Sunday, 19 February 2012

Excellence in postmodernity (Free mini-games by One Seven Design Studio)

I think I get sucked into two worlds, one: the product-pumping stores of DriveThru/RPGNow (OneBookShelf) sites; and the other: the gentle dream-like-slipping-back into a handful of RPGs from around the early 80s - a knowledge which I try to wedge into the praise of retro-clones, and any games with a simpler or adaptable style.  My concept of "genre" defaults to "Fantasy", "Horror" and "Sc-Fi". After that I flail about trying to match films to settings (mainstream films from the 80's, I might add - in which Steampunk seemed to be absent).  Naturally, I'm not fully card-holding old-school, grognard, 1st generation, 70's RPG hard-core, where only Traveller covered all things sci-fi (and maybe 15mm Laserburn?), when fantasy settings were purely the domain of Dungeons & Dragons, Tunnels & Trolls (d6s only) and Runequest (% only, no levels).  I was, however acutely aware at the time of the specialising of the newer games in horror, sci-fi, superheroes and 30s settings, from TSR, GDW, SJG, Pacesetter, Iron Crown, Games Workshop etc. - but that somehow it felt that they were always shadowed by, and challenging the thrones of the Original Four.  ...  Oh dear, I'm babbling again, mainly about my easily dizzied head when it comes to genres, game mechanics and settings.  (I feel must re-read Mr Huss's The Gamers’ Guide to Tabletop Role-playing Genres and put away Ian Livingstone's Dicing with Dragons)

The point I was getting around to make is that I overlook some really very cool independent sites like One.Seven Design Studios who's beautifully presented free* mini-game downloads defy my staid perception of genre and setting (I'm mainly referring here to Lady Blackbird, Ghost/Echo, and the wonderfully camp Danger Patrol).  Also my perception of role-playing systems needing to be "bulky" is being challenged here.  There's a suggestion that these games - a handful of cards, a rules brief and character sheets - can be picked up and played in an evening.  Heresy! The fools! ;)  I need large hardback books, a pile of dice, complicated maps, confused players, and a month of preparation!

(*There is an option to buy the author a drink via Paypal.  I say "Donate Now".  We need more drunk game designers!) 

I'm sure many tabletop gamers are already familiar with One Seven Design Studio, but I rediscovered afresh it today through the rather strange route of trying to read the French translation of Lady Blackbird ... flying steampunky fun, I think ...  Maybe I need to read more comics?

Anyhow, go now to One.Seven Design Studios and dabble in the foolish nonsense of quick-to-run fast-play games in alternative settings. ;)

*Billiam goes off the reassure his precious hardback rules not to feel to threatened by mini-games...*


  1. Outstanding!! I'd never seen this site before--thanks for the reference. It's superb.

  2. Excellent. :) Nice looking blog btw. I've added it to my feed. :)