Tags: interview


Interview: Vanessa B Baylen

On Friday night I went to Death By Chocolate, an interactive murder mystery show that won an award at the Melbourne Fringe and sold out with great reviews at the hugely competitive Edinburgh Fringe. (My review of the night is here.)

In the show, guests take on the roles of detectives and mingle freely with the suspects, trying to get to the bottom of the mystery. It's an experience that has lots in common with role-playing games, but creator Vanessa B Baylen arrived at this show by a completely different route.

After the jump, Vanessa answers my questions about where this show came from, and about the specific techniques and processes she's used with the performers to create the experience.

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Thanks Vanessa for taking the time to answer these questions!

If you're in the Wellington, I strongly recommend the show - it's an excellent experience. It's on this Thursday through Sunday. Find out more here!

Long Term Gaming

Over on Story Games there was a thread recently about whether you could become "Story Game Brain Damaged" - get so used to the style of play originating in the Forge that you forget all the basics you grew up with.

Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing, it's something I can certainly identify with. I recently dropped out of a game recently partially because my expectations about game content and action levels were out of sync with the group as a whole. A disappointing experience that in part comes from my recent emphasis and experience running short games which necessarily pack a lot of punch into not much time.

Perturbed by this, I have been spending quite a bit of time thinking about the Long term games I've been involved in, both as a player and a GM. Trying to figure out what was good about them, what they did that a shorter game couldn't do. Games like 8w_gremlin's short-term Call of Cthulhu and my own Grim Harvest games muddied the water for me by bringing a lot of old school elements, especially related to pacing & the absence of scene framing, to a short term game.

So I decided that I would consult two friends of mine who both have a lot of experience with Long Term games and whose opinions I have always found deeply interesting, if not always entirely my thing. They are Steve Rennel, and Ivan Towlson.

I've never actually gamed with Steve, but he's been an important interlocutor for gaming discussion for a couple of years now; I've spent more time talking to grandexperiment, but Steve may well be second.

Ivan has been one of my semi-regular gaming buddies for about 4 years now. He's a stalwart in my convention playtesting cycle, ran the Lace and Steel game that I've posted about many times, and played in Dale Elvy's 2 year Paths of the Damned campaign with mr_orgue and myself.

We've been engaging in a lengthy series of e-mail discussions, trying to tease out what they see as the strengths of Long term games and how they've approached getting the best from them. This discussion is very much ongoing, but I've compiled the first bit of it and present it here for your comment.Collapse )

Interview: Karen Healey

A couple of weeks ago, I interviewed the fabulous Karen Healey.  Part 1 is below:

Karen Healey is a New Zealand writer, gamer, and academic, currently based at the University of Melbourne.  She's studying the fan culture surrounding superhero comics, is involved with the feminist collective Girl-Wonder and the women-oriented gaming magazine Cerise, and has a young adult novel, Guardian of the Dead, due out in April 2010.


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Speaking with New Game Designers

I have been invited to have a telephone discussion with Daniel and Nicholas of Visions of Essence, a Columbian based RPG company that looks set to release its first RPG - Eoris Essence, a spectacular looking anime fantasy RPG - very soon.

I have a number of things that I plan to discuss with them, mostly revolving around questions I have about the game. I have also had extensive experience with Steamlogic's Mechanical Dream RPG which shares some similarities to Eoris. So, I plan to speak to them about what they have gone through and what their plans are. I may even provide a little advice if I feel that I can contribute anything.

I note that Daniel and Nicholas did give an interview to Sons of Kryos last year at Gencon. Due to normal gamer suspicions of new entrants, the enthusiasm of Daniel and Nicholas and slight language issues, this interview was a little unflattering IMO.

Anyway, I thought I would post this up here to see if anyone else has great ideas about what I might talk to them about or ask them, that may make the discussion more productive for all sides.

Interview with Lev Lafayette

This is not the first interview on Gametime, but it is the first of a new series of interviews. Gametime is the New Zealand RPG groupblog, so in this series we interview people in the RPG scene with a New Zealand connection. Hope you enjoy it!

Lev Lafayette (tcpip) is the editor and publisher of RPG Review, a free .pdf zine that just released its second issue. He first came to my attention for his series of careful reviews of classic Gygax AD&D adventures, and his willingness to puncture conventional wisdom about these caused some controversy. He has written for ICE's Rolemaster line and has other projects currently under NDA.

Lev was born in Invercargill in the south of New Zealand in 1968. He lives in Melbourne, Australia, and visits NZ regularly. This interview was conducted via email between Oct '08 and Jan '09. Many of Lev's comments have been edited and smooshed together for a better reading experience.

How did you get into your first game?
Entirely by accident. I started gaming in 1981; the first game I actually played was RuneQuest, but I didn't realise it at the time (no, it wasn't on the character sheets). I was in the library with a stack of books and a group playing caught my eye. I watched quietly, worked out what was going on, and then, fairly cautiously (they were a year above me which gave them special authority in the ethos of the schoolyard), started participating.
Everything about the game - the handfuls of odd dice, the challenges, the mapping, the fantastic settings, the roleplaying - which there was quite a fair bit of - struck a chord with me. I knew this was for me.

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Interview: Craig Oxbrow, GM of 'The Watch House'

When I was in Edinburgh I was privileged to see in action 'The Watch House', a long-running game for the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG. I was fascinated by the extent to which the GM, craigoxbrow, was joined by several players in plotting and scheming for the game.

It's a game methodology unlike anything I've seen anywhere else. And it seems to be working, with fantastic and much-loved Actual Play reports on RPG.net, and great love for the game from its players.

I've talked Craig into answering a few questions about how things are done in The Watch House. So here's part one of the interview...

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