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my family's top tens

In 2012, I asked two of my gaming buddies to make our top ten lists simultaneously. It was an interesting exercise for me, because despite gaming together regularly, we never really discussed what kind of games we liked and we never gave much thought to what our top ten games were. Show More Summary

Star Realms

Plays: 2P x more than 35 games, mostly against AI's, about 5 against humans. Quite a few fellow gamers recommended Star Realms to me, saying that it's a deck-building game quite similar to Ascension, my most played game ever. I was not particularly eager to try it out the first few times. Show More Summary

Stay On Target!

If you've been following this blog for a couple of years you'll know that Codename: Vacuum was the first game I started designing when I got back into Games Design, a couple of years after I wound up Reiver Games, having lost a ton of money in the process. Show More Summary

hooked on Samurai Spirit

I have been hooked on Antoine Bauza's Samurai Spirit recently. I first played it at, lost (it's a cooperative game), and was keen to try again. My second and third games were played back-to-back at too. Show More Summary

Standing at the Crossroads

Have you ever found yourself standing at the crossroads? When the latest edition of Dungeons & Dragons arrived I jumped right into gamemastering a new campaign. I decided that rather than play through published materials I’d design my own campaign that revolved around a world-shaking Event and the continuing world-reshaping fallout from that event. Show More Summary

An open letter to game publishers: Please stop trying to make me feel like a Sleaze.

Dear game publishers, Listen, I get it: sex sells. And I know we’re in this enlightened age where no one cares what anyone is into and no one is ashamed of their body (or at least those statements SHOULD be true and we’re working onShow More Summary


Plays: 5Px1. The Game One of the hot new mechanisms at the 2014 Essen game fair was bag-building, which is actually just deck-building, except it uses coloured cubes in a bag as opposed to a deck of cards. Hyperborea uses this mechanism. Show More Summary

The Online Edition: Choosing the Right System for Online Play

Running an online game requires a lot of juggling. As a GM, you have to manage all your images and maps, the virtual tabletop (VTT), your voice or video system, session notes and rulebooks. On top of all that, you don’t want the rules getting in the way. Show More Summary

Happy New Year

To those who celebrate the Chinese New Year / Lunar New Year, I wish you joy, health and many happy gaming hours in the coming Year of the Goat. Fujian Tulou is a type of Chinese rural dwelling of the Hakka in the mountainous areas in southeastern Fujian, China. Show More Summary

New Games Company Checklist

So, as I'm sure you're aware by now, I'm aiming to get back into games publishing this year. It'll be small scale, just a small number (50 or 100) of hand-made, signed copies of a simple card game (Zombology or Dragon Dance). There's...Show More Summary

What Makes a Good Monster?

Today’s guest article is by Gnome Stew reader Craig Dedrick. It’s his second; his first was What’s He Building in There? While there’s a fantasy focus here, if you squint a bit you’ll see how easily Craig’s advice applies to other genres. Show More Summary

Lost Legacy series

Plays: 4Px3. The Game The games in the Lost Legacy series are successors to Senji Kanai's Love Letter. You also have just 16 cards. You also have a hand size of one card. On your turn you also draw one card and play one card. Cards are also numbered and have special effects. Show More Summary

mechanic or mechanism?

In the boardgame hobby, I keep seeing people use the term "mechanic" instead of "mechanism". "Mechanic" is a person who repairs a car or a machine. I wonder how the use of "mechanic" in this manner started. I prefer to use "mechanism",...Show More Summary

World Building: Race Relations

Some game designers, GMs, and podcasters have been discussing racism in fictional worlds. It’s an issue that touches fields well beyond tabletop roleplaying. Your game may benefit from the strategic introduction of racism to the game world, though it can easily go wrong. Show More Summary

Machi Koro

Plays: 2Px6, 3Px2. The Game Machi Koro is a simple game. On your turn you roll a die and see which of your buildings get triggered. Usually you make money from your buildings. Then you may spend money to buy a new building to add to your town. Show More Summary

Please vote for Unframed in the Golden Geek Awards

Our latest GMing book, Unframed, is nominated for two Golden Geek Awards: Best Supplement and Best Artwork & Presentation. Thank you to everyone who nominated Unframed! If you’re an RPGGeek member, please consider voting for Unframed in these two categories. Voting is quick and easy. Thanks for your consideration!

Why That Stupid Rule Might Not Be So Stupid

When I am not writing here, I am the co-host of the Misdirected Mark podcast. On our last episode, my co-host challenged me to do a segment talking about how encumbrance is an interesting mechanic. I laughed, because I don’t think I have ever used encumbrance in any of my D&D campaigns. Show More Summary

The Arrogance Trap

Confidence is a key requirement for any good GM. Even if you don’t know the rules backwards and forwards, a certainty in your skill at running and crafting a game is often good enough to give the players a great experience. A large part of the journey in even becoming a GM is in just having the fortitude to try. Show More Summary

Virgin Queen

Plays: 6Px1. The Game Virgin Queen is an epic. Long, grand, complex, demanding and immersive. It is a sequel to Here I Stand, and is also designed by Ed Beach. These games have many similarities. The period covered in Virgin Queen is the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Show More Summary

A Glorious Week of Gaming

After the long drought and then last weekend's gaming trip down to Bedford to see Terry and Andrew, who I used to game with weekly when I lived in the south, I've had another week of decent gaming. The gaming didn't start until Thursday - the beginning of the week was games-free since I missed Tuesday's Newcastle Playtest session. Show More Summary

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