Top Trumps

Top Trumps
This whole 2016 election cycle was craziness. But one thing that kept popping up in my mind was the classic kid’s card game Top Trumps. It’s a game I have distinct memories of playing as a kid in the UK. Gameplay is pretty simple: each card represents a thing (car, superhero, etc), that have a ...

Pre-Modern Fantasy Cartography

Pre-Modern Fantasy Cartography
If I had oodles of time, I would love to investigate the history of maps in fantasy stories and games. They are such an intrinsic feature of the genre, and seem to have gone through some fashions and styles over the years. Tolkien’s maps set the tone for many years. Early Dungeons & Dragons maps ...

The Tortoise and the Hare

The Tortoise and the Hare
As part of her weekly homework, my daughter brings home a board game from school. She’s 5 years old, “Year 1” in NZ parlance. The games tend to be designed along whatever lines they’re teaching at school — usually simple math — and themed almost at random (“this game is about fish! Help the fish count ...

Finishing Grad School

It’s been a while since my last post. Things certainly have been busy. As of Sunday, I am a graduate from the PNCA Master of Fine Arts in Visual Studies program. It’s been an intense two years, studying, making, reading – all the while managing my full-time teaching job at the Art Institute of Portland, ...

A Magic System Proposal

I’ve just finished reading the Kobold Guide to Magic, and it’s very good. I’ve been inspired to try my hand at developing a system of magic for tabletop games. A system of magic has different components, and for the purposes of this exploration I’m going to approach development from the standpoints of mechanics and aesthetics. ...

Beyond Erotic, Future Forward, October 2014

Beyond Erotic, Future Forward, October 2014
This summer I was contacted to participate in a group show, called “Beyond Erotic”. The show description read: By using elements of sexuality or the erotic, artists face challenges when communicating other ideas through this lens. Likewise, the viewer is presented with the challenge of reading through layers of eroticism and sexuality to encounter concepts ...

Southlands

Southlands
Several years ago I made a map of Siwal for Kobold Press. As of a couple weeks ago, their new book Southlands was very, very successfully kickstarted. This book expands upon the realm surrounding Siwal, encompassing savannas, jungles, deserts, and more. I’m excited to say that I’ve been asked to contribute at least three more maps ...

5035586666, Heavy/Light, Disjecta July

5035586666, Heavy/Light, Disjecta July
My MFA first year group show, Heavy/Light, took place at the Disjecta gallery here in Portland. It’s a beautiful space, a little off  the beaten path, but a great fit for us. My piece, 503558666, is a phone-based experience, mixing modern corporate culture, contemporary art criticism, and classic choose-your-own adventure games.   Creating it was ...

Review: Twisty Little Passages

Twisty Little Passages: An Approach to Interactive Fiction Nick Montfort 2003, MIT Press I grew up on choose-your-own adventures and Infocom text adventures. They’re in my blood. So I’m a little predisposed to liking things that celebrate them. This is such a book. It’s a pleasantly well-written history of the medium, along the way picking ...

In class with Jeff Grubb

In class with Jeff Grubb
Last week my Worldbuilding class had the treat of a guest speaker — Jeff Grubb. He’s one of the grandmasters of tabletop roleplaying, and a prolific author. I was pretty excited that he agreed to come down to talk, as I’ve been playing his games and worlds for almost thirty years. After a pleasant lunch ...