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Showing posts from June, 2020

Alexandra Rowland And Bad Faith Accusations

This morning, writing twitter was blown up by a post from Alexandra Rowland accusing Scott Lynch and Elizabeth Bear of some nasty manipulative behavior. I have reason to believe that Rowland is acting in bad faith. Seven or eight years ago, Rowland and I were in the same writing group. I didn't know them well, but we became Facebook friends because that's what you do. At some point after we fell out of contact with each other, they made a post about an affair with an influential older male who had lied about being in an open marriage and proceeded to manipulate and gaslight and emotionally abuse them. I didn't know any of the people involved other than Rowland, but I was affected enough by Rowland’s post that I can still recall reading it all these years later. So when I saw Rowland's blog this morning, I assumed it was the same situation... except the dates weren't right. The Bear/Lynch events took place in 2016, but the post I remembered was older than that. So I

Magic Maze (Acquire-To-Zendo)

🌽 Do You Believe In Magic, In A Shopping Mall? 2017, 1-8 players Complexity: light/moderate An elf, a dwarf, a warrior, and a mage are preparing to go adventuring, but first they need to gather up some equipment. They'll need a bow and arrow, an ax, a sword, and a potion, respectively. To secure these items, they'll need to navigate a procedurally-generated dungeon... and by "dungeon" I mean "shopping mall". Let's See It In Action In Magic Maze , you and up to seven friends will be tasked with navigating your party of heroes through a randomly generated shopping mall. Each adventurer will need to find their way from the starting tile to the tile with their item on it. Once they have all landed on their spaces, they'll need to escape, and all of this has to happen before the three-minute sand timer runs out. The gimmick with this game is that players don't control individual pieces. They control directions. There are seven actions a player can ta

Announcement: CF & UFO & I'm Middle-Aged Now, So That's A Thing

Hey everybody, Quick round-up of the stuff. I turned 40 today, and as a way of minorly celebrating I've removed the paywall from all of my Curious Fictions posts . Everything that's up there now will remain free. New stuff will be subscriber-walled (or whatever), at least until the next time I decide to make everything free again. And, as usual, new posts to CF will first appear in my monthly newsletter, which you can subscribe to here . Second, I've got a piece called A.I., M.D.  that will be appearing in the forthcoming Unidentified Funny Objects 8 anthology , due out this fall. I've wanted to be in this anthology since I learned of its existence, so I'm super stoked to have a story picked up. Finally, one of my alter-egos has a project that's just about ready. If you're the type of person who thinks schlocky space westerns might be fun, then let me direct your attention to this link . Thanks for reading, ]{p

Lost Legacy (Acquire-To-Zendo)

🚀 What Is A Legacy? It's Planting Seeds In A Garden You Never Get To See... 2014, 2-4 players Complexity: light Eons ago, an alien craft crashed on our planet, scattering its pieces across the world. Those pieces became legends and myths lost to time and history. But now you, a fantasy adventurer, are going to try to find them. Let's See It In Action Lost Legacy  is a series of "microgames" put out by AEG based on a Japanese game series that was itself a spin-off of the better known investigation and deduction game Love Letter . In Lost Legacy , you and up to three friends play fantasy adventurers trying to find the elusive Lost Legacy. Each game has the same basic setup: there is a deck of 16 cards numbered 1-8. Cards 1-5 have one copy each, card 6 has two copies, cards 7 and 8 have three, and there are three more cards that are just numbered "X". In all sets, the card you're looking for is number 5, the Lost Legacy. Each player has a hand consisting o

Writing Openings: Why THE MARTIAN Works So Well

👨‍🚀 Y'all Are Wrong About That Opening Line... I see a lot of work from new writers. Like, a lot --between the writing group I'm in and the slush-reading I've done. And there are a handful of mistakes that new writers make over and over, and I wanted to talk about one of them in the context of the book The Martian , by Andy Weir. If you're not familiar, The Martian  is a survival thriller about an astronaut who gets stranded on Mars. (It was made into a movie a few years back with Matt Damon.) It's a great read--I went through it cover-to-cover in a day. Lots of people love this book, and in particular, people talk about how strong the beginning is with that fantastic opening line. And that's where they're wrong. Sort of. It does have a fantastic opening line. And it does have a very strong beginning. But those two things don't have anything to do with each other. New writers tend to over-emphasize first lines and under-emphasize first pages . Opening

Lazer Ryderz (Acquire-To-Zendo)

👨‍🎤 Totally Radical! 2017, 2-4 players Complexity: light/moderate The 80s weren't just a time of synth-heavy pop music, stock market excess, hair metal, and cocaine. They also produced a totally bitchin' glossy pseudo-futurist aesthetic that permeated children's entertainment. Now that the Lisa Frank generation has come of age, that design ethos has been seeing a resurgence. And if you want to have that aesthetic injected directly into your veins, then fire up the old VHS player and put on some Lazer Ryderz . Let's See It In Action In Lazer Ryderz , you and one to three friends take on the role of iconic laser-riding heroes of old: Lazer Shark, Super Sheriff, Phantom Cosmonaut, and Galactic Waverider. You're racing each other through the cosmos to capture prisms of... awesomeness... or something. And unlike some other board games that use a "board" for gameplay, Lazer Ryder

Kodama: The Tree Spirits (Acquire-To-Zendo)

🎍 I Talk To The Trees, But They Don't Listen To Me... 2016, 2-5 players Complexity: light Kodama are spirits from Japanese folklore, said to inhabit trees that are older than a hundred years. The most famous depiction is probably in Studio Ghibli's film Princess Mononoke , in which they are seen as tiny, ghostly humanoid creatures with round black eyes and mouths and heads that rattle. Supposedly, if you cut down a tree where a kodama lives, you invite a curse upon yourself. In the game Kodama: The Tree Spirits , you are cultivating a tree to attract kodama and make them happy, so that you might be remembered for generations. Let's See It In Action In Kodama: The Tree Spirits , you and up to four friends take on the role of kodama caretakers. You each start with a trunk card that has the beginning of a tree and one of six features: a cloud, a mushroom, flowers, a star, a firefly, or an inchworm. Each player also gets four kodama cards that will grant them points. The game