Brilliant Gameologists

Play Like You Have To

Sode #37) Problem Solving 1: Bad Communication (Don’t Kick People Out Pt 2)

March 30, 2009 By: Meg Category: Diplomacy, Season 2, Sodes 2 Comments →


Each time we record, we watch a video or find a picture to get us in the mood for the episode. It doesn’t always have anything to do with the episode, but frames our minds, so we’re going to share so you can be appropriately framed as well.

  • Aww!  This dog wants to catch the squirrel of his dreams so badly!
  • Do you remember the Watchmen Saturday Morning Cartoon?
  • We retold our Writer’s Retreat in Las Vegas stories.  Funnier than any link we could follow.


Meg played:

We ask for feedback

Problem Solving #1) The list of Don’ts

1 – Criticize someone while talking to them

“if you weren’t so lazy or stupid we wouldn’t have these problems.”

criticizing, blame, judgments, put downs, diagnoses

2 – Deny responsibility

Putting responsibility on some thing else (a person thing or institution)

“Daddy and I are splitting up because you cry”

take responsibility for your own actions

3 – Use words that imply evaluation not observation

“I feel raped”

I statements are shit

attacked, blamed, criticized, insulted, isolated

4 – Fail at active listening

No autobiographical statements – don’t “one up” them

“You think you have it bad…”

No inquisitive questions – don’t interrogate them

”really? How far up the ass?”

5 – Try to solve their problems

“What you need to do is grow a beard”

this is “problem solving” not “actually solving problems”


Firefly/Serenity Contest- Get your own haul!

June 30, 2008 By: Meg Category: News 1 Comment →

We got a note today from Quantum Mechanix that caught our eye.  If you are a fan of Firefly/ Serenity and haven’t checked out the DarkHorse comics, what are you waiting for?  The only complaint is that they are a bit too short, but definitely full of Firefly goodness.

Quantum Mechanix who does movie replicas, has partnered with Dark Horse to have a Firefly-themed give away.  Spreading the word:

Ever wanted to hit a “big haul” like Malcolm Reynolds did in the first issue of Serenity: Better Days? Well now you can.

A huge pile of Alliance cash and other prized Serenity collectibles will be awarded in the Serenity: Better Days Big Haul Giveaway from co-sponsors Quantum Mechanix Inc. (QMx) and Dark Horse Comics. Inspired by the piles of cashy money seen in the first issue of the Dark Horse comic, the Serenity: Better Days Big Haul Giveaway features one-of-kind Serenity items including a whopping one million in official Alliance credits, a signed prototype Kaylee maquette, a Malcolm Reynolds stunt pistol replica with card signed by Nathan Fillion and much more. No purchase necessary.

The promotion runs from June 30, 2008 through Sept. 30, 2008. No purchase is necessary. Enter by downloading, printing and mailing in a completed entry form, available at, or by visiting the QMx website at Limit one entry per household; void where prohibited.

Sode #16: Peritextual Elements of RPGs (Meta04)

June 22, 2008 By: Meg Category: Season 2, Sodes, Strategy 1 Comment →

Nerd Up!

In this episode we look at the peritextual elements of quite a few books– all of the things that aren’t the content– and how they relate to the feel of the book and our impressions about it.

The links all show example pictures to help illustrate the point.  There are a few still to come, but this is a pretty comprehensive list as is!  Some of the pictures are from the publisher and some I took myself.

Size and Shape

D&D 4th Edition- The standard in gaming. Hardcover, 8.5×11 inches. 4th Edition’s difference is that the 3 books come in a handy-dandy sleeve.

Hero 5th Edition Revised– The same shape as D&D but text-book thick.

Burning Wheel– 5×7 and softcover. Still has same number of pages as D&D, but they are mini pages. Makes the book much more portable.

Savage Worlds: Explorer’s Edition– Also softcover, but a bit longer and wider than Burning Wheel (which means neat, orderly shelving will be screwy).

Star Wars Saga– A square. Made to fit on bookstore’s shelves.


Rifts- Pretty picture, shows action, clear title, publisher, and author, and of course, boobies.

Paranoia XP– comical, funny, bright colors and the back cover entirely in the style of Paranoia. Draws in new people but also provides a callback to previous players.

The Savage World of Solomon Kane– Only a few words, but great illustration and the glossy and matte finish make Meg happy.

Cover opened to see front and back together

Dread– Extremely simple but sets the stage beautifully. A bloody thumbprint? What’s not to love?

Burning Wheel– Red on Red. Hard to see, confusing, boring. Doesn’t say anything about the game.

The Trail of Cthulhu – Green on green, but spooky, mysterious

GURPS: Alpha Century– cover of book is cover of Sid Meier’s video game. Good marketing if you like the video game (which we did).

Front Matter

First few pages of a book before the content actually starts. Can include publication information, credits, acknowledgments, table of contents, and introduction

  • Pastedown- the page pasted to the inside of the cover (hardcover only)
  • Flyleaf- the page opposite the pastedown

Spirit of the Century– has fun with the credits

Grimm– Pastedown and Flyleaf are at least red. Introduction WAY too long (download full introduction).

Deadlands Reloaded– Personal acknowledgments, Font in table of contents very appropriate and there is “white space” so text doesn’t feel claustrophobic. Introduction is a old-timely newspaper format. Back Cover

Dark Heresy, Warhammer 40,000– Pastedown and Flyleaf show an illustration of a star map


Are illustrations confined in a border to make it feel like you are looking as an voyeur, or do the touch the edge of the page to draw you in?

  • Bleed- when the illustration touches the edge of a page
  • Full Bleed- when all illustrations touch all edges

Deadlands Reloaded full bleed

d20 Future– Standard. Page number in border (on side)

GURPS- Transhuman Space- Dark border with white boxes with text. Dark borders give it a space theme.

Grimm (download of first chapter)– Very appropriate, very approprite. Page numbers in spider body and intricate

Expeditious Retreat: Magical Society of Ecology and Culture and Savage Worlds Explorer’s Edition– Old timey paper feel to border.

Interesting Content

Cyberspace. Almost whole book in table or chart. Lower corner of each page gives extra material to book in terms of a year-by-year timeline.

Nightbane– Very first thing in book is a warning to prevent claims of Satanism.

Earthdawn– All peritextual elements completely vanilla (written in 1995) except two full pages of punch-out cardstock cards.


Pictures in books should show you things you may play, things you may fight or goals or ideas you may have as well as set the stage for the book. The feel also needs to be consistent throughout. The media used can change, but don’t mix styles!

D&D 4th Edition– Player’s Handbook has detailed pictures of the types of characters you are going to play (Person), the Dungeon Master’s Guide shows places you will go (Place), and the Monster Manual shows the things you are going to fight (Things).

Mutants and Masterminds– Very comic book feel to illustrations, some complete with speech bubbles. Very consistent throughout.

Dark Heresy, Warhammer 40,000– Extremely detailed, dark, gritty illustrations.

Riftsalmost entirely black and white inking. Art very evocative of the world, but not enough of it and the color plates in the middle of the book don’t match.

SerenityBeautiful cover, but almost all of “illustrations” are screen caps from the movie. Says not, “We’re trying to adapt the movie” but “We’re trying to make the movie.” Borders are good except top of every page says “Serenity the Role Playing Game”. Seems too self-congratulatory and constantly reminds us it is “official“.

Star Wars Saga– nice mix of screencaps and illustrations, but again, too much of a mix of styles.

download full movie home alone