Thursday, May 28, 2009

Injecting Narrative

One of the comments I have received about The Portable Galactic Empire from players is that it lacks a story. That is, it lacks a story in the box. And although this may change in the future, for now I'm OK with that.

As a player, I personally prefer games which allow me more latitude to create my own narrative. In fact the "openness" of the game directly relates to how much I enjoy a game. In this case I have built a game through which several players may construct their own stories.

If you want to see a more storied session of PGE, try doing this. Before play begins select a theme for your play style. e.g. "I've decided that my race is made of entirely artificial entities which share a mind link." Now start considering how that is reflected in the mechanics.

The spending of influence, in this case, represents the alignment of processing nodes. In order to launch an invasion, a sufficient number of processors must agree to the decision. Monuments are a manifestation of the artificial being. 5 monuments represent the true form of the data. And so on.

Try it yourself. I'm sure most of you are capable of coming up with much more interesting stories than I could have possible put in the box.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Portable Galactic Empire

Head over to the big page (Castle Games Inc.), if you want to buy it or check it out a bit. It seems I may have missed something in the rules. Actually, I know not seems.

PGE Errata #1 (also to be published on the Castle site):
After Playing developments add the rule:

Play New Technologies
The player may now play new technology cards, paying the indicated cost in resources. Old technologies may be replaced at this time with newer ones. A player may have only one each of beam, cannon, missile, E.C.M. , shield and armor technologies in play. A player may replace a “Laser Beam” with a “Plasma Beam” during this step. Technologies are made immediately available and are in force should the player be attacked after the end of the turn in which they are played.
We apologize for any inconvenience the lack of what to do with technology cards has had. Watch the Castle Games site for a nicely formatted player reference card soon as well.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Oi! So my theory proves out. Facebook is a vector for spam. In their defense, it's a bit my fault for linking here from there. Here a spider can find my actual email and email me offers top increase my man hood.

Here's the way of it. The spider hits my very public facebook page (while it's active). It follows my links, in this case just one to here. It spiders here looking for mailto s. It farms those out to spam zombies.

I turned my facebook page off again 3 days ago. At the height of the deluge, I was getting about 3 or 4 emails an hour. After 3 days, enough of those zombies have gone down or changed targets that I'm down to about 1 every three hours. By this time next week I should be back down to 1 or 2 a day.

And those 2 people need to frickin' install some AV software.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Unique - A Mini Rant

I haven't done one of these in a while, so you deserve it. I've noticed that one of the words that shows up a lot in the marketing text for games is "unique". I.E. unique stuff, unique game play, unique interface. In the words of Fezzik, I do not think this word means what you think it means.

(Lifted ungraciously from Merriam-Webster Online)
Many commentators have objected to the comparison or modification (as by somewhat or very) of unique, often asserting that a thing is either unique or it is not. Objections are based chiefly on the assumption that unique has but a single absolute sense, an assumption contradicted by information readily available in a dictionary. Unique dates back to the 17th century but was little used until the end of the 18th when, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, it was reacquired from French. H. J. Todd entered it as a foreign word in his edition (1818) of Johnson's Dictionary, characterizing it as affected and useless. Around the middle of the 19th century it ceased to be considered foreign and came into considerable popular use. With popular use came a broadening of application beyond the original two meanings (here numbered 1 and 2a). In modern use both comparison and modification are widespread and standard but are confined to the extended senses 2b and 3. When sense 1 or sense 2a is intended, unique is used without qualifying modifiers.
See, you don't mean a unique sword. You mean a fairly unique sword. It's not one of a kind. It's just extra rare. Stop it. Btthbthhbt.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Dice you!

Of all the production issues I saw coming, finding enough dice to go in the boxes I did not see. As a gamer, I naturally have tones of dice kicking around. Whole great bins of dice.

But what if you want a tone of the same die, preferably in pairs?

I found an online wholesaler, who hopes he can get them to me fast enough. So I can almost reveal the dice.

Custom dice you say...