State of Affairs or State Fairs or Something

Posted by on Aug 26, 2012 in Musing, Promotion | One Comment

Just a quick update for those of you who have noticed that Gameplaywright’s blog has left fallow for months: Things are afoot here at GPW but we’ve shifted from a short-term view to a long-term view for a while. We’re brewing up new books, for that long run, and the time for such thoughts and […]

Indy's Game

Posted by on May 10, 2012 in Movies, Musing, RPGs | 6 Comments

During play, when Indiana Jones is in combat, he must keep moving. Conveyor belts, roving tanks, speeding cars—all these are preferable to standing around fighting, both for Indy and for us in the audience.


PAX East obliterated Jared Sorensen’s voice but he still had an event left to run. Players were counting on him. The convention schedule had the game session locked in. Sorensen, his voice already spent on conversations and events in the noisy convention venues, seemed fucked. But Jared Sorensen didn’t quit. Sorensen was on the hook […]

Wil Wheaton's New TableTop

Writer, actor, geek, gamer, and producer Wil Wheaton has a shiny new web series coming to the shiny new YouTube channel, Geek and Sundry. The show’s called TableTop and its something like Celebrity Poker meets Dinner For Five except instead of dinner or poker there are fun and funny people playing fun and funny tabletop games. The first […]

RPGs as Missed Connections

Posted by on Mar 11, 2012 in Design, Fan Culture, RPGs, Writing | 8 Comments

I want to write a missed-connection piece for those beautiful RPGs that have passed me on the train or gone unmet at the coffeehouse. Different kinds of game texts connect with different kinds of audiences. Naturally an audience may tend to prefer and admire the text that connects with them over those that don’t. Can […]

Same Scene Twice

Posted by on Mar 5, 2012 in RPGs, Story | One Comment

Jason Morningstar wrote this on Google Plus: Questioning assumptions: In roleplaying games, how come we only play each scene one time? Here’s what I wrote immediately after reading the question (so this is probably just a reflection of my habits and presumptions to date, alas): In part, I think it’s because playing any scene multiple […]

Maps Good, Figs Bad?

Posted by on Mar 1, 2012 in Question, RPGs | 19 Comments

This discontinuity in arguments about RPGs fascinates me: miniatures-based situations get in the way of RP and narrative, apparently, while games encouraging players to draw frequent maps and diagrams do not. What is it about molded plastic figures or the precision of measured spaces that clogs the gears of narrative? I ask as someone who […]

Skip It: Combat, Barriers, and the Identity of Games

Posted by on Feb 24, 2012 in Creativity, Design, Video Games | 13 Comments

This isn’t about the unfair treatment of professionals who dare to voice unconventional ideas. We won’t discuss here the specifics of ugly incidents making the rounds online lately. Comments that stray into that turf will be deleted. This post is about what it’s about: considering a compelling and somewhat riling idea. If, by considering it […]


Posted by on Feb 17, 2012 in Design, RPGs | 10 Comments

This post has been sitting unfinished in the drafts folder for years, waiting for a breakthrough to finish it. You are that breakthrough. You know that overused moment in film and television where someone levels a gun on someone else and issues an ultimatum? “Do what I say or I pull the trigger,” she says. […]

Bugbear Stew (And Other Recipes)

Posted by on Feb 14, 2012 in Uncategorized | No Comments

This post is actually two posts—maybe three—but I’ve chosen not break it up because they’re all entangled in my head so I’m sharing this more or less as it occurred to me, which is honest, at least. An idea you don’t agree with might come to you in a metaphor. That metaphor is like armor […]