Liveblogging Winter Offensive

Keith Dalton of Multi-Man Publishing is liveblogging Winter Offensive [link dead], MMP’s annual game convention currently underway in Bowie, Maryland.

Focusing mostly on Advanced Squad Leader, which MMP publishes, WO has expanded in recent years to include gamers playing games from the Gamers’ various series as well (say that five times fast). And there are always late-night sessions of Euros and multi-player games that in recent years I came to enjoy more than the ASL itself.

WO is always a great convention, and they’re getting the traditional WO snow, so I wish them luck up there. Looking forward to live updates from the spacious Comfort Inn!

Obligatory Opening Manifesto

I am a gamer, which is not quite the same as saying that I play games.

I do play games, of course: board games, wargames, computer games, role playing games, games of chance and games of skill. But just playing games doesn’t make me a gamer.

I am a gamer because I am fascinated with the rule systems that structure games. Much of my gaming time is spent learning new rules or pouring over old ones. I find beauty in well-constructed rules that anticipate my questions about a game, that knit together possible actions without devolving into tangled prose.

Rules appeal to my sense of the universe as a disorderly place made more tidy by everyone’s voluntary adherence to an organizing structure. So I study rules by playing games and, now, discussing games and the rules that drive them here, at Movement Point.

Science fiction gets some treatment, too, as the literary form most concerned with rules, more than even Victorian manners novels or form-based poetry. Science fiction examines the effects of a rule on a system, extrapolating what happens when a variable changes (or doesn’t). A work of science fiction is interesting not because it has robots (or sentient widgets or kitchen-sized teleporting devices) but because of what changes when there are robots (or whatever). Good science fiction provides a coherent, systems-based look at a world with different rules than our own.

And, because it’s a blog, Movement Point will sometimes deal with stuff I find interesting that has nothing to do with games or science fiction. Can’t have rules without bending them…