Name a game that had an impact on you in the last year.
I actually acquired a copy of this game very recently. While I was unable to attend Gen Con this year my buddy Dave was there and snagged me a copy of Crossroads Carnival: One Night Only Edition, written by Kate Bullock and published by Magpie Games. In Crossroads Carnival you play members of a travelling carnival in 1930’s America, drawn into a battle between light and dark. It is a very focused, heavily thematic game, perfect for a group who love to dive deep into character and storytelling. It’s ideal at around 3-5 players for a 3-4 hour session.
And neighbours, I find it to be an achingly beautiful game. If it were just an RPG about 1903’s carny folk, it could easily devolve into a sharply defined Us versus Them as the players travel from town to town, dealing with the Straights. But layered in is this wonderful sense of ritual to the carnival’s performance, that it isn’t just entertainment, it is often the very thing holding back Darkness with a capital “D”. Then another layer; the comment that makes on our society, in which marginalized folks are most often asked/required to perform emotional labour for the non-marginalized. I read a lot of RPG material and this is probably one of the most powerful games I’ve read this year. I’ll talk about it more once I’ve had a chance to run it, but I linked the DriveThruRPG page above. Get you a copy of this game with all due haste.
Your gaming ambition for the next year.
Despite dissenting opinions that I may have a face for radio, I’d really like to do some RPG streaming in the coming year. I’ll likely test the waters with some guest shots here and there, see if I can be entertaining on camera. I certainly don’t have the set-up to just start my own at the moment, but I have the necessary camera/mic set-up to join in on somebody else’s game. So hey, if you’re within the range of my blog and are looking for a guest to drop into your stream, hit me up. I’ll play any game system you like.
Share a great stream/actual play.
I did this over at The Rat Hole, so go check my response there. Spoilers: Eric Campbell is a super swell GM, y’all.
Share whose inspiring gaming excellence you’re grateful for.
After all the love I’ve given to streamers and online creators, I know you’d expect me to name one of them. And there are many I could name that motivate me and inspire me.
But when it comes to someone for whom I’m grateful? That goes to my buddy Devin. I’ve met few people who just love playing games with their friends as much as he does. I’m sure there is a game out there Devin won’t try, but we sure haven’t found it yet. He’s also just a joy to GM for; he’ll throw himself into whatever RPG we are playing, even if the mechanics or play style aren’t his particular brand of whisky. Example: Devin loves the crunchiness of building and playing characters in the Pathfinder RPG, but he plays along with me on my rules light, fluffy D&D 5e bullshit every other week. Since I’ve been gaming with him I’ve always felt that the most important thing to him is that everyone in the game is having fun, including himself, and that is not something every gamer can pull off. He has also presented me with two of my favourite character to game master: Kring, the half-orc barbarian/farmer (with his masterwork greatclub called “The Future”), and Lando Mackenzie King, a tough paramedic-in-training who worried how the introduction of the supernatural into his life was going to affect his GPA.
Thank-you, Devin, for being my amazeballs gaming friend all these years.
Share a friendship you have because of RPGs.
I feel like I just did this above, so I’m going to talk generally for a moment. Besides the continued rise of inclusion and accessibility in the hobby, one of the things making me happy these days are the various ways gamers can access TTRPGs and make friends.
*pulls up the In My Day Chair, sits down* Back when I started gaming and really until the rise of social media, the options for getting into this hobby were limited. You either discovered a group and found a game that way, or you discovered the game in a shop and managed to pull together a group somehow. If you lived somewhere that was small population or isolated you might never get either of those opportunities, and so you really didn’t get in the hobby. Smashcut to today, with all of social media, online gaming platforms, live-streaming, actual play…the ability to find some way to either play directly or at least experience the hobby are extensive. It may take time, you may have to try out groups and media to see what works for you, but it’s easier than it has ever been. There are definitely more obstacles and barriers to folks with accessibility issues than I like and I’ll never stop encouraging publishers and platforms to work on that. But if you want to be in this hobby you pretty much can be, and you can choose what that means for you. I think that’s pretty great.
And on that perhaps overly optimistic note, may the dice be ever in your favour!