Friday, 4 March 2016

GMing Soon After A Long Break

The last few days have been pretty exciting, what with properly launching A Random Encounter, and at the same time I've been blitz-reading my way through a couple of books on start-ups and entrepreneurship - don't worry, I'm not about to enter this manic phase of starting lots of new businesses, because I think that way lies madness.

But it has got me thinking quite expansively about possibilities for future projects. I'm happy with how well people have taken to A Random Encounter, and there's a wave of people posting zine selfies that is quite good fun. I'm pleased to say that I have the outline of a plan to get another five issues out this year, all being well.

So now it feels about time to start playing games again, after a bit of a sabbatical. I have a semi-fortnightly games night with a friend that has become quite Android Netrunner focused lately, which is great, and something that I'll probably picking up a starter set of soon. But my friend's also an RPG fan, albeit I don't think he's played for a couple of years. So some time in the next few weeks we'll be leaving Hopesend Port, heading off across the wastes and exploring the Iron Coral for a game of Into The Odd...

It'll be my first game of 2016 and, I think, the first game I've run in over six months. Yikes. Following on from noisms' thoughts on imagination exercises, I'm wondering if there is a similar but more specific set of GMing exercises that people can do to build up their GMing ability. What do you think?

What can I do to get the old engine fired up again?

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Finally! A Random Encounter #1 is out!

I am very happy to announce that A Random Encounter #1 is here! Check it out:

Not pictured: insanely big box of envelopes for future distribution needs.
The pre-orders are now winging their way around the world, and I'm getting envelopes prepped for the rest of the print run. I've ordered plenty of copies - I think - but am happy to be proved wrong by everyone ordering them all.

Issue 1 features an interview with David McGrogan of Monsters and Manuals and Yoon-Suin fame; we talk about when he got interested in games, how he likes to play, how he makes things and more. He told me about the origins and development of Yoon-Suin, and his plans for the future with his forthcoming zine The Peridot. I feel incredibly lucky that Matthew Adams was available to do the cover for this issue, and the rest of the issue features more art by Matt, a piece by Kelvin Green and some tweaked photo art by me.

Click through to the Zines page to order your print copy now, and you can find details of the pdf edition too:
I'm so glad that the print copies have finally come in, especially after the disappointment of last week with the whole print run being messed up. This afternoon, getting the print run from the UPS guy, checking it over, packing envelopes - it's all been a huge thrill. Thanks to all of the pre-order folks who have helped me offset this investment, and who have been so understanding when the week's delay happened. You're awesome.

Tomorrow I get back to work on transcribing issue 2 - who am I interviewing? You'll have to buy issue 1 and check the last page!

The woman at the Post Office smiled nervously when I said, "See you soon!"

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

The Folder

I have a bookshelf of RPG books at home which isn't even half-full. After nearly five years of play I have a handful of systems in paperback or hardback, and a couple of others that I've printed from pdfs. It's a tiny amount of games really, especially when I see the backdrop of some pictures or YouTube videos on things like Indie+.

I also have The Folder, which has tipped past the 2.5GB mark but thankfully shows some signs of slowing down. When I had a little more disposable income I was omnivorous when it came to RPGs. Something old school? Buy it. A free little homebrew game that sounds a bit silly? Try it. A weird game that I love the sound of but will never convince anyone else to play ever? I must have it.

It struck me a little while back that it might be interesting for me to actually work through The Folder, see what I have there, see what I actually want to play and what I don't. At the moment it's not terribly well organised. I can look through at a glance and see the names of everything, but have no idea what some of it really is any more. There are some Bundles Of Holding that I got on the strength of one or two games, and I don't know what the rest is.

(and of course there are some games that I really, really love, and haven't had the chance to play in a long time... But I'm working on it)

So: my plan is to spend just a little time each week working through everything and setting up some sub-Folders: Love, Want To Play, Probably Not - and probably set up some categories within that, Big Games, Small Games, Supplements. I'm tempted to even organise that as a grid of folders, like Love-Big Games, Probably Not-Supplements and so on.

This could also be a big procrastination effort to thwart the part of my brain working on hacking a game... But who doesn't love projects...? And maybe I can find some gems in The Folder while I'm organising. I'll share some as I'm working on it.

(prompted by once again looking at GHOST/ECHO and thinking, daaaaaaamn that's good...)