Showing posts from November, 2020

New Release from Elf Lair Games: A Faustian Dilemma for Night Shift: VSW

  Welcome to the City... The City is vast and sprawling, in many ways an archetype of every city in the world, from New York to Sydney to LA to Hong Kong, to Paris, London, Dubai, and beyond. It’s a city where the buildings tower so high into the sky and are so thick together that the sun doesn’t penetrate the streets and it’s always dark. Night is when the City comes to life, and few people here ever see the daylight anyway, because Night time is the right time in the City. The City doesn’t seem to have a name. To those who live here, it’s simply “The City,” and it’s more than home. It’s heart. The City is a piece of those who live here, and those who live here are a piece of the City. It’s a City of contradictions—on one hand always dark and shadowy, with foreboding alleyways and oubliettes, on the other hand full of vibrant life where there’s always something going on. This is a City where shops don’t close at 9, but operate 24 hours a day, where people are sure they sleep, but can’

Gaming in the Tarantino-Verse

 This is just a little something I've been thinking about over the past couple days as I decided to revisit the Tarantino-Verse courtesy of my Tarantino XX Blu-ray boxed set and my copy of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which I consider to be Tarantino's magnum opus. It occurs to me that the universe created in Tarantino's movies is ideal fodder for gaming, and just about any modern game could handle the genre, so long as it's not overly tactical in nature. Let's take a look at the kinds of game that best suit such a campaign, and what gaming in the Tarantino-verse requires, from tropes to alternate history and universes within universes. Choosing the Game The first step in running a Tarantino-verse game is choosing a game with the right qualities. It's important, first of all, that the game you choose plays fast, fast, fast. You don't want a game that requires you to leave the dice on the table, compare several different dice against each other, build compl

Why Re-Use Old Mechanics? Why Not Create a New System?

(Cross-posted from my Elf Lair Games blog , which you should also follow!) This is a question I get asked far too often, and far too often it's with an accusatory tone, along the lines of, "what kind of a game designer are you if you can't create an original system?" or "Aren't you creative enough to come up with something unique and original?" The truth is, I have worked with just about every kind of system you can imagine over my decades of game design. I've done stat + skill systems, roll and keep systems, fistful 'o dice and count kills systems, graduated die type systems, and more. All were fun, all were quirky, all were unique in some way.  I did go through a phase where I spent a lot of time coming up with new and different systems. I even designed a couple from the ground up that used cards instead of dice. One, the Hoyle System, used a standard deck of playing cards with each suit and the jokers representing something different in play,

What Does Night Shift: VSW Bring to the Old School Table?

 (This blog is crossposted from my Elf Lair Games blog, which I recommend everyone follow as well! It also sort of dovetails off of an earlier one regarding  what's innovative about Night Shift .) What Does Night Shift: VSW Bring to the Old School Table? Whenever a new game using old school mechanics is released, people very justifiably want to know what it brings to the table? What makes it worth buying? It's a totally legit question--let's face it, the old school table is stuffed to bursting with games, rules systems, and different takes on the way the earliest games were supposed to be played. When this whole thing started we had  Castles & Crusades ,  followed by  OSRIC , followed by  Swords & Wizardry . A few others followed, including my own  Spellcraft & Swordplay .  Now we have  Labyrinth Lord, Old School Essentials, Basic Fantasy, Dark Dungeons, Mazes & Perils, Blueholme, Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea, Champions of ZED , and a