Master Mines

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[Decommissioned] Back 2 Square 1

Over on Taking a Step Back, I answered Clyde’s question about corporate life with the following:

“Corporate life is the idea of working for an amoral mass rather than for people; where decisions are driven by faceless stockholders towards profit regardless of the long term effects, where the people who built companies are driven out by a mob of people who aren’t part of the day-to-day activities, where operational decisions are made by groups of elderly people who are out of touch with how to actually do the job, led by executives who visit the teeming working masses only on scheduled visits filled with pomp and circumstance who see an office at an implausibly perfect state and deliver long presentations and answer prepared questions…”

I now consider this the core from which I want to re-build D-Com.  This means all bets are off.  I’m not even sure the PCs will be robots anymore, or if they fight battles for corporate entities.  Honestly, I’m not yet sure where the game is in this yet, which is daunting.

But this core is solid and interesting to me.  I want to write up some setting details and see if that inspires me to a story and game possibility.

I wanted to let everyone know where I was on D-Com


August 7, 2008 Posted by | D-Com | 4 Comments

[Decommissioned] Taking a step back

As I mentioned in the comments on the Fuzzy Logic post, I recently did a playtest of D-Com. I wanted to test out the timing (the part where the Core stat degrades over time) and how to resolve conflicts with Core and Fuzzy Logic.  I got some interesting results, but not what I expected.

The game was a playtest, my first playtest. So yeah, it was all off. I didn’t mind that the mechanics needed tweaking. What got me was that I designed a game that I am not good at playing and don’t enjoy. A timed one shot when I realized, “Hey wait, I don’t tell fast-paced stories… uhm, I don’t usually dig one shots either…. wtf?!?  Why the heck am I making a game I wouldn’t really play???”

So, with that in mind, I’ve changed my status on Master Mines in regards to Decommissioned.  I need to rethink.

July 30, 2008 Posted by | D-Com | 9 Comments

[Decommissioned] Fuzzy Logic

I am currently looking at a different way to express Fuzzy Logic. 

REVIEW TIME (since I’ve had a few flavors of this):

For the PCs (currently calling them Drones), there are two stats: Core and Fuzzy Logic.  Core is a fixed number that starts at 100 and drops by 10 every so often (variable by desired game length).  Fuzzy Logic is a stat represented somehow by dice and can be a result on its own or something that could be added to Core to give a final result.  Core and Fuzzy Logic or Core+Fuxxy Logic are compared against a Difficulty Percentage set by the GM (which I’m calling a Drone Manager).  The Difficulty ranges between 1 – 100 and should be the percentage chance of failure.

Therefore, if a Drone PC wants to jump across a chasm, the DM would say, “That’s a 60% chance of failure.”  The player looks at Core (since jumping is what a drone was programmed to do) and if the Core is 60 or better, the drone accomplishes the action.

However, if a Drone PC wants to chat up a pretty girl, the DM would say, “There’s a 40% chance of failure.”  The player looks at Fuzzy Logic (since flirting is not what a drone was programmed to do) and “rolls” Fuzzy Logic and tries to meet or beat a 40.

Fuzzy Logic Now

The current build expresses it as separate dice that are rolled and added together.  When I explained it to someone, they pointed out that it would work like dice in 7th Sea and the quote used was “how fun is it to roll 8 keep 8”?  I realized that in a timed game, this could slow things down.    I am sad that I may not have open-ended rolls (which I love).

One option under consideration

I could express Fuzzy Logic as a single d10 roll and the variable is the multiplier.  This means that Fuzzy Logic (FL) is a single digit, starting at a 1.  So, if you roll 1d10, get an 8 and FL is 2, then the result is 16 (compared against a difficulty ranging from 1-100).  This gives a wild spread, which maps to the randomness of a drone working outside its programming.  However, it also means I may have to throw a multiplication table on the character sheet (which is kind of funny).  What do you think about this?

What are some other options for Fuzzy Logic? 

Here’s what FL should do:

  • be simple and easy to explain; something I can have on the character sheet
  • use a randomizer (preferably 10-sided die/dice) to reflect the unexpected results of moving out of the norm and trying something foreign
  • allow for quick progression (something that can be increased every time the action is failed to simulate a learning computer and encourage doing things outside programming)
  • give a result that can either be a 1-100 number on its own or reach a 1-100 number as it increases
  • give a result that can be added to Core stat (Core starts at 100 and declines by 10 over time) for times when the player describes an action where the PC can use both Core and FL added as the final result to be compared against the difficulty
  • work quickly (it is a timed game)

Miners, please give me succor.

July 3, 2008 Posted by | D-Com | 4 Comments

Misspent Youth: Witness the covers

Misspent Youth is a game, by me, that’s coming out at Gen Con 2008 in ashcan form. Here are the images from the cover, with the overall design concept by Joshua AC Newman, the art by Jennifer Rodgers, and execution by me (with frequent suggestions by Joshua et al.). You can click on the images for full-sized images so you can read the text.

I’m really happy and proud of this. The game rocks, too.

June 30, 2008 Posted by | Misspent Youth | , , | 5 Comments

Seiyuu: Developer Call #1

As some of you may or may not know, Leonard Balsera (the “teflon brain” of Evil Hat Productions) has agreed to be my developer for Seiyuu. (Hurray!) What I was looking for was someone who had enough interest in the game that they could keep motivating me to work on it, who could discuss mechanical issues I was having (a weak point of mine), and who had enough general knowledge of anime that I wouldn’t constantly be explaining things. Lenny brings all of that, in spades.

We haven’t worked out all the details yet, but mostly this boils down to right now is two things:

  1. General ass-kicking for me to work on the game.
  2. Weekly(ish) Skype call to discuss current status and work through outstanding issues.

Last night was the first “Seiyuu developer call” (or SDC, as Perrin might call it), and it went really well. I was left with the following “homework”:

  1. Define a “mission statement” for the game – what I really want the game to be like.
  2. Finish breaking down the game into discrete concepts (using the “Roby method”) – this was half-complete as of last night.
  3. Take the resulting “outline” and reduce it to one (“the Lenny version”) that just handles the procedure of play.

I will attempt to make quick updates here either before each call, detailing what I’ve done, or after, summarizing where I’m going now.

June 25, 2008 Posted by | Seiyuu | 2 Comments

Back cover draft: thoughts?

You can see a first-draft of my attempt at a Misspent Youth back cover here. What do you think. Improvements? Suggestions? All are welcome.

June 23, 2008 Posted by | Misspent Youth | , , | 4 Comments

Misspent Youth layout procedes apace

Joshua AC Newman said, of my layout for Misspent Youth, “I’m really happy with it.” This is not all he said. There is some work to be done. But I’ve got this giddy, junior-high, “so-and-so said she likes you” thing going on right now.

Thank you, Master Minds!

June 18, 2008 Posted by | Misspent Youth | , , | Leave a comment

[Decommissioned] Arrows by Any Other Name

Quite a while ago, Rob Bohl commented that Battlebots, the term I was using for the protagonists in Decommissioned, was a TV show.  Since that time, I’ve been noodling over what to rename B-Bots.


This past weekend, I settled on something that drives back to the core of my corporate satire idea.  I’m currently digging on Drone.  I have considered adding an adjective of some kind at the front of the name, something alliterative or descriptive or just plain cool, but I haven’t settled on anything yet (Destruco Drone… War Drone… I dunno).  I do like the feeling of “drone” because it touches on the feeling of being manufactured for output instead of input, of being mindless.  Any ideas on Drones names out there?


The idea of a PC Drone then gave rise to thoughts further a-field.  What if there aren’t just “War Drones”, but also “Worker Bees”?  This of course, makes some logical sense.  Not only would a robot made for battle want freedom, maybe a robot built for lifting things or one created to weld stuff.  Now, I find myself at a crossroads. 


The game as originally conceived was short and sweet, simple and to the point.  You run, you fight, you “die”.  But what would a game about a Worker Bee?  Is that compelling emo porn?  Or does it present the player with an option that is interesting but leads to the “What do I do now?” problems?


Is this a good idea or does it dilute my focus?  I feel like it dilutes my focus, that this thought process might be best for future supplements or an entirely different game, but I don’t want to chuck it aside if someone finds it grabby.  What are your thoughts, Miners?

June 18, 2008 Posted by | D-Com | 5 Comments

May I Present Mecha v0.1

Okay everyone, here is the first beta test copy of my game.

With the release of this beta version, I have dropped the name Neoborn Genesis Honor Blade and have officially renamed it “Mecha.”  Kinda catchy I hope…

Anyone interested, please give the draft a read.  I welcome any and all feedback.

Mecha Version 0.1 

Edit: Made the link work and corrected a typo.

June 13, 2008 Posted by | Mecha | , , , | 2 Comments


Not ready to call for a Mastermines Unite! quite yet, but after voicing some of my fears to Matt last night, I decided the time has come for me to ask of you some help.

I am 95% finished the final beta draft of NGHB last night (sounds like I am a commitment phobe…final/beta/draft)  I just need to proofread it which I will be done with on Sunday come heck or high water.

Anyway…I want to send the draft out but my biggest concern right now is that I’m not explaning things well.  Does anyone have the time to go through a 55 page doc and just see if it makes sense?  I don’t need a playtest (not complaining mind you…) I just want to make sure that the words I used make sense and as Matt put it if I am explaning how to get from X to Y to Z that I haven’t unintentionally left out steps A, B, and C because I do them automatically.

If anyone is cool with it, can you comment here.  I know how to get ahold of everyone on the list.

June 12, 2008 Posted by | Mecha | 3 Comments