Front Page

Content

Board Games

Forums

Site Tools

Submissions

About

MB
Michael Barnes
February 27, 2020
257 0
JL
Josh Look
February 27, 2020
156 0
U
ubarose
February 26, 2020
495 0
O
oliverkinne
February 26, 2020
314 0
JL
Josh Look
February 25, 2020
474 0
W
We-reNotWizards
February 25, 2020
263 0
W
We-reNotWizards
February 24, 2020
1019 0
O
oliverkinne
February 22, 2020
1022 0
T
TabletopIsland
February 22, 2020
393 0

Dragoon Board Game Review

Podcasts & Videos
U
ubarose
February 21, 2020
423 0
U
ubarose
February 21, 2020
487 0

Dominion: Menagerie Coming Soon

NEW and Upcoming Games
H
Hylander47
February 21, 2020
362 0
U
ubarose
February 20, 2020
875 0
T
thegiantbrain
February 20, 2020
637 0

Megacity Oceania Review

Board Game Reviews
U
ubarose
February 19, 2020
923 0

Jim Felli - Mind Flayers and Mental Anchors

More
01 Jun 2018 00:00 #274395 by xthexlo

It's one of the most viscerally evocative monsters in gaming...and it is also a mental anchor.

Read more...
The following user(s) said Thank You: ChristopherMD, Colorcrayons, stoic

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
01 Jun 2018 01:36 #274396 by Da Bid Dabid
DCC does a pretty good job of show or tell.
The following user(s) said Thank You: xthexlo

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
01 Jun 2018 06:28 #274402 by stoic
Deep! The epistemology of game design. I'm anchored.
The following user(s) said Thank You: xthexlo

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
01 Jun 2018 07:55 - 01 Jun 2018 08:49 #274405 by Jackwraith
Actually, the anchor that always stuck with me was the terminology. Gygax and Co. were often so literal that the technical term ("Magic-user") would overwhelm the colorful one ("Wizard", "Mage", "Sorceror") until the latter was given an actual definition. So, instead of "illithid", we were forever referring to the mauve-skinned (this was my first instance of reading the word "mauve", too) creature as a "mind flayer", which is what it literally did, both with its psionics and its tentacles as it ate your brain.

OTOH, I guess it's possible to see that term as the more colorful one, since the average D&D world citizen would probably consider "illithid" to be a technical term instead of what the thing actually did to you. But, then, why would they call it a "catoblepas" instead of "stone breather"? You could go round and round on this.

I confess to not being limited by my own anchor on many things; specifically in terms of mind flayers since Ed Greenwood's description of an alhoon in the Forgotten Realms. I was all: "Whoa! An illithid lich! So... they're like an actual race with different types... that can be undead... just like humans!" At that point, variations seemed appropriate to me.
Last edit: 01 Jun 2018 08:49 by Jackwraith.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Colorcrayons, xthexlo

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
01 Jun 2018 08:42 #274410 by hotseatgames
Great piece, Jim!
The following user(s) said Thank You: xthexlo

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
01 Jun 2018 11:03 #274427 by Deleted
+3 Cunnilingus

That’s pretty much his only power.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
01 Jun 2018 11:08 #274429 by wadenels
Many of the comments I've gotten about Shadows of Malice when people first see the game are about the artwork, or lack thereof depending on your perspective.

I like that the style leaves me to fill in the imagery. Was this a conscious show or tell decision?
The following user(s) said Thank You: xthexlo

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
01 Jun 2018 11:24 - 02 Jun 2018 09:43 #274431 by xthexlo
It was a conscious “show or tell” design choice. I decided to show the items, as they were unique in my mind, but let the players have fun imagining the monsters, as their infinite variations aligned so well with the theme of chaotic corruption.

As a sidenote, the drawings for the items in the game we’re originally intended to be placeholders — they were only included for a play test version and my intention was to commission final art. However, almost everyone who played the test version really like the “throwback feel” of the “basic and unpolished artwork,” and they urged me to keep it. So I did.
Last edit: 02 Jun 2018 09:43 by xthexlo. Reason: Fixed a typo
The following user(s) said Thank You: ChristopherMD, Deleted

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
02 Jun 2018 14:22 #274529 by Gary Sax
This reminds me of Magic Realm *mechanically.* Magic Realm takes a stock standard approach to orcs, goblins, etc etc but then does nothing the same as a D+D approach to them. It is a designed completely unanchored by D+D mechanically with almost exactly the same trappings.

That always gets to me because it makes me wonder how much creativity is sapped away from us because of how anchored we are to existing content, and, especially, how the high intensity of communication on the internet has made us even more anchored and wedded to existing IP and approaches.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Shellhead, ChristopherMD, xthexlo

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
03 Jun 2018 11:08 #274554 by xthexlo

Gary Sax wrote: That always gets to me because it makes me wonder how much creativity is sapped away from us because of how anchored we are to existing content, and, especially, how the high intensity of communication on the internet has made us even more anchored and wedded to existing IP and approaches.


I think that you’re absolutely correct. And it’s a slow and subtle sapping... the kind where you don’t realize it is happening unless you stop and think about it.

I think your comment about communication intensity and implied constant connection via the Internet allows us to put things like conformity and rules lawyering ahead of enjoyment. It also diminishes our capacity to enjoy new content. For example, I am not wed to the Star Wars canon nearly as much as some of my friends, so I enjoyed the movie Solo where as they felt angered and betrayed. This diminished capacity strikes me particularly hard in gaming when I hear things like: “that’s not how you play a cleric!” Bah! That cleric is a priest of Thor and will damn well rush into combat with a hammer when the spirit moves them!

I guess it all makes me wonder... do the anchors set down by fancy illustrations, detailed text, rigid rules, demanded conformity, etc. serve the role of outsourcing imagination because we haven’t the time or desire to allow our own to work their magic? Or do they serve a more insidious, perhaps unintended, role: to neuter our imaginations and, in so doing, foster our hunger for ever more new and marginally variant products and content?
The following user(s) said Thank You: Gary Sax, Colorcrayons

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
03 Jun 2018 11:47 #274555 by hotseatgames
It reminds me of the double edged sword of game design. If you don’t play a lot of other games, you might come up with unique concepts that haven’t been done before. But you also might make rookie mistakes that have been solved many times over in prior works.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Shellhead, Gary Sax, xthexlo

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
03 Jun 2018 11:56 #274557 by Gary Sax
Agree with your post, Jim.

The example of D+D is actually a good one if you think about the Gygax era. That era was a really fucked up, weird, and super creative one for D+D. Look how bizarre some of those scenario books and monsters were! Very original! All of that stuff has been sanded off D+D for the most part---even late era D+D weirdness is gone like Spelljammer or whatever. I've heard wonderful things about D+D 5th edition mechanically, but it is interesting to think how it went from whimsical and a bit subversive to set in stone canon over the past 30 years and what that means about it.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Colorcrayons, xthexlo

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
03 Jun 2018 12:17 #274561 by xthexlo

Gary Sax wrote: ...whimsical and a bit subversive...


OMG! I never realized it until I saw your words: that is exactly what I’m after!

Y’know where it shows that I thanked you in the post box? Can you add “x1,000” as part of my handle?

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
03 Jun 2018 12:21 #274562 by xthexlo

hotseatgames wrote: It reminds me of the double edged sword of game design. If you don’t play a lot of other games, you might come up with unique concepts that haven’t been done before. But you also might make rookie mistakes that have been solved many times over in prior works.


I agree, Mark. But I do have one question? Are they really “mistakes” or have we just been trained to label them as such? Especially if one believes that real mistakes are rectified in play testing.
The following user(s) said Thank You: hotseatgames

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
03 Jun 2018 12:39 #274563 by Jackwraith
This sounds like it's treading dangerously close to that "elegance" concept in design, where rules that might give character or storytelling potential (think Wiz-War or anything by Games Workshop) compete with those that make... you know... sense (think most things by Knizia or other Euro designs.) The magic trick is always finding the happy medium. I think you did a great job with Zimby Mojo, Jim. There's a lot of "flavor" rules to absorb (mostly in the ritual cards) for new players, but the base mechanics of the movement and conjoined play in the first half are pretty elegant. I think Eric Lang did a similar thing with Chaos in the Old World, in which there's a lot to remember in terms of different powers, cards, and unit abilities that are all fairly dripping with GWFB theme, but the underlying structure of the game is quite straightforward in its execution.

I think "whimsical and a bit subversive" may describe Jervis Johnson's entire existence.
The following user(s) said Thank You: xthexlo

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Moderators: Gary Sax
Time to create page: 0.158 seconds