Perram and I had our first phone call with Paizo about Gen Con Online seminar coverage plans. Things are underway, and you can expect the hype train to leave the station soon, so I’m going to get off of it and stretch my legs a bit while it’s still at the station.
Between Gen Con going online, and a chat last night with my friend Shaun from a board game group that usually includes myself, my wife Tina, and Cathy, I have been thinking about board games a lot recently.
Those who follow my career outside of Know Direction know that I used to curate the tabletop game subscription box, Board Game Bento (which went for about three years before folding shortly after the subscription box bubble burst), and I was on track to launch a tabletop game division with my day job company, Blind Ferret. These plans died with the unfortunate failure of our Ruthless 86 Kickstarter.
(In case you’re wondering why I call it a failure when we cancelled the campaign a few days after we launched, it did not launch with the momentum we felt it needed to reach its goal, so we canceled to rework the campaign. Unfortunately, we were on the verge of renewing our warehouse lease. Physical product sales were down overall, so my boss chose to move to a new location with more office space and less warehouse space, and took advantage of the timing of the canceled Kickstarter to mothball the idea of a space-intensive board game division.)
After Board Game Bento and Ruthless 86 ended in close proximity to each other, I took a break from board games. I’d spent so much of my board gaming time in the last few years trying out games for BGB and playtesting Blind Ferret Games prototypes, I’d lost touch with the hobby side of tabletop gaming.
My break from the hobby exacerbated when the pandemic made getting together to game impossible. I’m playing more family games than ever, but older audience games went virtually untouched.
Until recently, when I started virtually touching them.
I’ve owned Tabletop Simulator for most of the year, but other than trying the tutorial out, I hadn’t played any games on it. Thanks to Perram urging me, Loren, and friend of the network Danielle Reynolds to give Hero Quest a try, I’m finally trying online tabletop games. And it’s been great. Last Friday, when an Adventurous recording was canceled at the last minute, Loren, Vanessa, Crystal, and myself placed a game of Smash Up. I finally got to use the Mounties faction.
If you aren’t on the Know Direction Discord server, and even if you are, you might have missed that we’ve added a Geek Together Hangout section, which includes a voice channel. When the network gets together to play Tabletop Simulator games, we’ve decided to stream them live there. These are technically content, but they won’t be released. They’re just for fun, and a great opportunity for the Know Direction network staff and cast members to remind ourselves that we have more in common than just the RPGs we all play and the podcasts and articles we release about them.
Speaking of which, here’s a recap of what you might have missed last week from the Know Direction Network:
Recap of June 6th to July 10th
What happened last week on knowdirectionpodcast.com and twitch.tv/knowdirection?
Monday, July 6th
Adventurous tends to go 2 or 3 episodes between combats, but we managed to fit two combats into this one episode!
I went over how this episode came to be in last week’s Recall Knowledge but, to no one’s surprise, I have more to say. This episode risked being a Green Ronin infomercial. We’ve had a few interviews that were too focused on self-promotion and not enough on engaging with our audience in an entertaining way, and we count those as some of our worst episodes. Luckily, the combination of knowledge, passion, and personality of our guests allowed us all to have fun while also giving cool games a spotlight. I’m really happy with how this episode turned out.
Hey, that’s the blog post I just mentioned in the last recap!
Tuesday, July 7th
Initiative was one area of the 2e playtest that I enjoyed. Unfortunately, by the time 2e came out, I discovered I had issues with the new initiative system, and actually found a lot of it confusing and counterintuitive. Luis and Loren do a good job whipping the tracker clean, gathering the initiative rules from the various sources they’re printed in (mostly the CRB and GMG), and clarifying how 2e initiative works (especially now that surprise rounds aren’t a thing).
Groundbreaking – The Origin of Ida Lone
by Randal Meyer
For anyone who was surprised to find so much crunch in the last installment of Groundbreaking, Randal’s latest article is back to being mostly campaign flavour. Surprise! With crunch! Ha-ha!
Wednesday, July 8th
The Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild venture-captain for the Netherlands shares the story of her journey into freelancing for Paizo.
Guidance: The “Rot” in RPG, On Race and Racism in Tabletop RPGs
by Alex Augunas
This is a big one, and honestly, I was nervous about it when Alex mentioned this as an article he was working on. I was on board with the topic but worried it might be an opinion piece instead of a journalistic venture.
Alex delivered possibly his best article for us in the six and a half years he’s contributed to the network. The section that won be over was about Tolkien’s history of racism. There is a perception that LotR orcs are racist because they’re African analogs, which I’ve seen convincingly debunked. Alex uses Tolkien quotes to show that the author intended them to be Mongolian analogues, and then uses that fact to contextualize arguments about Tolkien’s racist influence on Dungeons & Dragons.
This is a solid read that I recommend everyone check out.
Thursday, July 9th
Investing In: Mage: The Awakening
by Rob Pontious
I played in a brief but influential Vampire: The Masquerade campaign in college (I credited my Storyteller, Matthew Binks as being one of two GMs who influenced my style in Know Direction 221 – GM Tips from the Pathfinder Pros). Even if it only went a few sessions, it left a lasting positive association with the World of Darkness games. However, the game of the three I was least familiar with was Mage. As always, I appreciate Rob expanding my awareness of the RPGs that are out there, one Investing In at a time.
Friday, July 10th
This is where I found out how little I knew about the vanguard, and also how interested I would be in playing a vanguard!
Monstrous Physique — Yoshi (PF2e)
By Luis Loza
One of the most fun things about Yoshi is how many existentially horrific contexts he fits in when you think too much about him. The ability Luis gave Yoshi to swallow enemies whole and immediately lay them in an egg-shaped prison is the perfect example.
Also, Yoshi’s my wife’s go to character when we play Mario Party.
Preview of July 13th to July 17th
This is Block 2 of our 2-block schedule.
Monday, July 13th
Recall Knowledge (available now)
As of this writing, I’m not sure what my editorial was about.
Tuesday, July 14th
John and Ron talk about the new Starfinder playtests.
Wednesday, July 15th
Can’t impartially review a book I wrote for, but I am so excited to talk about it.
Part 3 of Dustin’s 2e Summoning Index, featuring Aberrations, Constructs, Dragons, Giants, and Plants.
As mentioned last week, the incomparable Crystal Fraiser is expanding her contributions to the network by adding a subsystem design blog that releases every other Thursday.
Thursday, July 16th
Friday, July 17th
Like a bulletin board of all the adventures you should be on.
- Gen Con Online is coming: July 30 – August 2, 2020
- Green Ronin could use your help: Green Ronin recently expressed how the affect the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the game is starting to hit them harder than they can handle. If our recent Green Ronin coverage has made you at all curious about the games they publish, please consider checking out the Green Ronin Online Store.
Now you know,