Ryan McRae

Ryan McRae

Creator of Burn the Tavern Down.
Bringing Creativity Back to Gaming.

BTTD #12: Oh the Weather. .

 

Alright friends,

Fall has officially arrived in Chicagoland!

Using Weather in Your Game

Alright. I have rarely played in a game where weather played an important part of the story. (Exception: Mouse Guard. Great game.)

But weather can be a major, major issue when it comes to your game. It played a major part of in Game of Thrones but it can be more nuanced than the “winter is coming” line.

Let’s dive in, shall we?

Winter.

Your players can be brutalized by a terrible winter. Cities can shut down and if it’s especially brutal, monsters will want to relocate for two reasons: warmth and food. Oh, look, a city has both. Rats are going to come up out of the sewers to get to more and more food.

Anyone using magic that involves heat or fire are going to be in demand. And if there’s a wood shortage, well, we have to burn something.

Creating a shortage of something: food, wood, etc. can create some great problems for lower level characters to solve.

And you may have creatures in your world that get stronger the colder it gets.

Summer.

I’ve been thinking about what would happen if there was a brutal heat wave in your world. What would be driven out? If a river or lake dried up, what would your players find underneath? What lost civilization’s remains would be there, waiting for your players to explore?

Also, would druids are nature-y people would be alarmed? Could this cause a food crisis?

How would the characters intervene? Has some god or demigod gone off the rails and summoned this long summer (Narnia but flipped.)


Found this little article from the BBC on why board games are having a resurgence.

Also, if you are digging this email, if you could share my site on Good Ol’ Facebook, that’d be great. Click here to do so! 


How to (Sort of) Teach a Board Game

I’ve struggled with teaching boardgames for a long time (note: my background is that I’m a corporate trainer and have been one classroom or another for 20 years. So that’s what makes this weird.) I get pissed when people ask questions to purposely derail me or bombard me with questions after the eighth time of I’ll get to it.

So I recently taught King’s Dilemma and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s a legacy game built arounbd being the king’s advisors. The king has a problem. You vote if you should do this or that. Then based on that decision, you will get other scenarios and problems. . . .

To prepare to teach I simply watched a Youtube video about it and took some notes. Then, I set the board up just like it is in the book. Then I practiced teaching it without anyone there. With the handy-dandy players guide, I would look up any questions I discovered.

When I arrived, I simply did this:

  1. I explained what happens each turn. There are a total of 5 actions.
  2. I explained what you could do each action.
  3. I explained what each part of the board meant.
  4. I explained what happens each turn again.
  5. I then said, “The first round will be a @)(#*$&- show and that’s ok.”

Give the overview. Give the specific actions. GIve the lay of the land. Give the overview. Set an expectations. On any new game, I tend to want to play it twice in a row. I hate playing a game for the first time when everyone else has played it before.

By the time we finished the first game, they really wanted to play the second. The first game of King’s Dilemma took 40 minutes after the rules. The second game? 20 minutes. And for any legacy game, I would put the next game on the schedule then and there so it wouldn’t be put off.

Highly, highly recommend King’s Dilemma.

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