Tuesday, December 29, 2009

AGC 121 December 29th 2009 (Happy New Year V) (1:57:13)

With Mark Kinney, Carol, Mags, and Carinn Seabolt. Sean Patrick Fannon was supposed to join us as well, but for timing and technical difficulties. Talking about the handfasting. Tents and lights, three gallons of Steak 'n' Shake chili, and wedding night pranks. Character sheet cakes. 2009 Year In Review. Games came to our attention, conventions were attended, our town hosted a succession of natural disasters, and we lost some notables. Ringing in the new year (and a warning about Mags' singing...). Show topics for the future (pulled from the Bounty Head Bebop entries), and discussion of a few of them as we go.

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Show links
Sean and Carinn's handfasting (Livestream)
Lady Blackbird (One.Seven Design)

Wandering Geek Podcast
J.C. Hutchins (7th Son: Descent)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

AGCExtra 34 December 26th 2009 (BashCon 2009 Part 1) (21:42)

Ben Balestra brings us interviews from BashCon 2009.

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Show links
HiddenGrid Podcast
Twin Blade Games
Mayfair Games

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

AGC Review 1 (Cold City) (18:40)

With Mark Kinney and Mags. Mags gives us a reading look at Contested Ground Studio's Cold City.

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Show links
Cold City (Contested Ground Studios)

Adventures of Indiana Jim

Friday, December 18, 2009

Games You May Never Have Heard Of 2 (Trailer Park Wars) (7:14)

With Ben Balestra. In this "Lost Episode" edition, Ben discusses Gut Bustin' Games' Trailer Park Wars.

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Show links
Trailer Park Wars (Gut Bustin' Games)


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

AGC 120 December 15th 2009 (Feeding Your Raiding Party) (55:31)

With Mark Kinney, Carol, and Mags. Mark gets confused (because of recording order) and the hazards of recording on a Linux platform. Gaming updates (Traveller, Vampire, Star Wars, Fringeworthy, and the RPG Buffet Card and Board Game Night). Webcomic artist Jennifer "Scraps" Walker joins us to talk about food and her proposed cookbook project, What To Feed Your Raiding Party. Carol brings us Wisdom of the Gamers on epic sessions. ConGlomeration has a new web site! The upcoming New Years Show and the holiday break! See you in (or about) 2010!

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Show links
Random Acts Comics
What To Feed Your Raiding Party
What To Feed Your Raiding Party (Kickstarter)

The Gamer's Haven
New World Orders (Edward G. Talbot)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

AGC Feedback December 12 2009 (12:14)

Recorded December 8th, 2009, with Mark, Carol and Mags. Voicemail calls about visits to our fair city (accompanied by a little gift chatter, and an email about the format. No bourbon was harmed in the production of this episode.

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Show links
4th Street Live
Louisville Game Shop
7th Son: Descent (J.C. Hutchins)
Scott Sigler

Solid Symbols

Thursday, December 10, 2009

AGC News December 10th 2009 (15:45)

With Mark, Carol, and Mags. Games Workshop Cease and Desist letters, including to Board Game Geek! Wizards layoffs. The new Scrabble champion! Black Diamond Games shares its outlook on RPG market share (and allows Mark to mention Negativland). Kobold Quarterly's Adopt-A-Soldier Contest. Troubles at the Power Source.

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Show links
Games Workshop
List of sites send C&Ds (DakkaDakka)
Board Game Geek thread on C&Ds
Chilling Effects page on C&Ds
Gone to Ground (the comic Mark mentions)
Black Diamond Games RPG Market Share article
Kobold Quarterly Adopt-A-Soldier Contest
Adopt-A-Soldier Sponsorship
Power Source Podcast
Scott Rehm's Open Letter

Friday, December 04, 2009

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Game Cryer Gift Guide: Mutant City Blues

Find more great holiday gift ideas at the 2009 Game Cryer Gift Guide!

Mutant City Blues by Robin D. Laws, published by Pelgrane Press, 192 pages, $39.95. Book purchased by reviewer (Mark Kinney).

I like a game that scratches multiple itches.

This kind of game can pull flex time, depending on my particular mood, or serve as a gateway from one genre to another. In the case of Pelgrane Press' Mutant City Blues, these are the police procedural and supers genres.

Ten years ago, one percent of humanity developed powers. Since then, society has adjusted around them, with a special police unit formed specifically to deal with these perpetrators, the Heightened Crimes Investigation Unit. This combinaton of "Law and Order" and "CSI" with the postmodern supers style of "Heroes" makes for an interesting mix.

The core of the game is the GUMSHOE system, also created by Robin Laws and first seen in Pelgrane's The Esoterrorists. The system has matured over numerous releases, and this is the first GUMSHOE game not based in some horror setting. This point-based system assumes that characters with the appropriate investigative skills will pick up the clues, insuring that a bad roll won't keep information out of the players' hands. Point spends may reveal even more information, and the players must interpret the data they receive. This game does require preparation, though; a GM approaching this should have an idea of what clues are available in a given scene, and where they're pointing.

The non-investigative skills work similarly, as do powers; these are treated as skills, with point spends added to a d6 roll. Combat does get a little clunky, but everything else runs fairly smooth. A few of these work differently -- Health and (mental) Stability, for example -- but when it comes down to it, the meat of the mechanics are in skills.

Best of all is the highly developed background; ten years of study and people living with these odd powers shows in the setting, complete with forensic details of various power usage and legal ramifications of powers ranging from telepathy to emotion control to self-detonation. Society changed in response to the powers arising, and this game doesn't dodge the issue.

In addition, Mutant City Blues never forgets that it is, at heart, a police procedural, and contains guidance at running a police game, and could easily be used just for that by ditching the powers. At the same time, the home city of the game is kept generic enough to be placed in your group's large city of choice.

The powers are relatively low-key (barring things like self-detonation). There are no time-traveling Hiro Nakamuras or power-aborbing Peter Patrellis in this game; in fact, power development is governed by the Quade Diagram, which shows connections between various powers and limits any multiply-powered characters to some sort of theme. Additionally, certain defects tend to crop up as well, making the life of the Heightened just a little more interesting.

As I've said on the podcast, this is not the game that will take the place of your favorite supers game, if you already have one. What it does instead is give you a terrific investigative engine coupled with legal and forensic considerations of powers, something that almost never comes up in a standard supers story. For me, it's more what I go for when I have that police procedural itch. The super powers are gravy.