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Monkey Kings Play: a journal of games by designer Joshua A.C. Newman [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Joshua A.C. Newman

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Getting to know a bee [Nov. 16th, 2011|09:19 am]
Joshua A.C. Newman
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Originally published at xenoglyph: the alien writings of designer joshua a.c. newman. Please leave any comments there.

A few weeks ago, Carrie and I spent an hour at the Smith College Botanical garden, enjoying the warm weather a week before the terrain-altering snowstorm hit. The bees were taking advantage of the situation, too.

You’ll want to view this lady full-screen and 720p if you can.

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Mobile Frame Zero: Rapid Attack [Nov. 10th, 2011|11:08 am]
Joshua A.C. Newman
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Originally published at xenoglyph: the alien writings of designer joshua a.c. newman. Please leave any comments there.

So, the cat’s out of the bag. For the tenth (!) anniversary of Vincent Baker’s Mechaton, I’m working on Mobile Frame Zero: Rapid Attack. I’m working with Vincent, his son Sebastian, and Lego superstar Soren Roberts on a few new rules, a bunch of instructions, a setting, and a bunch of advice for both construction and play. Like all things LEGO™, it will be fun to make what’s on the front of the box, plus we’re making certain that it’s fun to repurpose the parts to make your own robots, factions, and even rules hacks.

I got a chance to try the new basic rules at Metatopia this last weekend, playing couple of games with Dave Leciston, Mark Andrews, Michele Mishko (who subbed for Bill Refsland when he had to attend to con duties), Mike Miller, and Rich Flynn. Here are some highlights. Many robots died for this playtest.

All told, the con was really interesting, if event-packed. There was little time for socializing, which suits the intentions of the con, but I really wish I’d had the time to hang with some of those folks some more.

More photos available on Flickr!

If you’ve got Mechaton already and would like a PDF of the Metatopia experimental rules, please give mee your email address in the comments!

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The Inquiry of the Image Here Please [Sep. 26th, 2011|03:14 pm]
Joshua A.C. Newman
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Originally published at xenoglyph: the alien writings of designer joshua a.c. newman. Please leave any comments there.

And thus begins my career pirate blogging from Joshua’s blog.

image

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Kodrek: Now in a Volume Near You [Sep. 22nd, 2011|04:31 pm]
Joshua A.C. Newman
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Originally published at xenoglyph: the alien writings of designer joshua a.c. newman. Please leave any comments there.

I’m very pleased to say that all Kodrek sets have now been sent! Some folks may have already gotten them.

I’m really looking forward to hearing about peoples’ games — video some and show me! — and how they house rule the game. It’s designed with some deliberate flexibility and commentary on what taking advantage of each piece of flexibility does.

Thank you, Human Contact backers, for encouraging me to finish this game. I’m really thinking about publishing it for real now.

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Want to see how to play Kodrek? [Aug. 31st, 2011|10:16 pm]
Joshua A.C. Newman
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Originally published at xenoglyph: the alien writings of designer joshua a.c. newman. Please leave any comments there.

Hurricane Irene really set me back on finishing up Kodrek. But I managed to get a video of play up in time to get it into the Thousand Year game Challenge!

Also excitingly, I’ll be printing up booklets and sending out games in the coming week!

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Kodrek rules, version 1.0 [Aug. 25th, 2011|03:23 pm]
Joshua A.C. Newman
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Originally published at xenoglyph: the alien writings of designer joshua a.c. newman. Please leave any comments there.

The 1.0 rules of Kodrek are complete! I’ll be sending boards out to all the Kodrek-level Kickstarter backers just as soon as printing is complete.

The timing means that I’ll also be entering the game in the 1000 Year Game Challenge. It’s got some stiff competition!

Kodrek is a game with a funny background. It comes from an actual game of Human Contact. Because HC is about cultures and their expressions in contrast with other cultures, we needed a game that summed up the part of the culture we were soaking in during a particular scene. In this case, it was an Academic (a bit of a dick, that guy) who was gambling. Now, keep in mind, the Academy doesn’t have money; its members trade in ideas because of their post-scarcity environment. So the guy was gambling with money that he was manufacturing. But he considered all the marines and pirates around him murderers, so he figured it all came out it the wash.

My specification was that it be a three-way game with shifting alliances. Vincent wanted it to be a game where you committed to plans in secret and then revealed them to each other, then dealt with the consequences. You can actually see the scene in Human Contact on page 84. We described the triangular board, the move-slapping, and that was about it.

After the game, Rob had to go home and Vincent and I went for a walk. We kept going back to the board game idea and rough-sketched play. I’ve thought about it for a few months and have come up with these final rules.

The game has a lot of variables and the rules discuss some of the things you might do differently if you lived with a different clan. I look forward to seeing the variants that players come up with!

I’m considering publishing the game. For the time being, it’s Creative Commons, Attribution, Noncommercial, Share-Alike though I might loosen it up a little bit, allowing commerical products and derivatives once I’ve decided.

Download the rules here!

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Connecticon is great fun. [Jul. 11th, 2011|05:16 pm]
Joshua A.C. Newman
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Originally published at xenoglyph: the alien writings of designer joshua a.c. newman. Please leave any comments there.

20110711-045712.jpg

I just spent the last weekend at Connecticon with Emily Care Boss, Robert Bohl, Epidiah Ravachol, and a ton of really awesome people. Thousands of them, in fact. We played some games, sat on a couple of panels, and sold some games.

Connecticon’s got a real concentration on making stuff. The costumes are ubiquitous, handmade, and amazing. There are drawing and sculpture classes. The Artist Colony has passionate and skilled artists who make funny, creative things. My favorites are the minicomic called Unpopular Species by Dandelion Studios and the prints of Chen (pronounced like “Chanukah” not “China”) from Botodesigns. Unpopular Species is a small field guide to animals that are ugly, poisonous, or grotty, while Chen’s work inserts robots, anthropomorphic cucumbers, and other cute critters into traditional prints, doing her own screen printing. She even custom printed me a shirt in the color combo I was after. I’m wearing it now. It’s quite silly.

My games of Human Contact were fantastic. One of them ended with the literal human sacrifice of the three Envoys. They were thrown in a volcano. The society in question had determined that human sacrifice was a real problem and had developed artificial intelligence for the purpose of sacrifice. Now, as capitalism took over the culture, they noticed that AI sacrifice wasn’t making their lives better. Fortunately, there were these new guys… This was about 6 months into their first encounter with the society, and the Envoys had determined that their hypercapitalism and problematic religion gave the society a decade or so before total economic collapse. The only tools they had were an underground of rationalists (who didn’t have to be underground before this monkey business started), a theocrat who was secretly atheist, and the leftover bits of technology that the Envoys had left. We had some hopes they’d be able to rescue themselves before the Contactor showed back up and everything went to crap.

Emily, Eppy, Rob and I also ran a panel on independent game design and publishing. We talked about a couple of RPGs, but there were multiple people with board game designs they were working on. It was a very exciting panel. One woman named Mary was in my breakout group and had three really powerful board game designs she was incubating. I hope she pursues them.

James Carpio invited us on a whim to his panel on GM issues and it was a really fun time. There were two kids in the front row, both high school aged, who I fully expect to be generating their own games and thoughtful articles in a couple of years. They were looking hard at their game of Dark Sun and thinking about both its social and technical aspects as related issues. They had some really thoughtful advice for other attendees, too.

Thank you my fellow players for making some really good science fiction, thank you to our panel attendees for being lively and smart participants, and thanks to James Carpio for making us so welcome to play our games, Rym and Scott for giving us opportunities to run panels, and Connecticon in general for its high energy and creativity. I had a great time and look forward to doing some really fun stuff with you next year.

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The Contactor Spooky Motion At A Distance [Jul. 11th, 2011|04:52 pm]
Joshua A.C. Newman
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Originally published at xenoglyph: the alien writings of designer joshua a.c. newman. Please leave any comments there.

Want to see something neat? This is Scott Dunphy’s Contactor, Spooky Motion At A Distance. The game’s got some really neat features! The expedition has already failed once — they got to their intended colony, only to find it dead, with evidence that its inhabitants came from somewhere else! Does that mean that a Rectifier will follow them, only to find no evidence of their having been there but their Bridges?

Scott told me about this in the course of discussing a Human Contact story repository. I started working on a wiki a while back but abandoned it because I couldn’t get my chosen wiki to not be a pain in the ass. I’ve since messed around with a couple more wikis but would love help getting one working well.

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There’s No Such Thing as a Jellyfish [Jun. 8th, 2011|08:17 pm]
Joshua A.C. Newman
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Originally published at xenoglyph: the alien writings of designer joshua a.c. newman. Please leave any comments there.

Still backlogged on actual articles, but also still agog at the wonder of the universe.

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Cassini Mission [Jun. 2nd, 2011|04:14 pm]
Joshua A.C. Newman
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Originally published at xenoglyph: the alien writings of designer joshua a.c. newman. Please leave any comments there.

CASSINI MISSION from cabbas on Vimeo.

I’ve got some stuff I’m writing, but I’ve got this backlog of amazing things I want to show everyone. This is one of them.  It’s made out of Cassini’s photos as it flew by Saturn and some of its moons by a “space fan”.

There are some parts of living in the future that I really love.

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