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Tycho / 12 hours ago

Offworld Trading COMPANY

which is its actual name, and not Offworld Trading Colony like I kept saying before.  In any case, I think I’m gonna try to set up a stream with OTC designer Soren Johnson, the spelling of whose name I just checked several times, where he can teach me (and maybe you) how to play a game whose genetics differ so substantially from the norm.


Tycho / 15 hours ago

I’m not trying to be mean in any way, here.  I played the Offworld Trading Company a bunch of times before I ever finished a game.  I would start, building a couple things, and then stop.  I skidded entirely off its hot, non-stick griddle.  I need to be completely honest with you: I could not perceive the game.

I can remember playing Sacred Warrior’s “Master’s Command” for my mom, and she had a similar problem.  I very nearly wrote deficiency, which is mostly a rude way to say the same thing.  But mapping Heavy Metal into the musical structures she was already familiar with is substantially easier than trying to map what we know about strategy shit onto Offworld Trading Company.

We describe games as combinations of other games, even though it constitutes a lossy form of compression, because that’s how we learn them to begin with.  They are existing channels into which new information can flow.  The reason I kept skipping completely off the surface was that I couldn’t figure out the early game at all.  Pokemon is like Rock, Paper Scissors, except with, like, eighteen fuckin’ types of rocks, scissors, and paper, to say nothing of something like Volcanion, who is functionally speaking a piece of paper so sharp it can cut a pair of scissors.  That’s a framework you can use to describe many, many systems.  If you asked me what Offworld Trading Company was like, I would have to tell you it was like Offworld Trading Company.  Some people would say it was like M.U.L.E., smart people I trust, but it’s not something I know myself.

You usually build an economy in an RTS, and then marshall that economy to create various war men, who do their war man thing.  This game is about using the economy and just the economy to buy other player’s entire “army.”  This is like a real-time boardgame that tills up the conceptual space other games leave fallow and then spends its entire time there.  Now, I want to know what else they can teach me.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 4 days ago

As a post-PAX digestif, Alienation has nobly provided ample spent shell casings and gouts of ropey, gastrointestinal slime.  Housemarque has been a reliable amusement spigot for some time, producing good flow, though my favorite game from them was probably Super Stardust HD which Kiko and I played obsessively until completion which is a feat I’m absurdly proud of for some reason.  They like lots and lots of particles to happen, and I like that also.

It has a Helldivers type thing, the primary difference (from a moment to moment play perspective; they each embroider their metagames differently) is that Helldivers will let you murder your friends and you probably (read: definitely) will.  Gabriel described Alienation as “Twin-Stick Destiny,” which Housemarque should put on the box should this digital game ever be enshrined thus.  You have classes and trees and boxes of loot that, when opened, shower the martial paragon with a holographic cornucopia of treasure.

I have described such holographic showers in the past as “Criss Angel Street Magic Bullshit,” and it’s not untrue.  They are hijacking some primitive brain shit.  They create chemicals.  The chemicals are good. We feel good.  The chemicals are good.  It works even if I don’t need it, even if I don’t want it to.  I know that orange is “better” than blue and I want to find orange things very badly.

Also, maybe there’s some way I haven’t seen, but it seems like nobody can talk to me about anything I don’t want to talk about or in a way I don’t want to hear and that’s precisely how I like it.

Hey!  Do you like Ping Pong?  How about improving the lives of young people?  Well…  I’ve got quite the idea.

First Annual Table Tennis Tournament

More details to come of course, but on Saturday August 6th from 10:00 AM (not PM!) to 9:00 PM, we will be hosting a fundraiser for Child’s Play that doubles as a brutal Table Tennis Arena.  If you have witnessed our prowess, and have come to fear it, fear not:  we’ll have friendly competition in our Garage category, brutal deathmatch in our Hardcore category, and even a Rockstar Table Tennis tourney you can sign up for at the event if that’s more your speed.  Tickets are available here.  I think this’ll be a nice twist on the fundraiser, and I’ve already begun to sharpen my paddle.  Figuratively.

But also literally.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 6 days ago

It’s possible that we just don’t get Paragon; it’s also possible there’s nothing there to get.  The aesthetic is so dry and clean that it’s hard to find purchase on it.  You slip off of it, and fly away.

Because I know there are Kingkiller Chronicle enthusiasts among you - we are counted in this number also, regardless of any comics we might have made - I thought you might want to know about the Tak Kickstarter.  That is, of course, a game people play inside his books, the way players of Wakfu and Dofus used to play Krosmaster until Krosmaster apparently became some kind of universal cultural currency.

After the final round of the Omegathon, I was able to lure Patrick Rothfuss into my room, making me the envy of women everywhere.  Except we mostly just played Tak.  Or, I played Tak, and his armies were reduced to an aerosol redolent of rosemary and wet granite.  I love abstract strategy games, indeed, we manufacture one that I enjoy very much, but Tak has a very unique character which isn’t a surprise because it was made by Goddamned genius James Ernest.  The brief was to make a game that “felt” classic, a creature with the terroir of his fiction, and it’s kind of cool to have actually done that.

(CW)TB out.

Acquisitions Inc!

The D&D game we played on Sunday was bonkers. We flipped the script so to speak and I took over the DM seat from Chris Perkins who played as Drizzt Do’Urden. I ran an hour long game and then handed the reigns to my friend Patrick Rothfuss who finished out the evening. We did all of this live on stage in front of a few thousand folks with another twenty thousand (at least) watching on Twitch.

You can watch it right here.

I’d like to take a second here and thank you all once again for my ridiculous job.

I played my very first game of Dungeons and Dragons in 2008 and I did it on a podcast that you can still listen to if you want. Now 8 years later I’m dungeon mastering for Chris Perkins! Immediately after playing that first game I was hooked. I actually ended up discovering that I liked being on the DM side of the screen even more than playing. I ran my own game for a few years while still playing in the AI games. When the opportunity to take a shot at the big table came up I had to take it. Then I became a nervous wreck.

As soon as I sat down in the DM seat I was cool though. The nerves just disappeared. The lights on stage are set up so you really can’t see the audience. It was just a big black void and then a table in front of me with four of my favorite people in the world waiting to hear what I had designed for them. Keeping my adventure secret from them was super difficult but it was totally worth it. Dungeon Mastering that game was probably the highlight of my PAX career. Hopefully that was apparent to the audience because when it came time to play I totally forgot we were “putting on a show”.  That was just me and my buddies at a table.

If you’d like a better look at the characters from the game, I’ll just drop them in here.

If you’d like to download my adventure and run it yourself you can grab it for free from Dungeon Masters Guild.

And if you still can’t get enough Acquisitions Inc. there’s always the upcoming YouTube series.

Or the Acquisitions Inc. add on for Card Hunter that Tycho wrote and we all did voice acting for.

-Gabe Out

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