Patreon Update, Discord, and Fiction

Hey there, so, yeah, it’s been a while since I posted over here. I didn’t realize until just now responding to a comment how long it had been. Sorry. Most of my daily/ weekly posting is on my Patreon now. I’m currently serializing a former NaNoWriMo novel, The Logicians of Ambervale, editing it and souping up the plot as I go.
It’s becoming what I had hoped for it, but it’s tough to describe without spoilers. The basic story is that Elamon, a youth on the verge of becoming a man in his society, is sent on a quest to investigate and perhaps solve a shortage of metals used in scientific equipment. This is a very advanced tech society, but they don’t have fire and therefore smelting or other means to extracting metal from ores. They rely entirely on what they can pan out or chemically derive, and even that is rare given their obvious lack of glass. What they do have, though, is amber, which they control in what at first appears to be a magical way. As the series progresses, though, the science is revealed, along with social truths and a history of his people that Elamon never suspected.
If that piques your interest, hop on the above linked Patreon page and sign up for $5/mo and catch up Elamon and his friends, Bagba, the Agathi lizardperson hunter and Utia, the girl with electric purple eyes, as well as gaining access to my previous serialized fantasy novel, Breaking The Word, in its entirely before it goes to the next revision and leaps into the yawning pit of submissions to agents and editors.
I also post the occasional short story for all patrons ($1/ mo and up), anecdotes about funny stuff my son says, and updates on my writing a couple of times a week. I’m also working on additional features covering my various fiction worlds, Dungeons and Dragons maps, modules and creatures, and paintings and sculptures.
I’m also investigating creating Discord roles for patrons interested in that kind of thing, as I have been using Discord for gaming on Roll20 and general social contact.
If any of this interests you, please feel free to comment here or pop over and sign up for Patreon and leave comments on the related posts I’ve recently made.
I also also have an anthology coming out next month(September 2018) called “End of the World Potluck,” which is basically as advertised. As we get closer to release, I’ll post again about this, with links to the Facebook page, a cover reveal, and more about the premise.
Thanks for dropping by! Keep reading!

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Patreon, Ko-fi, Drip, etc

As some of you may know, Patreon recently announced a change to its terms that shifts the onus of most of the fees onto the patron. For some creators, this may result in more money, but the manner in which the whole thing is being executed leads to some less than pleasant conclusions about their attitude toward folks like me who have handfuls of followers and take in gas money instead of hundreds or thousands of followers making what I would consider more than a decent living.
This is business these days, I know. One cannot simply have a business and provide a service and have everyone involved go about their merry. No, one must channel the shark, become bloodthirsty and honed, sharp as a razor, trimming away the less productive parts of your business and feeding the best producing, striving for the top. Not everyone should be at the top, and everyone, clearly, cannot be at once. It’s a contentious, destructive system which will only end badly for all. I feel like I’ve veered off into a political rant. let’s steer this boat back on course.
I’ve been with Patreon for nearly six months now, and they’ve been good months. I’ve written half of my fantasy novel, Breaking The Word, as well as a few short stories, and felt more motivated, knowing people were actually waiting for and enjoying my work, rather than tossing short story after short story into the void and jiggling the line to try to attract new sales, only to have the line snap or have dropped the wrong bait for the wrong fish. I’m not sure where all these fishing/ocean metaphors are coming from. I don’t fish and I’m not generally comfortable in water I can’t stand up in…
I’ll be keeping an eye on the situation with Patreon as well as searching for new ways to keep myself going. As mentioned int he title, I’ve started a ko-fi page, which allows people to drop by and donate “a coffee”- about $3US – in support of my work. It’s not as directly tied to production as Patreon, or recurring as a subscription, but it’s something. Once I get a feel for the site, I’ll be posting content over there, some stories that have appeared only in print (not ebooks) photos of current sculpture and game creation projects, etc. This stuff will also go up on my Patreon whilst I continue to use it and have patrons over there as those people have stuck with me and deserve to see it first.
I’m also looking into Drip, which I believe goes live from its current closed beta early next year and looking into starting up some projects on Ratafire, which i know nearly nothing about and seems to have manifested itself in one of my browser tabs recently. Whoever sent me that link, thanks!
For now, though, I must attend the real world and ponder the ever-shifting landscape at the intersection of business and art. Thanks for dropping by! Keep reading!
And here’s my link for ko-fi, if you feel so inclined. Buy Me a Coffee

International TableTop Day — Reactions, Day One

I attended two TableTop events this weekend in (relatively) nearby towns. One was on Saturday, the other, Sunday. Both ran for four hours, from noon on and were organized by the Game Master himself, Wayne Moulton. This man likely has more board games than any twenty of your friends. His basement is a veritable museum of tabletop fun, strategy and variations on the concept of what a game is.

Personally, I played a handful of games at each event. I’d like to review each briefly and recommend them all. Bear in mind a proper game review would require running through the game a few times, at least. I only had the opportunity with most of these to see the game once, from one player’s point of view.

Day 1: Langdon Public Library in Newington, NH

The Resistance: Avalon
This is a mafia/werewolf style hidden role game where each player is dealt a card setting them to the role of Merlin, one of Arthur’s good and true knights, or Mordred and his evil cabal.
The Good: For those who have played this type of game before at parties with handmade cards, this game offers both a step up in production value and complexity, as it has cards and tiles with nice art for use in dealing out characters, voting on teams to be sent on quests (the presence of an evil character may cause the quest to fail, telling you that there’s someone working for Mordred in that group, but they can also vote to let the quest succeed, so it takes deduction to determine who is working against Arthur.)
The Bad: The learning curve is steeper than with other games of this type I’ve played. One game was not enough to create a strategy, so I was just flailing about, trying to be observant until it was over. Also, the bad guys get the chance to gang up, because instead of one at the start of the game, there were three, and they all immediately knew who the others were, having the advantage from turn one.

Love Letter
My first exposure to this game was with a thematic shift one might not expect: Breaking Bad. I’m not a TV watcher these days, and it’s not one of the shows I’ve taken to watching online, but the game is straightforward and quick enough that it didn’t matter. The next day, I got to play the original.
Game play was dictated entirely by the cards, of which there are a mere 16. There are varying numbers of each cards, each of which has a power, such as ‘compare cards with another player, the player with the lower card is out of the game.’ Seems harsh, right? Well, the game moves pretty quickly and you play a number of games/hands based on the number of players to determine the final winner.
The Good: Quick play, straightforward rules, even when you’re out, you’ll be playing again in two minutes unless someone gets the final point and wins, then you can play again or do something else.
The Bad: There’s nothing really bad about the game, it’s quick and easy to learn. For more depth, there are thousands of other games. For those five minutes waiting until that game of Munchkin is over so you can regroup into new games, it’s perfect.

Anomia
This is a card/ knowledge/paying attention game. Essentially, everyone takes turns drawing cards. Most of the cards will have a symbol and a subject on them. The symbol links you to any other player with the same symbol in front of them and you have to name something from _the_other_person’s_ subject when your symbols match. You have to pay attention to see when your symbol comes up (or in the case of a wild card being in play, your symbol or the other symbol on the wild card.)
The Good: It’s an information based game. Much of it is trivia centered around things you may learn in everyday life or at school. Types of fish, cities in various countries, etc. Thus, it’s accessible to people of similar age groups.
The Bad: Less ‘bad’ and more a weakness of any trivia game, the very young often haven’t been exposed to the information, though they do have fun trying most of the time. Also, by the same token, information can sometimes be questioned, which slows down the game during discussion/hitting up the Internet or some other reference.

Bodger Mania
This was a very different kind of game for me. It centers (nominally, the theme has little to do with actual game play, unfortunately) on goblin wrestlers. Each round, players are dealt cards, from which they choose one to keep and one to play on one of four ‘matches’ with different win requirements and rewards. This is a drafting games, so the cards are then passed to the left and the process continues.
The Good: Once you get the rules, it would be pretty quick to play. The first time it was just about stumbling through, as with many of these games.
The Bad: The developers missed an opportunity to home in on their chosen theme and add more than flavor text to the game play. There’s also almost no player interaction.

Dixit
This French game requires no language but that of emotion and facial expression. The cards have only pictures on them, from which can be interpreted many scenarios and emotions. The art is beautiful, with each expansion featuring a different artist. Game play is similar to Apples to Apples or Malarkey in that one person chooses/has the ‘right’ answer and others guess what that is while trying to get others to choose their answer.
The Good: It’s lighter and set up a bit more democratically than Apples to Apples, as well as inviting interpretation of the images and allowing for creativity in making up a sounds, story or gesture to represent what you think the card evokes.
The Bad: Unlike some games where you can limp along even if you’re not very good at the particular mechanic the game uses, one can easily be left in the dust.

Overall, I believe a good time was had by all. We played cool games and interacted with people of varying ages for good socialization.

Come play with me

As previously posted, I will be running games at the TableTop events in Portsmouth at the end of the month. I plan on running Farmageddon and CREATURES, both Kickstarter games I backed in the last year and therefore, probably games you haven’t seen. If I am not too distracted by the day job and getting my current volley of stories ready, I may find time to bring my own card game as well. We shall see.

Farmageddon is a cool little game about growing crops for points, stealing your neighbor’s crops and trashing their crops to keep them from getting points. It has some cool mechanics including…

Creatures is a quick, fun game about building the best creature you can from the cards in your hand, which consist of heads, bodies and tails. Each creature gets one of each part and does battle with other creatures for supremacy. Mechanics like getting a part you want from defeated creatures and partial names and descriptions on each card which are read aloud when the creature is played, add to the fun.

I’ll post again between now and then with the details of the events – when and where the action will take place and how to sign up.

Would you like to play a game?

Games, like reading, are fundamental. Often treated by recent generations as “simply” play, wasting time, slacking off, games actually provide us with a number of benefits. By playing games, especially a wide variety of games, we learn stratagems for approaching various situations, teamwork, dealing with both winning and losing properly, new terminology and general socialization.

To honor this huge part of many of our lives, and at least some part of almost everyone’s lives, I introduce a new holiday of sorts, International TableTop Day. Apparently it also has something to do with Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day…

In addition to watching the video and assailing your local gaming store, those of you in southern New Hampshire can drop by the Port City Makerspace in lovely, tax-free Portsmouth New Hampshire for a gaming event. You can even do both the gaming store events and the PCMS event as due to a scheduling conflict, the PCMS event is on Sunday, the 31st! I’ll be there, likely running a game, as mentioned on my new, shiny, FaceBook page. Here’s the eventbrite page, just to let us keep track of how many might be showing and give you details about our event. Thanks!