Gaming Session: Minecraft, February 28, 2019

Minecraft this Thursday; 8:30pm EST / 5:30pm PST.

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Symposium: Invisible, Inc., February 7, 2019

This month’s Symposium, led by Pat, will be on Invisible, Inc.  Quoting Pat:

This week we will be looking at Invisible Inc., from the creators of Mark of the Ninja.  It makes for an interesting comparison to Into the Breach.  Both games are technically in the same genre, that being turn-based strategy.  And certainly, both games are difficult and require a lot of tactical thinking. But there’s a huge difference in the kind and amount of information each game provides to its players.  There are many aspects of Into the Breach which are unknown: map layouts, enemy decisions, random rewards.  The player has several different means of anticipating those things, however, and so we might call them “known” unknowns.  Invisible Inc, on the other hand, conceals more than it reveals, thus giving the player “unknown” unknowns.  We’ll talk about the meaning of the two systems and the design philosophies they reflect.

We’ll meet this Thursday at 8:30pm EST / 5:30pm PST.


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Gaming Session: Minecraft, January 31, 2019

Minecraft this Thursday! 8:30pm EST, 5:30pm PST, voice chat on Discord.

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Symposium – January 3rd, 2019: Into the Breach


It was nearly half a decade ago when we played Subset Games’ first release, FTL, and discussed its capacity for player-created narrative. The intervening years have seen a great deal of change, especially with regards to the prevalence of procedural content in gaming, so it seems fitting to kick off a new year of symposium discussion with Subset’s award-winning follow-up. How does Into the Breach’s deterministic play and legibility contribute to the micro-narratives that emerge from it? How do these narratives compare against the ones we find in other strategy games? We’ll discuss this and more through voice chat over Discord at 8:30pm EDT / 5:30pm PDT.

Supplemental Material:

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Gaming Session: Minecraft, December 27, 2018

Minecraft this Thursday!  8:30pm EST / 5:30pm PST.

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Symposium, December 6, 2018: Reigns: Her Majesty


What does it mean to be a queen? Can you balance the church, people, military, and economy? Reigns: Her Majesty (2017) gives a glimpse into a simulation of a medieval kingdom and its challenges. Let’s start our conversation there.

As a simulation, what does Reigns: Her Majesty (2017) expose? What does it hide? With its emphasis on binary choices, do we see a serious engagement of ruling, or does the more sillier aspects ask use to “game” our choices? Are we learning to be a ruler, or “playing at” several layers removed from the more serious nature of some of the choices?

Voice chat over Discord, 8:30pm EDT / 5:30pm PDT.

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Gaming Session: Minecraft, November 29, 2018

Minecraft this Thursday! 8:30pm EST / 5:30pm PST, voice chat over Discord.

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