Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Weekly Update for August 18th, 2013 - First the News, and then an Essay!

My Citizenship papers, for when I get stopped on the Sakbe Road.

And Now, The News:

First off, let me remind folks that Mike Burns' second Ancient Egyptian Indiegogo campaign has about a week left to run; the first three 'stretch goal' figures are now released, and I'l looking forward to seeing the collection. These are very handy figures for the Tekumel gamer, as they provide all of the 'party people' that I find just way too useful for the kind of games that I like to run. have a look at Mike's website - lots of painted versions of the figures are now posted in the Gallery:


It has been a very busy weekend, here at The Workbench; I have been out in the storage shed building the new shelves (new construction, salvaged materials) for all of the plastic bins we've been putting all of the less-used terrain and scenery into. I now have sufficient shelves for thirty tubs, and I'll be packing up all of the items we have in stock - but don't use all that often, like the modular gladiator arena set - and get everything stowed away for when  we get rolling again after the hiatus I have to take to work the fall football games.


New lighting has been bought and is being installed for The Workbench itself; new LED and soft white lights, all set up to give me the most possible room for painting, and with both brightness and a good color spectrum.


The home office has now been rebuilt, and is now set up for me to get cracking on various writing projects. I have also redone the 'Projects - To Serve The Petal Throne' page, over to the left, and I'll be doing more of these pages on all of the projects I'm working on at the moment.


Essay - Why Use Miniatures, Anyway?

Back in June, our own Mr. Till did a post on his excellent blog, "Everwayan", on the Tekumel-based Braunstein game I did back in June of this year. One portion of his post really stopped me in my tracks:

 "It was a wonderful scene he created! The experience has been making me think about the limitations of most contemporary indie rulesets, which tend to eschew miniatures and props.But these visual elements CAN be used build story and drive a narrative, especially when you use them as well as Jeff used them here."

(From here:

My initial response to this comment was a startled "What the heck?" Not that I'm picking on John, or anything, but it was - as they say - a real 'show stopper' for me.

I genuinely had no idea what he was on about, and then it hit me: the style of RPG playing - not games, but actual game play - that I learned at the hands (and feet, the occasional kick being applied to my posterior at times in games) is very very different from what's being done today. In my experience, miniatures were always a 'game aid' when doing RPGs, and there wasn't such a firm line in the sand being drawn between 'miniatures games', 'skirmish games' and 'role-playing games'; we had what amounted to a spectrum of games, where one week we'd be the general commanding a battle group at some fight on the Northwest Frontier and then the next it's be hand-to-hand / cutlass-to-cutlass swashbuckling as we fought off some pirates.

Miniatures, for me along with scenery and terrain, have always been my 'props' and 'sets' for the stories that I like to tell, and which provide the vehicle for my players to become part of the story by adding their own contributions. I don't really get 'player agency' in games - for me, for all these years, it's always been about the players joining me in what amounts to cooperative storytelling. I frankly can't imagine a different way of doing things, which may very well explain the 'culture shock' I've experienced in dealing with some of the folks in modern RPG gaming - the 'OSR' folks, for example - who can't seem to understand that the game sessions that I had with Those Old Guys were all about 'play value', and a lot less about game mechanics then they would like to think.

Folks, 'The Rules' hadn't been invented yet. We were all still "making it up, and having fun." I still game that way, and that's what I'll be offering in the future to you , Gentle Readers, and I hope you enjoy it.