What Else Is Out There?

The Phoenix: Dawn Command Kickstarter campaign wrapped up at 8 AM this morning (Wednesday, May 6th). Thanks to all the people who backed us, we are going to be able to make this game a reality. It’s been a long eighteen months, and I’m grateful to everyone who’s been a part of it. I’m looking forward to NOT looking at computers or Kickstarters for a few days, but before I drop off the net I wanted to talk about some of the OTHER Kickstarters out there that I’m interested in…

ApocryphaThe Apocrypha Adventure Card Game

Creator Mike Selinker describes Apocrypha as the next evolution of two games that he helped to create: The Pathfinder Adventure Card Game and one of my favorite board games, Betrayal At House On The Hill. It is a massive game – if you get the full edition, it comes with over a thousand cards. I’m not backing Apocrypha… because I’m part of it! Apocrypha’s stretch goals include Chapters that add more content to the game, and I’m working on the Book of the Dreamer. At this moment Apocrypha has six days left – check it out!

CampaignCOins2Campaign Coins Starter Sets and Epic Treasure

Campaign Coins makes awesome coins with a great weight, and I’ve found lots of ways to use them over the years. However, there’s less than a day left in this, so if you’re interested you’ll have to act fast!

FallofMagicFall of Magic

I only found out about this yesterday, but I’ve run into a number of people who are very excited about it and the basic concept is certainly intriguing. It’s a roleplaying game that’s played using a handmade scroll, which is unrolled as you make your way through your journey. I want to learn more about this before I jump in – it’s not cheap, because HAND-MADE SCROLL – but there’s 24 days left, so there’s time to dig deeper.

DoubleclicksThe Doubleclicks: President Snakes

As I was writing this very post, I discovered that The Doubleclicks had launched a new campaign, so I stopped and backed it immediately. You should too. I’ll let them speak for themselves: “Our next album is called ‘President Snakes.’ It’s not all nerdy, not all folky, not all funny, but definitely a mix of those things. It’s the most honest and personal album we’ve ever created. There is sadness and happiness and a cat or two. It’s the next step for us and it is full of songs we are extremely proud of…” 

GeekDad’s Legal Costs

While I’m not a dad myself, I’ve long been a fan of the Geekdad website. Once upon a time they were affiliated with Wired, and after breaking free they had a protected struggle with Conde Nast over the Geekdad identity. They’ve settled, but they’re still paying the cost. As someone who’s run into this sort of problem with many things I’ve created, I sympathize and I’d like to see the site and team prosper. This is a GoFundMe campaign, so it’s an ongoing thing.

My goal was to STOP staring at the computer for a little while, so I’m going to stop here. However, there’s still MORE campaigns that were recommended to me: Witch Hunter: Grand Tome of Adversaries (9 Days Left) and The Planet Mercenary Roleplaying Game (11 Days Left). Take a look!

THAT’S IT! Again, thank you so much to those of you who backed Phoenix and helped to make my dream a reality; hopefully some of these other campaigns will also catch your interest!

Sundry and Geeky Gloom News

Ten years ago I made a game called Gloom. In 2012 Gloom was featured on an episode of Geek & Sundry’s awesome series TableTop, with Wil Wheaton, Meghan Camarena, Amber Benson, and Michelle Boyd. In 2013, Atlas and I teamed up with Geek & Sundry to produce a special TableTop-themed Gloom expansion, which was given away on International TableTop Day.

TableTopGloomCoverWell, it’s 2014, and International TableTop Day is happening again – on April 5th 2014! Last weekend I had the good fortune to be at the announcement party, and it sounds like Geek & Sundry still has some copies of TableTop Gloom on hand. We only did a limited run on it, so no promises that they’ll have it at any particular ITD event… but they might! So if you missed TableTop Gloom last year, look for a ITD event near you.

One of the highlights of the party was playing the game with Meghan Camarena – better known as Strawburry17 – her brother David, and my friend Satine Phoenix. So I got to play TableTop Gloom with one of the people who played Gloom on TableTop, which was a awesomely palindromic way to end a day. On top of which, we killed Wil Wheaton. Twice.

Strawberry GloomOf course, as long as I’m talking about TableTop Gloom, I’d be remiss if I didn’t post a link to the video I made last TableTop Day, with The Doubleclicks and Molly Lewis!

I’m working on a few Gloom-related projects that I’m not quite ready to talk about, but there is one interesting thing happening RIGHT NOW. Artist Len Peralta is producing a new series of Geek Trading cards: Geek-A-Week Year Five Two, and I’m in the roster for the set. Looking at it, my first thought was “I want to play Gloom with these cards!” I talked to Len, and if the Kickstarter hits $20,000 I’m going to put together a set of Geek-A-Week Gloom cards using his artwork. To be clear: This won’t be a fully produced expansion on translucent plastic; plastic cards are expensive to produce, especially in a small run. Instead, this will be a single sheet for you to download and print on cardstock, taking eight of Len’s geeks and translating them in guests and characters for Gloom. Since characters are always on the bottom of the stack, it doesn’t matter if they aren’t transparent. But if you’ve ever wanted to tell a terrifying story in which Patrick Rothfuss traps Neil Gaiman on a train just in time for them both to be murdered by The Doubleclicks and Anne Wheaton, help make this Gloom set a reality! Plus, it means that I’ll get to be on a Gloom card, and I’ve got some ideas for that.

GAW GloomI’ve been meaning to write a Gloom Q&A for a while now, but I’ve never gotten around to it. So… what do you want to know about Gloom?


My plans for TableTop Day!

We’re just a few days away from International TableTop Day. Games are afoot! Afeet! Whatever! I’ve learned a number of new games this month – Agents of SMERSHUnexploded Cow, Emperor’s New Clothes, Deadwood Studios – and I hope I’ll learn a few new ones this weekend. Of course, I also plan on playing one of MY games…

Atlas Games and I put this set of cards together to say “Thank you” to TableTop for introducing new people to so many games that we love. It’s going to be available at as a free promo at TableTop Day events that are receiving support from Geek & Sundry. If you go to the Event Locator, if the event has a star, then they should have this promo set… though, of course, supplies are very limited and it’s up to the event managers to decide how to distribute the cards.

This TableTop set includes Stories and Guests, two types of cards that aren’t found in the standard Gloom deck. Guests appear in the expansions Unwelcome Guests and Unpleasant Dreams, while stories are found in Cthulhu Gloom. The pack includes rules for using the cards, but I wanted to show you how they work. With that in mind, I invited Molly Lewis and The Doubleclicks over to play a game with the TableTop cards. I’ll be posting the video highlights of the game soon, so you can be prepared when you get your hands on your very own Gloomy Wil!

The Doubleclicks are awesome, but the real star of the show is the photobombing Mister Pants.

Meanwhile, if you live in Portland, you’ve got a few chances to play Gloom with me on TableTop Day. I’ll be at Rainy Day Games from 2-3 PM, and then I’ll be at Things From Another World on Broadway at 3:30 PM. I hope I’ll see you there. And if not, have a Gloomy and Awesome TableTop Day!

Check back tomorrow to see the video!

Six Questions: The Doubleclicks!

I know a lot of interesting people. Some I’ve worked with, some I’ve met while traveling the world, some just owe me money. My name may be on the website, but it seems kind of boring if I’m the only person whose voice is heard here. So I’m bringing some of my friends to the site, as time permits. I’m not a podcasty kind of guy, so I’m just keeping things simple: one guest, six questions.

The Doubleclicks: Aubrey (L) and Angela (R)

My guests today are THE DOUBLECLICKS, Portland’s hottest comedy/nerd/folk sister band. In their own words, they “write songs about Dungeons & Dragons, beatboxing, and lots and lots of heartbreak.” You may know them from W00tstock or the Ladies of Ragnarok, or you may not know them at all, in which case you should stream some music right now.

On to the questions!

How did you get started? What drove you to dive into the cutthroat, Smaug-eat-Smaug world of Nerd-Folk music?

Angela: Growing up and through school, my favorite music has always been stuff with lyrics that have something to say – usually something funny – like They Might Be Giants or Jonathan Coulton. I started playing guitar during college, because, despite having a very musical family, it wasn’t until I left home that I realized that playing guitar actually “makes you cool.” Aubrey moved out to Portland toward the end of my college career, and encouraged me to write songs and perform them with her at a local open mic night – and, when it came to songwriting, I immediately jumped to emulate my influences – with songs that are more about lyrics and storytelling than anything else. That was almost 4 years ago now. We officially started the band in 2011, and we’ve had just an amazing time.

Aubrey: Angela started writing songs and playing the guitar for her friends, and I dragged her out to open mics around Portland because I knew other people would be delighted by her performances. Then we started playing little shows for our friends and found a band name, started writing more songs… and have been meeting amazing people ever since!

If you were taken to a zoo on a distant planet and forced to perform three of your songs for the rest of your lives, which three would you choose?

Angela: Oh, how I hope this doesn’t happen. For the first, I’d choose Oh, Mr. Darcy, because it’s a true story that has shaped who I am. For the second, I’d choose Imposter (the song about Mars Curiosity), because it’s also got true sentiments, plus it’s about space, so that might help us gain some sympathy with our alien zoo-keepers. For the third, it seems like I should choose a happy one, but I think I’d choose “A Song about EVE Online,” because it’s hard to play, and if we had to perform the same songs for the rest of our lives, we might as well be improving.

Aubrey: Setting the mood, Imposter, and Clever Girl.

Is “This Fantasy World” based on a true story? How did you get started with gaming, and what are some of your favorites?

Angela: “This Fantasy World” is about meeting someone in a Dungeons and Dragons game and falling in love. It is, in fact, based on a true story – it’s about the D&D game in college, in which I met my boyfriend. I got started with gaming in high school – my friends and I would play D&D with dice and graph paper in the foyer of our school, while I waited for my mom, who taught at my school, to be finished, so I could go home. My experience, through high school and college, was pretty limited to D&D, occasional tries at Werewolf or Mage, and some board games like Twilight Imperium (I didn’t know any better, ok?). It wasn’t really until we started the band that our worlds were expanded to see awesome indie RPGs like Lady Blackbird and Dungeon World, and fantastic board games – my current favorites being Ticket to Ride and Lords of Waterdeep (I’m a sucker for victory points).

You’ve just released a holiday album, Christmas Ain’t About Me. What makes it different from the average holiday collection?

Angela: Christmas Ain’t About Me is our take on Christmas. There are a couple of songs that are specific to this year’s holiday – about the old man with the white beard who makes the season great (Gandalf), and what happens on December 21 (The End Of The World.) We also took some of the classic Christmas Song Types – the love song, the travel song, and the song from a kid’s perspective – and twisted them to our own experiences. The making of this album was a great experience in getting-something-done-and-out-there-quickly – and we’re very proud of how it turned out.

Aubrey: There are several holiday themes- children, elves, presents, travel, being with friends… but we based it off our personal experiences which makes it a bit nerdier than average.

In honor of your song “Worst Superpower Ever”, I have to ask: Would you rather have Superman’s super-ventriloquism or Batman’s bat-thermal-underwear?

Angela: That is a tough choice – both of those seem *amazing.* I’d probably go with bat-thermal-underwear though, because super-ventriloquism seems like it go horribly wrong more often than not.

Aubrey: I want the thermal underwear! Being warm when it’s freezing outside makes me unstoppable!

What’s next?

This Friday, we are prepping for the apocalypse with a live-streamed bunker concert on Molly Lewis’ YouTube Channel at 7:30 pm PST. If we survive, in 2013, we will hit the road for a West Coast tour through Seattle, Portland and most of California – playing in a lot of game and comic stores. We’re planning to make a new album in the first half of 2013, and then tour all over the place, because touring is awesome.