Kodrek rules, version 1.0

The 1.0 rules of Kodrek are complete! I’ll be sending boards out to all the Kodrek-level Kickstarter backers just as soon as printing is complete.

The timing means that I’ll also be entering the game in the 1000 Year Game Challenge. It’s got some stiff competition!

Kodrek is a game with a funny background. It comes from an actual game of Human Contact. Because HC is about cultures and their expressions in contrast with other cultures, we needed a game that summed up the part of the culture we were soaking in during a particular scene. In this case, it was an Academic (a bit of a dick, that guy) who was gambling. Now, keep in mind, the Academy doesn’t have money; its members trade in ideas because of their post-scarcity environment. So the guy was gambling with money that he was manufacturing. But he considered all the marines and pirates around him murderers, so he figured it all came out it the wash.

My specification was that it be a three-way game with shifting alliances. Vincent wanted it to be a game where you committed to plans in secret and then revealed them to each other, then dealt with the consequences. You can actually see the scene in Human Contact on page 84. We described the triangular board, the move-slapping, and that was about it.

After the game, Rob had to go home and Vincent and I went for a walk. We kept going back to the board game idea and rough-sketched play. I’ve thought about it for a few months and have come up with these final rules.

The game has a lot of variables and the rules discuss some of the things you might do differently if you lived with a different clan. I look forward to seeing the variants that players come up with!

I’m considering publishing the game. For the time being, it’s Creative Commons, Attribution, Noncommercial, Share-Alike though I might loosen it up a little bit, allowing commerical products and derivatives once I’ve decided.

Download the rules here!

Books and eBooks Are Not The Same

Aegir Hallmundur writes over at The Ministry of Type,

The whole idea of pages bound like that is an artifact of a particular printing technology — it’s the nature of the delivery medium, not the message. So when we have a digital book, we’re using technology that has its own set of conventions, its own restrictions and its own freedoms, and every bit of digital technology has some means of moving through any arbitrary content: a keyboard has cursor keys, page up and page down keys, a mouse has a scroll wheel, laptops have trackpads with scroll areas, and smartphones have touchscreens, joysticks or D-pads.

My concern with pageless eBooks has been that they eliminate two of the most important elements of design: the top and bottom of the rectangle that describes the page. All graphics, pull-quotes, and everything must be both inline and may only address the right and left margins.

But now I’m rethinking it. Pages are arbitrary breaks, dictated by the size of paper that’s convenient to print on. Without them, we have:

  • Right margin
  • Left margin
  • Right third
  • Left third
  • Paragraph top
  • Paragraph bottom

The big difference here is that the left and right margins are dictated by the medium, but the top and bottom are dictated by the context. That is very, very interesting to me. We’re also missing the top and bottom third now, unless paragraphs are meant to fit onscreen by themselves. This might be a problem, since we don’t know font size.

I also have some concerns that, with font size a variable, the column width is liable to get too great or small for easy legibility. Even newspapers and mass market paperbacks usually manage to keep it between 7 and 12 words (about 65 words per line, give or take a dozen or so), but the eBook readers I’ve looked at don’t care about that at all, which is a problem.

(Thanks to the glueyest of monotremes!)

Diaspora: a Free, Open-Source, Secure Social Network

Hey, you remember when I was talking about Google blowing it with Buzz and Facebook’s increasingly dubious privacy policy? And how I proposed a distributed, Open Source, encrypted option? And then Facebook got worse?

Four NYU students apparently took up my challenge (and didn’t credit me! The nerve!) and have started a project called Diaspora*. I’d give an overview, but, uh, I already did that in the other article. They’re making exactly what I was talking about. Expect me to have one of the very first accounts. And expect to get an invitation from me.