An international network of researchers into all aspects of role-playing games
David Millians, Editor
Paideia School, 1509 Ponce de Leon Avenue, Atlanta, Georgia 30307 USA
LETTER FROM THE CHAIR
We’ve previously discussed how the role-playing industry has diversified its player base but has been slower to diversify its designers. When Russ Morrissey (who I work for at EN World) recently announced an “advanced” version of the 5E Dungeons & Dragons ruleset, he also announced the new design team. Judging by the team’s bios, the full breadth and depth of diversity is represented. This is the way it should be.
But it will take time. Moments like a new edition, a new game company, or any other major new initiative are opportunities to broaden the field and bring in diverse voices. This doesn’t always happen organically, and for those of us who are already gaming (or even making a living at it!), it’s on us to consider how we can offer these sorts of opportunities.
Wizards of the Coast is trying. The recently announced Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything will feature the ability to “customize your character’s origin using straightforward rules for modifying a character’s racial traits.” This change was in response to concerns about how D&D’s race system reinforces biological determinism.
We’re trying too. Please consider sending our Join Us link (https://car-pga.org/join-us/) to gamers you know. Only by growing our membership can we continue to support our mission of bringing games to gamers from all walks of life.
Thanks for reading.
Amazing Lesson by Barry Stevens
Review by David Millians
Primary school teacher Barry Stevens has written a wonderful, personalized but broadly applicable introduction to using the Amazing Tales game system. He begins with the important effects that tabletop gaming has in his own live over many decades. As he began deploying games of various kinds in his own classroom, he discovered even more applications and came across Amazing Tales in the process. The game is designed to be led by an adult and played by one or more children, and it is accessible to children as young as four. After all kids are masters of pretend play, something Amazing Tales and teachers like Stevens leverage in their pedagogy.
Stevens discusses the engaging qualities of role playing with his students, as well as the adjustments he makes to handle gaming with groups of a couple dozen young people. Decades ago, when I was first discussing games as educational tools, I often acted as a translator of game terms to education and vice versa, but as Stevens points out, the two have converged in many ways, especially from the education side, so the fit is even easier to make.
Stevens brings alive the play and joy his students (and he) have as they learn about a variety of skills and topics. This piece comes across as a conversation with him, as he discussed frameworks like grouping children, each student having a particular role in character creation and play, training some of them to lead their own games, facilitating future lessons. His teacher tech recommendations are also clear and useful. Finally, the effervescent nature of brainstorming with children comes across clearly, something wondrous for teachers willing to experience and work with it. Stevens is bringing wonder into his teaching, education’s most powerful tool
Martin Lloyd created Amazing Tales to be a rich, fulfilling role playing game for young people, quick to start and imagine. It now has a number of supplements, both digital and print. Amazing Lessons itself is available for free on DriveThruRPG.
FROM DAVID MILLIANS
@LorekeeperRPG (2020 Aug 18) The Magic of ‘Harlem Unbound’. https://medium.com/@lorekeeperRPG/the-magic-of-harlem-unbound-6aed13603fda. Review of second edition version and Chris Spivey making new kinds of games and playing them to welcome more people into our hobby.
Chen, Qin (2020 Aug 26) Game developer’s sexual comments spark gender debate. https://www.inkstonenews.com/society/game-developers-sexual-comments-spark-gender-debate/article/3098873. Sexism and gatekeeping in video gaming rear their heads in China in 2020.
Greenwood, Ed (2020 Aug 18) In Memory Golden. https://www.enworld.org/threads/ed-greenwood-in-memory-golden.674107/. Joy and madness at TSR.
Griepp, Milton (2020 Jul 27) Hobby Game Sales Hit $1.675 Billion in 2019. https://icv2.com/articles/markets/view/46196/hobby-game-sales-hit-1-675-billion-2019. RPGs grow 20% year-on-year.
Harness, John R (2020 Aug) Knucklebone Magazine. https://knucklebonemag.itch.io/knucklebone-issue-1. New magazine of analog roleplaying culture.
Jolin, Dan (2020 Aug 3) The real-life tragedy and sensationalized fantasy behind D&D-inspired movie Mazes and Monsters. https://www.dicebreaker.com/categories/roleplaying-game/feature/mazes-and-monsters-reality-fantasy. The story of James Dallas Egbert III and drama in 1980s USA.
Khelil, Khladoun (2020 Jul 28) Racism, Blacklists and Onyx Path Publishing. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qa8rNeqQbGGLpJm7PfMB3z00zcHMVAcobQj_ZRjvNgc/edit. Accusations of racism and lies at the publisher.
Kirby, Stacia (2020 Aug 3) Gen Con Online Draws Over 40,000 for Digital-Only Tabletop Convention. https://www.gencon.com/press/gen-con-online-post-show. Adapting and connecting gamers.
Kretchmer, Jennifer (2020) Accessibility in Tabletop Resources. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ZFSXz-Yva1KZAsP7NblCdkoiQ6RcjxSV2gj98eXusJs/edit. Wide-ranging, helpful links.
Lowe, Kenneth (2020 Aug 13) The Cinema of D&D Panic Seems Even Sillier Today. https://www.pastemagazine.com/movies/dungeons-and-dragons/cinema-movies-dd/. Movies and the Chick Tract in the rear-view mirror.
Machkovech, Sam (2020 Aug 3) A different kind of “gamer” hotline: Free, anonymous emotional support. https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2020/08/a-different-kind-of-gamer-hotline-free-anonymous-emotional-support/. Counseling for people who make and play games.
Maliszewski, James (2020 Sep 1) D&D is Everywhere. http://grognardia.blogspot.com/2020/09/d-is-everywhere.html. Joke about rolling for initiative in Nintendo’s update to Animal Crossing.
Morrissey, Russ (2020 Aug 2) Congratulations to the 2020 ENnies Winners!. https://www.enworld.org/threads/congratulations-to-the-2020-ennies-winners.673685/. MÖRK BORG wins product of the year.
Morrissey, Russ (2020 Aug 5) Roll20 RPG Usage Stats: Growth Everywhere During Pandemic. https://www.enworld.org/threads/roll20-rpg-usage-stats-growth-everywhere-during-pandemic.673773/. Second quarter shows D&D up, Call of Cthulhu down, and huge increase for Cyberpunk Red.
Morrissey, Russ (2020 Aug 8) You Have The Power! New Masters of the Universe RPG!. https://www.enworld.org/threads/you-have-the-power-new-masters-of-the-universe-rpg.673871/. Awesome nostalgia gaming.
Morrissey, Russ (2020 Aug 18) Owen KC Stephens’ Tabletop RPG Truths #4. https://www.enworld.org/threads/owen-kc-stephens-tabletop-rpg-truths-4.674112/. More insights for the industry and community.
Murray, Sean (2020 Aug 11) Disability Advocate Creates D&D Combat Wheelchair, People Can’t Be Cool About It. https://www.thegamer.com/disability-advocate-dd-combat-wheelchair/. Inclusion encounters some jerks. Now available as various miniatures to benefit charity.
Petersen, Sandy (2020 Jul 24) Enemies of fun! (and DOOM). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6kpIIqOM4A. Sandy recalls past criticisms and contemporary responses.
Schmitz, Rob (2020 Aug 4) Sales of ‘Settlers Of Catan’ Skyrocket During Coronavirus Crisis. https://www.npr.org/2020/08/04/898853332/sales-of-settlers-of-catan-skyrocket-during-coronavirus-crisis. Renewed popularity of board games.
Schmitz, Rob (2020 Aug 7) Families Stuck At Home Turn To Board Game Catan, Sending Sales Skyrocketing. https://www.npr.org/2020/08/07/897271885/families-stuck-at-home-turn-to-board-game-catan-sending-sales-skyrocketing. Development of Teuber’s boardgame masterpiece.
Soloski, Alexis (2020 Aug 7) Gods, Monsters and H.P. Lovecraft’s Uncanny Legacy. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/07/arts/television/hp-lovecraft.html. Author’s influence, biases, and contemporary interpretation.
Wood, Jacob (2020 Aug 25) Accessible Gaming Quarterly Issue 1 Now Available. http://www.accessiblegames.biz/accessible-gaming-quarterly-issue-1/. Inaugural issue of new accessibility and disability magazine.
FROM MIKE TRESCA
Tresca, Mike (2020 Aug 4) Why the New D&D Board Game is a Big Deal. https://www.enworld.org/threads/why-the-new-d-d-board-game-is-a-big-deal.673660/. Produced by Hasbro, not Wizards of the Coast.
Tresca, Mike (2020 Aug 11) The Triumph and Tragedy of “Free”. https://www.enworld.org/threads/the-triumph-and-tragedy-of-free.673873/. OGLs, free product models, and you get what you pay for.
Tresca, Mike (2020 Aug 18) Robots & Cyborgs & Oz, Oh My!. https://www.enworld.org/threads/robots-cyborgs-oz-oh-my.674044/. Books, movies, and books influence one another.
Tresca, Mike (2020 Aug 25) Where’s the American Fantasy RPG?. https://www.enworld.org/threads/wheres-the-american-fantasy-rpg.674245/. Is it Gamma World?
Tresca, Mike (2020 Sep 1) The Building Blocks of Oz-Inspired American Fantasy RPGs. https://www.enworld.org/threads/the-building-blocks-of-oz-inspired-american-fantasy-rpgs.674376/. Pastorality, archetypical roles, and inhabitants.
© Copyright 2020 by the Committee for the Advancement of Role-Playing Games (CAR-PGa), ISSN 1071 7129. The CAR-PGa Newsletter is a monthly publication. For more information contact David Millians, Editor, Paideia School, 1509 Ponce de Leon Avenue, Atlanta, Georgia 30307 USA, phone (404) 808-1070, fax (404) 377-3491, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Back issues are available. Contributions of material from the membership are urged, and the byline is responsible for content. Deadline is the last weekday of the month, email preferred. Permission is granted to copy anything in the Newsletter, provided we get a credit line in the publication copying it, and it doesn’t have someone else’s copyright on it. Information, including details on joining CAR-PGa, can be obtained on the Internet at car-pga.org.