Sunday, June 30, 2019

Happy Pride to you all! And Happy Screaming!

June ended with a fantastic series of events.
Rocky and I were able to attend the Pride March at Marikina this year!

It was a HUGE event with reportedly over 52k attendees.  Some even state that by the evening, the numbers neared 70k!  While there were some missteps and mismanaged communication and planning issues, the event overall was a beautiful testament to the diversity, color, and love that the LGBTQIA+  community. People we all respectful of each other and celebrating each one's diversity and identity.

We even got these beautiful pins to wear to work thru Maria and her friends at UP Babaylan and their merchandise brand, #PAK!

Come evening, we then headed to our favorite haunt and second home, O Bar, where we continued the Pride celebrations with dear friends and our expanded family. We saw the amazing numbers and emotionally powerful performances which the O Divas and guest performers prepared. We cried. We danced. We cheered. We bonded. We grew stronger.

Then, Sunday was one shot game of Alien, the role-playing game.  Rocky and I had three awesome friends take part in the Cinematic one shot of Chariot of the Gods. Aina, Thomas, and Titus, all three fantastic players who never played together in a single game, having the most awesome time screaming, hoping, and scheming as they faced off against the terrifying threats that can only come from such a delightfully terrifying franchise. 

Read up Thomas' AMAZING write-up on the events from his character's perspective. Note, however, there may be spoilers for those hoping to try Chariot of the Gods. You have been warned!

The game was admittedly, just incredible! The Stress and Panic rules were viciously cool, more so when panic starts to become contagious. The every looming threat of a synth or alien in one's midst was just fantastic for drama and story.  And the ending. Oh man, that ending which the players were able to build.  I will admit, I was quite teary eyed when they wrapped the game up in that way.

Then, there was Gwen's lovely Rappler article on diverse voices in the game industry!

It was a beautiful feature giving an inspiring spotlight to the many other creators, developers, and creative forces that work in their own ways to give us a voice and celebrate their own distinct vision. Too often, especially here in Manila, there is this old way of thinking that gay people are pamparlor  (hairdressers) or pangcomedy (comedians) only.  And while there is no shame or anything wrong with such professions, there is something wrong in choosing to limit what you believe a person is capable of based solely on their gender.

And even more importantly this is part of the article:

Sad but true, but there is still a lot of hate out there which keeps many people from feeling the freedom to come out.  Just as how there are people who censor themselves or their existence due to the pressures of society or the selfish demands more influential or privileged folk may have. The fight continues for equality.  And for pride.   Thank you so much for this feature, Gwen!
Diverse voices: Meet some of the LGBTQ+ folks in games development via @rapplerdotcom

That was a beautiful way to end the month.

And guess what, that leaves six MORE months to come!
Things can only get better!

Friday, June 28, 2019

2019 June: TAG Bites : Alien the RPG

Chariot of the Gods
This is the official Cinematic one shot available for those who pre-ordered the game.  I'm going to be running this awesome horror story on Sunday, June 30th, the day after the Pride March and Pride Party here in Manila! 

And even more awesome, is that I'll be running it for really good friends:
Aina, Titus, and Thomas.

No Seats Available.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Gunita 10th Philippine International Literary Festival 2019 + Tabletop games!

A number of us tabletop gaming people were present and part of Gunita: A Pursuit of Memory, the 10th Philippine International Literary Festival held this June 14-15, 2019 at the Great Eastern Hotel, Diliman, Quezon City.  It was a joy to know that the National Book Development Board was happy to have tabletop games represented in the two day festival.

Present were Nathan of Project Tadhana, Lanz of the Greasy Snitches, Adrian  who also represented Ambedo Art with Jonette.  In addition, Daniel and Angela of Hey Meepling was also present!

For this event, I proposed a panel on Tabletop Role-playing Games: Better Self through Play.
I wanted to share to more people the fact that through role-playing games one can find numerous opportunities to better oneself. For the panel to work, however, I knew I needed more than just me to talk about it. Adrian was to help give a chronological perspective on how the hobby has grown, faded, then resurged in the country.  Lanz was to share how communities have formed and even gone beyond just gaming; they are helping others better their own lives too.  And Nathan was to share the importance of empathy in game design and how this in inherently present when one seeks to create something.

For those who weren't able to go, you can catch the recorded panel here:

This comes from being part of the AUTHOR(ities) event last year at the CCP. This is the second time tabletop games has become part of the literary festival in the country! I do hope its a trend that continues on so even more people can find opportunities to learn about gaming.

Also present were Thomas of The Epic Gaming Regiment and Marx of Balangay Entertainment who then were among the speakers in the panel on Crossing-over: Translating Literary Works to Different Media Forms.  While I was originally asked to also be in that panel, I recommended Thomas instead to take my seat as I felt he had much more to contribute to the topic.

You can catch that panel discussion here:

Special love to the people who attended and showed their support and interest. To the people who asked questions, thank you for throwing out questions that really got us thinking about things.  To the dad-daughter duo who were very interested in the panel, I do hope you get a chance to try the tabletop rpgs we recommended you, especially this Free RPG Day. To the staff, thank you so much for the kindness and generosity.

Thank you so much again to the NBDB for having us this year!  And we look forward to hearing from you if you want us to be part of even more events in the future!  Yay to reading and to enjoying stories even beyond books!

Monday, June 10, 2019

2019 June: TAG Bites : Pret-A-Porter

Fashion. Beauty. Opulence.
Do you think you are ready to be the most successful fashion company with only a single year to make your name?

Players: Paolo G, Titus V, Rocky S, and Me.
No open seats.

TAG Bites expands to include requested boardgame nights!

Sunday, June 9, 2019

2019 12 New Games Challenge Continues

Despite all the challenges and emotional rollercoasters this year has thrown as me, I am determined to keep moving forward and staying productive.  Thankfully, the local and international community continues to remain tremendously supportive and critically discerning.

For 2019's list of 12 New Games Each Year, I am currently on the halfway mark.
1) Bubblegumshoe
2) Headspace
3) Cold Shadows
4) Praxis: King of Storms
5) Mouse Guard Roleplaying Game
6) The Sword, The Crown, and the Unspeakable Power

Mouse Guard Roleplaying Game
Inspired by the comics (of course), we had a one shot session of the actual Mouse Guard tabletop rpg system. While I ran a Mouse Guard inspired game in the past, when one of our scheduled Pendragon sessions got cancelled due to real life concerns, I embraced it instead as an opportunity to add to my 12 list and to introduce a new game to my group. Mouse Guard has an elegant system which uses the Burning Wheel system. We had a fantastic tale of heroism, bravery, and sacrifice, as the mice discovered breaks in the Scent Line and found themselves stalked by a vicious Owl.   I remain extremely thankful to have Adrian, Jonette, Flip, and Rocky in that one shot game.

Grab the Mouse Guard Roleplaying Game.

The Sword, The Crown, and the Unspeakable Power
When Titus asked me for a one-shot session for his family, I had to check with them on what sort of game they'd love to explore this time.  Their group has been a  fan of the TAG Bites sessions, and I honestly remain extremely grateful of their trust and support.  For this session, Titus was hoping to try a dark fantasy type of game system so he can run his family Game of Thrones kind of stories. I decided to let them explore The SCUP.  Even better, Titus had never tried a game that was Powered by the Apocalypse before. His group had the joys of being introduced to jim pinto games quite early (and in many TAG Bites sessions, they wanted to try more and more of his Praxis games)  so this was a perfect chance to run them something new, and try running something new for me too. This game had Titus Villanueva, Sophia Lei Martinez, Bianca Villanueva and Rocky Sunico.  And it was definitely a powerful story with just the right amounts of humor and romance.

Grab a copy of The Sword, The Crown, and the Unspeakable Power.

Friday, June 7, 2019

2019 June: TAG Bites : Vampire the Masquerade, 5th Edition

The Kiss. The Embrace. There are many things which are romanticized when a mortal becomes one of the Kindred. But there are monsters out there which must be stopped no matter what the cost may be.

Terrible First Nights

This is a Vampire The Masquerade, 5th edition one-shot.

Current players:
Aina L, and Rocky S.
Two more seats available.
For Mature Players only.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

2019 June : TAG Bites : The Sword, The Crown, and The Unspeakable Power

This June's TAG Bites session, I will be running a game of The Sword, The Crown, and The Unspeakable Power by Todd Nicholas and Thomas J.  Titus requested for a dark fantasy game for his family and I was more than happy to oblige.

Description from Drivethrurpg:
The Sword, The Crown, and The Unspeakable Power (SCUP) is a dark fantasy role-playing game from Wheel Tree Press. Reminiscent of the A Song of Ice and Fire or First Lawbooks, SCUP focuses on power, politics, and intrigue in a setting you create using a unique world building exercise. Built on the Powered by the Apocalypse system developed in Vincent and Meguey Baker’s game Apocalypse World, SCUP is designed to let players get their hands dirty in scheming, conniving, and backstabbing. Take control of powerful sorcerers, regal nobles, and hardened warriors as you plot your rise to glory. Will others step on you as they ascend the social hierarchy? Or will you hack and claw your way to be the one who wears the crown?

Check it out today:

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Tremendously excited for Alien the Roleplaying Game

Alien remains one of the movies I truly enjoy watching. H.R. Giger's vision in designing the monster remains unparalleled despite the evolution technology and special effects have accomplished through the years. Sigourney Weaver's portrayal of Ellen Ripley still captivates and inspires as a powerful female lead who retains her passion and sensitivity despite displaying her strength and resolve. Ridley Scott's approach to telling the story penned by Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusset still brings chills down my spine even if I've seen the movie so many times. Then there's Derek Vanlint's amazing cinematography, Jerry Goldsmith's powerful music, and Michael Seymour's fantastic Production Design.  All in all, the masterpiece that is Alien is a film that has set a very high bar.

This roleplaying game is one brave piece of work in its attempt to capture that same evocative piece of work. The game credits Tomas Harenstam, Andrew E.C. Gaska, Martin Grip, Christian Granath, and many others in its pages and I must admit it was hard not to stare with awe at each page as I looked at how they translated the powerful movie into an equally evocative game.  The game includes a fantastic timeline, which was a nice touch for fans of the movie franchise, like me. And I will admit a guilty pleasure to seeing the term Game Mother used for the GM.  Players asking the GM questions can literally just call out, "Mother.. what's going on in the other sector?" and it will all feel apt and appropriate to the game world.

The game offers two modes: Cinematic Play and Campaign Play.  Cinematic play will be fantastic for one-shot sessions, especially for groups who love the lethal flair of the franchise's narratives. And nowadays, with the many available Safety Tools that groups can use in their games, the mode offers a fantastic niche for those seeking to see if they can survive an Alien encounter.

I'm very excited to find a group interested in trying out Chariot of the Gods, the included cinematic module. But before any new TAG Bites can be set up, I better spend time reading more how this system works! I don't see myself being able to afford the Bundles and other special editions anytime soon, and admittedly I think that's okay. The custom dice aren't that unique enough for me to want, and the cards and screen are probably not something I'd often use. The galaxy poster, I hope, will eventually be available on Drivethrurpg or something like that.

This is going to be tremendously awesome.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Now Reading: Mister Miracle (2017)

Definitely behind my comic reading these last few years. But hot on my radar currently is Mister Miracle from Tom King and Mitch Gerads, who give an awesome an complex take on Jack Kirby's New Gods.  My partner, Rocky, has a Comixology account and it was through it that I am now enjoying its brain-twisting narrative.

Image result for mister miracle #1 2017

Without giving more away, the comic is fantastic in its pacing and its dialogue. The text and artwork work wonderfully together in creating a sense of unease and tension without slipping into overly dramatic (I'm looking at you, Xmen vs Inhumans).  But what makes me love this so much more is the fact that the comic sorta reminds me of how I run my Lacuna: The Birth of Mystery and the Girl from Blue City sessions.

Related image

Any of my players who have enjoyed those sessions can share how the "hard to trust your own senses" narrative added that layer of excitement that made the game quite an experience.  And now, reading the comic, I feel like I'm getting a chance to experience that same awesome feeling.  So to anyone out there who are fans of mysteries and deep character exploration, I recommend you check the comic out!
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