An examination of how production changed design

It is abundantly clear how videogames have changed over the decades due to technological advances. From ASCII to four color graphics, the path eventually lead to VR and graphics cards calculating far more polygons than were ever even conceived of in the days of text adventures.

Today, you can buy boardgames that integrate actual tech like apps and computers. While those games are great, I’d like to focus more on the dark days. You know, like before the internet.

There’s a few ways to look at ‘tech’ as it applies to board games. One is the really ephemeral concept of…


Or: How to build a model citizen

Something awesome this way comes

My job is story and lore. When you lift that hefty book of adventures for Oathsworn: Into The Deepwood (Shadowborne Games), a healthy chunk of the words crammed in there are from the same PC I’m writing this on.

The heart stopping miniatures of the game come from the absurdly talented digital paintbrush of Toby O’Hara. Since I’m a words guy and Toby’s a 3D artist, I’m going to step in and do some words for him.


Table risers: A new trend on Kickstarter. Avoid it.

If you play a lot of board games, sooner or later your setup starts including accessories to make your playing experience even more fun. Dice towers. Bits holders. Rolling trays. You may even go for special lighting and sound systems in your room, allowing for thematic music, sound effects and visuals. This is usually for hard core role players.

Eventually, you may decide it’s time to take the plunge into serious gaming furniture. There’s a lot of options, they are rarely cheap, and usually, well, pretty damn cool.


A Tradition Dies

Ma was a Polish meatball of a woman and the most important thing to her was family.

That meant that anything that forced the family together was a good thing. Holidays were huge, because that meant extended family, and extended family meant extended good. Ma’s life rotated around Christmas, making cookies, Thanksgiving, making cookies, spending time with her family and making cookies.

I’m sure it’s no coincidence that a lot of my jobs ended up in the world of boardgaming, because she was certainly big into game night, since that meant family. For this story, we have to go well…


Wanna fight? Play a CoOp game.

There’s a surge in tabletop gaming (board games, card games and role playing games) right now. Some of it is driven by quarantine. It’s in pop culture media with Stranger Things and pretty much everything Wil Wheaton tweets. There’s a sudden appearance of Dungeons And Dragons products in Target. Not surprisingly, games have worked their way into the workplace over the years. Not just at lunch with those two geeks in IT. Group retreats, collaborative sessions and team-building programs now use games as a focal point regularly.

I’m a professional in the boardgame industry. I write and develop, test and…


Did it feel good to try to hit me?

Another day, another 5K.

It’s my thing. Part of my daily ritual. Five days a week. Get up. Light breakfast. Run at least 5K. Write at least 1K words. The running is as much of a job as anything else I do. It keeps my blood sugar numbers in check. I took up running about fifteen years ago, in my thirties. Please refrain from doing the math, it makes me feel old.

When running, there are certain truths.

Truth 1: If you’re aiming for the sprinkler up the street to cool you down, it will shut off seven seconds before…


How I did it. Spoiler: I’m not sure.

Thanks, all.

It’s kind of fun.

In all truth, I never heard of Medium. I know, shame on me. Actually, I had read an article here, but I really kind of thought it was just that person’s personal blog. OK, I admit it, I may have been a bit off base. Late last year, I was complaining to my wife that I didn’t like the way my SquareSpace site formatted the things I was writing. She said I should try Medium.

At the time, my site was largely devoted to a million…


Dedicated to the great Harlan Ellison.

Harlan Ellison died in 2018, so of course Stephen was quite excited to see him signing books at a science fiction convention in January of 2020. Stephen got his hand stamped for re-entry by a blank faced man and ran to the parking structure up the street. The fight with the Civic’s hatchback lock was expected, but annoying all the same. He pushed aside Clive’s jersey and Shirley’s backpack to rummage through the torn cardboard boxes, simply tearing the corners further to get to the bottom. …


Important life lessons in nine moves

Tic Tac Toe is a game learned as children, and then quickly tossed aside. As the computer in WarGames tells is, the only way to win is not to play.

In playing Tic Tac Toe, there are some surprisingly strong life lessons to be learned.

You can control other people.

Not in a malicious way, but in a way that helps you guide your own choices and realize the impact your actions have on others. It has nothing to do with winning or losing. It has to do with power.

In Conan The Barbarian, Thulsa Doom…


A Salute to Living with Fizzgig

My dog is an idiot. That’s not a judgement, that’s his breed. His papers say he a Yorkshire Terrier. A Yorkie.

Lies.

He’s a jerk. His name is Fizzgig. That’s a furry little monster with a lot of teeth from The Dark Crystal. Fizzy was born with too many teeth. The word Fizzgig also means something very loud and not threatening at all, like a firecracker. Or a really stupid dog.

One ear points straight up, the other kowtows to the side, as if standing in a great wind. He has fangs he can’t close his mouth around, so he…

Paul A. DeStefano

Writer, Board Gamer/Designer. Tainted Dragon Inn on FB, for geeky stuff. Represented by Bonnie Swanson, The Purcell Agency. www.PaulADestefano.com

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