Ryan and I got married in September, which made the month a whirlwind I still only mostly remember.  Our honeymoon to the coast of California was marvelous and full of spooky historic buildings, the Pacific Ocean, and the creepiest “Scarecrow Festival” I have ever seen. We ended our honeymoon with dinner among friends in Oakland, and moved hotels to go run games at Big Bad Con the following day.
Big Bad Con this year had some big steps for me as a GM. I’d never run games at a convention before, and I am still blown away by the first group of players I had. It was one of those sessions where people are building on each other’s narratives, making the pitch-perfect decisions involving failure and growth, and giving an incredible amount of energy and sincerity to the story. I was also using Monsterhearts, which I’ve only played a handful of times, and I feel it’s both a poignant and potent game, emotionally. It was challenging and rewarding, and it taught me a lot. 
While we were there, me and Ryan were able to play a session of Jason Morningstar’s Night Witches, which has translated the historic arc of the Soviet women’s night bomber regiment to tabletop play.  From start to finish, the game is doing amazing things, and it’s base DNA from Apocalypse World has been heavily modified to make the best use of the AW engine with what Jason’s doing. I’ve never seen a roleplaying game do what felt like a good job with unit/squad mechanics, and Night Witches does. The moves in every playbook have change over between day and night moves, reflecting the different circumstances of these women’s lives. The Night Witches flew at night, so the night moves reflect the actions and risks undertaken every mission. Day moves focus on the inter/intra personal details of the pilots’ lives during the war. I can’t wait for it to come out, and if the concept has you hankering for your own copy, you can check out the Night Witches Kickstarter.
Halloween was busy, which is why a certain link didn’t get posted on Friday. The Beast Within 4: Gears and Growls is a steampunk anthology brimming with monsters, clockwork fiends, and some dark tales. My story Red in Winter appears, which is my bloody take on the Little Red Riding Hood fable. It has Pinkerton detectives, serial murder, and a small town somewhere near the West Coast being dogged by a determined and cunning wolf.
In addition to Red in Winter coming out recently, my article “Storium’s Analog Heritage” made its appearance in the Analog Game Studies journal this morning. They’re a new journal, but their archives are already a treasure trove of interesting design food for thought. 
- Never doubt people when they say you won’t remember much of your wedding, or the month around it. I should probably be grateful I miraculously mostly remember the ceremony.
- Hopefully, I’ll carve out some time soon to discuss that experience in depth in a different blog post.
- Jason has visited WWII via games before. If you haven’t read/played Grey Ranks before, you should look it up. The game is about the young Polish partisans, and their lives before, during and after the Uprising in 1944. Like Night Witches, it’s a potent game that doesn’t shy away from the emotional trauma of war, within its narrative or mechanically.
- I played Dread with friends last night (Ryan was running) and I have So Many Thoughts about Dread’s design right now. May dump them into a blog post.