Breaking: Wizards Under Fire for Providing Enjoyment to Many #Gaming #MTG @wizards_magic

Wizards of the Coast was just sued by several Magic: the Gathering judges. The complaint can be found here: https://www.scribd.com/doc/309867466/Shaw-Et-Al-v-Wizards-of-the-Coast-LLC. I’ve read the complaint, but I just found out about this, and I’ve spoken with no one about this. That being said….

This is crazy. Probably not enough to get sanctions against the plaintiffs, but crazy. They allege and employer-employer relationship, but I don’t see a logical basis for that claim, which would mean that the entire suit falls apart. (Note: They don’t need to prove that basis at this point. I’m simply stating that, in my mind, there’s no factual basis for that claim.) I don’t play Magic, but I’ve organized RP games for the DC area for over a decade, even running a convention for a couple of years. During the 3rd edition, Living Greyhawk days, I took two tests to earn some sort of certification as a judge. Nevertheless, we all know that this is volunteer work. We’re “working” for the community, not the company, and I know of no instance when WotC has ever claimed that judges were anything other than volunteers.
 
Most important to me is, if Shaw, et al. win, without exaggeration, I predict that it’s the end of organized play of any sort. If everyone who judges a game day for Magic, Dungeons & Dragons, or any other organized play event would need to be paid, reimbursed for expenses, etc., then these events have negative value to the companies that sanction them. There’s simply no reason even to allow them, let alone provide support for them.
In the long run, who does that help (other than the attorneys for the plaintiff)?
Please, if someone has a different view, let me know. If your argument is, “It’s really hard work,” then you’re missing my point. I’m one of the last people that needs to be lectured on how much work this sort of thing is. I’ve done it for a decade, suffering massive burnout from time to time, but it doesn’t justify me being paid.

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Follow Magic the Gathering on Twitter @wizards_magic

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#GenCon Indy, 2013! #gaming #games #RPG #TDA CC: @Luddite_Vic

For the first time, I’m going to GenCon and not working for Baldman Games. (You should work for them if you like Dungeons & Dragons. They give great rewards for running games.) I’m just going to play (though I’m running four slots). I’m honestly not sure how much gaming I’ll want to do. I might get bored and do something else. In any case, like all the other con-goers, I sat there at my computer just waiting for the countdown clock to strike zero at noon. I was lucky enough to be assigned #738 in the queue. Anything under 1,000 is lucky as all hell, and as a result, I got everything I wanted. This includes two puzzle-oriented True Dungeon adventures and a few role-playing games, none of which I’ve ever before played. Isn’t that what GenCon is supposed to be about: Trying new games? That’s my philosophy. I bought an extra ticket for each of the True Dungeon adventures, so I can help out a friend get into the game.

My current GenCon schedule is below. I have absolutely no complaints.

Wednesday: Fate Core (RPG1345241) at 8pm

Thursday: Dungeon World (RPG1341359) at 1pm, then the One Ring (RPG1343873) at 8pm.

Friday: True Dungeon (Lycan’s Afoot, TDA1348116) at 9:37am, then running the Gamers’ Syndicate new living campaign adventures at 1pm (RPG1343708) and 7pm (RPG1343710).

Saturday: True Dungeon (Golembane, TDA1348648) at 9:39am, then running the Gamers’ Syndicate new living campaign adventures at 1pm (RPG1343709) and 7pm (RPG1343711).

Sunday: A seminar on game design (SEM1346700) at 10am, then Far Trek RPG (RPG1342003) at noon.

This schedule lets me sleep in for the most part, and gives me plenty of time to roam the halls and keep myself fed. Let me know if you’re in any of my games.

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#TabletopDay! @slyflourish @rosamoonshadow @nullzone42 #fluxx #ascension #dungeon #cah

table-top-logoYesterday was Table Top Day, and it didn’t disappoint. For one, my hosts were Mike and Michelle Shea (aka @slyflourish and @RosaMoonshadow respectively), who have both earned the title of Gamer Extraordinaire. I also played with Jorge, someone I’d never met before (always a plus in gaming) as well as familiar friends, Nate (@nullzone42) and John (not on Twitter).

For me, the company you keep is always more important than the games you play, but for the games themselves, I played the newest version of one of my favorite games from childhood, Dungeon!, and one of my favorite relatively new games, Cards Against Humanity. I usually lose the latter because I’m completely immersed in the humor of the game, whereas it often offends everyone else’s sensibilities eventually. With offended people judging my outrageous plays, it’s hard to win that game. Still, I tied for first place against Michelle. Dungeon involved a character death, and a series of ridiculous rolls that resulted in a ridiculous (but fun!) showing.

More importantly, I played three games I’d never played before: Ascension, Fluxx (twice!), and Pandemic. Pandemic is a cooperative game, and we lost. It’s well-balanced, and you’re always just one step ahead of failure, not knowing whether you’ll win. In an apocalyptic scenario, that’s exactly how you’d expect a real world scenario to play out.

I played Fluxx twice, winning the first and losing the second (to Mike). If you haven’t played it, you need to play it. It’s fun. It’s a card game by Looney Labs  in which the rules themselves constantly change. The second game was themed around Monty Python, so that really played to my interests.

Ascension was interesting, but it’s not a game I’d have to play again. I could play it and enjoy it, so feel free to invite me to any games, but there are better games for me. Mike scored an 86 (IIRC), and Nate and I tied at 66, so surprisingly I didn’t do poorly for a first timer, but I wasn’t much of a threat for winning. In fact, for all I know, I miscalculated my score, so I could easily have come in third.

Overall, a Saturday playing games with good people, some of whom I had never met before, and playing games, some of which I’ve never played before, is about as ideal a situation as any gamer can have. Mission accomplished.

Thanks for hosting, Mike and Michelle!

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Internet Scam Alert: Most “Kickstarter” Projects Just Useless Crap (via @theOnion)

Sadly, at times, this is the truth. Kickstarter has a tendency to remove risk from the process of business, and that encourages people to do projects half-assed.

In the end, I suspect Kickstarter will implode. After getting burned enough times, people will contribute only to projects put forth by well-established companies. This might turn out to be just as tragic. First, I’d like to see Kickstarter be used as a way for the new guy with no funds to be given his shot. Unfortunately, there’s no way to distinguish those guys from the people who just don’t want to spend their own money and aren’t really in need of that break, so that’s a pipe dream. Second, it’s unethical for large, well-established companies to take start-up capital from people who aren’t given an ownership interest in the company, and it’s just as unethical for small, well-established companies to do the same unless the backers are given very good value for their contributions. (I won’t call them investments unless an ownership interest is attached.) Unless Kickstarter starts enforcing these rules, this is also a pipe dream.

Kickstarter should start scrutinizing which projects it allows. Until they start, I won’t give them another look.

Follow me on Twitter @GSLLC