Category Archives: Games

24 hour RPG Challenge

24 hour rpg challenge

Back in April of 2003, Phil Reed (who had just left Steve Jackson Games at the time, and was running his own game design studio which was rapidly overtaking the established PDF RPG Publishers in the market) discussed the idea of a 24 hour RPG challenge on the well known (and often reviled) indie-RPG forums, the Forge.

From this post evolved the 24 hour RPG challenge. The goal of the challenge is to develop, write and produce a full pen and paper RPG (with a target size of 24 pages) in 24 hours. Designers can take the challenge at any time as long as they stick to the rules – typically a designer will post to the 24 hour forum or to the Yahoo mailing list when they start the challenge and post their final product to the site when they are finished. In the early years, there was also a Grand Event every year where the challenge was taken by multiple people during a one or two week period in order to produce a “batch” of products in one push.

Several of the projects originally launched as part of the challenge have gone on to be refined by the authors and then published – one by Phil Reed himself and another by Joe Prince. In addition, Ron Edwards of the Forge added a new twist with the Ronnie Awards – a series of 24 hour RPG contests that required participants to work from a set of “ingredients” for their game, much like the Game Chef contests but with the addition of the 24 hour time limit.

These days, the 24 hour RPG challenge has moved from it’s original site to the new site and forum at 1KM1KT (1,000 Monkeys, 1,000 Typewriters) where they take the uploaded games and post them (as well as thousands of other free RPGs well worth checking out). The rate of release has declined in the past few years, but there was even one posted this month, so the challenge is not quite dead yet.

And yes, I’m looking at heading out into the world of the 24 hour RPG challenge in the next week or so – just have to find 24 hours to do it in and make myself a few pitchers of iced tea for the trip.

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Exploring Catan

AsoBrain Explorers

AsoBrain Explorers

For many, many years now I’ve been a fan of the 1995 Klauss Teuber game, The Settlers of Catan. It was the first “EuroGame” to break into the North American boardgame market and has changed the way we play and design games – distinctly for the better.

However, one of the problems with Settlers (unlike my other favourite, Carcassonne), is that it doesn’t play well (ok, it doesn’t play at all) for two players. For a couple of years now, however, I’ve been keeping my skills honed in this fine game courtesy of the programmers and players over at AsoBrain.

This site runs in-browser Java versions of the game (along with your choice of the two expansions – Seafarers of Catan and / or Cities and Knights of Catan). On average there are nearly a thousand other players out there looking for people to play with, or playing on their own.

Playing on their own.

Yes, the AI on the website is actually pretty effective. You can play a solo game or three and actually expect a decent amount of competition from the “bot” players (who are all named after the characters from Friends, much to my chagrin – because I really needed a reason to dislike Monica any more). Overall, the programming is excellent and I recommend the site as a great way to introduce players to Settlers with less setup time than at the dining room table – although I wouldn’t recommend trying to learn Cities and Knights through this site without having someone else to teach you the rules (or having a copy of the actual expansion yourself).

I waste far too much time on AsoBrain. I’ll probably see you in the “Non-Ranking 2” lobby when you check it out.

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