The Independent Insurgency
Interviews from the indie game design world.








July 2009
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Episode 30: Emily Care Boss on Sign in Stranger In this design episode, I talk Emily Care Boss of Black and Green Games about Sign in Stranger, her game of alien exploration. Called "the Peace Corps in space" game, Sign in Stranger is about human beings who've elected to leave a quarantined Earth behind to try to build a life for themselves out in space, among aliens who at best regard them with curious pity for their benighted condition. I've played and enjoyed it, and since it's coming out at Gen Con this year, you can do the same.

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

This episode is 60.6 MB big and 01:06:11 long.

00:00:55: About the game
00:01:46: The "Mad Libs" thing
00:06:20: The interesting role of humanity in the game, reminds me of Asimov's Elijah Baley stories
00:07:45: A rare indie game with a strong setting
00:09:20: Science fiction and the Native American analogy, and an NPR piece on the subject (which I can't find), which then reminds me of The Celluloid Closet
00:10:41: Why such a specific setting?
00:12:24: One of the early playtesters, Clinton R. Nixon, felt it accurately captured his past experiences of going to live in foreign cultures
00:14:21: Jonathan Walton has a vision for the game that makes it rather like Red Mars
00:15:38: Goofiness
00:16:57: Emily talks about gaming at NerdNYC's Recess
00:17:36: Dadaist games like Eat Poop You Cat
00:20:26: Emily gets all John Stavropoulos (of NerdNYC) on me
00:21:13: Ideal number of players
00:23:20: How long is the play cycle?
00:27:01: Blue booking
00:30:05: Spotlight sharing
00:32:49: The way dice work, inspired by Otherkind
00:37:39: Why complete and publish this game?
00:41:26: Emily was recently inspired by Montsegur 1244 at Camp Nerdly
00:46:37: A dropped system where players—a la Misspent Youth and Dread (Jenga)—asked leading questions of one another.
00:49:40: Emily mentions "Loading the wrong ammo" and "flags," ideas created by Chris Chinn
00:50:03: What was difficult to fix?
00:51:17: Archipelago, shock: social science fiction, and Annalise all do some cool stuff with owning pieces of the world
00:54:42: Getting playtesters
00:57:05: SIS got some very nice exposure on The Durham 3 (who are now back in action!), from episodes 49 to 51
00:58:51: Emily has agreed to do a cross-longer-term-play exchange with Mendel Schmiedekamp
00:59:21: How many times has the game been played?
01:00:15: Defining success

There's a new The Hub City Stompers album called Ska Ska Black Sheep and I'm all excited about it. It's half new songs and half dub versions of older songs. I decided to start with what is probably my favorite track from the album to close this show, Ska Train to Dorkville.

Logo courtesy of Daniel Solis:
Direct download: independent-insurgency-030.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:14pm EDT

Episode 29: TTMN: Emily Care Boss on Pirate Jenny & RPGirl In this Talk To Me Now episode I talk to Emily Care Boss of Black & Green Games about two related topics: Pirate Jenny, the booth (number 2023) at Gen Con Indy 2009 featuring games designed by women; and RPG= Role Playing Girl (RPGirl), the zine about women in the gaming industry that she's worked on, which will be on sale at the booth. We touch briefly all of the new/interesting/focused-on games that you can find at Pirate Jenny, the purpose and function of the booth, and what you'll find inside RPGirl.

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

This episode is 25.2 MB big and 27:27 long.

00:35: Defining Pirate Jenny
02:01: Anna Kreider of Tasty Bacon Games has Thou Art But A Warrior, which is a Muslim knights setting supplement for Ben Lehman's Polaris, which I interviewed her about
02:28: Danielle Lewon's Cream Alien Games has Kagematsu, a game about the seduction of a samurai by women who need his aid; Danielle is the wife of Paul Czege
03:23: Kagematsu is based on a design by Scott R. Knipe; the game is partly an examination of Knipe's experience as a transgendered person
04:52: Kat and Michael Miller's Incarnadine Press will have Serial Homicide Unit, a game where you play civilians at the mercy of a serial killer, and the cops who are out to catch him; I interviewed the Millers about this game
07:14: Shreyas Sampat and Elizabeth Shoemaker's Two Scooters Press will have Homecoming, Elizabeth's game about the re-integration of returning war vets
08:24: Julia Bond Ellingboe's Stone Baby Games is releasing the full version of Tales of the Fisherman's Wife (which I interviewed her about), a game of sexy Japanese ghost stories
10:00: Emily's own Black & Green Games is going to release her game of alien exploration, Sign in Stranger, which will be the subject of a future episode of my show
12:56: Terry Hope Romero, awesome lady and totally famous vegan cookbook writer will be there running demos and helping out
13:58: The mission and purpose of Pirate Jenny
17:48: RPGirl is a zine by and about women in gaming
20:20: The interesting pricing scheme and profit-routing plans for RPGirl
20:50: Possible international people for RPGirl 2 include: Anna Westerling, Johanna Koljonen
21:18: RPGirl 1 is already pretty international, contributors include: UKian Charlotte Law (of Mongoose Publishing); Jenni Dowsett from New Zealand; and from from Denmark, the Gnavpotveksler project, run by Luisa Carbonelli, which came out of conversations at Fastival

The outgoing song on this episode is Little Plastic Castle by Ani DiFranco from the album Little Plastic Castle. It seemed particularly apropos to me, given that we're dancing around—and avoiding—defining what femininity and feminism are in this episode.

Logo courtesy of Daniel Solis:
Direct download: independent-insurgency-029.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:49pm EDT

Episode 28: J.R. Blackwell on Shelter in Place This design episode is part of a series from the Indie Design Roundtable from DexCon 12, which I was the moderator of. In this one, we talk to photographer, writer, podcaster, contortionist, awesome chick, and game designer J.R. Blackwell about her zombie LARP in development, Shelter in Place. I had to pass up a chance to play this the night before but I was glad we were able to talk about it, as it sounds pretty cool.

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

This episode is 45.5 MB big and 49:37 long.

03:43: The premise
04:38: Ultimately, what's the game about?
05:33: How is the game about what it's about for the humans?
07:27: What does it mean when you say "it's about fear?"
09:40: What mechanical pressure exists to make humans be jerks to each other?
11:44: We hear from someone who just played in the game
13:56: More testimony of the goodness from someone who played
16:45: Zombie game with a twist
18:47: Do you have questions for us?
20:10: Problems getting people to follow the rules
23:39: Prisoner's dilemma
24:24: The Road and The Walking Dead
25:33: Creative agenda clash, and why it's your fault when people don't follow your rules
30:00: State markers
32:00: Setting-interactive rules
38:31: Lightning round

The closing song is Night Of The Living/Deoch An Dorais by The Hub City Stompers

Logo courtesy of Daniel Solis:
Direct download: independent-insurgency-028.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:07pm EDT