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Tycho / 9 hours ago

I couldn’t get my mouse to work on the desk in the hotel, but I saw a little glossy advertisement for Hiveswap my son had been delighted by, and that is now my Mousepad.  So!  Thank you, Hiveswap, even if I find your subject matter indistinguishable from an lunar apocalypse cult.

  I’m still getting used to the idea that there is a post I need to write during the show.  Like crossing the metaphorical streams, trying to stop this hurtling contraption at any point before its conclusion seems like a super bad idea.  That said, there have been three solid days of strange happenings and much of it has been noteworthy.

My friend Gabriel has just announced that we’re working with Mike Selinker and Lone Shark Games to bring not just his Thornwatch game to market but the entirety of the Eyrewood - Lookouts and Daughters are also along for the ride in what can only be called a triptych of hive runes.  I have a sensation that this change is going to impact me far more than Gabe, on the writing side; I’ll keep you up to date.

Acquisitions Incorporated was well received on Friday, and having the last slot of the night meant we could go for almost four hours and it was hashtag nbd.  I don’t know if I’ve described the phenomenon, but I’ve never really gotten used to being on stage and I still find it very scary, when I am conscious of it.  It became clear a couple shows ago that what makes these events survivable is that I black the fuck out up there.  I will come off stage, and someone will say it was great, and I will ask them to tell me what happened because I don’t actually know.  But the first Acquisitions Incorporated shirts are out at this show, I’ve just finished writing what is functionally a parody of gamemaster’s screen you’ll be able to buy, and I think it’s time to start taking this thing very, very seriously.

The thoroughly experimental Make a Game panel, a scion of the traditional Make a Strip panel that produced today’s strip, was completely fucking insane but not in a bad way.  It was like Iron Chef for boardgames which, come to think of it, is a pretty good fucking hook.  We had an hour, except that technical challenges conspired to rob us of fully fifteen minutes, leaving us with even less time.  I suggested alien pornography as a theme, and I stand by it, but ultimately we settled on the distant world of Delicatessa, a far-flung orb where sandwiches were first to crawl from the ooze and claim the land.  Their wars of supremacy defined the gameplay, catalyzed by real-time dice mechanics which startled the design team - that is to say, the creators of those systems - with their power.  It was very stressful, but everyone involved seemed to think it was something that should happen again, which is really what you’re looking for in a phenomenon.


Gabe / 21 hours ago

Eyrewood Adventures!

I know we’ve been really quiet about Thornwatch and there has not been much from the twitter but there’s been a good reason. Behind the scenes we’ve been working on some really cool stuff. The Thornwatch panel just wrapped up and it was a big one. We made a couple announcements that explain why we went dark there for a bit. I know not everyone can make it to PAX though so I wanted to share it all here as well.

The first one is that we have partnered with Mike Selinker and his company Lone Shark games to develop and produce the game! Mike is an amazing game designer and his teams have made tons of cool stuff that I am sure you’ve played. Games like Betrayal at House on the Hill, Dungeons and Dragons 3rd edition and more recently the Pathfinder Adventure card game. He’s got a great team and now I feel like we finally have the expertise/experience we need to get this game on shelves.

The second big announcement is that Mike Selinker didn’t want to make Thornwatch all by itself.  When he thinks about games he thinks on a much bigger scale than me. Mike didn’t just want Thornwatch, he wanted the entire Eyrewood. So Thornwatch will now be a part of:

Now we’re talking about a series of games that will explore each of the three Eyrewood factions. The Lookouts, the Thornwatch and the Daughters of the Eyrewood!
The core mechanics that I developed for Thornwatch will now provide the core for each of these experiences but each of them will also include mechanics that make the different factions feel unique while still being able to play together. For example the Lookouts game will include things like character progression and the acquisition of badges. Your lookout will get stronger as you play which is something that’s not a part of Thornwatch proper.

Playing as a Daughter will also have it’s own feel. They are like apex predators with zones of control. They manage the forest, its creatures and resources in a way that the other two factions cannot.

Even though each group will have it’s own unique feel you will still be able to play them all together. Mechanics like wounds in hand, and the Momentum deck will still tie them all together. This will be a family or products that will blow the lid off the Eyrewood. Jerry and I are going to dig deep into these factions and tell some really cool stories. Beyond that though we will be giving you not just a little portion of the Eyrewood to play in, but the entire thing!

-Gabe out

Tycho / 4 days ago

There’s probably an astronomical metaphor to be made about how Black Ops 3 entered into some specific point in its arc while Grooby Doo, Kiko, and myself were doing some other space thing.  The upshot - denuded of linguistic foofaraw - is that it’s been a very long time since everything lined up and felt this way.  The story in the strip is true, by the way.  Technically speaking, you don’t have to wait for two immobile months on the couch; if you have access to an Xbox One or a decent PC, it’s possible that you could play in the phase that runs until Sunday, a period of time which “perfectly” lines up with PAX.  Once the beta shuts down on the 30th, then you can wait two immobile months.  Try passing the time by spinning a cocoon.

When I was toiling at SAX a week ago - SAX being the pre-PAX event where the swag bags get stuffed, praise be to the Enforcers - I could see that the Formians who work at the convention center were already hoisting shit with the use of…  I mean, they could only be called hoisters.  I guess I didn’t know that was something they did that far ahead.  I’m always there the day before the show proper, and they’re going fucking nuts in there, but I didn’t know they were going consistently nuts for an entire fucking week.  I considered for a moment how many other things I might not know, and decided correctly that this was the only thing.

I’ve set myself up quite a Friday, with a Q&A, standing very near to people while they make a game, interviews, and Acquisitions Incorporated just for the on-paper, scheduled shit.  Maybe this is a strong play, though.  Knock all the big stuff out, and then, I dunno…  attend PAX?

I was thinking about how Take This (Room 309 and the Diversity Lounge!!!) is just one thing that isn’t PAX but happens at PAX, working within it, like an organelle.  The Cookie Brigade is another such thing, and has on more than one occasion provided the only object I’ve eaten all day.  It is like a strange, relentlessly adaptive organism that is constantly evolving irresistible new lures: the introduction of the Peanut Butter Sriracha line of circular baked goods marks the point between the wretched creature I was, and and the gleaming paragon I am now.

The cookies are completely free; it’s like a cookie version of those rad mountain dogs that get you super drunk.  But when a person gives you a cookie an ancient law is invoked and donations get made - to the point where at pretty much every show they bring in five figure donations to Child’s Play off it.  It’s amazing, it just sprouted up in the turned earth of the show, and it’s one of the things that makes PAX what it is.


Tycho / 5 days ago

Them Rainbow 6: Siege Codes

Here’s a bunch of R6 codes in my magical code machine, which can be redeemed for the platform of your choice - apparently this Beta phase gets activated 9/24, so, you know, put it in your calendar I guess.  I’ve been following it super close, especially the destructible terrain slash intelligence gathering phase.  Maybe you have, too.  It’s been awhile.  I really want to see what they’ve done with the place.


Tycho / 5 days ago

Some things are said to have been “a good idea at the time,” the subtext being that it was actually a bad idea even at the moment of its conception, and that this badness was compressed during both the execution and aftermath into a kind of crystalline shit matrix.  I think that my panel idea may exist somewhere in that continuum.

It’s a weird thrust for a panel, in that it doesn’t have the traditional interplay.  It’s more like improv, I guess.  Game jazz.  I feel like I built a heist crew and now I have to accompany them on the heist even though I’ve never heisted even one time, I just like theft.  But let’s say it did turn out okay, and I don’t boil inside my own skin until delicious.  What could we do with such a creature?  What if it hatched, and refused to die?  I want to know.

If this paragraph were on Insta, it would be appended with the hashtag #justpaxthings: all conventions are metaconventions, in their way.  They are composed of concentric flavor spheres, like an Everlasting Gobstopper, and people select their threshold from the superset.  PAX is a chimerical thing, and vast, to the point that there are many things I love about PAX that are creatures of the space itself.

One of those things is called called The AFK Room.  You can use this mind vault as a psychic bulwark if you need to, the show can be authentically batshit sometimes, but it is also staffed by volunteers from Take This if you need to talk to someone about mental health.  Whenever Gabe and I have discussed our own challenges in this context, we find out how much other people needed to hear us say it; it might do you good to know that there are people right at the show who can help.  One of the incredible things about our species is that we can borrow someone’s psychic reserves if we need to, and if you need to, they’re posted up at 309 or in the Diversity Lounge.


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