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VivaJava: The Dice Game

Plays: 4Px1. The Game VivaJava: The Dice Game is a follow-up to the boardgame version, with quite a few familiar elements, but a rather different overall feel. It's a medium-to-low complexity race game, but has quite a few strategic considerations and is in no way a mindless luck fest. Show More Summary

Please Vote for Gnome Stew and Odyssey in the 2014 ENnies

Gnome Stew, Odyssey: The Complete Game Master’s Guide to Campaign Management, and Engine Publishing were nominated for three ENnie Awards this year, and I’d like to ask you to vote for us online. Voting doesn’t require an account orShow More Summary

concise reference sheets updated

I still often make rules summaries, but I do them in my own Powerpoint file, and accummulate a whole bunch of them before I make the effort to share them on BGG and here at my blog. Here are the latest additions, updates and corrections. Show More Summary

Unframed is now available on DriveThruRPG

If you’ve been waiting for Unframed to be available on DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, it’s now available for sale there. You can buy Unframed on DTRPG or head to Engine Publishing’s publisher page to buy Unframed as part of a discounted bundle with our other titles. Happy improv!

Troy’s Crock Pot: Show the bhuka some love, people

In our GMing strangeness, we all have a pet monster. Some monster that appeals to us — and to be perfectly honest — to us alone. You bring out this monster and the players around the table may even roll their eyes, as if to say: “That thing, again.” It’s fair to say the flumph falls into this category. Show More Summary

Gnome Stew and Odyssey are nominated for ENnie Awards

The 2014 ENnie Award nominations were just announced, and I’m crazy-excited to see the Stew up for Best Blog and Engine Publishing‘s Odyssey: The Complete Game Master’s Guide to Campaign Management — written by the Stew’s own Phil Vecchione and Walt Ciechanowski, with art direction by John Arcadian, editing by me, and proofreading by Robert M. Show More Summary


I started recording my boardgame plays on BGG back in August 2006. Since then I've religiously recorded every play of a published game I've had. During my Reiver Games I didn't record plays of prototypes, which means the actual count...Show More Summary

Learning Android Netrunner

I've been neither here nor there on Android Netrunner. I think it would be a very interesting game to learn, but I don't play it frequently enough, and I don't put in enough effort to learn it in depth. I don't have a convenient opponent...Show More Summary

Expose Yourself To Many Game Mechanics

Recently I was a judge of the Two Page Tabletop Contest over at Top Secret games. The parameters of the contest are simple – create a complete tabletop RPG with setting in 2 8.5 by 11 pages. Someone has to be able to pick it up and be able to play it without referencing rules somewhere else and it has to have a setting of some sort. Show More Summary

What’s Up with Robot Viking?

Robot Viking is no longer an active gaming blog. It was hacked. The hack is fixed. As a result of that, however, the old theme is gone, hence the generic “beach” theme. Hey, robots like the beach too. I’ll fix it up at some point. The old articles and comments will remain intact, however comments … Continue reading ?

Gaming Challenge: Race and Sex in Historical Games

We recently had a chance to play an interesting scenario, set in an interesting time. We played a Deadlands: Noir scenario set in 1935 New Orleans. We’re a group that has played together for years, though our Savage Worlds experience isn’t extensive. Show More Summary

NPC Trio: Three Divine Misfits For Your Game

Here are three themed NPCs for use in your game. Though they could be tweaked for any genre, they can be dropped directly into a supers or modern fantastic game. Their theme is flawed divine power. Often, divine heroes are portrayed as beautiful and righteous. Show More Summary

Troy’s Crock Pot: Draw a card, any card

As far as random generators go, here’s an oldie but a goody worth revisiting. GMs run the gamut when it comes to their appreciation for compiling random encounter charts. For some, it’s an hour well-spent, a selection of monsters and NPC’s that fits perfectly with the next adventure you plan on running. Show More Summary

Ding! Ding! Half-time. Change Ends.

We're halfway through 2014, so I figure now would be a good time to review my progress against my goals for the year. So here goes: Games Design Let's start with the bad news. My games design goals were to make four new versions of Codename: Vacuum, make some progress on Dragon and get Zombology ready for hawking to a publisher/self-publishing. Show More Summary

Judging the Pacing

Let’s talk about pacing. It’s a subject that’s come up before here on the Stew for very good reason. You can check out some of the previous articles on the subject here, here, and heck, just do a search for ‘pacing’. From the numberShow More Summary

Cuba Libre

The iconic Che Guevara is one of the main characters in the Cuban revolution. Plays: 2Px1. The Game Cuba Libre is a game design from Volko Ruhnke ( Wilderness War, Labyrinth: The War on Terror, Andean Abyss ), and the second game in the COIN (Counter Insurgency) series. Show More Summary

Kickstarter: Speakeasy

I'm usually not a Kickstarter guy, or a party game guy, but this game sounds interesting - Speakeasy. A real-time, secret-identity, team game, probably best played in a party setting. Lasts 75 minutes. I rarely have a big group of players, so I may never have an opportunity to play this, but if this is something that can work for your group, check it out.

All Hail The Rainmaker

Running a game is a two-way interaction between players and GM. When the table is in sync, the game develops smoothly. There are times though when things fall out of sync and the game starts to slow down, eventually grinding to a halt. Show More Summary

THE ONLINE TABLETOP: Non-Traditional Maps

While gamers love traditional, dungeon-type maps, they are certainly not the only possible graphics options.  Background images, area maps, and player handouts can enhance any gaming experience.  Online virtual tabletops (VTT’s) make including these types of images easier than ever. Show More Summary

Where's My Week Gone?

Seriously. I have no idea. I had hoped to make some progress on Zombology, ahead of tomorrow's Newcastle Playtest session, instead I made none - I didn't even get to play it during the week. It's been a long time since I had a week without a game of Zombology. In fairness, my vanished week was largely spent playing rather than designing games. Show More Summary

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