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Episode 122: Accelerated Gameable Force

January 9th, 2015 | Robin

The Magicians’ Guild turns out to be rife with factions and competing interests as the Gaming Hut looks at ways to add realistic messiness to your game’s imaginary institutions.

In Ken and/or Robin Talk to Someone Else, Robin asks up-and-coming illustrator Rachel A. Kahn how an artist breaks into the roleplaying game market these days, and what her must-have tools and resources are.

The Cartography Hut unfurls this map of global criminal trading activity, and we wring gaming ideas from it.

Finally Ken’s Time Machine shakes off some mothballs, but not a sense of historical inevitability, as Lisa J. Steele asks Ken to keep Japan allied with the West in the run-up to WWII.


Attention, class! Anchor sponsor Atlas Games wants to enroll you in Mad Scientist University, the card game of evil genius, insane assignments, and unstable elements. Act now, Ken and Robin listeners, and they’ll throw in the Spring Break expansion set for free. Shipping within the US is also free.

 

8 Responses to “Episode 122: Accelerated Gameable Force”

  1. Jeff R. says:

    I feel like there may be a bank-shot approach to the Japan problem involving making the Netherlands go Fascist at the right time…

  2. Jonathan Schwartz, of the Tiny Revolution blog, years ago coined “The Iron Law of Institutions”: the people who control institutions care first and foremost about their power within the institution rather than the power of the institution itself. Just keeping this rule in mind will give you many, many hooks to complicate organizations in any context.

  3. darren t. says:

    The messy topic is a great one, it adds a lot of realistic setting to a game while keeping the players on their toes. A few thoughts of mine on it.

    I know many fantasy video games have used the popular mage guild with an outside entity (demon, royalty, vampire, etc.) trying to steer things to it’s own adgenda so this adds a level of conspiracy to a game that gives a lot of places to take a game. A great real life example that comes to mind is some of the older eastern countries (i.e. India or Japan) where the recent inclusion of the modern civilization clashes with the traditional/spiritual past and how they find ways to agree on how to meet together.

    Putting this into a game, it’s just adding this mix of old & new on a group or city. Maybe there’s something that people used to do out of necessity but now it’s more done because it’s what you do & the meaning is now lost. So it gives the players that layer of odd traditions or laws to go through to do things that might be easier in other games. It can go from the lower level of the mage guild needing to get approval from all the craftsman guilds to do something major OR having to join one of these craftsman guilds to get enough influence to steer them to help the mage guild.

  4. RogerBW says:

    Something that made a big difference to my gaming was the realisation that organisations didn’t have to be monolithic. Rather than “the Nazi magicians are the enemy, it’s much more interesting to have “these Nazi magicians are definitely the bad guys, those ones are trying very hard to defect to your side though it’s up to you how much you trust them, and the others are mostly interested in whoever will keep them in expensive drugs”.

  5. Derek Upham says:

    If the players are the muscle for an esoteric research organization, then they are the Ahnenerbe.

  6. Shawn Wilson says:

    About Singapore. Uh, the battle didn’t go like that, though that is the popular representation. The British actually fought the Japanese all the way down the Malay peninsula. They weren’t stupid, they knew how to defend against a land invasion.

    Now, they had OTHER problems (like a divided command structure that had different units making deployment decisions (like the RAF placing their bases in places easy for the Japanese to reach, and very difficult for the Army to defend, so the Japanese could fuel their planes with British gas, and bomb British troops with British bombs after they had taken them). And a command that thought for no real reason that the jungle was impassable, and thus not defending in it. So, the Japanese just basically walked around the strongpoints on the roads.

    By the time the fighting had actually reached Singapore the campaign was pretty much already over. Note that the famous guns COULD shoot into the jungle (that they couldn’t is urban legend). And they did so. Unfortunately they had a preponderance of armor piercing ammunition (great against ships…), which was basically useless against land targets. The Japanese launched an attack on the island, seized the reservoirs and amid a massive Japanese artillery barrage the British commander surrendered.

    Thing is, the Japanese were using the last of their artillery ammunition for this. And their forces were actually smaller and less well equipped than the British. If he had just had the fortitude to hold out for one more day, the Japanese would have had to retreat all the way back up the peninsula to their supply points.

    • Tom Vallejos says:

      I read in a book by Liddell-Hart that there was criticism about the singapore defenses, but they were ignored.
      As for Japan not joining the Axis, what if Yamamoto, and other officers spoke up against the futility of war versus the USA? They had been to the USA, and knew ou potential.

  7. The counterfeit medicine smuggling may not to be fake medicine, but medicine that is chemically the same as the real drug, but not made by the company who has the trademark/copyright on the drug. This version tend to therefore be much much cheaper than the ‘real’ thing, yet does the same job. Thereby giving access to the drugs to those who would not otherwise be able to afford it, meaning those who smuggle these counterfeits are maybe not so high up on the SOBs who deserve all they get list…

    http://www.ip-watch.org/2010/08/02/coverage-of-anti-counterfeit-policy-debate-varies-widely-across-global-media/

    Although, there being a grey area as to what is actually being smuggled, of course opens other game-able areas!

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