Gaming Session: The Crew (June 24th, 2021)

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In preparation of our July symposium on The Crew, we’re going to come together to take an inaugural flight with the game on Board Game Arena. 8:30pm EST / 5:30pm PST, with interstellar transmissions provided by Discord voice chat.

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Symposium: Crypt of the NecroDancer, June 3, 2021

Crypt of the NecroDancer (2015)

This month, let’s examine Crypt of the NecroDancer (2015). In our pursuit of a vocabulary around what makes a roguelike game like the game Rogue (1980), let’s put Crypt of the NecroDancer (2015) up adjust traditional views of what makes a “roguelike” and how that has been challenged in the many years since the writing of the Berlin Interpretation (2013).

Discussion on Discord this Thursday at 8:30pm EDT / 5:30pm PDT!

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Symposium: Eastshade, May 6, 2021

For the May Symposium, we’re talking about Eastshade. The main topic that I want to discuss is what Eastshade has to say about genre conventions: it’s an open-world game, but one without combat, and it differs from open-world conventions in other ways as well. How well do we feel Eastshade works; what does our reaction say about the role of genre conventions?

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Symposium and Playversation, 1 April 2021: Marvel Champions: The Card Game

We’ll continue exploring the Fantasy Flight Games cooperative Living Card Game (LCG) as a rogue-like epic occasion on Thursday, with a playversation streamed on my Twitch channel, if I can get it going. Here’s a post-series (follow back from the first link) to get you thinking about how my usual bardic parallels line up. Most importantly, I’d like to see if the LCG has a whiff of cordite about it, as the smoking-gun link between bardic narrative and roguelike virtuosity.

Discussion on Discord this Thursday at 8:30pm EDT / 5:30pm PDT!

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Symposium, March 4th: Crusader Kings II and III

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It would be easy to take one look at the byzantine UI prompts and the arcane systems of territorial stewardship in Crusader Kings and conclude that the game was a purely abstract exercise, a grand strategy game far too grand for the soil of the human condition. When the wheels of its systems are in motion, however, they reveal a maelstrom of ambitions and desires to be carefully negotiated not just by one ruler in their time, but a lineage of power carried on through blood (familial and martial).

Can such a meticulous rendering of medieval politics even begin to mount a critique the Western orthodoxy that it rests upon? Is such a critique necessitated by the arc of the game? Perhaps our discussion on Discord this Thursday at 8:30pm EDT / 5:30pm PDT will provide a formal venue to mount a valuable interrogation, all while the careful strings of our spymasters pull its shadows into sharp relief.

Supplemental reading: Crusader Kings III is a World of Complexity That Feels Powerfully Alive by Gita Jackson (Waypoint/Vice)

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Symposium: Tetris, February 4, 2021

Tetris has been around in one form or another since 1984. In the 36 years since its first creation, it has been ported to everything from the Game Boy to the iPod. It is, at least according to the listing on Wikipedia, found on 30+ different platforms under its official license and many more beyond that in other forms.

Last month, we looked at Good Sudoku and examined what makes it “good” beyond collections of Sudoku puzzles and other tools. This month, let’s turn that same lens to Tetris. What makes a “good” Tetris game? Are the more recent Tetris Effect (2018) and Tetris 99 (2019) “good” examples? Can there be a “bad” Tetris game?

Let’s start with thinking about when we each first encountered Tetris. What platform was it on? How about more recently? Have you played Tetris in the last three years on a different platform?

8:30pm EST / 7:30pm CST / 5:30pm PST; Voice chat over Discord.

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Symposium: Good Sudoku, January 7, 2021

For our first Symposium of 2021, we’re going to talk about Good Sudoku. Specifically, I’m interested in talking about how Good Sudoku tackles the question of developing skills necessary to successfully navigate a game’s procedurally generated terrain, by providing affordances for just in time learning and by explicitly modeling the player’s puzzle solving processes.

The usual time and place: 8:30pm EST / 7:30pm CST / 5:30pm PST, voice chat over Discord.

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Gaming Session: Farewell to Minecraft, December 31, 2020

We’ve been building on our current Minecraft server pretty much monthly since December 2010; it’s been a good decade, but our energy levels are flagging a bit, so we’ve decided to declare victory. The saved data isn’t going anywhere, so we’ll have the option to continue later if we want, but for now, this will be the last of our regular monthly sessions.

It’ll be at the usual time: December 31, 8:30pm EST / 5:30pm PST, voice chat over discord.

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Symposium playversation: Arkham Horror: The Card Game, part 2, 1 December 2020

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In my first foray into playversing about AHLCG, I think I managed to make clear how the basic mechanics of the LCG genre provide a fascinating platform for blended linear and emergent storytelling. Above all, the confrontation of player deck with encounter deck and chaos bag seemed to prove a source of interest, especially with respect to the ancient epic tradition that’s always my touchstone.

This time, I’ll play the second scenario of the core set, The Midnight Masks, solo on OCTGN over Twitch. I’ll discuss how the individual mechanics of the scenario interact with the core mechanics of the game, and I’ll attempt a comparison with the epic mechanics of different episodes (oimai, in the homeric bards own terminology) of Iliad and Odyssey.

Conversation on Discord, game-streaming via OCTGN on twitch.tv/8mph1. 8:30 EDT, 7:30 CDT, 5:30 PDT.

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Gaming Session: Minecraft, November 19, 2020

Because of Thanksgiving, we’re moving Minecraft up a week, so we’ll do it this Thursday. Usual time: 8:30 EST / 7:30 CST / 5:30 PST.

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