Awards, Reviews and Podcasts

Having been busy with real life over the last few months, I figured it would be worth summarising a lot of neat activity around The Agency.

First off, it’s been nominated for several awards! First off it was in the finalists for the Griffies at Conpulsion, an excellent convention in Edinburgh that I failed to make this year due to the aforementioned real life. Anyway, getting down to the last five was an honor, and losing out to a product like Dark Harvest means I don’t feel too bad.

The Agency is also in the finalists for this weekend’s UK Games Expo Awards for best RPG. This is really cool because UK Games Expo is my local Convention, and has risen from small beginnings to one of the best and most family friendly cons I know. It’s on this weekend (25th-27th May 2012), so if you’re in Brum, pop along.

Finally, it’s also registered in the wonderful Indie RPG Awards, which are held every year at Gen Con. The awards, and some entries including The Agency, get a mention in this Gamerstable Podcast on indie Games.

As well as awards, there’s a very positive review of The Agency on RPG.NOW, which is great to see!

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Nerdinburgh – the convivial convention

Last weekend I went to Edinburgh for the small, but perfectly formed convention, Nerdinburgh. Organised by Per Fisher, the con squeezed a lot of cool gaming, drinking and food into three short days.

The venue was The Old Observatory House, a wonderously decorated victorian pile at the top of one of Edinburgh’s hills. Amazing view, great architecture, surprisingly cheap in mid October… It also has some rooms ideal for gaming (big tables) and no so ideal (really weird acoustics). Plus Edinburgh’s best off license is very near by!

We managed to cram in four big games and a host of smaller ones. Roleplaying wise, I managed to play Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple, Mechaton, Remember Tomorrow and ran The Agency. I also played Cambria and some Bang!

The game of The Agency I ran involved a dangerous group of 1960s science clowns and a weaponised giraffe. Much more gonzo than usual, but the game was hysterically funny and the group really grasped the idea that the game is a homage to 1960s TV, dodgy sets and all! Plus it descended in a pun-fest of epic proportions.

Do was fun, our game was light hearted and vaguely steampunk anime, though the non-roleplayingness of it was difficult for people, I think. We had some lovely imagery though, as our young flying pilgrims tried to help people and avoid getting in trouble. The second of our stories felt a lot more coherent than the first. Definitely a game that needs replaying.

Remember Tomorrow was a gritty cyberpunk tale of a flooded London, a broken family and a data courier with the Chief Inspector’s memory. A perfect little system for anything noir.

Mechaton was a game of giant fighty robot lego. What more needs said?

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The Agency – Revisited

Over on the Collective Endeavour and Google Plus I’ve been chatting a bit about a project I never expected to happen, a revised version of The Agency.

It came as quite a surprise to be revisiting the game, it was originally written some time in the early 2000s and was one of the first games I put up on Realms. The simple premise of extending 60s spi-fy series into a more supernaturally slanted world was always pretty grabby for gamers and its one of the freebies I always got most actual play from. People liked it enough to translate it into Italian.

In 2004 it appeared with many other great games in the Nopress Anthology. That was a project I was really proud to be part of (look at the authors list, it’s a veritable who’s who of Indie games!) When Nopress went out of print, I put the PDF version of that up on the site and considered it done. It had its flaws but I didn’t have time or inclination to fix them…

Flash forwards to April 2011 and I’m reading Gregor’s excellent 3:16 and it suddenly hits me that the mission structure of that game would fit The Agency like a glove. It would also solve one of the nagging things about the original version of the game – that the adversity is arbitrary in a very traditional Gm-led way.

So I started re-writing and everything seemed to just slot into place. The current text is undergoing some pre-reading and stress testing, but expect to see more about it in the coming weeks. If you fancy playtesting, please do get in touch.

The current version will stay online until the new one is released, at which time I’ll be removing it.

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UK Games Expo : Anatomy of a convention

This last weekend I attended the 5th UK Games Expo in Birmingham (my local convention!) A couple of thousand people playing board games, card games and RPGs. I was joined by Andrew Kenrick, Iain McAllister and Marku and Eero Tuovinen on a booth full of Indie RPGs.

I’ve been going since the convention started and each year has been bigger and better. I though it would be worth nailing down exactly why this convention goes from strength to strength, from my perceptions at least, and what it might be able to improve.

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