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Ben Lehman

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Portlandia [Aug. 13th, 2011|03:36 pm]
Ben Lehman
I'm in portland for a couple of days. Portland residents, be advised.
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Reminder: Pay what you want for my games [Aug. 10th, 2011|02:46 pm]
Ben Lehman
Hey, everyone! A reminder: You can get PDFs of my games (Polaris, Bliss Stage, and On the Ecology of the Mud Dragon) for whatever you think they're worth, even for free, at my website. www.tao-games.com Please allow 24 hours for delivery.
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Trying to decide where to move again [Aug. 8th, 2011|10:35 am]
Ben Lehman
I'm trying to decide where to move again.
Options are:
Stay in Seattle
Portland, for a short time

With pluses and minuses to each. Thoughts and opinions welcome.

Really I just want to live in an apartment and not worry about food and employment and just design games that people love. But that seems unrealistic at the moment.
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Unforgiveable [May. 15th, 2011|01:23 pm]
Ben Lehman
From the annals of my hard-drive, I found this wicked Silent Hillesque RPG and finished it up. It's called Unforgiveable and it starts like this:

Your head hurts so much you can barely see. The light is fluorescent and sickly flickering, not enough to fill the darkness. Stand up. Your clothes are filthy, and something smells like old piss. That hissing is the sound of a radio, tuned to a dead channel.

Fumble around. Where are you? When you push yourself to your feet the blood rushes from your head and you almost pass out again. There is a stale tin taste in your mouth.

Out of the corner of your eye, something moves in the corner of the room, scuttling like a rat. The lights flicker and you don't see it. The sound of static is louder and louder, punctuated by screeches and pops. Here and there, a snatch of voice: "a test of the em..." but nothing you can make out.

Above it, you can here the scuttling sound of a crawling creature. Your back coils in primal fear, and the hot bile of panic rises in your throat. Flail around, looking for something, anything, a tool, a light, tearing open drawers and your hands rest around a handle. A knife, still warm. Still covered in blood. Not yours.

My God. What have you done?

Anyone interested in reading the whole thing?
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Gun Thieves Making Out w/ Me [May. 4th, 2011|02:30 pm]
Ben Lehman
A mashup-game.

Base rules: gun thief.

The Innocent Boy replaces the Jagged Woman.
He picks two of:
He's broken and needs fixing
He's in over his head
He's in immediate danger
He wants your love
He has something he wants from you

The Monster is an additional player it goes after the Jagged Woman/Innocent Boy but before the Law.
Picks one of:
It's going to kill you
It's going to kill someone you love
It's going to destroy something you care about.
It's going to set itself up for a future move
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New Endeavor, New Website [May. 2nd, 2011|10:29 pm]
Ben Lehman
Hey, I can finally show you all a project I've been working on since the beginning of the year. It's called likeable Games and it's a new game company focusing on social media games that you play with your extended social network over the internet.

Our first game, Matriarchy is about the Empress of a small, matriarchal society on the borders of Tang-Dynasty China and the Tibetan Empire. In the game, you have to make decisions about various crises and opportunities that arise for your kingdom in real time, with the help of both fictional advisers and your real-world friends. I'm really excited about both the company and the game, and hope you'll enjoy checking them out.
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Let's talk! [Apr. 23rd, 2011|06:44 pm]
Ben Lehman
Hey, Atheists: Remember all the fun we used to have on this journal? Man, that was a good time.

So here's a thing: On the balance, would you rather live in a country that -- while guaranteeing freedom of religion -- required all office holders to be atheist? Why or why not?

I'd be really interested to hear answers from my Dawkins-fan friends.

Religious folks, you can play too: Answer the same question but for your faith.

my answers below the foldCollapse )
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Romantic Chess [Mar. 24th, 2011|05:17 pm]
Ben Lehman
I am fascinated by Romantic Chess. I think it's because it indicates that that there is something in a game that does not love a win condition.
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All Games are Symmetric [Mar. 24th, 2011|04:58 pm]
Ben Lehman
Another little game theory bit based on Sirlin's writings. Look at his definition of symmetric and asymmetric games here.

Now, as an exercise for the reader, can you tell me why all games are actually symmetric? answer behind cut...Collapse )
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Sirlin's Games [Mar. 24th, 2011|04:42 pm]
Ben Lehman
Dave Sirlin has games for sale. As someone who has been following his writing for a long time, I think that this is really cool, and an awesome thing for independent game design. If I can scrounge up the cash I will almost certainly buy Yomi, although the art style is incredibly off-putting (really, Dave? Do you really need gargantuan tits and naked chicks to sell your games? Really?)

One of the things that struck me about these games, though, and his writing, is that although his understanding of games is very deep, his view also seems very narrow. His games -- which I have no doubt are impeccably balanced -- are basically turn based incarnations of Puzzle Fighter and Street Fighter. In a recent theory article, he was discussing Dominion, and he was really incapable of seeing that the generally non-attacking nature of Dominion was a feature, not a disappointment. This was because he compared it to Street Fighter and Puzzle Fighter. He lacked the idea that someone who likes games could not like head-to-head competition in their games, basically missing an entire genre of game design (actually, at least two genres, but one of which is only occupied by one game*) because his focus on those two games, both of which are essentially two player head-to-head games wherein you hit the other guy.

I wonder if here there is a difference between designers qua designers and critics cum designers (not to in any way invalidate Sirlin as a designer: he's a good one.) I'm thinking also of the RTS designed by the US Starcraft champion (can't recall the name offhand), which was a little too clean, a little too sharply defined.

You can see a similar phenomenon in Sirlin's changes to the Street Fighter II characters for HD Remix: basically all characters get adjusted to be more the same (every fireball-lacking character gets a fireball busting move, for example.)

I'm not sure that this has a point yet. It's a half-formed thought.

* King of Siam**

** Which is awesome and needs to have more games based on it. ***

*** Working on one.
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