickstarter. This new […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Net Neutrality repeal effective starting on April 23

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 22 February 2018 - 1:53pm

The FCC published a revocation order to the Federal Register today which dissolves net neutrality effective on April 23. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

12 Realms: Dungeonland Late Pledges Now Available

Tabletop Gaming News - 22 February 2018 - 1:00pm
Mage Company is now taking late pledges for their 12 Realms: Dungeonland game. If you missed out on the Kickstarter, but want to still get the benefits of it, now’s your chance. The game is for 1-4 players, as you head your way through a dungeon (seems appropriate). Take on the mantle of famous characters […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design


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