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Episode 18: Conspiracy To Commit Ophthalmology

November 28th, 2012 | Robin

This week’s episode  commences with a trip to the Gaming Hut to consider Robin’s dichotomy of rewards versus incentives, which segues into a discussion of the co-designer syndrome in playtest feedback.

Ask Ken and Robin fields a question from Brett Evill on how one might bend history to add Ruritania-style postage stamp states back to the map of Europe.

We swap the key cooking tips we’d wished our time traveling present selves had told our neophyte incarnations as the Food Hut tackles minimaxing in the kitchen.

Then a recent report on the decoding of the Copiale Codex sends us to Conspiracy Corner to consider the history of secret societies through the obscured lenses of the Great Enlightened Society of Oculists.

5 Responses to “Episode 18: Conspiracy To Commit Ophthalmology”

  1. GB Steve says:

    I’ve been thinking a lot about what you discussed in the gaming hut this week. We play a lot of different games in our group and it has become clear to me that often the emotional response that the designer claims is delivered by a set of rules is in part due to how their group plays the game. I’ve been wondering how to capture that essence in words so that other groups can have the same experience. I think some of it comes in the way groups respond to rewards but I also think that some work needs to be done up front of a game in making sure that all the participants understand the tone and theme of the game. Just having “Hunger”, with no further explanation, as the theme of the first session of Hillfolk does a lot to put everyone on the same page.

    On the food front, I once overcooked a balsamic reduction (vinegar and sugar) and made balsamic toffee. I’m not sure what recipes it could used for, perhaps as small cubes sprinkled on a risotto, but I tastes great.

  2. GenjiandProust says:

    Two thoughts.

    First, food hut. It’s probably worth telling people who are not cooks that the only way to become a cook is to cook. Pick a couple of recipes — maybe a soup and a pasta sauce — and cook them often — at least once a week. After a couple of “by the recipe,” you can try adding things — more garlic, different vegetables or spices, and you start to learn how things taste and what you like. Once you have those down, you can add other recipes. It’s simple, fairly painless, and fun!

    As for a “Ruritanian Europe,” you missed a trick. Most gamers like fantasy elements. If you have magic or mad science or psychic powers or martial arts or whatever that are maybe hereditary but not always, you have a great excuse for a load of Duchies and Princedoms and Free Cities and things (maybe loosely tied under a Holy Roman Empire) where no ruling family has the magic (or whatever) strength to dominate their neighbors too much or large states develop because Prince William is a kick-ass sorcerer, but his son isn’t (or, you know, he goes mad or gets eaten by a demon or some other picturesque thing), so the dynasty falls apart pretty quickly. Then you need to decide what new thing Napoleon, say brought to the table that got a whole lot of French Kung Fu masters to march under his banner to threaten Europe, but, hey, I can’t do all the work here….

  3. Cambias says:

    Steingarten’s method of rice cooking is the standard in Louisiana. Treat it like pasta. You can then rinse it, and reheat by steaming. The result is very fluffy rice, not at all sticky.

  4. RogerBW says:

    My experience with (black) pepper is that it’s good for about fifteen minutes once ground. After that the piperine and terpenes have boiled off and one might as well not bother.

    People who aren’t me may like white pepper, which I think is a bit more stable (doesn’t keep the terpenes in the first place, since they’re in the outer part of the berry that gets stripped off during processing). At least in the UK, it’s unusual to see white peppercorns; it’s usually sold pre-powdered.

  5. Aaron says:

    A third way we have inheirited secret societies is Greek letter fraternities and sororities. The lore is they had their origin in post Civil War America where discussions of politics would have resulted in expulsion from school.

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