Fantasy Flight Games is going to be ending their production of role playing games soon. They will release the products that have already been announced and then that will be it. In my opinion, FFG produced RPGs that were well made, in terms of systems, but then were poorly implemented in terms of what RPG players in the market expect. A big problem with the FFG games was the lack of pre-made adventures. Each game seemed to only get a few of those. Paizo and WOTC, on the other hand, pump out adventures in both book and one-shot organized play form at an astonishing rate. Most GMs, myself included, don't have time to handcraft home brew games. Thus, it is helpful to take pre-made adventures and use them as a skeleton for your games. In my case, I'm GM several different on-going campagins. It seems to be the same with the other GMs I know. When you are in that situation, prep time is at a premium. The other thing FFG dropped the ball on with their games was the organized play areana. Organized Play is essential to keeping RPGs attracting new players. The ability for newcomers to the genre to simply show up at a store and sit down in a game and start playing is essential. Stores provide a safe environment for people to make new friends and learn new games. That is what stores offer that online retailers do not. My children and I love the main friendly local game store we hang out at, and we are known at all the other local games stores as well, which we visit for special events. If you have a good local game store, it functions as that place "where everybody knows your name" for geeks in the area. RPGs tap into that community through organized play. FFG does a good job at organized play for it's board games and miniatures games. So it never made sense why they didn't do the same with their RPGs. But that will soon be part of gaming history. Personally, I recommend picking up FFG's line of Star Wars RPGs while they are avaiable. It is an incredible system that is a lot of fun to play.
Here's a wonderful short video that the BBC just put out explaining introversion. The fact is that our current American society is unknowingly hostile toward introverts quite often. This is also the case in our schools where somehow we've gotten it into our collective heads that we should be forcing students to constantly talk to each other. To be sure the extroverted students in school love this. And since they make up the majority of the general population (and are by their very nature the most outspoken when compared to introverts) it's easy to see why the situation has devolved into its current state. Constantly being forced to talk is a huge stressor to introverts, however. My own children tell me they can't stand the "Turn and talk to your shoulder partner" activity constantly being done in classrooms now. I hate it when it's done to me in staff development trainings as well. And as usual in education, there is absolutely no actual research backing this latest fad up. This wonderful little video lets introverts know that not only is there absolutely nothing wrong with them, but that introversion is a needed trait within society.
And then to follow it up, here is a TED talk by Susan Cain, the author of the phenomenal book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. Her book should be required reading for all educators. We must respect all sides of the spectrum of interpersonal communication in education if we are going to meet the needs of all students.
"That's where the crows will sit. But we'll have to put an elevator to put them up there because they can't fly, but they don't know that, so they still try."
This amusing quote reminds me of the educational practice known as scaffolding. It's the act of building an intellectual structure around a student to allow them to succeed at a task which would otherwise be beyond their base abilities.
Apparently, the board game market is growing at an annual rate of over 10% at this point. This is due to the fact that people are getting tired of digital entertainment to a larger and larger extent. Board games just feel more real and they are certainly more social than video games. According to the article, tabletop games will be growing at a faster pace than video games for the next five years at least.
This is the strangest RPG ever created I believe. Wendy's has created an entire RPG called Feast of Legends that people can download for free. It's a 97 page long pdf which has the rules and an adventure to go along with it. Wow. The entire game is obviously tongue-in-cheek, but it's actually a fully playable RPG of beginner weight.
There are classes of characters to choose between. There are various weapons and, armor, and items to gain and use. There is a map of the world as well. The items, gear, and world are all based upon humorous adaptions of things in Wendy's restaurants. All in all, it's a nicely done job for a restaurant, and seems like it would be fun to play with kids who like going to fast food restaurants. They will get the humor in the game and probably enjoy it a great deal.
Link: Feast of Legends
Paizo has released the background story of a brand-new iconic character for the Starfinder RPG. The new character is a biohacker. Biohackers will be released soon in an upcoming game supplement. So Paizo is generating a pre-sale buzz with this. Personally, I love this new iconic. She is basically Bill Nye the Science Guy when you read her story. She has a kids holovid show where she teaches them about the wonders of science. Her job title is "scientific ambassador." Science teacher by day, adventurer by night. And with that she is now my new favorite RPG pre-gen character of all time. Her new class, the biohacker, has also now become my favorite class. Nicely done, Paizo!
Link: Barsala's Background
Apparently rats can be taught to play hide and seek with humans, according to a new study. They know to be quiet when it is their turn to hide. They make noises when they are seeking. They also know to hide in opaque places rather than transparent ones when they are hiding so as not to be seen. Pretty cool!
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