The Independent Insurgency
Interviews from the indie game design world.








January 2009
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So right now, I have no material recorded for the show and it's getting to the point where it might be hard for me to keep up a biweekly schedule. I may have to dedicate far more time at cons to doing interviews if I'm going to avoid this in the future.

If you are (or know) an independent game designer within driving distance of Western MA, and you want to be on the show, please let me know. The show's email address is at gmail, and it's indie.insurgent there. You can also just email me if you know my address.

(I should note that I do not do Skype on my show, face-to-face interviews only.)
Category:general -- posted at: 10:23am EDT

Episode 21: Luke Crane and Jared Sorensen on FreeMarket In this episode, I talk to Luke Crane and Jared Sorensen about the game they've designed for Peter Adkison at Hidden City Games, FreeMarket (previously known as "Project Donut"). FreeMarket is a transhumanist science fiction game in which you try to gain prestige ("flow") on a Utopian space station.

Also, I had a cold.

Also, big news on the music front (scan down).

WARNING: The Independent Insurgency is an "explicit" podcast.

This episode is 64.8 MB big and 01:10:46 long.

00:01:08: The origin of the "Project Donut" working title
00:04:00: What's it about?
00:06:20: The primacy of cooperation
00:07:17: Transhumanism
00:07:54: Blade Runner (in case you didn't know)
00:10:13: Jared claims FreeMarket is one of the first real science fiction games (and his explanation for what that means for shock: social science fiction by Joshua A.C. Newman)
00:10:58: What is science fiction?
00:11:13: J.G. Ballard's three pillars of science fiction
00:13:45: How the game works
00:15:30: The game's concept of Flow reminds me of face rank in Extras by Scott Westerfeld
00:15:43: Cory Doctorow
00:17:17: "Deathing" people
00:19:35: Setting is built into the skills, and characters use the same game terms players do
00:20:34: Division of labor
00:21:29: Oldboy
00:23:16: When I played FM, I created a Y.T. gene line for my character (from the book Snow Crash)
00:24:08: Luke ran a game of Jared's game Lacuna for he and Peter
00:25:36: Luke and Jared would have liked to have done the Bella Sara RPG
00:27:28: The influence (or lack thereof) of other games
00:32:07: Rebekah "Spyder" Bennington has done art for FreeMarket
00:33:22: Difficult things to fix
00:37:42: Things they couldn't make work
00:40:17: The fascinating role of death(ing) in the game
00:42:16: Sengoku
00:42:47: The GM is called the "Superuser" and the other players are the "users"
00:44:33: FreeMarket is a no-prep game
00:45:45: How to get playtesters and get them to give you feedback
00:47:30: A RadioLab episode on choice that I babble on about
00:49:17: Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
00:51:03: Darcy Burgess
00:51:54: Playstorming
00:52:03: The purpose and use of art
00:53:49: Pictures of the "white book" for the game are on its site
00:55:46: Slugfest Games put them in touch with their printer
00:56:28: The PDF of the game will be given out for free
00:57:23: Skekses
00:57:32: You'll be able to register as a "colonist" and choose the number of the game you want
00:58:37: The contents of the boxed set
00:59:28: Empire of Dust by KNRPG Productions is another boxed set
00:59:34: Marketing
01:02:50: Jim Munroe, author of Everyone in Silico and the movie Infest Wisely, which were inspirations for FreeMarket
01:03:27: Jared has visions of one day playing the game with Doctorow, William Gibson, Munroe, and Bruce Sterling
01:05:00: George W. Bush as the Manichean president
01:05:09: When will it be out?
01:06:45: The Farm is not happy

I'm super-lucky that Righteous Babe Records gave me permission to play music by Ani DiFranco. I'm going to start doing so for a while, since she's my favorite musician. We're going to start with a song about a corporate entity trying to get you to sell yourself out, a song called The Next Big Thing.

Logo courtesy of Daniel Solis:
Direct download: independent-insurgency-021.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:28pm EDT

Episode 20: Malcolm Craig on Hot War In this episode, I talk to Malcolm Craig of Contested Ground Studios about his new game, Hot War. Hot War is set in a post-apocalyptic 1960s London, and is a thematic sequel to Malcolm's earlier game, Cold City. I had played and really enjoyed the game the night before, so I can tell you it's a ton of fun. Also, Malcolm is such a generous person that I frequently had to fight to get us back to talking about his game, rather than mine. He's a great guy and I loved talking with him.

WARNING: The Independent Insurgency is an "explicit" podcast.

This episode is 65.3 MB big and 1:11:18 long.

00:00:59: What Contested Ground Studios is
00:04:29: Twilight 2000 is one of the first games Malcolm played
00:05:16: Hot War was also inspired by British authors like John Wyndham (specifically Day of the Triffids) and J.G. Ballard, and is unlike "cozy catastrophe" books like A Canticle for Leibowitz
00:06:00: Hot War is set after a nuclear (and quasi-occult) war touched off by the Cuban Missile Crisis
00:06:30: The Zone of Alienation, where physical laws don't work properly, is inspired by the film Stalker by Andrei Tarkovsky and the novel upon which it's based, Roadside Picnic, as well as the Chernobyl Disaster
00:08:01: Characters in the game have secret agendas that often come into conflict with their organizations' agendas
00:09:32: A rundown of the game's mechanics
00:13:09: Ani DiFranco's song Letter to a John
00:13:31: We talk about music and politics as influences on game design and life
00:15:13: Malcolm's soundtrack for Cold City is dominated by non-50s music like DJ Krush, DJ Shadow,Fingerthing, and the Joe Acheson Quartet
00:16:10: The soundtrack for a Contenders game Malcolm played set in New Jersey (where I used to live) in 1983 included Blondie, Bauhaus, Talking Heads, The Cure, and The Clash
00:17:41: Malcom needs to visit New Jersey, if only for Dexposure's Dreamation gaming convention
00:18:15: We talk about more music: Nine Inch Nails, Front 242, and Green Day
00:19:11: How Hot War's conflict system works
00:19:55: Malcolm and I both worked the Playcollective booth at Gen Con
00:25:03: Megablockbuster 3:16: Carnage Amongst the Stars handles character death in a cool way
00:26:30: Why design this game?
00:31:09: "The people are not motor-bike-riding leather-clad, crossbow-wielding neo-barbarians"
00:32:46: The prevalence of kilts at gaming cons, Gen Con in particular
00:33:52: Jennifer Rodgers
00:36:17: What other games have you begun to shit out?
00:37:18: Malcolm wrote a game based on the song I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper
00:39:20: The possible third game in this thematic trend would be set in 1920s Constantinople and inspired by the book The Orientalist
00:41:36: The main differences between Hot War and Cold City
00:46:15: Gen Con's t-shirt problems: aggression, passive-aggression, and fascism
00:49:32: Malcolm "nicked mercilessly" from The Mountain Witch, Dogs in the Vineyard, and Covenant
00:53:38: Use of art in the book
00:56:54: The printer for the book is Fidlar Doubleday
00:58:44: Marketing (which Malcolm thinks Evil Hat are particularly good at)
01:02:19: Defining success

Closing song is Thick Ass Stout by Skankin' Pickle which can be found at Podshow's Podsafe Music Network,
Logo courtesy of Daniel Solis:
Direct download: independent-insurgency-020.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:41pm EDT