Game Design

Splatoon dev: 'Being an eSport wasn't something that we were ever really considering'

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 26 June 2017 - 5:11pm

"We also realized that if we were going to have competitive play, it would need to be supported by a great community," Splatoon 2 producer Hisashi Nogami tells Glixel in a new E3 interview. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Asmodee Digital Summer Sale Happening Now

Tabletop Gaming News - 26 June 2017 - 3:00pm
Summertime. Summertime. Sum-sum-summertime. It’s summer (well, in the Northern Hemisphere, anyway). That means trips to the beach or park or wherever you’re going with family and friends. And on those trips, it’s fun to play games. Though, due to packing constraints, you can’t always bring those game boxes with you. That’s where digital editions of […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Wyrd Posts New Malifaux Art Preview

Tabletop Gaming News - 26 June 2017 - 2:00pm
While my Monday is continuing to be very much a Monday, it does mean that we get a new Wyrd artwork preview for Malifaux. This week, it’s the Lampad for the Resurrectionists. Monday means Malifaux! It’s time for an all new Monday preview. And this time we are going to take a look at the […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Fantasy Flight Games Previews Swarm Scenario from Runebound: Unbreakable Bonds

Tabletop Gaming News - 26 June 2017 - 1:00pm
Just this morning, I learned that a coworker doesn’t like ants. And by that, I mean she haaaaaaaaates them. She got goosebumps just at the mention of them. And while they’re not specifically ants, I’m sure the giant swarms in Unbreakable Bonds, the upcoming expansion for Runebound from Fantasy Flight Games, will give your heroes […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

New Beyond the Gates of Antares Releases Available From Warlord Games

Tabletop Gaming News - 26 June 2017 - 12:00pm
Things are heating up out in the faraway star systems. The various factions in Beyond the Gates of Antares continually clash against one-another. New tactical formations and equipment are making their way to the field. They’re also making their way to your tabletops. Both the Algoryn and Boromites have a couple new releases you can […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Monday Terrain Corner

Tabletop Gaming News - 26 June 2017 - 11:00am
It’s Monday. How’s yours going? Mine’s… being a Monday. But, as usual, we’ll make it through. And getting our gaming tables looking good is going to help. Today in the Terrain Corner we have: New Terrain Available For Beyond the Gates of Antares, Final Week For Eslo Terrain Kickstarter, Brigade Models release 2mm Scale Dockyard […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Games Workshop Taking Pre-Orders For New Age of Sigmar Starter Set and Blood Bowl Teams

Tabletop Gaming News - 26 June 2017 - 10:00am
Well, you’ve had the new 40k set for a couple weeks now. I’m sure you’re all just so tired of that and want to get back to the Fantasy side of things… or not. But if you’ve been playing 8th Edition and had someone go, “do they make it with, like, wizards and chariots and […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Privateer Press seeks Studio Painter

Tabletop Gaming News - 26 June 2017 - 9:00am
Are you a really good colored-goop slinger? I am not. My painting skills were never that great and have certainly atrophied over the years due to disuse. But if your painting is of the level that other gamers drool over it (make sure to seal your figures well…), then Privateer Press might just have a […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Fantasy Flight Games Previews The Wars to Come For the Game of Thrones: The Iron Throne Board Game

Tabletop Gaming News - 26 June 2017 - 8:00am
The land of Westeros is full of intrigue. Alliances are forming, breaking, and shifting all the time. What might be your friends one day can turn into your enemies the next. Staying ahead of any plots against you is key. In The Wars to Come, a new expansion coming for the Game of Thrones: The […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

June Releases Available For Infinity From Corvus Belli

Tabletop Gaming News - 26 June 2017 - 7:00am
We’re in the last week of June. By this weekend, it’ll be July. Not much time left to get out this month’s releases. But Corvus Belli is here. They’ve got their June figures for Infinity available now. From the announcement: June new releases now available at your FLGS & our online store! Buy the Aleph […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

New Operation Sea Lion Minis Available From Warlord Games

Tabletop Gaming News - 26 June 2017 - 6:00am
Operation Sea Lion saw the Germans invading Britain. The fighting soon made it so everyday citizens were suddenly on the front lines, battling the advancing army. The Germans had their own infiltrators in the British populace, looking to sew discord where they could. Two new sets from Warlord Games let you bring such colorful characters […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

IN THEORY: Gamemaster Rolls

Gnome Stew - 26 June 2017 - 1:00am

Gamemasters (GM’s) occupy an unusual position. They have great power over the game, adjudicate the rules, and make major decisions. Sometimes they willingly give up that power, rolling dice and letting fortune decide the outcome. GM’s are not really players, but they’re not quite “not players” either.

In this article, we’ll look when and why GM’s roll dice. Sometimes it’s easy to know when a GM should roll: but sometimes it’s not as clear. This article is not meant to provide rules for GM’s, merely a deeper look at how we decide what when to roll ’em.

NPC’s in Combat
In most games, if a player character (PC) rolls to hit in combat, a GM will roll for a non-player character (NPC). This simulates the stress and randomness of combat on both sides. Similarly, if damage is rolled randomly by players, the same rules apply to NPC’s. Some games streamline the GM’s rolls by using an average damage value.

Similarly, if players get to make a saving throw against a spell or other effect, GM’s generally roll those for NPC’s as well. All these rolls are done to simulate a more level playing field during combat. Fighting is rough business for both sides. Morale is another form of saving throw. Some games have GM’s roll to see if an NPC will remain in combat or flee.

NPC’s in Non-Combat Situations
Similarly GM’s may roll for NPC’s for physical challenges. Perhaps an enemy needs to make a CLIMB check to get to the PC’s. Perhaps a retainer needs to cross the same raging river as the PC’s. Perhaps the PC’s singing partner could lose their voice during the final round and Usher won’t choose them.

NPC’s may also get a “save” in social situations as well. Just because the PC made his CHARISMA check doesn’t mean that the NPC will do everything they ask or divulge all information. Players should get some benefit for rolling well in social situations, but that doesn’t mean that NPC’s can’t have some level of resistance.

To Add Randomness
Some GM’s enjoy introducing a little randomness as they run their sessions. They’ll roll dice and consult tables to determine wandering monsters, environmental hazards, local holidays, and the nearest star system. This approach will certainly stretch your improvisational skills during play. More cautious GM’s (like me) might consider using these tables beforehand. That introduces a little randomness, and can sometimes produce ideas we wouldn’t have considered otherwise.

To Resolve Uncertainty
Roleplaying games allow players to do ANYTHING. Sometimes there won’t be a rule for what they’d like to know or try. Sometimes you don’t want to stop the action to look up an obscure rule. In those cases, consider using the GM’s secret weapon, the humble six-sided die. On a 1-3, things go in the players’ favor. On a 4-6, they don’t. Feel free to adjust the probabilities on a case by case basis if you like. Is there a knife in the room? Does the apothecary sell healing potions? Will Tony dance tonight?

Roll a d6 and see.

To Create Tension
Secret GM rolls can be used to increase the tension at the table. For example, suppose the party is deliberating for a LONG time. Roll behind the screen, look at the dice and ignore the numbers. Then make a concerned face. See if that gets them moving. This technique isn’t for every GM or every situation. You may not want, or need to bluff your players. Even if you do use it, use it sparingly. Otherwise players may suspect that you fudge many of your rolls.

Concluding Thoughts
The GM doesn’t even have to roll dice. Some games like Dungeon World resolve all actions based on player rolls alone. Other systems could be adapted to eliminate GM rolls, perhaps with a degree of success/failure chart. However, in most games, you’ll need to roll some of the time. Hopefully this article provided some food for thought about when and why we roll.

What reasons can you add to this list? Are there times when you would always roll, or times when you never roll? Let us know below.

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Advanced Designers & Dragons: Giants of the Industry: Stewart Wieck

RPGNet - 26 June 2017 - 12:00am
The co-founder of White Wolf, the creator of Mage, and much more.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Video Game Deep Cuts: You Don't Know Jack Bandicoot

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 25 June 2017 - 10:35am

This week's longform article/video highlights include a history of the You Don't Know Jack developers, two pieces about Crash Bandicoot - both original and remaster - and lots more. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Video Game Deep Cuts: You Don't Know Jack Bandicoot - by Simon Carless Blogs - 24 June 2017 - 10:21pm
This week's longform article/video highlights include a history of the You Don't Know Jack developers, two pieces about Crash Bandicoot - both original and remaster - and lots more.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Small Statues of Ponies? Who’d’ve Thought? A Review of Curse of the Statuettes Adventure

Tabletop Gaming News - 24 June 2017 - 11:01am
I’m an unabashed fan of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. I put it in the same league as something like Animaniacs and Tiny Toons, where, sure, I may not be the real target audience, but I feel it’s a quality cartoon product that has enough references to keep me interested (they dress up as […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Review Roundup

Tabletop Gaming News - 24 June 2017 - 11:00am
It’s Saturdaaaaaaaaaaay! Woooooooo! Due to the rain, my initial plans for the day fell through. But I’m hoping to rebound and maybe hang out with some people here and just chill. Yes, just me, them, and a whole pan of homemade banana pudding cheesecake… But at the moment, I know what you all really want […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

New Releases Available From CMON

Tabletop Gaming News - 23 June 2017 - 3:00pm
Lots of releases coming out today. CMON’s got several, themselves. If you’re a fan of Rum & Bones, there’s a new faction, some new mercenaries, as well as some deep sea creatures available. If you’re a fan of simple bluffing games, there’s Kronia, which is one I personally enjoy. These are available now at your […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Renegade Game Studio Announces Planet Defenders

Tabletop Gaming News - 23 June 2017 - 2:00pm
It seems that even in the far future, there’s issues with proper disposal of our unused items. As humanity has expanded throughout the galaxy, our old, discarded robots are starting to pile up in the spaceways. That’s causing issues and something needs to be done about it. That’s where the Planet Defenders come in. That’s […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Spellcaster: The Frostgrave Magazine Coming Next Week

Tabletop Gaming News - 23 June 2017 - 1:00pm
We all love to fill our lives with all things gaming. If you’re a fan of the Frostgrave setting and wish there was more for it that you can interact with, your wish has been granted. Next week, the new Spellcaster: The Frostgrave Magazine will launch its inaugural issue. From the announcement: Next Friday, June […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design


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