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Archive for the ‘carry. a game about war.’ Category

Posts about my Vietnam game, carry.

Dreamation 09 Post Post

Posted by Nathan P. on February 23, 2009

Dreamation was very good for me this year! As per usual, I am amazed and humbled by all the of excellent people I got to see, meet, play with, talk to and drink and eat with over the course of the weekend.

The atmosphere was really positive and inclusive this year, I think. I think it was also more relaxed than some Dreamations past. People are a little less intent on cramming in maximum gaming, and happy to take chill time and socialize.

My games all went well. I played in a Houses of the Blooded scenario run by Tom on Friday, and it was pretty neat. I really like parts of the game, and other parts leave me a little cold, but I intend to pick up the PDF soonish. The actual scenario was really neat, though I think there’s a lot of room with that game for a more character-vs-character intrigue kind of thing.

Judd & my Agon Tournement got a little fubared by miscommunication with the scheduling staff, so we ended up with two isolated Agon slots. I ran the first one, for Judd and a new friend named Joel, and it went pretty well. Agon is a little creaky with two heroes, I think, but it was a fun game. I ran Beast of Kolkoris and I totally killed Judd’s character with a Minotaur. We called the game after that encounter, but I think I would have totally killed both of them if we had continued the quest. That’s a really hard quest! Judd ran the second one, a Quest he came up with that involved a Cyclops who forged lightning. I got to play! It was cool! Ralph won the game and I was so mad! Stupid Ralph winning. I suspect that Far-Reaching may be a little brokenzord, though. I need to take another look, but the suspicion is in my brain.

I played a game of Annalise with Kevin Allen Jr., J.R. Blackwell and John Enskot (who did NOT die in a car crash, and that was the best part of the con). It was very good. We established the beginning of a really long, slow-burning game, if we were able to keep playing. I also got a lot of good feedback and ideas about how to structure a 4-hour complete Annalise game scenario.

Speaking of, my new friend Connie ran two games of Annalise without my involvment, which apparently both went well; so did the games of carry ran by Rachel and Adam. You people are all my favorite, and I am just pleased as punch that my games are creating fun.

Overall, just excellent hanging out time and drinking time with my friends. I already miss you.

Also, Amy was the best driving buddy ever, in addition to being a great friend.

As per usual, Dreamation was a sorely needed reset button, and I’m super glad I went. Thanks everyone for doing your part!

Posted in Actual Play, Annalise, carry. a game about war., Conventions, Mission, Personal | 4 Comments »

Dreamation Aught Nine Plan

Posted by Nathan P. on February 19, 2009

  • Head down early.
  • See all my awesome friends.
  • Rachel is running one of my games! carry, 8 pm, Thursday.
  • Connie is running one of my games! Annalise, 9 am, Friday.
  • Judd & I are running Agon! Step up for the first round of the Kleos Cup, 8pm, Friday.
  • I’m running Annalise! 2pm, Saturday.
  • Adam is running one of my games! carry, 8pm, Saturday.
  • Judd & I are running Agon! Those you made it through the first round are invited to the final round of the Kleos cup, 8pm, Saturday.
  • I’m running Annalise! 9am, Sunday.
  • Connie is running one of my games! Annalise, 2pm, Sunday – a good parting gift for y’all.
  • As per usual, I don’t preregister for other games, but there is a metric fuckton of great games on the slate, and I’m sure I’ll be happy where ever I end up.
  • Indie Party Saturday nite.
  • Road trip for Pho.
  • Staying with Shreyas.
  • I will be Twittering updates from the show – follow at ndpaoletta, if you’re interested.
  • Yay Dreamation!

Posted in Annalise, carry. a game about war., Conventions, Promo | 3 Comments »

carry review on Play This Thing

Posted by Nathan P. on November 25, 2008

carry has been reviewed on Play This Thing. I think it’s a pretty good, though I would question the idea that because the text is short(ish), gameplay is less deep than it otherwise would be. Seems like a category error to me. Overall, however, it’s a solid overview of the game, and I really appreciate that it’s up on such a great site (if you don’t read Play This Thing like, all the time, you should).

Thanks to Judd for tipping me off to it, and thanks to Sage for the review.

Posted in carry. a game about war., Promo | 2 Comments »

Gen Con Aught Eight (1)

Posted by Nathan P. on August 20, 2008

Sleep? Nah. Gen Con. Though, real life is pretty busy through the rest of the month, so I doubt I’ll be able to go into much more detail. I do have a ton of pics, though, which will go up ASAP.

Bullet points:

  • The Design Matters booth: business. Fuck but we did a wonderful thing. We not only hit our sales goals for the convention, we blew them out of the water with an approach and business model that was both experimental and, as far as I know, pretty damn unanticipated within our community. Also, to all the people that said “I’m glad you’re doing it, but you’re crazy” – that’s right. We are. Crazy like foxes. We will be publishing all of our sales data and results soon, so our experience will also be an actual data point for future efforts. Stay tuned for that.
  • The Design Matters booth: social. Holy shit, but I didn’t want the convention to end. Mad props to Kevin, Gregor, Eppy, Clint, Amy, Jonathon (in absentia, alas) and Shreyas for being part of this wonderful alchemy. I had such a fucking great time just spending time with all of you, let alone game, drink, party and hang out.
  • Old friends: always a pleasure to see you again. I miss you already.
  • New friends: One of my goals for this con was to meet and/or cultivate actual friendships with some new people, and damn but that went well. You know who you are, my new friends.
  • Gaming: I ending up playing Annalise three times, and running InSpectres once. All went well, for varying degrees of the word. Annalise continues to enthrall me. I learned something really interesting about InSpectres. Other than those games, my interest was primarily in social stuff, and I don’t regret it, though it sounds like much other rocking gaming was going on.
  • Buying: I picked up Kagematsu, Tales of the Fishermans Wife and Black Cadillacs from the Ashcan Front and Sweet Agatha and 3:16 from my booth. Also, some more cool red “broken” tokens for playing Annalise. I also got some slick biohazard goggles for dancing and some, uh, friendship bracelets for very special friends, which I’m looking forwards to integrating into my wardrobe. Hunter: the Vigil was waiting on my doorstep when I got home thanks to a birthday-related preorder, and that was just icing on the cake.
  • Eating: I managed to eat pretty well (not hard when you’re in the one-big-meal-a-day mode). The family-style Italian place is rocking (Buca de Beppo, or whatever), and the nicer Italian place kitty-corner to Steak-N-Shake had a delicious Kobe beef ravioli.
  • Jeff: Thats the bartender at the Embassy Suites, and he always treats us right.
  • Good conversations: me & Kevin & Clint talking about D&D and nerd culture; pretty much every conversation with Amy; “Smooshing” talk with the DM folk (thanks guys, I almost vomited in my mouth); stealing time with Alexander, even if only for a brief moment; chilling with Frank in the mornings before opening the booth; saving Eric from IPR; gossiping with Gregor and Clint (even if it makes me a bad person); talking to customers at the booth and feeling validated in our endeavors; catching up with Dro; giving Luke shit (dude, wheres the damn Pony?); catching up with Jared; seeing many others for only too brief a time.
  • Random coolness: Fireworks over the city, teaching Gregor to talk American good, getting bro-jobs from Eppy, geeking out about glasses, Project Runway discussions, drawing your character for Candy Creeps, driving for way too many hours but having productive conversations, Love is a Battlefield dammit, the sketchy Gyro place in Columbus, the ghosts in the hotel, getting taller over the course of the con.
  • Oh yah, sales: I only had 10 salable copies of Annalise, and I sold out of those, plus sold a couple more to friends willing to take a misprinted cover. Sold 4 copies of carry plus 6 to the Finns (apparently its popular with high school kids in Finland, who knew!) plus gave a couple away for charity auctions. Success in my book.

I’m getting all misty-eyed thinking about it. Next year, gonna be even better.

(Feel free to use comments to remind me of other cool things. I probably didn’t mention it cuz it’s all still swirling in my hazy brain, not cuz I didn’t dig it).

Posted in Actual Play, Annalise, carry. a game about war., Conventions, D&D, Personal, Promo | Leave a Comment »

Catching Up 1

Posted by Nathan P. on August 19, 2008

So, over Gen Con, an interview I did went out into the podcastosphere. I’m listening to it myself now, I hope I don’t sound like a schlub. Also, I rant about art! Check it out at Voice of Free Planet X here. Jared’s great, and a great host.

And you should add the podcast to yer feed, anyway.

Posted in Annalise, Artistry, carry. a game about war., Mission, Non-RPG Gaming, Personal, Promo, Timestream | 1 Comment »

J.R. Blackwell & carry

Posted by Nathan P. on July 22, 2008

My new friend J.R. Blackwell played carry with me at DexCon, and just posted about it on her LJ. Link here. She was a ton of fun to play with, and has some really interested things to say about the game, coming from an out-of-the-indie-gamer-core perspective.

Her comments on feeling uncomfortable talking about what happened at the table are really, really interesting. They remind me of a time a couple of Dexposure cons ago when I was talking to Tony and the subject of racism in games came up. I was all “well, obviously when I run carry I toss around racial epithets for the Vietnamese when speaking in character, it’s part of the genre, but I don’t think it’s gratuitous.” And he was all “dude. I was playing two tables away from your game, and my head snapped around every time I heard “gook,” and it was A LOT.” Once you start down a path, it’s easy to get acclimated to it, to the point where you may not recognize the stuff you’re doing at the table is over acceptable lines “in real life.”

And even if you notice, I think most of us don’t really care, as long as it stays at the table.

Posted in Actual Play, carry. a game about war. | 5 Comments »

DexCon 08: Home of the Gingerbread Mafia

Posted by Nathan P. on July 21, 2008

And thats how DexCon was over.

I had the best time at a convention that I’ve had in a long time. I think last years Origins is the next benchmark back, and this DexCon was at least equal to it, if not better. There was a lot of crapulance floating around, to be sure (the broken ATM, the general sense of low energy, the low sales, general crankiness, the list of things that there is too much of), but I personally managed to have an amazing productive, satisfying and just plain fun time.


Roanoke went well, despite some playstyle clash at the table that I wasn’t able to harmoniously deal with. The game was fun, overall, and it was really rewarding for me to run a game outside of my comfort zone. Though, sorry Dan & Clint, but I think next time I’ll have to use something like The Pool or Unistat. Wushu just isn’t my style.

InSpectres went awesomely, as always. I had a table of 7 players, and the game hummed right along with no problems. It also had some pretty dark turns (the S&M/Nazi-fetishist British aristocrat, the death of the last unicorn, the rotting ghost virgins). As always, though, tons of laughs and many hijinks. Damn but it’s my favorite game.

carry went very well, despite J.R. and Russell having to leave early. We had a squad chock-full of sexual tension, and all the players really stepped up and dug into their characters and the fiction of the game. It was one of the most emotionally satisfying and real-feeling games of carry I’ve run, and it really made me happy that it played out so well.

Annalise suffered from some poor decision-making on my part (I decided to try to simultaneously run two 3-player tables, and there was a lot of lagtime in the beginning stages of the game as I ran back and forth). However, the players all made really tragic characters that were headed towards intense confrontations with the Vampire, and a lot of disturbing and interested fiction was happening at each table. I think everyone got a good taste of the game, and I learned a ton about how to approach running it at conventions.


I sold out of the Seven Sins edition of the game within a day. Totally awesome. Everyone was very complimentary, and I think the custom versions were worth the price tag, and maybe even the stress of making them happen! I feel really validated in some of my artistic and marketing choices, and I feel totally recharged about making the next version happen. Also sold a copy or two of carry.


Always the best part. I made some awesome new friends (Hi Jared and J.R.and Eric and Kevin!), and I got to spend some real quality time with older friends, and got to shoot the shit with friendly acquaintances and get closer to being good friends. I’m already sad that I won’t be seeing any of you for awhile.


In the words of Mr. Allen Jr. “it made me cry butter.”

Much love to all of you, friends. See you next time!

Posted in Actual Play, Annalise, carry. a game about war., Conventions, Personal, Publishing | 8 Comments »

Carry Errata Is Go

Posted by Nathan P. on June 7, 2008

The second print run of carry. a game about war. is almost sold out! The third printing is currently heading out to fulfillment houses. While updating the text for the third printing, I ran into a number of issues, mostly small but some fairly large, with how I had explained some rules; in addition, I’ve garnered a fair amount of feedback from players of the game since it’s been out. These factors combined to mean that I actually made a substantial number of changes in the text for the third printing, mostly in the form of taking out small rules that never saw play and re-writing some portions of the rules to be clearer in how the rules are meant to be applied.

So, the purchasers of the third printing are getting the clearest and most accurate version of the rules. But what about everyone who already has the book? For you, I am providing a 13-page PDF of errata between printings. This document includes both an explanation of why each portion of the text was changed, and the complete text of both the old and new rules that have been edited.

You can download that document by clicking here. To check your printing, look at the bottom of the last page of your book.

Posted in Actual Play, carry. a game about war., Promo, Publishing | 2 Comments »

Some #s

Posted by Nathan P. on January 20, 2008

Total Sales for 2007

carry. a game about war.: 93 (96 in 2006)

Timestream Standard PDF: 5 (17 in 2006)

Timestream Basic PDF: 8 (9 in 2006)

Timestream Premier Edition (print): 13 (168 in 2006, mostly cuz of sales into distribution)

Timestream Reference Edition (print): 2 (28 in 2006)

Time’s Champions: A Stream for Timestream: 4 (3 in 2006)

Posted in carry. a game about war., Promo, Publishing, Timestream | 2 Comments »

Dolla Dolla Bills

Posted by Nathan P. on September 1, 2007

This may be of interest to some of y’alls.

When I released Timestream, it was partly a grand experiment to see how different price points, for the same content but different presentation, would work out.

The Basic PDF is $8.00. This is because, though there’s two versions in the package (screen and optomized-for-print), they’re both in grayscale, and there’s no PDF hyperlinking (kind of by accident, but that’s how it turned out, and whatever).

The Standard PDF is $12.00. Again, with the two versions, but it’s much prettier, with the full-color interior border and color pics. Also, the hyperlinks work. So there’s a little bit of value-added, plus the increased prettiness. I decided that this was worth an extra 4 bucks to those who cared about such things.

The Reference version is $16.00. It’s in print, it’s a grayscale interior, and it’s coil-bound. I really, really like coil binding, because it’s easy to reference at the table. So, the idea is that it’s a little less pretty, but it’s more utilitarian, and cheaper. I figured, since I’m charging 4$ more for the pretty PDF, I’ll charge 4$ more for the next “step up”. By accident, it’s also pretty much at the standard markup from the print cost (which I discovered later, when I started doing short digital print runs).

The Premier version is $26.00. Same content as the reference version, but the full-color interior (by which I mean, color borders on every page!) color pics, perfect binding, etc. So it’s more of a “real book”, right? I was gonna charge 20$ for it, keeping with my 4$ markup pattern, but then I printed them with the intent of going into distro (via Key20), and, um, that would have lost me a lot of money. I managed to figure out how to get the full-color down to something manageable, with the help of Lance at Avalon Innovations, but the 26$ price point is the lowest amount that gives me a whole dollar margin on sales in distribution. So, like, whatever, I priced it there, and I decided to see what would happen.

carry, on the other hand, is just the one version, with no plans for any others, and no fancy printing shenanigans. I looked at other games on the market, thought for a while, and decided to price it at $15.00. I was going to put it at 20, but I felt wrong about doing that, because, while I don’t think that anyone who would buy it at 15 wouldn’t buy it at 20, I don’t expect anyone except me to play the game more than once. So, 15 bucks for one evening of entertainment, that sounds fair to me, and I make enough off of that to pay for things.

Interestingly enough, while sales of all versions have slowed to a trickle, the general trend for Timestream is that the Premium far outsells the Reference, and the Standard PDF outsells the Basic PDF.

So, there’s some thoughts, from the publishers end, about pricing my small-press games.

Posted in carry. a game about war., Publishing, Timestream | Leave a Comment »