Carnagecast 50: Pathfinder

Carnagecast logo.In episode 50 of Carnagecast, we kick off with breaking news about Carnage on the Mountain 2014! Then, in our regularly scheduled episode, John joins us to talk about Paizo’s Pathfinder role-playing game. Branching out from the d20 era of Dungeons & Dragons, made possible by the open game license, Pathfinder carried on that style of role-playing when Wizards of the Coast opted to revamp Dungeons & Dragons with a whole new set of rules. Talking about Pathfinder, John reveals one of the things he likes most about the game is the ever-expanding room for variation and experimentation. Mechanics and concepts swirl and blend, as sometimes a new class sparks inspiration, or a character concept strikes that he works to realize within the rules.

Pathfinder Society is a living campaign, wherein players across the world adventure through a shared canon of scenarios. John takes us through some of the ups and downs of the organized play model as it applies to role-playing, and even pulls back the curtain, as he’s a frequent GM at the local Pathfinder Society tables at Quarterstaff Games.

Go behind the jump to check out the show links and leave a comment with your thoughts on Pathfinder or living campaigns. Continue reading

Carnagecast 49: New Haven

Carnagecast logo.In episode 49 of Carnagecast, we welcome Vermont game designers Brian Leet and Kevin Worden to the show. Brian and Kevin are long-time friends who partnered up to design New Haven, a strategy game that uses the theme of the 17th century North American colony of New Haven to follow the two story arcs of players generating resources by laying tiles on a common board, then putting those resources to work developing their villages on their individual boards. With the interactions on the resource board, drafting tiles and constructing one’s village within ever-increasing constraints, an element of New Haven‘s game play is knowing when not to “let perfect become the enemy of good enough.” Does a player fill the village with as much development as possible, or focus on optimizing use of resources and spaces? In wondering what one ought to do, rather than what to do, New Haven stimulates strategic players to return for another game to do better.

Kevin and Brian also talk about the process of creating of what eventually became New Haven over ten years. The roles they each played in the design partnership, how design and testing feed into each other in a process of creation, reflection and iteration, including recognizing when to “knock down walls” to open up the game, relaxing their control over how the game unfolded.

Go behind the jump for the show notes, including a link to Brian’s designer’s diary about New Haven and working with Kevin on this project. Continue reading

Carnagecast 48: Council of 5 Nations XXXVI

Carnagecast logo.In episode 48 of Carnagecast, Dave Cheng of the Schenectady Wargamers Association gives the scoop on Council of 5 Nations XXXVI, held October 11-13, 2013 in Schenectady, New York. This year, the Council convention space and event listings have expanded by over 50%, so there’s to play and more room in which to do so than ever before in this convention’s history, especially Pathfinder Society. Wargames now boast their own room in 2013 for that more casual pick up and play feel, in the style of Carnage’s own wargame room. Other offerings make for a nice balance of board games, miniatures and role-playing games. Check the event listings, linked below, for details, including suggested maturity ratings to help steer younger players in the right direction.

Council offers three weekend-long events: its traditional Starfleet Battles tourney; Conquest of Heroes with the special tourney prize of the Guadalcanal expansion, fresh from the factory; and Battleground Fantasy Warfare.

This year’s dealers room at Council of 5 Nations includes game demonstrations, dice-blessing services and a cupcake artist in addition to the usual game purchasing options.

The Council of 5 Nations website includes suggestions for parking and accommodations, along with the preregistration packet and event listings. Check out the links behind the jump for more information. Get your prereg form in by October 7th to secure your seat at the table! Continue reading

Carnagecast 47: Miniatures and Role-Playing at Carnage on the Mountain

Carnagecast logo.In episode 47 of Carnagecast, Rod gives the mini skinny for Carnage on the Mountain. Offerings break out into the fantasy genre, with wizards, lasers and stompy robots, and the historical variety, where player marshal forces to see whether they can turn the tide of history, or keep the waves of anachronism at bay. This year, there’s a particular focus on the Revolutionary War and battles that happened close to home, like the Battle of Bennington and the Battle of Valcour Island. For those new to the field of miniatures, or young players in general, there are offerings as well, like Dr. Nik’s Champions of the Toychest. Rod’s also pleased to announce a first for Carnage: ancients wargaming with a De Bellis Antiquitatis tournament.

On the role-playing side of the resort, Tyler covers tabletop and live action . . . action. Pathfinder Society returns with a full weekend of derring-do. Stalwart friends of Carnage like Dr. Nik, Andre Kruppa and Brad Younie are back for more. Live action role-playing sees a resurgence with not only the traditional Realms of Wonder boffer game, but a new Dr. Nik concoction, a steampunk murder mystery and the return of Vampire: the Masquerade with a Laws of the Night-powered conclave of the Kindred’s great and graceful.

Breaking news! It came too late for the podcast recording itself, but we’re pleased to announce Oscar Rios of Golden Goblin Press is on deck for Cthulhu mythos horror in the time of ancient Rome.

Go behind the jump for links to referenced topics and to leave your comments. What are you looking forward to playing at Carnage on the Mountain? Continue reading

Carnagecast 46: GMs’ Round Table

Carnagecast logo.In episode 46 of Carnagecast, Dan, Hunter and Toby return to the show to discuss Carrion Crown, but only just a little. It’s Carnagecast‘s first GMs’ round table conversation, where we share experiences running games, why we take on all that extra effort in comparison to playing someone else’s game, struggling with the conflict of GM ADD and never enough time to run all those sparkling ideas and the challenges of communicating one’s mental picture to the group without necessarily giving the whole game away.

Can you guess the name of Dan’s brother’s first character before listening to the episode? Leave your guess in the comments behind the jump. Continue reading

Carnagecast 45: Board Games at Carnage on the Mountain

Carnagecast logo.In episode 45 of Carnagecast, board game field marshal Rod Sheldon returns to talk about what we’ve been up to this summer. Triple Play’s hosting a lot organized board game play lately. There’s a Twilight Struggle league and a series of board game challenge tourneys, in which contestants play a variety of games and accrue points to win the title at the end of the season. Tyler’s keeping on with his Pathfinder group’s Carrion Crown campaign and delving into the Android: Netrunner and Call of Cthulhu living card games, plus the online play client Lackey.

Rod pulls the curtain back on this year’s board game offerings at Carnage on the Mountain in Killington, which number more than any Carnage convention to date. T’zolkin: the Mayan Calendar? Castle Burgundy? OGRE 6th Edition? Multiple sessions of A Game of Thrones and Battlestar Galactica, leavened with a variety of expansions? Live action RoboRally and Forbidden Island? Yeah, we got all those. Listen in to the episode for more details on those, the war game room and more.

Go behind the cut for show links and to leave your thoughts about what you’re looking forward to playing at Carnage this year. Continue reading

Carnagecast 44: Running Role-Playing Games at Conventions

Carnagecast logo.In episode 44 of Carnagecast, Joe makes his return appearance to the show to talk about the finer points of running role-playing games within the parameters of a tabletop gaming convention. The constraints and advantages of fitting a role-playing adventure within the schedule of a gaming convention create a unique landscape for a GM and players to play out an adventure.

After 13 years, Joe’s clearly enjoying his time as a convention GM. We wrap up talking about what’s rewarding about the convention game format. And maybe, just maybe, he’ll one day earn enough money to buy a bucket of chicken. What aspirations do you hold as a GM? Leave your comments behind the jump, and peruse the show notes while you’re there. Continue reading

Carnagecast 43: Role-Playing with Gaylord

Carnagecast logo.In episode 43 of Carnagecast, Gaylord joins us to talk role-playing games. His personal history with the form goes back to watching his stepson play with college friends in the dining room, including a notable encounter with the lich Adolf Hitler. From there, he went on to Vampire: The Masquerade, Call of Cthulhu and more.

Gaylord specializes in convention games, so we talk about the different needs of the four hour format versus home games. How does one handle the various kinds of players one gets at the table, particularly those who play their characters “sensibly” and those who are there for the glory of adventures followed to their gory conclusions? This leads to discussing the different levels of abilities and needs that a GM may encounter in a convention setting. Gaylord has related stories ranging from Call of Poohthulhu to Terra Incognita.

And, perhaps most importantly, we ponder whether spending a Willpower point in a Storyteller game is cheating. What do you think? Leave a comment behind the jump and check out the show notes for Tom’s Firefly pole dance. Continue reading

Carnagecast 42: Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar

Carnagecast logo.In episode 42 of Carnagecast, after a teaching session at the Green Mountain Gamers’ spring game day, Rod and Sarah discuss Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar, a worker placement game which draws inspiration for its mechanics from none other than the titular Mayan calendar, particularly interlocking wheels that move pieces around the board. In addition to the usual crunch of never enough resource and actions for players to do everything they’d like to, the discussion touches upon how the addition of something so spatially and visually oriented as the wheels affect how players think about the game.

Who do Sarah and Rod think should give Tzolk’in a try? Listen in — and check out the show notes behind the cut. Continue reading

Carnagecast 41: Crowdfunding Tabletop Games

Carnagecast logo.In episode 41 of Carnagecast, Rod and Tyler discuss the boom of crowdfunding, the process whereby individuals contribute money to the creation of an item or event in exchange for backer rewards, and the tabletop game hobby. Before the meat of the conversation, they talk Carnage on the Mountain, the way to reserve rooms at Killington by calling the hotel directly and Green Mountain Gamers’ Spring Meltdown, a full day of tabletop gaming at the Lake Morey Resort, beloved stomping ground of Carnage-goers.

What is crowdfunding? How does it differ from a preorder system like GMT Games’? The role of crowdfunding as a tool for established publishers and a means for new designers to make their mark. Crowdfunding removes barriers to entry, which has positive and negative consequences. Rod expresses concern about whether those dropping barriers allow more sub-par games to make it to the market, as they’re propelled directly by the people to whom they appeal.

Wrapping up, they speculate about the future of crowdfunding. Listen in for astonishing predictions!

Enjoy extensive, comprehensive notes behind the jump! Continue reading