Saturday, March 27, 2010

Silly Deck Idea

This started as an off the wall deck idea. Then I heard someone took a similar deck to decent results in Legacy: Link!

The deck is based around doing broken things with Dream Halls. Like putting it into a deck. Dream halls lets you cast a card by discarding a card that shares a color. The other major parts of the combo came from the set Conflux; the legendary Progenitus and the eponymous Conflux. Having Dream Halls in play lets you cast Conflux on the cheap, searching up your playset of Progenitus and another Conflux; use the progenitus to cast each other, and if they get counterspelled or wrathed away you've got backups, and an extra Conflux to repeat with.

Which is all well and good if you don't mind waiting until turn seven or eight to finish them off. If you want to speed things up you need a quicker way to get Dream Halls into play, or Progenitus. Show and Tell is made to fit the bill; For three mana you and him both get to drop something into play, and the only way he can beat your Dream Halls or straight up Progenitus is if he drops an Aluren and combos you out in response. After that we can add in some mana accelerants, like Lotus Petals or Elvish or Simian Spirit Guides to shave the occasional turn off of it. Let's bang out a rough draft list:

4 Dream Halls
4 Conflux
4 Progenitus
4 Show and Tell
4 Lotus Petal
~16 other cards, ~24 lands.

In the 16 other cards we can slot Brainstorm, Ponder, Force of Will and either another cheap cantrip, some more acceleration or maybe some more countermagic. What we end up with is a mono blue combo deck that's not that quick and not that impossible to disrupt; killing them by turn five is still a turn or too too late, and they can counterspell your Conflux or Dream Halls right off the bat. Or rip them, with duress or Thoughtseize. Yeah, Force of Will is nice, but you can't rely on always having it in hand. So how do we make this deck better?

I'mma gonna take a look at the back end first. There's a very handy piece of disruption for practically anything they might be doing: Obliterate. If you destroy all creatures, artifacts and lands, then they can hardly have a better set of enchantments in play than your dream halls. And obliterate is even uncounterable. Inasmuch as progenitus can dominate a clean board, we can still speed the kill up some.

If you search up False Cure, Beacon of Immortality, force of will and two Progenitus, then you can pitch the Progenitus to play False cure and Beacon to kill them regardless of their life total, with Force of Will backup. Can't ask for a much nicer kill than that.

I'd really like more than 4 Brainstorm, 4 Ponder as card drawing/digging. I'm not sure what else would be good in this slot though; There are a number of good blue draw spells out there. The linked article uses Ancestral Memories, which I guess is good if you've gotten dream halls out, but it doesn't help you find dream halls itself, which is a major minus. yeah, you can play it on it's own, but only if you're sitting around until turn five anyway.

On the other hand, this deck doesn't necessarily have to be mono blue anyway; if we went into Black, we could use Duress and Thoughtseize instead of Force of Will, and get your card drawing through things like Sign in blood. If you're brave, you can run Dark Confidant, but the occasional Progenitus flip will appraise you of costs not even Bob Maher would be willing to pay. You lose out in that being blue black makes you run those expensive expensive duals and fetches. And the card drawing isn't as good. You could also run green for the spirit guides and maybe Natural Order as well. Or... Or...

A couple other thoughts that came up; remember the Shoal cycle from Kamigawa? Blazing shoal discarding Progenitus gives you ten damage right there; if you ran it with man lands you could run that almost as a seperate combo. probably start your manlands count with Mutavault; the merfolk subtype might be important in case your opponent's Lord of Atlantis gives you islandwalk. The other thought I can't get out of my mind is Shining Shoal; the white one. If you can redirect ten damage, you can almost kill somebody. Not that many sources in legacy will do ten damage at a time (tendrils, for example, does it in increments of two).

I suppose I should bang out an actual list before I go...

4 Conflux
4 Progenitus
4 Dream Halls
4 Show and Tell
4 Force of Will
4 Obliterate
1 Beacon of Immortality
1 False Cure
4 Brainstorm
4 Ponder
4 Lotus Petal
2 Pact of Negation

4 Crystal Vein
4 Scalding tarn
12 Island

A little land light, and definitely a first draft, but that's all I've got. What, you expect me to actually test my bizarre deck ideas? The nerve...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Reserved List

Today I'm going to argue about the reserve list. It's one of those magic issues that comes up every so often. Magic as in the collectible card game. Let me start with some background.

When Wizards printed the Magic expansion Legends in the mid 1990's, product was flying off the shelves, selling at double the MSRP right off of the truck, or so I'm told. Legends singles were expensive, and rare. Then, a few months later, Wizards printed the set Chronicles which contained reprints of a number of popular cards from Legends, the elder dragons for example. The price of singles tanked. Predictably, this made a number of collectors and dealers unhappy. Very unhappy. To assuage fears of further card devaluation, Wizards introduced a reserve list, which listed cards that would never be reprinted. Ever.

As time goes on (and it always does when this sort of story is told) the Reserve list seems more and more short sighted. Historically, when cards get reprinted a few years after they last saw print it tends to drive their value upwards, rather than down. You'd think that increasing the supply would decrease the demand, but the fact that the cards are now standard legal tends to make more people want the cards, enough so that the demand outstrips the supply. And if the card itself loses value, the other cards in the decks it fits in tend to gain value.

That's only true for cards that make it into decks; a bad card that gets reprinted wouldn't have the demand bump that increases it's price. The thing is though, a bad card is a bad card. People playing the game (as opposed to just collecting the cards) have no use for an unplayable card. If the card isn't going to see play in standard, it isn't going to see play in legacy or vintage or EDH or casual (with exception for different metagames, but still) and you'll be able to pick that card up cheap online regardless of it's reserve list status. For example, look at Kaervek's Spite. It's a pretty bad card, a 50 cent rare even though it's on the reserved list. I found one in a penny commons box not too long ago. Being on the reserve list isn't protecting it's value.

The other point about the reserve list is that it's effectively restricting entry into some of the larger formats. The supply of reserve list cards is pretty much fixed. If demand for those cards increases (players trying to get into Legacy, or building EDH decks), then the only thing that can give is the price; the price of those cards goes up until enough people are turned away. Now some of those cards are always going to be expensive, no matter what we do with them. I don't care how many sets Underground seas get reprinted in, they're never going to be budget cards. But there are other cards where reprinting them would decrease their price and allow people into the older formats.

For example, take Null Rod. In vintage, you're either a deck playing the moxen and other artifacts, or you're a deck hating on them. If you want to make a budget vintage deck, you're going to need to build a deck with artifact hate, of which Null rod is some of the best. Null rod already costs about $10, it's hard to argue it's a budget card in any other format. Imagine Wizards stuck Null Rod into the next core set. It wouldn't see much play in standard because standard doesn't need the dedicated artifact hate. It would increase the supply, driving the price down, which would make it easier for budget conscious vintage players to build themselves a budget deck. This would allow more people to join vintage, which has a largely stagnant player base due to the high cost of entry. More people playing in the tournaments is good for Wizards, and good for the game. So why don't they do it? Null Rod is on the reserve list.

The Reserve List is highly unpopular amongst the player base and amongst the people at Wizards. Nearly anyone you ask about the issue will tell you that they would be happier if wizards had never implemented it. So why is it still around? Wizards made a promise. A promise to be held in perpetuity. Naturally, nobody wants Wizards to treat that like a temporary convenience, to be discarded whenever the mood hits. The thing is, the reserve list has lived well past it's usefulness, and as important as it is to all of us that Wizards generally keeps it's word, there's a large segment of the population who would be happy if Wizards broke their word in this specific occasion.

In my opinion, the highest duty that Wizards has is to make Magic the best game it possibly can be. (Ok, I'll allow them to work on their other games too. This is all in the context of Magic.) I guess you could make the argument that they should be attempting to increase shareholder value, but they aren't contradictory goals. If the game does well, Wizards sells more cards, if Wizards sells more cards, Hasbro makes more money and the stock goes up and the stockholders are happy. But back to my original point.

Wizards should act for the good of the game. Other goals are at best secondary to that. In this context there are a number of competing demands for the good of the game. Wizards should pay attention to the price of singles, because a healthy secondary market aides the game. Wizards should try to increase tournament attendance. Wizards should encourage new people to play the game. Wizards should attempt to retain the old players. Wizards should keep making money hand over fist because that money pays for the R&D members who keep making this the best damn game since the first Indian Raj carved his first rook. And, exceedingly germane to this discussion, Wizards must maintain it's credibility.

Now, there are several kinds of credibility. To demonstrate this, I'm going to kick around Nixon a bit:

"A man isn't finished when he's beaten, a man is finished when he quits"
-Richard Milhaus Nixon.

Thus sayeth the only President of the United States to resign from office. Now, we've all seen enough Futurama to know that Nixon is a fundamentally untrustworthy sort of guy; you don't leave him and a jar of pennies in the same room if you ever want to see your pennies again. The thing is though, Nixon has a lot of credibility as a fighter. If Nixon thought that ninjas were coming to steal his pennies, you can bet that he'd stand there and fight them off with his own two fists if necessary. (In other news, I'd totally watch that movie.) I'd be willing to be that Nixon never gave up on anything in his life, except for that one thing. And frankly, at that point the decision wasn't really his. For the good of the nation he had to step down, however much it rankled for him to give up. I don't think I'm going to offend anyone's politics if I say that Nixon really needed to go.

The point of all that rambling there is that I still impute to Nixon enormous credibility as a fighter even though he quit. In much the same way I impute to Wizards of the Coast enormous credibility where it comes to doing what's best for the game. Take the M10 rules changes for example. I'm still annoyed at the loss of damage on the stack. Even so though, I'm willing to wait and see (and three quarters of a year later I'm still waiting and seeing, no reason to be hasty) to decide whether or not the changes overall are a good thing.

As drastic as the changes were, I'm certain that hours and days of forethought and arguing about them happened behind the hallowed walls of Wizards R&D. I have no doubt in my mind that they were striving for the good of the game, even if we might disagree in the particulars on it. I have great amounts of trust in Wizards' devotion to the game, and to making it the best game possible. And they've shown a willingness to make the difficult decisions when it comes to the long term health of the game.

Which is why I think they should do away with the Reserved list. The major argument for keeping it is that Wizards will lose credibility if they break their promise. But I care a lot less about wizards keeping their word (as important as it is) than I do about them making the best game possible. Which means that Wizards can break their word in this particular instance without taking a serious hit to their credibility; yes I'll be less likely to trust them in the abstract but in the concrete "Do I think the game will be around long enough to make me buying this booster pack worthwhile" sense I'll not worry one bit. They love the game more than I do; and I'm not exactly middlin' fond of it myself. Why would I worry that they'll make a decision that'll threaten the long term health of the game?

For reference, if you feel like reading them, I'm gonna link a bunch of articles about the Reserved list:
Reexamining Reprints (Note: they've since reprinted a number of the cards discussed)
Should Wizards do away with the Reserve List?
Mr. Bleiweiss goes to Washington
Reprinting Phyrexian Negator Note, the deck in question does have Phyrexian Negator
The Reserved List, the New Policy, and Budget Players
Revised Reprint Policy

Monday, March 22, 2010

Nontransitive dice

Without making you slog through the Wikipedia article, it's possible to make a set of dice where the first die will generally roll higher than the second die which will generally roll higher than the third die which will generally roll higher than the first die. Confused? Let me try again. Stealing an example from the wiki:

die A has sides {2,2,4,4,9,9},
die B has sides {1,1,6,6,8,8}, and
die C has sides {3,3,5,5,7,7}.

Now, if you roll die A versus die B, then die A will roll higher most of the time. Die B will roll higher than die C most of the time. Now here's the mind bending part. Die C will beat die A most of the time too. A beats B, B beats C, but C beats A. Sort of like a paper rock scissors game.

I'm calling this interesting, but it's hardly the only or simplest way to make a paper rock scissors mechanic. So I'm filing it away for future reference.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Rocket Science and Orbital Mechanics

Having determined that I want the game to happen in and around the solar system, I've got to determine the contours of a board. The major features are pretty obvious; the planets. Let's take a look at some relevant data:

Semimajor axis (Mega km) 57.91 0.387
Sidereal orbit period (days) 87.969 0.241

Semimajor axis (Mega km) 108.21 0.723
Sidereal orbit period (days) 224.701 0.615

Semimajor axis (Mega km) 149.60
Sidereal orbit period (days) 365.256

Semimajor axis (Mega km) 227.92 1.524
Sidereal orbit period (days) 686.980 1.881

Semimajor axis (Mega km) 778.57 5.204
Sidereal orbit period (days) 4,332.589 11.862

The second column indicates the ratio of that planet's stats to Earth's. The site also lists a number of Asteroids and so forth, which I'll deal with elsewhere.

So let's take a look at that. Mercury, being the closest to the sun, is about .4 AU out. Venus is about .7 AU out from the sun. That gives us a minimum spacing of .3 AU. Jupiter is 5.2 AU out. If Jupiter and Mars are on opposite ends of the sun then we've got a maximum distance of about 6.7 AU. Dividing by .3 we get about 22 spaces distance between planets. 22 spaces isn't a terrible distance; I'm pretty sure I've run RISK rampages that last longer than that.

If you'll notice, the above paragraph assumes the planets might be in different positions around the sun. I've been wanting to build a game where the planets actually rotate ever since I first saw the mechanic in Buck Rodgers: the Board Game (check your local thrift store. Every turn you'd advance your planets one space around the sun, and since the different planets moved around different orbits the relative distance between them would change. When you're plotting the movement of pieces from one world to the next then the varying distances make the calculations more interesting.

On the other hand, I really don't know that I want to do it entirely that way. I mean, I still want the planets to orbit, but I'm wondering if I can't figure out a better way for spaceships to move in space. Y'see, the thing is that motion in space isn't the same as it is on Earth, there's no such thing as a top speed (barring relativity). So what if the spaceships of the day are all torch ships? A Torch Ship is one that accelerates and decelerates all the way from one destination to another. The difference is that the speed builds up, and the ship going from Mars to Jupiter would get there a lot sooner than the ship going from Venus to Mercury and back 22 times. I haven't yet run the calculations to see if it's feasible to work it that way, but my gut says it'd be cooler if we did.

There's also the possibilities of Hohmann Transfers. Named after the guy who figured it out, it's the minimum energy required to go from one orbiting body to another. You accelerate exactly once at takeoff, and decelerate exactly once at your destination, and you sit in space and wait for the rest of the time. Trouble is, it takes on the order of years to get from Earth to Mars in a proper Hohmann transfer, and you can only leave Earth (or Mars) every so often. It'd be cool to do things that way, but I don't want to get into that sort of time scale.

You'll also note that the table has orbit periods. (I wish I could say I remembered the precise definition of Sidereal.) That should allow me to calculate the distances a planet moves along it's orbit every turn. For example, if the minimum space was .3 AU as I figured above, and Earth moves at 1 orbit per year, then Earth will have about 20 spaces to move around it's orbit. (Recall from Geometry that the circumference is two pi times the radius).

So how am I going to eventually work it? I don't know; I'm going to actually have to run the math before I make any decisions. I'll keep you posted

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The decline and fall of the Church of Reset

When I was a freshman in College I got hooked pretty hard on an MMO called Kingdom of Loathing. It's really an excellent game. At the time the actual plot wasn't very extensive, the game relied on an excellent endgame to keep people playing. It consists largely of a robust economy and an a vibrant online community. I chronicle below my failed forays into this endgame.

I'm a voracious devourer of content. When I hit level 60 in classic World of Warcraft one of the things I did right away was visit all the zones I had skipped and do the quests that I missed. I did the same thing with the Kingdom of Loathing; I did every quest, visited every zone and read the descriptions of every item. It wasn't all that hard, the game was being produced by a guy who was doing it part time. There's always a gap between how much effort it is to produce content and how much time it takes to experience it. In his defense the game was in beta anyway.

That's actually a key plot point; on the login page there was an announcement you could read (if you cared to; very few people do) that clearly stated the game was in beta, and at some point in the future there would be a reset. The Reset would take away everybody's items, reduce everybody to level one again and proceed on into version 1.0 with everyone on an equal footing.

So now I enter stage left. The game had recently gone through a massive bugging spree called "Black Sunday". An infinite currency bug and an item duplication bug surfaced fairly close together, and the information got out. When the dust settled and while the game economy was going through massive deflation, I had managed to amass a decent amount of capital. But I had started to get bored with constantly poring over the markets, and gravitated towards the other major endgame: the online community.

I was already an active forum poster, which worked about the same as my social life in high school; I'd dart into conversations here and there, leave a devastatingly witty comment (in my mind) and then wait for the offers of eternal friendship to come rolling in. Well, perhaps not quite that desperate (in either example). I was a respected member of the community, but I was still a nobody. I wanted to be somebody. So I started my own online religion.

"The Church of Reset" I called it. Borrowing a page from the street corner evangelist who gets his inspiration from the Gospel according to Jose Cuervo, I used an apocalyptic religion because it allowed me some very entertaining rants. The belief system of the church, once you got past the doomsaying, was based on spoilers. You see, if you skipped over parts of the game then you could never go back and do them yourself. And so, I argued that quest items should be made non tradeable, and I attempted to buy them out of the economy. There was a market for em, you see.

I'd place bounties on items, so that people would sell them to me. I figured if I made it cost prohibitive to buy the items, then people who looked up the spolier would at least decide to go find the items themselves, and therefor be forced to enjoy the content.

Can you see where this is going? I couldn't. I bought up massive amounts of useless junk, paid out a fortune in bounties, convinced a few people to join my church and eventually gave up the game, having managed to convince not a single person to my point of view, having spent myself down several tax brackets (if the game had taxes, which it doesn't) and having not at all managed to achieve a place for myself in the community as I had originally desired.

So now I'm going to discuss at length (do I discuss anything any other way?) why.

First lesson: Be yourself

You can get this lesson from practically any book targeting seventh graders. I'm just going to say that you can't get a position in any community by forcing yourself in.

Second lesson: People want to play the game how they want, not how you want.

Then there's the projection of morality problem. You see, I decided I knew how to play the game best, and that if people played the game my way they'd be happier, so I tried to force them into playing the game my way. (I hasten to add that I didn't even live up to my own standards; I looked up the spoilers on my first run through too). You can't force any sort of morality on people externally; even made up play-the-game-better moral principles. People will only do the things that you tell them to if they already believe that it's the right thing to do. Telling people to do stuff doesn't give them that belief, and they rightly resent you for it.

Third lesson: Price floors don't work.

I did manage to raise the price of quest items. Take bridges, my main focus. Where before they were selling for a thousand or so meat, (meat is currency in that game. Yeah, it's awesome, and yeah, that's the sort of offbeat humor that permeates it.) At the height of my bounties I raised the price to about 100,000, which makes for a significant deterrent for someone who'd just go and buy one to get the quest done.

The trouble is, to raise the price that high I had to pay for any bridges selling lower than that. My best estimate is that I spent about a billion and a half meat on the scheme before I finally couldn't support it any more. Once I ran out, there was nobody else to take up the cause, and the prices fell back to their starting levels fairly soon thereafter.

One more problem with it; people saw that someone was paying a hundred k for an otherwise worthless item, so they started farming them. The end result was that a lot more bridges were put onto the market than I had taken off with all my buying out.

You can't fight supply and demand.

Fourth Lesson: People don't like making fun of religion.

For some of you, that will be obviously untrue, so let me qualify it a bit. You've got three kinds of people who will make fun of religion; the atheists and so forth who actively are trying to break it up, the comedians who are going for shock value, and occasionally people who are comfortable with their religion and have a strong sense of humor. And not even everybody in those three categories; people in the latter category are a lot more careful with the joke other people make; they won't laugh along unless they're sure that you don't mean it.

Most people just get uncomfortable. Here's a pro tip kids; if you want to make yourself popular then avoid doing things that make your audience uncomfortable. The handful of people I did recruit were largely pastafarians.

For the record, I'm in the third group of people. I'm solidly Christian, and as I think back I don't think even I would have laughed had someone else did the exact thing I was doing.

So, that's the hows and the whys of the Church of Reset. But before I send this one out the door I'd be doing the game a disservice if I didn't recommend it. The game has progressed markedly since my heyday; it's got several times more content, it's got other, interesting types of endgame content and it's got a full development team so the updates come often and well produced. It's really an awesome game, if not one that I made myself.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Game Overview

The thing about this game is, I don't have it designed yet. I have ideas; some of them vague, some of them probably unworkable, a number of mechanics blatantly lifted from other board games, and a hodgepodge of other things coalescing into my "vision". Yeah, it's as messy as it sounds. The other thing I don't have yet are blog readers, followers and so forth. I hope to build up followers enough to talk strategy by the time I actually start running the game. To do that, I'll start designing the game publicly and hopefully pick up interested persons that way. Feel free to chime in if you think I've made something unworkable, or if you think I'm a doofus, or even in the rare event that you've got something nice to say.

But on with the design! I'm going to make this an interplanetary war. Or perhaps inter solar system, depending on how you care to define it. Lemme back into some descriptive text to give you the idea.

If they had known, would they still have run the experiment? That day ended the first golden age of interplanetary travel, in a war that cost billions of lives. But still, there's something about Pandora's box. Eventually somebody's going to open it. Sooner or later the temptation always proves too strong.

We could make it from planet to planet easy enough. All it took was energy, and time. But planets are very small things when there's a whole galaxy awaiting. And so we celebrated when we built our first star gate. The laboratory experiments proved no dangers, so we went ahead with the full scale model. A ring, miles across, outside the warping effects of gravity, capable of ripping spacetime open and propelling a ship from one star to the next as easy as a commuter is propelled form one subway stop onward. We opened it, and we were just about to send our research vessel through when they came.

The first ship was a surprise, an alien battleship of weird and unusual make blasting the assembled human fleet and taking the portal for it's own. The second ship was only too predictable. War had begun.

I like to listen to myself talk, don't I? But I'm sure you got the basic details down. Let's go for a bit more... factual description of this civilization of the future.

The main points on the game board are Earth on the near end and the Star Gate on the far end. Between all this we've got a solar system of objects, all the terrestrial planets, the moon, some more moons around different worlds, and the asteroids. Beyond that I want diverse space constructions; orbital factories, a star ladder, space habitats, space stations, asteroid mining operations, the works. The sort of solar system that Buck Rodgers would be happy to inhabit.

The war will take place with Earth on the one end attempting to manufacture navies to combat the encroaching hordes, and the encroaching hordes attempting to funnel enough units through the star gate to conquer the solar system before Earth can do so. One thing I specifically don't want to model is political infighting and maneuvering on the part of various Earth nations, so I'm going to assume for the time being that Earth is under a unified government. Stranger things have happened in science fiction. This leaves us with a functioning setting; we've got two rival powers fighting for mutually exclusive ends on a playing field large and complex enough to encompass our objectives.

Next time I intend to get into some more details. I could hardly get into less...

The Terrible Secret of Space

This is the real idea that forced me to finally join the blogging class. I've figured out a way to share the board game experience across the trackless wastes of the internet. No, not the "hanging out with your friends" bit. Or the "exulting over your friend's inglorious defeat" bit either. The planning and plotting, the arguing over strategy, the careful attempts to wring every last bit of advantage from your resources that make board games the test of intelligence that they are. Let me try and show you.

Imagine the sort of board game you'd play if you had all the time and patience in the world. A huge game, dripping with strategy, and vastly complex. A game simulating a total war between two alien races occurring over the vast distances of space. Multiple planets, multiple resources, multiple types of ships all with their own strengths and weaknesses. The sort of game you see in war movies, with the strategic command poring over, moving pieces with their T sticks. Wouldn't that be an awesome game?

Here's how I'm going to work it; it'll be a two player game. On the one side are the players, on the other is the game. Every week I'll advance the game one turn. On the start of the player's turn I'll describe the results of the previous turns and enemy actions taken in the intervening time. Then I discuss the major lines of play as I see them. At which point you, the viewing public, the internet, the hive mind et. al. get to argue the strategy out. At the end of the week I use the best line of play from the strategy arguments, progress the game and we start over.

The advantage of this system is that we get to take our strategy to a level not often seen outside of chess-by-mail. It enforces patience and thoughtfulness in a way that no normal board or computer game does. It also allows a board game to take on complicated mechanics that you'd usually want a computer to keep track of, stuff that in a normal board game would make people groan at upkeep and memory issues.

The downside is that the game will be ploddingly slow. I hope you really like strategy arguments, because that'll be all that'll hold you over between insufficient amounts of action. Oh, and it's labor intensive on my side, which I hope won't concern you overly much.

So what's the game all about? That'll be the subject of another post...

Start Rocking the Awesome Games

Hi there! First posts being first posts and all I think I'll start with some explanation.

My name's Hank. Or Havoc Jack. Or "that jerk" or "hey ugly" or "you in the fedora" will all suffice. I run a startup game design and publishing company called Awesome Games. Yeah, it's over the top, but it gets the point across. I'm writing this blog to talk about games and game design, partly because they're fun things to talk about, and partly in the hope that you'll be inspired by all this talk to check out one of our games. Hey, if they're as awesome as I think they are they're well worth your time. But who am I to have an opinion?

I'm a gamer born and bred. I've been playing chess with my older brother literally for longer than I can remember. I was three or four when I started, eight at least before I finally beat him. I can still remember exactly how his king was in checkmate, and where we were playing the game. Serves him right... but where was I? Oh yeah.

I've also been metagaming nearly as long. When I was five my family had a TRS80 with a Tetris program on it. I figured out that slamming the pieces down and starting on a higher difficulty both got you more points. When I was in junior high I brought RISK along with the boy scouts winter camping. When I was in high school I mocked people for playing Magic: the Gathering. When I was in college I took up Magic: the Gathering rather excitedly. I do less role playing than I would like, but I've been in a couple campaigns and I've run one.

I'm also an avid videogamer; when I was six I fell asleep playing Super Mario Bros. By the time I was seven I had memorized just about every secret in Mario III. (Still remember them). I started on computer games with Sim City 2000 on a Packard Bell running windows 3.1 in 1994. Played any number of games since then. When I was in high school I got calls from friends asking me how to get through certain portions of Fallout II and I'd answer their questions quoting from memory the exact dialogue options they would need to take. I taught myself to program in basic on my Ti-86 graphing calculator, eventually culminating in a game wherein you played as a Mad Scientist and got to conquer the world. (The game was called "MADNESS", so I could start with a splash screen reading "Welcome to MADNESS!" Fun times.) In general I tend towards RPG style videogames. I'm a real sucker for MMOs.

If you know the Magic psychographics, I'm a Timmy, and a Melvin. I have noticed tendencies from the other profiles too. If you go by the Bartle Test I'm an Explorer then an Achiever. If you've read all the above then I think you'll agree that I'm one hell of a nerd. Maybe not world class yet, but I'm ambitious.

And my company? Awesome games? I'm not going to say much about it, just that we don't need to make sense, we just need to make Awesome Games. That's our slogan, and we take it seriously. If you want to know more, read the blog and you'll learn a thing or two.