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Tycho / 19 hours ago

Child’s Play Table Tennis Tournament!

August 6th, we’re going back to a classic this year: a Table Tennis Tournament just like we used to do, only now instead of playing Ping Pong you’re playing Ping Pong and changing lives.  Not bad for an afternoon’s work, eh?

And get a load of this incredible Child’s Play Stuff - an amazing sweat set, that rad custom bottle from Liberty Bottleworks, and more.  You can’t buy the trophy, though - gotta earn that.  Player registration closes on the 3rd, but Spectator registration doesn’t close until the 5th - and if you miss it, you can still register as a Spectator at the door.  We’d love to see you there, and by “see,” of course, I mean “defeat you at Ping Pong,” by which I mean “defeat you at Ping Pong for the kids.”


Thornwatch at Gen Con!

I will be attending my very first Gen Con next week! I will be heading over there with the crew from Lone Shark games to talk about Thornwatch. We are coming up on the end of the design phase of this thing and it feels pretty great. We just recently had a meeting to discuss the size,shape and contents of the box. It felt like a huge milestone for me considering how many years I’ve been working on this game. I recently discovered the original notebook I used to design what I was calling Card Warriorz back then. I thought it might be interesting to share some of the earliest stuff I put down on paper.

The original concept for the game started with the idea of traditional RPG abilities serving like suits in a deck. Then I would build different classes using combinations of those “suits.” A Rouge deck would be made of Strength and Dexterity cards for example.

I designed the game by drawing out the cards and how they would interact with each other. Here I started thinking about powers being charged up with ability cards. This is still a core part of the game too.

Not everything I cooked up back then is still in the game. For a while I was thinking about a loot system that used a typical Ultra Pro 9 pocket card page. Loot would be given out to players as cards. A complete set of loot would form a large image like completing a puzzle. It was a cool idea but I could never quite make it work the way I wanted it too. Maybe someday I’ll dust it off and give it another try.

This is the very first Thornwatch drawing I did. I had some mechanics but no setting at this point. I remember when I talked to Tycho and we decided I should set the game in the Eyrewood. Coming up with the Thornwatch and their lore has been a blast.

Tycho came up with the idea of tying a wreath of thorns around a birch tree in order to summon the Thornwatch. So on one page I’m working on the mechanics and then on the next page I’m thinking about the world. I had so much fun jumping back and forth designing both sides of the game.

I’ve got a couple notebooks filled with pages like that. I think I’ll actually bring the first one to Gen Con with me next week in case anyone wants to thumb through it. Designing this game has been a crazy journey. In the last year or so I’ve had the help of Mike Selinker and Rodney Thompson which has been amazing. When I was doodling in these notebooks my goal was to design a game for the five people in my D&D group to play. Now I’m working with industry legends to polish this thing and get it on store shelves. Not only that but now Thornwatch is just the first game in a series called Eyrewood Adventures. We will also be developing games for the Lookouts and the Daughters of the Eyrewood. It’s just crazy to think how far it’s come.

I’m excited to bring the early game to Gen Con next week for some play testing. I played the latest version last night and I’m so proud of the game it has become. If you are gonna be at the show please come by the Lone Shark booth and say hi.

General Booth Info
Booth 2847
Hours: Thursday - Saturday 10 am to 6 pm Sunday 10 am to 4 pm

Thursday Aug 4
1:00-2:30 Panel Big Co-Op Game – From Betrayal to Thornwatch in Westin Capitol II

Saturday Aug 6
9-11 AM Learn to Play Thornwatch in ICC: 141-142 Tables 1-10

And I will be signing stuff:
Aug 5 from 2:30 PM to 4:00 PM

-Gabe out


I don’t remember if there’s a podcast for it exactly, it might have been after the fact, but somewhere in his rodent mind eleven o’clock in the morning constitutes an afternoonian span.  It’s devilry and/or witch-work; no doubt a data point in our species’ tawdry decline.

There’s two new Welcome To PAX Shows up, one for Cosplay and one about For The Watch, which is something I’d love to do again.  But I’m also putting together something else with Josh that I just need to think about out loud.

I streamed something I called ELI5 a ways back with Soren Johnson, one of the creators of Offworld Trading Company.  It’s a super weird game to play if you are dumb.  I thought I wasn’t dumb before I played it, but I was quickly disabused of that notion.  It reminds me of this ancient strip by my friend Kris Straub; I just want to expose myself to whatever rays these weird minds are giving off and try to absorb as much as I can.

I’m filming another episode of ELI5 today to accompany the one I filmed two days ago, to follow it I suppose, the same way one might swallow a spider to catch a fly.  I get very nervous on camera.  I don’t really understand one hundred percent how I got a job communicating to people under these very real conditions, but there you have it.  It is only my very real curiosity about these creators, and what they do, and how it maps to my own process for making something out of nothing that tamps down the fear.  I want to ask questions that would be rude if anyone else asked them, someone who didn’t genuinely understand what is at stake when you expose your entire being in this way.  That’s something I understand very, very well.

(CW)TB out.

Brian / 3 days ago

A Study in Saffron

I’ve spent the last couple of weekends wandering around my neighborhood with my phone out, collecting Pokemon. It’s seemed a popular past-time and a pleasant one. My usually quiet, keep-to-yourself suburban community has become a swarm of teens, adults and families buzzing around downtown Redmond, sharing smiles and hunting tips. And while I’ve spent the whole of this past week or so wearing some kind of yellow shirt (I’m a Hufflepuff, I have a lot of yellow), I found wearing the sample of our Yellow Team tee to be a neon call for pleasant conversation and fun banter.

Our Team Tees in their wild habitat

Wearing that shirt led directly to my first actual words with 4 of my neighbors, plus a couple of fun chats with some neighborhood kids while we kept the local gym awash in Yellow. It’s been the closest I’ve come to experiencing the small-town America eulogized by Kramer in the screen-door episode of Seinfeld, and that I vaguely remember from my childhood. You know… where neighbors knew each other and chatted a bit. Just, now, instead of talking about the local high school football team, we’re talking about Squirtle spawn points and Pikachu ring-bearers.

Grab one if you want. Or a set for your team. There’s some in Youth Sizes that will hopefully cover the scenario where your team is you and your children. Those have been my favorite teams to encounter.

A Family Team wearing our Team Tees

See you out there!

Tycho / 3 days ago

Grand Admiral Thrawn is back, welcomed into loving embrace of canon, and I could not be more pleased.  The younger iteration of myself liked him much more than the current revision, but the main thing is what it proves: that they aren’t above boring into the years upon years of calcified work to haul worthies to the surface.  They have an eye on it.  Hopefully not all of it.  Hopefully we can erect some tasteful shōji or something to obscure certain parts.  You can tell from Panel Two where my own fantasies lie, in the voice Karen Traviss brought to the setting, a little more military and a little less mystic.  Time will tell.

Let’s celebrate this newly minted Wodenstag by acquiring and incorporating like only we know how, with Episode 8:

To be delighted even faster than you have been currently, you can always Subscribe to the YouTube channelStarting From The Beginning, you know, also an option for you.  There is a third, brand new option that involves listening to this season of Acquisitions Incorporated as a podcast should you choose to, just as in days of old.  Take full advantage.  Listen to one, while you watch another.  Feast on it.  Listen to seven simultaneously while you watch an eighth, and get completely caught up.  Indeed, here are all the ways one can absorb both our tender podcasts, and be nourished.

iTunes AcqInc / PA DLC
Stitcher AcqInc / PA DLC
Overcast AcqInc / PA DLC
Google Play AcqInc / PA DLC

It’s a little hard to imagine, but we’ve been making AcqInc since May of 2008, when my friend Mike Krahulik called his character Jim Darkmagic mostly just to make me mad.  Judging by the conversations I have at PAX, it was many people’s first exposure to D&D or roleplaying in general.  Now they’re running their own games, or using Dungeons & Dragons as a substrate for a deeply customized system as we did here.  I definitely want people to enjoy Acquisitions Incorporated, but I also want them to see it and be like, hey.  That looks like something I could do.  I could get a bunch of my friends over here, and we could tell a story together.  And they can.

(CW)TB out.

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