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Showing posts from June, 2024


It can go by many names - the "Railroad DM," the "God GM", "DM Dictator," "GM Power Gaming…" The list goes on and on. It can also appear in many forms, some obvious by the above nicknames, such as railroading, metagaming, or dictatorship. You’ll recognize these traits in stories about TTRPG games time and again in various forums. We’re speaking of the issue of GM Overreach: the point at which the game's facilitator goes beyond their role as arbitrator and storyteller. Taking their powers beyond those the game had been designed with and beyond the assumed social contract with the players. How and why did this become an issue? Is there anything that can be done? Take a break from your tabletop and come explore the topic with Never Say Dice. Reaching There are a multitude of ways tabletop arbiters can overreach. Some of the worst, and unfortunately most common, are when the GM is "railroading" - forcing the story in the direction they

Beyond Bad Dads: Breaking Cycles of Toxic Fatherhood in Yakuza and Metal Gear

Like it or not, the electronic gaming landscape is dominated by long-running series, and has been since its early days . No matter when you read this, if you take a look at the current best–selling games, you’ll see a list that’s almost entirely sequels, off-shoots, reboots, or remakes of any of the above. This is something the medium inherited largely from the comic and cinematic industries it’s modeled after, but also reflects a certain risk-aversion as development costs skyrocket and mere success is insufficient to keep a studio afloat : name recognition is a safe bet. Publishers can assume some baseline of sales from dedicated fans who will always buy the latest installment of their favorite series. We at Never Say Dice can’t say that we’re totally immune to established gaming franchises , but for the most part we don’t stay on top of series with numerous installments like Assassin’s Creed , Final Fantasy , or Call of Duty . (Not that this will keep these games from filling out

Minigames... in My TTRPG?! (It's More Likely than You Think!)

You find them in all sorts of video games, even ones that aren’t RPGs. Some are special little Easter eggs, like including the original version of the game as an accessible dream sequenc e. Others are extra mechanics that get you through different sections or obstacles . A great many are in there just for fun , with a bonus if you’re going for 100% completionism . We’re talking about... the minigame! They break away from the regular monotony of gameplay and give you something fresh or reskinned, a new challenge to accomplish, or just a little bit of variety. Minigames bring all of that color to our video gaming worlds from the Wolfenstein nightmare sequence, to arcade machines and races in GTA, to everything else in between. The concept of a minigame can also bring those same kinds of advantages to our tabletop games. Current Content There are many different ways to incorporate a minigame into your tabletop sessions. One that you may already be incorporating are puzzle-style games. It

Pew-Pew Zoom: SHMUPdate

It's been just over two years since I first talked about SHUMPs as part of " Pew-Pew Zoom ," a series of posts on the history of narrative in video games set in space. (At some point I'll have enough experience to cover 4X and other strategic space game genres as well.) Since then, I've found myself bit by the SHMUP bug and put a lot more time not only into playing these games, but learning more about their history and the culture surrounding them. So this week, I thought we'd do a quick update on the fastest growing genre in my game collection and the discoveries I've made along the way. To start with, while my first SHMUP post was almost endearingly retro-brained (the most recent game I mentioned will turn 30 this year) and that, even though I've acquired many newer games, most of my actual play falls in the era I originally covered: the late 80s and early 90s. My genre associations were largely with the 16-bit era of consoles, so most of my foray