Monday, September 10, 2012

rant 987

forgive my long rant. feel free to ignore.

by the way, this is not a cry for help. this is just an interesting observation about something today.

most of you know i don't reveal much about my personal life. i'm a gruff asshole. i hate a lot of stupid shit. and generally i don't tell people about my inner feelings. you're not my wives, i don't see the need to tell you when i feel like breaking an axe handle over my neighbor's head. but whatever.

this post is a little glimpse into me.

when i was a kid, my father was a world-class guitar player. fucking amazing actually. we haven't spoken in 16 years, so i couldn't tell you if he's any good anymore, but when i was kid, he was amazing.

i grew up in a house filled with classical music. so i know what the fuck i'm talking about here.

everyone told him he was great. everyone.

he should have been playing concert halls.

but he never believed he was any good and he never did anything with his talent. he always compared himself to los indio tabajaras and was never happy that he wasn't that good.

being a vietnam vet, he had a lot of issues.

over the last 14 years, i've worked in the game industry. mostly for one fucking asshole who knows exactly who he is. friends of mine during that era reflect back on it like people with stockholm syndrome or women who keep going back to an abusive boyfriend. i spent those years being reminded that i was a piece of shit and that i didn't deserve better than i got.

[for instance, recently i found out WOTC pays 3 times what this asshole paid for the same job, which i suspect requires a lot less manhours as well.]

i'm a grown man, so i have no right to expect any human to feed my ego for me. or my wallet. fight to survive and all that. and that's not the point here. but i spent a lot of years being reminded that i was a piece of shit. and so i grew to believe it.

this attitude often gets misunderstood by those who know me. but that's a story for another time.


recently, i made a logo for someone for free.

[doesn't matter who. i do that a lot for people.]

at gencon i got a copy of said work, with said logo. on the cover and inside.

today i cracked said product.

no fucking credit. no fucking thank you in the notes.


now. i should point out, this person is a great friend. a sweet guy. and i harbor no ill will over this. there is no fucking way he did it spitefully.

but every time someone overlooks my efforts, every time someone decides for me what my value to a project is, every time someone steals my work and doesn't even say thank you or put my name in their fucking book, every time i have to argue about whether my name is appearing inside or outside a project... i grow more resentful. more insular. more unforgiving.

today. someone i trusted shit on my work. i didn't get paid. i didn't get thanked. i didn't get credit. this wasn't the first time. after all, i told him my value when i said, "dude. it's free." clearly i'm to blame.

i know what all of my successful friends in the industry will say about this. and because they will tell me to shut the fuck up and be a man is exactly why i don't talk about myself or share anything of value with people.

"shut the fuck up, jim."

just another reminder that i get what i deserve.

sitting on my computer are a number of finished and unfinished games and projects. probably around 20 in all. some are ready for print. most i've never shared with anyone. some need polish. some are just notes. some have art and a few paragraphs.

i've written a novella, two screenplays, parts of a script. i have 9 ENnies, i'm in the guiness book of world records (2006), i've won a screenwriters award, two origins awards, and recently someone compared my most recent board game to el grande, saying i've invented a new genre of game.

and who the fuck cares?

i've been told a measureable amount of times that i am good at something, even if it's just writing a really long fucking book.

but i've been reminded an immeasureable amount of times why my work is shit. why i am shit. and why i deserve shit.

a dear friend forgot to thank me in a project. an action that would have taken six seconds. he didn't do it on purpose. but it happened.

and now i get to add it to the long list of times i was told i'm shit.

writing is an art form for me. for some it's a craft. they get up. crank out 5000 words. go to bed. repeat.

i am not that guy.

someone broke me a long time ago. broke my love of writing. told me i was shit one too many times. and now getting up to do it everyday is a struggle.

i don't love this anymore.

and when someone takes away something from you that you love, that really is nothing more unforgiveable.

i have less than a dozen really fucking important people left in my life. a lot of them i've moved away from or said goodbye too over the years as we drift apart. i'm not even sure they know their value to me. i never tell them. so. what i am writing here, they may or may not have heard in some version or another. but i can guarantee i've never made these feelings public before.

so, if you are wondering why i don't talk about myself and i come across as an asshole, i hope this was edifying.

knowing me, i won't keep this up long.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

My First Kickstarter

King for a Day

And remember to visit my new project…

Post World Games


Saturday, July 02, 2011

Post World Games : It's Official

I have started a new website.

Post World Games is an ongoing project of mine involving all manner of games. It is a for profit series of projects, but the focus is on the stuff I'm making.

It'll be slow to start, but I expect it to pick up steam by the end of the year.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Metagaming 101

Rob Donaghue over at Some Space to Think, wrote an interesting article about Metagaming. I responded to his blog and then I also posted that response (with a little more meat on it), here. [Link]

Let me start by saying Metagaming is good. If someone accuses you of metagaming, I'd be curious to know what they mean and why that's a bad thing. My assumption is this.

Player one sits down to "be in character." Player two sits down to "kill things." Player three sits down to "hang out with friends." GM sits down to immerse players in his gaming world experience. They get together once a week, have snacks, talk about work, and kill 20 orcs before the night is over. That is not a far-fetched scenario by any means.

Player four is invited to join the group and he comes from a different background of gaming. He acts on information his character wouldn't have, he adds details to the world the GM didn't approve, and he jumps back and forth between 1st and 3rd person to suit his needs, sometimes narrating some of the background action.

All of this may get under the GM and player's skin.

For those raised on D&D, this is not how you do things.

But I'm getting away from the author's point.

I think the difference here is inherent in the difference between design and play. A designer designs the game he likes. A developer makes sure that game is fun for as many people as possible. And then the player does whatever he wants with it. Take GTA for example. You can do all the missions or you can run around kill pimps and hookers. It's up to you.

That said, a fundamental flaw in the design of MMOs and non-tabletop RPGs is the lack of team coherency and unity. If everyone is vying for control of "top dog" then the game becomes a pissing contest of who is better at min-maxing their character and so on.

And that's no fun.

A good game designer designs numerous paths to victory. And that's usually some sort of "meta" design. Take D&D1 for example. Not a well-designed game by any means, but if a wizard is really powerful at 10th level, but not very powerful at 1st level, is it meta to wait it out and hope for a powerful character later? Sure. In the purest sense of the word, yes. But that's not a bad thing. People use META like a pejorative. But it's not.

As a player, I get to be Actor, Author, and Audience all at once. And that's where META is far better than some of these simulationist or immersive players can understand.

Why limit myself to a single point of view and only enjoy one aspect of play? It makes no sense to me.

In all fairness, I gave up DM Authority games a long time ago. The INDIE movement got one thing right. Everyone at the table has the brain capacity to make decisions about how the world works and what constitutes success.

I hope that if the MEEK have taught us anything, it's that playing at the table with the right group of people is more important than worrying about which die probability curve is best for this situation, when the real question is... will the story be enriched by me failing right now?

If more games gave out points for failure, you'd see more people flub things early on in order to get those juicy "drama points" that pay off at the end. Which brings us all the way back to our quintet of gamers.

Player four may be breaking a lot of rules of this group's social contract. But he isn't really breaking any good rules. What he's done is take people out of their comfort zones. The fact is, the metagamer may be just as selfish in his endeavors as any other player, but he's looking at the complete picture. And a gamer who believes there is only one path to fun isn't missing out on a lot.

Sermon over.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Hunting Party by Gorilla Games

Press Release

Gorilla Games is proud to announce the release of the "Hunting Party" stand alone card game in August of 2011. Hunting Party is designed by Jeff Siadek with Art by jim pinto, Andrew Hepworth, Janine Johnston, and Vaughn Reynolds.

In Hunting Party, players take on the roles of hunters on safari in Victorian Africa. Each hunter has a unique talent and scores points for bringing back trophies and accomplishing their secret goal.

You choose your action each turn and collectively choose the fate card that will apply. If you Shoot an attacking animal, you bag a trophy but if you Camp when an animal attacks, you discard cards. Hunters die when they run out of cards so be careful!

You'll brave the dangers of Vine Bridges, Ambushes, Quicksand and much more.

Adventure Awaits!

Hunting Party comes with 108 cards and one rules sheet in a tuck box.

Product code ooc1102
MSRP $14.95 U.S.
Playing Time 1 hour

Friday, May 27, 2011

1-Hour Game Challenge

I just wrote up some prototype rules for a Logan's Run style RPG. It's 4am and I started around 3am. Guaranteed to be amazing.

Anyway. I'll be testing them this weekend (I hope) and if anyone wants to read them after the convention, I'll be glad to e-mail a PDF out.

Enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Travis Heermann Releases Heart of the Ronin

My writing partner in crime, Travis Heermann has published a novel set in feudal Japan.

I am just now starting to read it myself, so I can't give you any more information than, it looks awesome and I know Travis doesn't suck as a writer.

Below is both the cover and link to the book.


Strategicon May 2011

Game convention weekend at the LAX. I'll see you there… if you're local, that is.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pirate Ship Bedroom

There's no question this kid has the coolest dad.