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John W. Sheldon

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Hey, @briecs designed a collection of 5 games played with the medium of the selfie, and I did layout and presentation. You should take a look. The collection is $5!

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Hi everybody! I'm a wage slave with lots of creative hobbies, including occasional game design delusions. I live in Western PA with 4 cats and one human.

I'll probably be guilty of throwing images into your timeline.

My current game design project is Armored Reckoning, a game about a tank crew in an alt-history WW2 gone wrong.

I got 10, so here goes:

Crew of a fantastical tank must fix World War Two.

Got a positive message today. Even if it ultimately doesn't work out, it gives me meaningful hope.

"Ziggy Stardust" installation at the Carnegie Museum of Art. This photo doesn't do the experience justice, as it is at the end of a long, narrow room with white walls bathed in the light of the bolt.

Some bizarre teardrop-shaped icicles I spotted today over rushing water. Very strange and beautiful.

//end extremely spammy post series

After working through a bunch of words and titles, we found *Roar of Alliance*. On an emotional level, it hits almost all the notes I want: it is exciting, hopeful, and screams camaraderie. On the factual side, it implies WW2 (by invoking allies/alliance). In context, the roar indicates the roar of a tank's engine, the roar of its cannons, and the triumphant shout of a crew overcoming tremendous odds.

So, what once was *Armored Reckoning* is now under the working title *Roar of Alliance*.

Brie and I brainstormed a bunch of words and titles, each provoking more thought and more fresh ideas. Having a partner is invaluable, especially when they can be fearless about putting forward all of their thoughts and ideas-even the ones they know won't work. After all, you can't know what good ideas your bad ideas might inspire.

On a factual level, I want the title to convey or imply something about the setting and action: the players play as a tank crew comprised of soldiers and civilians from many nations trapped behind the lines in a fictionalized WW2 gone wrong.

When people are playing the tank game, the top things I want them to feel are Camaraderie, Suspense, Thrills, Excitement, and Hope. To a lesser extent, I want players to feel happiness, anger, righteous indignation, wistfulness, sadness, passion, and fear. I do not want players to ever feel loneliness, betrayal, hatred, deceit, or abandonment.

A good title does a lot of heavy lifting. It informs people about the product on both a factual and emotional level. While I'm usually pretty good on the factual side, I'm less awesome at making titles that engage the emotional side unless I put in the effort to think about it in a focused way. The emotion map helps with that.

*The Trouble with Names*
I have a lot of difficulty coming up with good names for things, and unfortunately I have a pretty compelling reason to re-name my long time work-in-progress game about tanks (along with a fairly deep redesign of a few game systems and elements). This time, I took some cues from my far more talented game design partner @briecs - I made an emotion map. (You can read more about the hows and whys of emotion mapping here:

Armored Reckoning already has a bunch of custom cards and sheets, and uses a bunch of off-the-shelf components, so I'm just adding a few more to the design (one of the changes eliminates one deck of custom cards and about 1/2 of the stuff on the character sheets in exchange for a custom deck of cards for each character type).

Interrupting my progress on planned revisions to the Armored Reckoning beta rules to do a total overhaul that strips out the remaining functional relationships to the game I originally started out hacking. Some of the changes are just things that simplify and streamline stuff for the better, and other changes are happening just to create distance before a rename so I can publish in good conscience. Also, I'm embracing the idea of an Ameritrash box set RPG.

What are your thoughts on Actual Play videos of RPGs? I'm primarily meaning videos shot and edited from a single instance of live play; not a recorded Twitch stream (but do answer if that's you're only exposure).

Do you find Actual Play videos useful or helpful at all?

If so, is it for learning the rules, getting the "bigger picture", or some other reason?

Had a great playtest of Armored Reckoning last night with @briecs and one other player.

It turns out that very minor changes to the rules (a simple change to the order of operations in this case), can have a huge impact on the general feel of the game. In this case, the change reduces the amount of information automatically available to players, which makes decision-making faster and actions riskier.

"[...] While scene prompts in Armored Reckoning are often tilted toward melodrama, which locations players select and how they describe a location can have a big impact on the emotional content of the game."