I kept calling it 'Amarello,' which was not very clever of me.

Armello’s developers call it a “digital board game” but it’s not simply an app conversion of an existing board game. It’s a digital incarnation of an entirely original board game, a fantasy game that League of Geeks first created in physical form. That iteration was only a means to an end, a way for the team to rigorously test its mechanics and balance before it transcended our material plane to become electronic entertainment.

There’s more previews to come. I’m a bit slow lately and a backlog of work is maybe building up, so I’ll have to wrestle that before it becomes overpowering. As ever, keep an eye out for exciting things on Shut Up & Sit Down and for… furrier things on Maia. There’s always more on the way, oh yes.

On Pictures for Sad Children

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EDIT: I’ve been informed that PfSC’s creator posted a non-public update recently saying she now identifies as a woman. I don’t have access to this or know the full details yet, but I wanted to add that and say that I don’t mean to misgender. I’ve changed pronouns in the text below and will also change names as soon as I can.

I know pretty much nothing about John Campbell, creator of Pictures for Sad Children, and these days I don’t read webcomics anywhere near as much as I used to. I’ve only recently caught up with the news that her very successful Kickstarter has halted fulfillment and and his site has effectively closed.

But I wanted to write something.

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There isn’t very much out there that makes board gaming look as cool and exciting as it really is and so I’m very glad that Board with Life came along when it did. It’s smart, funny and gaming literate, as well as being enviably slick in its production values. Its cast have just the right crass/sass mix and amongst their number you might recognise some very neat guest stars, such as the brilliant Burch siblings of HAWP notoriety.

The team are Kickstarting a second series and have a very modest goal of $14,000 dollars as their target, though stretches unlock a bunch of neat extras, including Harry-Crane-From-Mad-Men-Big-Board-Gamer-Rich-Sommer. After a few hours they’re already a third of the way to their target and I’d encourage you to think about backing them because a) you will get some very neat things and b) we’ll all get to enjoy more good shows about board gaming, rather than videos of people counting components and reviewing inlays of boxes.

Yes, this really happens.

Also, I’m in their Kickstarter video and mostly naked. Please make my sitting outside in the rain on a day where it was barely above freezing worthwhile.

CLANG

So as my friend Aanand put it, Neal Stephenson, one of my very favourite authors, has just won Kickstarter. Kickstarter is over now. We have to move onto something else.

Amidst the many and varied crowdfunded projects jostling for attention on the site, here is Stephenson’s pitch for CLANG, the swordfighting game with its own peripheral.

Yes, that was Gabe Newell who appeared with the crowbar at the end, the head of Valve, the company that made Half-Life. And Portal.

And Half-Life 2. And Portal 2.

Here’s even more detail from Stephenson, presented in his precise, down-to-earth and authoritative style.

I’m now starting to wish that this man was in charge of developing videogames all the time.

A video like this just makes me excited about Stephenson all over again, but it’s also an excitement chain-reaction for me, because it involves Stephenson, it involves games, it involves swords and it involves games about swords. I’ve nurtured a secret love for swords and swordfighting for about a decade now, and to see someone who has researched it so rigorously and intensely now try to create this way of sharing it… well. Well.

Should you wish to contribute to Stephenson’s Pocket, the Kickstarter page is here.