The latest news in the world of MMOs is that World of Warcraft is finally coming out with an expansion pack that looks worth while. I haven’t played WoW hardcore since college though I still play casually from time to time. However, I haven’t felt that obsession with the game in years and the debrief Blizzard did at Gamescom was the first time I felt a sense of hope for the game in a very long time. I excitedly tweeted about the whole thing on twitter but as soon as the hype died down, so did my interest. I’m sure once it gets closer I’ll get excited again. But while I’m not as excited about WoW as I want to be, it did do one thing for my gaming needs: I got bit by the MMO bug again and really wanted to get back into that world again.

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Fiance to the rescue! Jake had just downloaded Star Wars: The Old Republic and was playing it again and when he caught me looking with interest over his shoulder (a Star Wars MMO?!?! YES PLEASE), he dragged out his old PC, dusted it off, and set it up for me (I’m mostly a console gamer because my Mac doesn’t run games as well). After about 15 minutes of playing, I bought a subscription and I haven’t looked back. I love this game. It scratches all the MMO itches I’ve been feeling including my love of social games – a bunch of our friends are playing too so we’ve already put together a guild and have started running together. It feels like the old days of WoW where I can sign on and know that most likely there’s someone on to play with. I know I’m waaaaaaaaay late to this wagon, but it looks like I’ve jumped in at a good time since the new expansion is about to be released AND I hear that the game has gotten way better in the last year or so from where it had been. PLUS. It’s getting me even MORE hyped for the Force Awakens (YOU GUYS HAVE NO IDEA I’M SO EXCITED). I’ll have to write a full on Star Wars post later otherwise I’ll get terribly side-tracked.

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I’m currently playing a dark-sided Zabrak Trooper named Sh’ehpp (the female troopers are voiced by Jennifer Hale, Voice Actress and Goddess, so of course I named my trooper after my favorite Commander Shepard from Mass Effect), and a light-sided Twi’lek Smuggler named Oolaj’ikki – both of which are on The Shadowlands server if you’d like to join me in my SWTOR adventures. I’ll eventually be making a Sith character but since my entire Guild is a bunch of goodie-goodies, I’m on Republic side. For now…

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Honestly I should have known I would love this game. It’s Bioware. And I was a huge fan of Knights of the Old Republic back in the day. AND Mass Effect is my favorite game (I have an N7 tattoo on my wrist!) and Dragon Age was what got me back into gaming on a daily level. I’ll be writing a heartfelt thank you post to Bioware in the future too because they have done so much in my life and I am so grateful to them. For now though, thanks for getting me back into the world of MMOs and for giving me a new addiction in life. Because I needed another one in my life apparently. Y’all, come play SWTOR with me! If you love Star Wars and video games, this is definitely for you.

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This much-awaited (much, much, MUCH awaited) Kickstarter project is the brain child of my friend Clay Gardner (with gorgeous illustration work by Niko Geyer) and pretty much SHATTERED its goal within hours – JUST hours. It’s called OVA: The Anime Role-Playing Game and I am so excited to start playing this game. I love anime, and I love tabletop RPGs, so I feel like this was made for me. And it seems, a lot of people feel the same way. The original goal was $7,500 but at the moment of writing this, they’re sitting pretty at $90,728. Holy crap, right?

“OVA: The Anime Role-Playing Game is exactly what it says in the title, a tabletop RPG lovingly crafted to capture the diverse worlds of Japanese animation. Save the princess (or prince!) from a fire-breathing dragon, tackle invading squadrons of giant robots, or find true love amid campus hijinks—everything you need is inside!”

Clay was sweet enough to take a moment of his time and answer a few questions about his awesome Kickstarter campaign. I figure the man behind the project would be able to tell you a little more about it than I can. So let’s start!

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The Interview: with Clay Gardner

01. Tell us a little about your Kickstarter. Where did the idea for it come from and who is all working on it?

I wrote the beginnings of OVA around ten years ago. I was just getting into anime heavily, and I wanted to represent the shows I was enjoying in role-playing form. But at the time, I felt constrained by most games available. Many great and fun systems existed, of course, but nothing seemed to let me create the character I wanted to. Even point-buy systems, which on paper were supposed to open up possibilities, always seemed to punish making cinematic decisions. Having a character good with both a gun and martial arts had very little to do with a character’s effectiveness in the game, but almost always resulted in a crippling reduction in available points. And so too with multiple flashy attacks, or really anything done for the sake of “being cool.” I wanted a game that embraced doing things for the fun of it, and soon, OVA took shape. I released it as a PDF in 2005, with a print run following the next year.

This Kickstarter is for a new, revised version of OVA. The game holds onto the same ideals I had a decade ago but is improved with all the experience I’ve gained in the time between. A brand new layout, art done by a single talented artist Niko Geyer, and many refinements and expansions to the rules make the game better than ever before. It’s OVA as I knew it always could be.

02. What was the hardest part about putting together a campaign like this?

I hope it’s not too much of a cop-out answer, but I feel like getting the whole thing together was the hardest part! By itself, each element was a lot of work, but being able to juggle creating a video, the page graphics, all the groundwork for promoting the kickstarter, and all the text the project required at the same time…well…I’m glad it’s all done!

03. What has the process been like getting OVA: The Anime Role-Playing Game together? What came first – stories, characters, worlds, etc? How do you keep it all organized?

Because OVA already existed in some form, working on the new edition sort of jumped between everything in no particular order. I’d spend some time creating a new character, who’d inspire a new rule or revision. Or maybe a new rule would change the way I thought a character should be written. But I think it was always about characters at heart. That is why we play role-playing games, after all, and I wanted to make sure that every part of the new OVA was dedicated to making the process of realizing a character as simple and fun as possible.

As for how I keep it all organized, I tend to jot down all my ideas in text files before introducing it into the actual manuscript. After I had the manuscript more or less complete, I began typesetting the book while making small revisions I felt were appropriate. I guess you could look at each file type like a different draft, with the actual InDesign layout file being my last pass for the text.

04. What advice do you have for others who are thinking about starting their own RPGs or Kickstarters?

Take the time to make your page look as good as possible. While a solid idea will get support based on its own merit, a professional presentation instills confidence in a project and shows that you’re the kind of creator that is serious about bringing a product to completion. Show finished, polished examples of your work in action, and if possible, make graphics that spell out exactly what each of your pledge levels offers.

If you’re kickstarting a game (be it an RPG, a board game, or even a video game) give visitors a way to try it out. Whether you offer a print-in play version, a condensed copy of the rulebook, or just a demo, people appreciate being able to know what they’re getting and not just acting upon a sales pitch.

Oh, and plan to take the whole first day off so you can dedicate it to your Kickstarter. *laughs*

05. And finally! If you were to sit down at a table to start playing OVA, who would be your ideal/dream RPers to play with? Can be anyone, living or dead. Who would they play?

That’s a tough one! If we expand the “anyone living or dead” magic to include breaking language barriers, I think it would be fascinating to play the game with Japanese story-telling greats like Hayao Miyazaki and Osamu Tezuka. And of course Ryo Mizuno of Record of Lodoss War fame. I wonder how he’d feel about OVA’s rules in comparison to systems like D&D and Sword World that formed the basis of so many of his stories?

What characters would they play? Ones from their own tales? New ones whole-cloth? Hard to say…but it would be kind of magical if one of them took up the Game Master’s hat instead!

Keep Pledging for Rewards!

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Right now, the goal is to hit $100k and I fully believe they can do! Let’s help get them there – if they get there, a new reward will open up, and I would love to get my hands on it. So what are you waiting for? Go kickstart this project!

TableTop Day is March 30! GAME ON!

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GOOD NEWS, EVERYONE! Y’all know I love me some video games, but did you know that I’m also an avid tabletop gamer? D&D is my forte, but I love Munchkin, and recently discovered Ticket to Ride as well as Fluxx, and I’m hoping to join the many who have been sucked into the epic Catan. Little known Nikki-fact: my favorite, more traditional, tabletop game is Yahtzee. LOVE it!

International TableTop Day!

Anyway, this Saturday happens to be International TableTop Day, put on by the amazing folks over at Geek and Sundry, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to participate in any possible way you can. I actually briefly met the producer of popular TableTop series, Boyan Radokovich, and he introduced me to this kickass international holiday. The rules are simple:

On March 30th, 2013 , we ask you to go to your friendly local game store, neighborhood coffee shop, school auditorium, community center, or host a game day at your home and play more games.

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You can find a TableTop Day event near you by heading over to the Official Website. The site also has downloads, details, and a blog to follow so be sure to check it out. I actually have a wedding to attend on Saturday but maybe I can get the entire wedding party to sit down and roll a few dice. Who knows. Make sure you use the hashtag #TableTopDay and share pictures!

Happy TableTop Day, everyone!

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UPDATE: ONLY 5 4 3 MORE SPACES AVAILABLE! 6 5 4 3 DAYS TO SIGN UP!

So you’ve got an awesome, growing business that you’ve put your heart and soul into. It’s your passion, your dream, your baby. You’re organized, you’ve got clients, but you want more. You want more people to know who you are and what you do. You’d love to get your business in front of a thousand eyes all at once. But how?

I’ve got an answer for you. Sponsor one of my days at SXSW!

You’ve probably already read my blog post about the Send the Coyote to SXSW Interactive 2013 fundraiser, but if you haven’t you should catch yourself up on it. This is the third year I’ll be attending SXSW, and the second year in which I’ve asked folks to help get me there – with lots of lovely incentives of course. This year is no different – except for this.

I love helping independent businesses grow. I love helping established businesses get better. And if you help me, I would love to help you. Which is why I’m offering this Daily Sponsorship deal to five lucky businesses. SXSW Interactive lasts five days, which means that the first five businesses who sign up for this opportunity will be getting their very own day to get lots of exposure at one of the biggest conferences in the US. Here’s how.

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How it Works

You donate $175 to the Send the Coyote to SXSW Interactive 2013 fundraiser and in the donation notes section, let me know that you’re in it to Sponsor A Day at SXSW. I will reply with an email within a day or two so we can start talking about specifics. Easy enough?

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What You Get

For a $175 donation, you get all of this, which would normally total to about $450.

  • I will hand out any business cards you send me.
  • I will slather the SXSW walls with any business flyers you want me to. (Imagine millions of eyes looking over the flyers and being drawn to yours!)
  • I will write up a short blog post on Snailbird about your business and how awesome it is. (With lots of traffic to the blog about SXSW, this will get you lots of eyes!)
  • You will receive two twitter shout-outs on @designcoyote – one in the morning, one at night.
  • I will write up one Facebook shout out for you.
  • When relevant, I will talk your business up to strangers until I’m blue in the face!
  • You get two months of advertising on Snailbird with a 125×125 ad on the sidebar.

Last year I handed out flyers, put branded bandanas on dogs, and even handed out a few branded snap bracelets for my sponsor. Want me to do the same for you or have other ideas? When you make a donation of at least $175, we can talk more about the details. But first, donate!

How to Sign Up

UPDATE: ONLY 5 4 3 MORE SPACES AVAILABLE! 6 5 4 3 2 DAYS LEFT TO SIGN UP!

Simple. Either go to the original post and donate, or click on the yellow “Give” button below and enter at least $175 and you’re good to go! But remember – you’ll want to sign up fast! There are only 5 spots and they will go fast!

Of course, as a sponsor, you’ll also get a nice big banner linking to your site on the SXSW 2013 Resource Site I will build that will display all the notes, videos, and photos I take while at conference. You can check out last year’s site here.

So what are you waiting for? SIGN UP NOW! There are five four THREE spots left!

Thank you!