Free Ads for Indies

I've mentioned this before, but now that the site is functioning again, perhaps it's worth mentioning.

See that top ad bar? If you are an indie developer, we will happily run your ad there, in rotation with others, for free, for as long as you wish. It can be for an actual product, or for a Kickstarter/Indiegogo thing. All you have to do is a) send me a banner ad, b) tell me where you want it to link to, c) be plausibly indie, d) not link to malware, obviously, and e) not be an asshole.

Uncertainty in Games

In crunch mode at work, which is why there haven't been updates here for some time.

However, as of tomorrow, The MIT Press releases my book, Uncertainty in Games.

There are a lot of books that attempt to provide a broad overview of the craft of game design; I wanted instead to take a single important element and go deep on it.

The central argument is that uncertainty, whether of outcome or path, is a central part of the appeal of games. I analyze a slew of very different games to unpick their sources of uncertainty, and provide some ideas for how to use an understanding of uncertainty to guide the design of innovative games.

You can find Uncertainty in Games on Amazon here. Or, of course, order from your favorite independent book store.

Interview with me at Raconteur Magazine.

Raconteur Magazine has an interview with me, in which I talk about indie games and the current market.

Kickstarter for Balance of the Planet

I very rarely mention Kickstarter projects here; it's a review site, not an indie news site. But I think this is important enough to highlight.

Chris Crawford -- one of the grand old men of US game development -- is seeking funding for a revised version of Balance of the Planet

Balance of the Planet is one of Crawford's more obscure title, but among his most brilliant. It's a sim in which you try to develop economically while preventing ecocatastrophe. Among its most brilliant features is that virtually every parameter in the game is user adjustable -- meaning that it is politically wholly neutral. If you believe that nuclear power is safe, you can tweak its danger parameter downward. If you believe that the effect of carbon emissions on global warming are overstated, you can change that parameter to. You can, in other words, adjust the sim to suit your personal beliefs -- or explore what might happen if the belief sets of someone else are correct.

Free [Paper] RPG Day - Sat 6-12-2012

Participating stores will give away free RPG stuff. They are mostly quickstart, sample rules.

The stuff they gave in the past were good, so I expect this year to be good as well.

Free RPG Day

Reddit "Ask me Anything"

Update: Was here, is over.

This Saturday, starting at about noon PST, I've agreed to do an "ask me anything" on Reddit. I'll post an URL here later when it starts.

You can -ask- me anything, although I don't promise to actually answer, say, questions about my sex life. Or, for that matter, to talk about any of the (unfortunately) myriad things that are covered by the many NDAs I've signed over the years. That still leaves a great deal, to be sure.

Also, to be clear, I totally do not speak for my employer, which in descending corporate hierarchy, are currently Disney, the Disney Interactive Media Group, and Playdom, Inc.

However, I'm happy to discuss:

....Roleplaying games, including my role in Paranoia, Toon, and the (original) Star Wars RPG.
....Boardgames, including The Creature that Ate Sheboygan and Pax Britannica.
....My role as an online and mobile game pioneer.
....My two failed startups (Unplugged Games and Manifesto Games)
....My reputation as the sort of angry middle aged man of the game industry (Scratchware Manifesto, Death to the Games Industry [Long Live Games], GDC Maverick Award, etc.)
....My independent game scholarship (I Have No Words and I Must Design, Games, Storytelling, and Breaking the String, etc.)
....How to cook gourmet meals for a family on a budget and in an hour or less.
....Why you should get on your fucking bike.
....How to tell the difference between a quality Oriental carpet and a cheap Belgian knock-off.
....And just about anything else that arises.

High Score 3

Russel DeMaria, a long-time writer and editor in the games industry, currently has a Kickstart project looking for funding to help him write the third edition of High Score!.

If you're not familiar with the book, it's one of the best histories of videogames, written by Russel and Johnny Wilson; my only complaint about it is that it's sort of the happy, "everything is good" history of the videogame industry, and we definitely need a sort of "Hollywood Babylon"-equivalent to document the other side of the equation. (And both Russel and Johnny doubtless know where the bodies are buried, and could write such a thing if they wanted to.)

If you're willing to put up $250 (a lot, to be sure), Russel is offering you the opportunity to have lunch with anyone of a veritable galaxy of industry luminaries, including Trip Hawkins, Will Wright, Lorne Lanning, and John Romero.

His promo video is kind of amazing, and worth watching just for the sense of history:

Ticket to Ride iOS -- Softboard Game Post Mortem

Ticket to Ride is a popular boardgame that's ported to numerous platforms. This articles talk about porting from iPad to iPhone.

Postmortem: Days of Wonder's Ticket to Ride Pocket


Remember Zynga sued Vostu for recreating their game. Well, Zynga is returning the favor to someone else.

Recreating Nimblebit's game.

Ticket to Ride Pocket -- iPhone Version Free

Ticket to Ride Pocket, the iPhone adaptation of Ticket To Ride is free via

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