Introductions and Warning on Future Content

Wednesday , 7, January 2015 6 Comments

I’m Ken Burnside. I design and publish games, I help SF writers get the science right on science fiction (when doing so isn’t contradictory to good storytelling), and I edit fiction and game materials on a freelance basis when time permits.

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I’m best known in some circles for a game called Attack Vector: Tactical, which is a fully Newtonian 3D space combat game, played on the tabletop, with accurate physics throughout.  I’m also known for writing one of the world’s smallest RPGs, Minimus, and I’m currently working on a Traveller adaptation of my game Squadron Strike.

Vox Day liked what I wrote for Riding the Red Horse. He’s been around game development a time or two, and is a gamer dating from way back. He asked me to become a regular contributor, and is working on putting up some of my digital products on the Castalia House shop.   My mandate is to to shine some light into my creative processes with Ad Astra, and to draw some of my readers here to see his other bloggers at Castalia House.

I’ll be covering topics ranging from graphics and user interface design, to cognitive loading in games, to reviewing books and products that I find useful in my craft as a game designer. Sometimes I’ll draw examples from my own work, some of which is available for sale via PDF at Castalia House.  Sometimes, I’ll highlight work that’s done by other people that’s in areas and niches that I don’t hit terribly often. There will be some overlap with Jeffro’s “Appendix N” postings. Where Jeff’s coming from a “I’m a fan of old school games” perspective, I’m coming from someone who had their RPG tastes shaped in three distinct eras, which I’ll cover in my next post.

Anyway, welcome to my part of the Castalia House blog sphere, and I’ll be here next Wednesday with “The Three Epochs of RPG design” and a Venn Diagram.

  • castaliahouse says:

    Testing comments.

  • Daniel says:

    Huzzah. I’ve been wanting to comment since yesterday, but the tech glitch prevented me.

    Here’s my entirely off-the-wall guess at the three epochs of RPG design:

    1) Lake Geneva/Wargame origin – Trippy-Crunchy days
    2) LARP/Masquerade/White Wolf/d20 Universal/Feelings era (i.e. farewell to TSR)
    3) The Era of Specialty: MMO Accommodation, or Magic-User as artillery, Cleric as party resource manager

    I’m not in the industry, so take this for what it is: pure unadulterated ignorance.

  • Jeffro says:

    ere’s my guess on what they are:
    * The “This is Awesome but We Can’t Explain What We’re Doing” Era
    * The “We’re Not Done Until We Have Realistic Rules For Every Conceivable Thing” Era
    * The “We’re So Cool, We Invented Role Playing Games– No Really, D&D Was Not a Role Playing Game! Also: Why Are You Punching Me?” Era

  • VD says:

    My three:

    1. D&D era (TSR)
    2. Vampire era (White Wolf)
    3. ???

  • C. L. says:


    Welcome aboard!!! Looking forward to your posts.

  • mistaben says:


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