What's new in tabletop gaming (Indie edition)

Recently, I've found myself playing more games from small, independent game companies and those sold directly from the designers. Here are a few of these offerings currently on my radar, at my painting station, and on my tabletop. If you're looking for game-related gifts for the holidays, consider supporting these talented and hardworking indie creators.

Relicblade: Adventure Battle Game Metal King Studios, $30 (basic hardbound rulebook), 2-4 players, Ages: 10+

Sean Sutter, the mastermind behind Relicblade, was kind enough to send me some of his Relicblade merch earlier this year. Throughout the year, I watched my tabletop gaming friends enthusiastically flinging themselves down the Relicbalde rabbit hole, but I only recently got around to my own swan-dive into these realms. I love games that are largely the vision of a single designer/artist. Kingdom Death Monster always comes to mind. Like that uncompromising vision of a game as a creative platform for an artist's self-expression (Adam Poots in its case), Relicblade is a gaming universe populated by the imagination of artist and designer Sean Sutter. Sean designs the game, does all of the artwork and book design, digitally sculpts the figures--all of it. He also produces videos that chronicle his design and manufacturing process. Looking at his product line, you'd be hard pressed to distinguish Sean's output from any major game publisher. Our modern world of on-demand publishing, small scale manufacturing, digital design and sculpting, 3D printing, and crowdfunding has created the near-ideal conditions for creators like Sean to be able to compete with much larger commercial concerns. Read the rest

Impromptu to do today in SF: Johann Sebastian Joust in Yerba Buena Gardens

This afternoon some friends and I will be playing this new game we really like in Yerba Buena Gardens, and you're welcome to join us.

Johann Sebastian Joust is basically like high-tech tag. Each person has a Playstation Move controller, and the object of the game is to jostle other people's controllers so that you're the last man standing. The twist is that as you play, a Bach concerto will also be playing and its tempo indicates the upper threshold for how much your controller can be jostled before you're out.

If you want to play, we'll be in Yerba Buena Gardens today at 5PM. You don't need to bring anything, we have a full set of controllers, and we'll trade off. See you there! Read the rest