Friday, December 28, 2007


A couple days before Christmas I had scheduled a WEGS game at my local game shop. The game setting was perfect for the holidays: The Isle of Misfit Dwarfs. This game store has been selling WEGS 101 since a little before Thanksgiving, and I was showing up to restock the shelves if needed. Initially, I dropped off 10 books. They sold 5 within a week (local gaming fans), so I restocked them with another 5. Grand tally for books on their shelf was 15. It was a casual consignment agreement: they'd pay me a percent of book sales. I was giving them until the end of the year before cashing out. I really wasn't worried about it.

Imagine my surprise when I got to the store and found all the lights out and an eviction notice pasted on the door! There was a note from the owner that said something about "hard times" and re-opening soon... I could look through the window and see my little stack of books sitting in the darkness gathering dust. I told a co-worker about it and he informed me that he had just been to the store a few days prior and purchased a copy for himself. The rub is that he could've got it from me directly! I find the whole thing kinda funny.

It's shocking that a store closes during their busiest time of the year. The folks who manage the strip mall had some malicious timing on the eviction. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the store re-opens and I can get my books back (and, hopefully my consignment, too!). Time will tell.

The trials and tribulations of running your own game company...

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

An amazing time of year!


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Thar She Blows!

Well, the event deadline has come and past for Cold Wars 2008. The con's theme this year is the Golden Age of Piracy. Accordingly, we've set sail in that direction. We're running a special series of piratical scenarios. Titles arrrr:

The Pirates of Penzantium

Mutiny on the Bequod!

Gillygam's Ilse

Escape From Yawlcatraz

Dwarf Walks Into A Bar: Albatross!

We will be releasing a new WEGS 101 supplement for this series of games, complete with a new set of skills for sword-n-sorcery on the high seas! Think Jason and the Arrrgonauts...

And yesterday, I got my Origins GameMaster notice. 2008 has already begun!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Flashback: Yawlwyrd

For some reason, this story popped into my head last night. It was triggered by the fact I'm working on some of the game scenarios for the Cold Wars con in March. Generally, we end cons with a Sunday WEGS game of epic proportions (3+ hour session with 8+ players). We call these games Yawls, and the scenario title is some derivation of that root: The Yawlwyrd (Ubercon 2005) was the first. The Yawlamo was next, and one we've used as our staple con-closer. My new one is called Escape From Yawlcatraz (a piratey prison-break scenario). The Yawls came from the marriage of two disjointed things. The first being that it is based on the Icelandic All-thing, an enourmous meeting of chieftains, for my purpose key players. The second thing was an elevator ride I experienced at GenCon 2005, Indianapolis. In the elevator were two game geeks decked out in their fantasy armour, two non-gamer NASCAR types (father and son), and me and Sue (who showed no signs of our geekage). As soon as the two knights of the dinner table left the elevator, the two Nascar guys started cracking up to each other. They turned to us and said something like, "Can you believe those guys?!?" I said, "Yup. We're gamers. We're here for the convention, too. We just don't dress up for it." The father chuckled and replied, "Well, y'all weird!" Thus, the Yawlwyrd was born. It's a light-hearted nod to the wackiness of this hobby and the diehard commitment to have fun until the last possible moment.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Actual Play

With con season agon, I've decided to recollect some of the WEGS games over the last year and do some Actual Play (AP) posts on game sites. I'll probably do one a week for the next month or so. I'll post on, and (TMP). So, if you're interested in reading up on some WEGS games o' 2007, check these sites out. The links to these sites can also be found on the GameWick site links page. That's all for now, folks!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Easy Mistakes... Part 4

Too many players! It's tough to turn folks away. At least once at every con, we have a game that gets overbooked. And by overbooked, I mean we keep saying yes to anyone that shows up. We try to limit games to 6 players - that's our comfort zone when we have two GMs (one is the Kreator (me) and the other is Minion Master (Willy the 2 or Shanty Bob). We will reluctantly take the players total up to 9 depending on the scenario. If it's all battle, then it's easier. If it's plot driven, not so good. Believe me, I've been reamed out post-game by the Minion Masters if I go over the limit! It's always my fault for letting people play...

I'm convinced the perfect amount of players for WEGS 101 is 9 (significance due to Tolkien's Fellowship) - but I'd say that 7 is the perfect number, too (just because of craps). In either situation, I'm talking experienced players. And add 2 more players in the mix (for the Kreator and Minion Master). So, grand total is 9 or 11 players 'round the table. And it's this hubris that gets me into trouble...

I've come to learn at cons 3-5 new players are perfect for intro games. If some of the players have some WEGS under their belts, the number can be pushed to 6 or 7. When submitting games to cons, I'm now using 6 as my standard. The only downside of this is at cons where seats are reserved and the players who reserved seats don't show up. We've had sold out games, where only half the players appear... which leads us to allowing folks to be on standby... At the official start time of the game, if folks who reserved haven't appeared, we allow those on standby to jump into the game. Invariably, a few minutes later, the folks who registered appear... And then we're back to square one...

The best laid plans of mice and men...

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Easy Mistakes... Part 3

The Cold Roll... Most folks get it. Other folks don't. Rolling 2D6 for a percentile base just isn't logical! The biggest mistake here is the failure to explain it pre-game. And by explain it, I mean demo it. Make folks do a few rolls until they're comfy with it. Then do it again! The problem here is that WEGS uses 2D6 for various rolls. Sometimes they are just counted as pips for a score between 2 and 12 (like Act Fast! tests), sometimes they are arranged for a percent total between 11% and 66% (the Cold Roll). For Blitz, they are used ala craps and compared to Warrior Strength or Ranger Strength (and you can use Spoints to up your odds). Way back when we started demo-ing WEGS, I was very careful to limit the game mechanices in play. For example, Act Fast! and Blitz were non-existant. I wanted folks to come to terms with the key mechanics and not overwhelm. As we played more and more, we started adding on the pieces that eventually became the core WEGS 101 mechanics. In turn, the con games became more robust and a tad complicated for new players. The key thing is to identify the players who look a little lost in their rolls and take a moment to walk them through the purpose. Some won't get it. Some will. You at least gotta try. A lot of the fun in this game is the language of the dice. If a player doesn't get the reason they're rolling, some of the fun is going to be lost in translation.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Easy Mistakes... Part 2

With the 2007 con season behind me, I find myself dwelling on what went right and what didn't over the course of the many games we ran. We're at a point where games have folks familiar with WEGS sitting alongside of folks who are playing for the first time. This isn't a problem as that's what WEGS 101 is all about: easy enough for newbies and crunchy enough for game veterans. WEGS is also about options on the gamemaster's side of the table. It is very easy to whip up new minions and introduce ad hoc rules. I don't think there's a game we run that doesn't have some tinkering going on at this point. From our standpoint, it keeps the game fresh for us. Kinda like game improv. And therein lies the danger... Folks who have played with us before know that this is what WEGS is about and they ride this wave without batting an eye. Not so for folks playing for the first time. To them additional rules that seem "errantly" introduced can make the game system seem thin. The plug/play nature of the game is its strength, but can easily be perceived as weakness.

The other side of this is that our con games, to this point, have been system introductions. These are the basic rules, nothing glossy. We've been doing this now for TWO YEARS - playing an intro game. It's great fun, but when you know what the system can do, you start to itch. Me and Willy the Two have pre-game pow-wows on the new stuff. And we can easily get carried away with cool ad-hoc rules. Easily. For example, AggDam and the Blood Chip are two things we've been adding to all games. Just 'cause they're fun for us and they make the minions tougher to beat. However, in their small way, they are complicating the vanilla. It's a tough balance to keep in mind: introducing the game, keeping it basic and keeping it fresh.