Master Mines

We’re digging RPGs

It’s All About Me

Wow, Rich is a tough act to follow. Here goes!

The Basics

My name is Matthew Gandy. I’ve been watching the MM site on and off since shortly after GenCon, but I haven’t been in a position to jump in until now (more on that below).

I’m a 34-year-old software tester for a Yellow Pages publisher, and I currently live in Raleigh, North Carolina. I have a Master’s degree in LIberal Arts, which is really only useful for stuff outside of work, but all of my technical knowledge is self-taught. As I’m fond of telling my coworkers, I know just enough to be dangerous.

My Stress

At work, we are in the middle of a massive software release, and the company I work for has lost over 90% of its stock value in the last year, due to the economy and industry-wide problems. This translates less into worry for job security and more into realization that we have a lot of work to do in the next few months and no additional resources with which to do it.

Also, I am in the last few months of an amicable separation, leading to a divorce in July. I mention this not for sympathy, but because this and work are the two largest drains on my time and energy for the next few months. This is my stress.

Me and You

I’m a big fan of audio in general, and podcasts in particular. As such, I’ve listened to Have Games, Will Travel since GenCon ’06, the Sons of Kryos for slightly longer, and more recently Canon Puncture and Master Plan. Indie Insurgency is in my queue, but I haven’t gotten to it yet, and I’ve a long backlog of Theory from the Closet. I’m hoping to start my own podcast on anime in the coming months.

I got to meet both Paul and Jeff Lower at that GenCon, although I don’t think I’ve roleplayed with either. (I did play Bang! with Paul.) Also at GenCon ’06 I had one of the most painful dinner conversations I’ve ever experienced – with Clyde. (I am so sorry, Clyde; next time, let’s talk about games and not personal politics!) I think I’ve gamed with Rob at some point; I know we talked about early MY mechanics at Dreamation ’07. At GenCon ’07 Chris convinced me to let him playtest Seiyuu with Andy Kitkowski and Lenny Balsera, and it was the longest and most in-depth playtest of the game to date.

Chris and Ryan are also on my Gmail list. Since this is the only effective way for me to IM while at work, feel free to drop me a line or chat there – my handle on Gmail and LJ is semioticity.

My Gaming Pedigree

I started with D&D as a wee lad, before my parents forbade it, not for worries of demonic sacrifice, but because it was eating up too much of my time, even as a preteen. I came back to gaming a few years later via the Palladium line: TMNT, Beyond the Supernatural, and Robotech.

I’ve been gaming with Fred Hicks since junior high, and he got me started on Champions and later GURPS Supers. I wasn’t even a comic-book fan at that point – the game got me into comics, rather than the other way around. We lost touch during college and reconnected about five years ago.

In the meantime, I went the whole White Wolf route for most of the 90s, before I discovered I didn’t actually like vampires that much. My trad gaming culminated with Exalted, after which I broke up my dysfunctional gaming group and didn’t play anything consistently for about two years. During that time, I found indie games, and I’ve never looked back.

I’ve played two MMOs for the past few years – City of Heroes and World of Warcraft – and they’ve eaten a lot of my time. WoW is why I didn’t try to join MM earlier – I was in a raiding guild until last week and very busy for the past six months or so. I blame my lack of enthusiasm for trad games on WoW – when I sit down to play, I want a storytelling experience. If I want a tactical RPG experience, I can play WoW.

After GenCon ’06 I decided I wanted to be more involved in the local gaming scene, especially as the Durham 3 hail from the city next door. There are a lot of excellent gamers in the area, and I’ve had the opportunity to game with most of them now. My only regular tabletop group is run by Andy Kitkowski, but I’m about to start another one, as well as get in some Skype gaming with Ryan and Lenny.

My Play Style

What I look for in most games now is the chance to make interesting choices, usually through the medium of a character. I’ve spent so much of my life GMing that I’m trying to (re)learn how to be a decent player. (Ask Andy how I’m doing on that front.) I think gaming can be therapy as much as escapism, but I don’t tend to connect my personal life or ideology to my characters as much as I just try to play them as honestly as possible. I dislike just playing through an environment – I want to get straight to the juicy bits: character interaction and conflict. Everything doesn’t have to be conflict, but I don’t want to feel like I’m in a computer adventure game, exhausting the dialogue options with the NPCs or waiting for the next cutscene.

My Game: Seiyuu

I am a gigantic fan of anime, which is why my game is about just that. “Seiyuu” is the Japanese word for voice actor, and in the game, you create an anime show (movie, OAV, or series), create the characters, and play through the story.

I haven’t addressed the Big Three with this game in more than a year; I might do so again soon. I’m hoping to have a very rough playtest draft ready in a week or so. As soon as I do, expect to see it posted.

Most of what I am looking for from other Master Miners is help with mechanics and structural problems. I know what I want out of the game, but I am very weak on designing mechanics, so I will be looking for ideas and suggestions to solve those sorts of problems with my game.

Currently, the game uses one deck of regular playing cards for all resolution mechanics, and most other elements of the game are tracked on index cards.

I anticipate the final product will be half game mechanics, so you can play the game, and half discussion of all the various intricacies and conventions of anime, so players have a big box of tools to build any anime they might want.

My Contributions

What I tend to bring to the table in terms of comments are conceptual and linguistic concerns. I worry when folks don’t have a solid sense of what they want out of their game or seem to be unsure about what their game offers players, as well as nitpicky focus on the naming of things. I think it’s important; feel free to tell me I’m wrong.

I try to be careful about how I post (again, linguistic concerns), because I am always trying to present constructive criticism. I’m fairly tough-minded, so don’t pull your punches with me, but if I’m not pulling them with you and it’s an issue, just let me know.

See you in the Mines!

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April 6, 2008 - Posted by | Seiyuu |

4 Comments »

  1. Welcome to the Mine, Matthew. Here’s a pick. Let’s get to work.

    First of all, I dig the name of the game. Once you explained what the word means, it gave me an immediate feeling of giving voice to an anime series, which is quite cool.

    My most favorite anime series are Cowboy Bebop, Serial Experiments Lain and Ghost in the Shell 2nd Gig. I would love to have a toolbox to let me re-create these series.

    I look forward to finding out how you differentiate your game from other anime RPGs out there… including Perrin’s.

    Post up a revised Big Three ASAP. I’m revising mine now. I t is important for each of us to have those answers (even if they change… especially if they change now that I think about it).

    Comment by orklord | April 6, 2008 | Reply

  2. Hey Matt. Are you sure we didn’t play anything together at Dreamation this year? Or were we just in the same room a lot?

    Regarding play style, I totally sympathize with having to re-learn how to be a good player. There was a period two or so years ago where I was convinced I was a terrible player. Fortunately, I’ve had enough chances to play again that I’ve mostly overcome that. Hopefully you will too.

    Comment by ptevis | April 6, 2008 | Reply

  3. Possibly some demos, Paul – I remember hang out with you (via Fred and Rob), but I don’t remember much active game playing on my part. It was my first GenCon, and I did a lot of demos.

    Andy’s been very good about honoring my desire to play rather than run, although I will be running stuff for the group later this year.

    Comment by Matthew Gandy | April 6, 2008 | Reply

  4. Hmm… I enjoyed that conversation. I’m interested in what other folks think, but I don’t read people well once I’m politically engaged. Next time let me know. *grins*

    Comment by iamclyde | April 6, 2008 | Reply


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