Ego Check with The Id DM – Episode 13 – Carina Kom

Carina Kom bio pic

Carina Kom

This week I’m joined by Carina Kom,  Co-founder and CEO of Crash Wave Games, which successfully launched a Kickstarter campaign for their next game, Iron Tides. Ms. Kom discusses her years of experience wearing various hats in the gaming industry, which led her to forming her own company. She talks about her interest in understanding player behaviors in videogames, including how players respond to in-game reward systems and overall difficulty settings. She elaborates on her experience working on free-to-play and pay-to-win games. The second half of the interview is devoted to Iron Tides, which is a Viking themed strategy-survival game that is inspired by games such as Darkest Dungeon. She speaks about the benefits and challenges of playtesting with the diverse casual and “hardcore” gaming audiences. She described the systems in Iron Tides, and how some of them grew from a tabletop philosophy.

Enjoy the (lucky) 13th episode of Ego Check with The Id DM! And please subscribe to the podcast at one of the links below:

You can also listen to the show right here:

 

Please consider leaving a review on iTunes and help spread the word about the show. New episodes are released the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month. The next episode will post on May 2nd , 2017.

If you are interested in coming on the show for an interview, or would like to become a sponsor, contact me to make arrangements.

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Ego Check with The Id DM – Episode 12 – Brian Patterson

Brian Patterson

Brian Patterson, Santa Enthusiast

I’m joined by Brian Patterson, Co-Owner of Exploding Rogue Studios, and Creator of the webcomic, d20monkey. He completed a successful Kickstarter to fund his efforts to create Karthun, a campaign guide. I previously interviewed Brian in 2011 and 2014 for my blog, and he talks about his work in the gaming industry in recent years, including his role as Art Tsar for Evil Hat Productions. He spends the first portion of the interview talking about his experiences meeting with a therapist for assistance with mental health issues, which have been partially influenced by the lifestyle connected to freelance work. We discuss how therapy works, and dispel some common myths about the interactions that take place between a counselor and a client. Brian later discusses his struggles to produce Karthun, and the emotions related to completing the project. Near the end of the interview, he briefly covers upcoming projects for d20monkey and Exploding Rogue Studios, and educates listeners on how best to incorporate Karthun into any roleplaying game system.

Enjoy the 12th episode of Ego Check with The Id DM! And please subscribe to the podcast at one of the links below:

You can also listen to the show right here:

Please consider leaving a review on iTunes and help spread the word about the show. New episodes are released the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month. The next episode will post on April 18th , 2017.

If you are interested in coming on the show for an interview, or would like to become a sponsor, contact me to make arrangements.

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Iddy Approved: Monsters & Heroes of the Realms: A Dungeons & Dragons Coloring Book

Monster Coloring Book

“Color Me Badd!”

Many moons ago, I was given a free copy of both Dungeonology and the Monsters & Heroes of the Realms: A Dungeons & Dragons Coloring Book. (Thank you, Wizards of the Coast and Greg Tito!) Since there are already a bounty of useful reviews about Dungeonolgy, which is a nifty book to be sure, I decided to write an article about the later while incorporating some psychological concepts.

It’s what I do.

The adult coloring book industry has mushroomed in recent years and many book stores have entire sections devoted to this activity. Coloring is often marketed as a relaxation device to adults, which seems intuitively accurate. Engaging in a hobby that requires attention – anything form woodworking to knitting to painting miniatures – forces us to tune out extraneous variables and lock in to one thing.

Save Versus Multitasking

Multitasking is a bane of my existence. Earlier in life, I thought I was truly proficient in multitasking. I doodled in notebooks in high school while taking notes and listening to the teacher during classes. I achieved good grades (except for that one Biology class), and figured this was evidence that I could juggle multiple cognitive tasks well. As recently as this week, I get up before work to walk on the treadmill while watching a hockey game on the television AND playing Hearthstone on my cell phone. The good news is this never ended in an injury. The bad news is I probably do all of those things poorly.

I miss a lot of details from the hockey game.

I make countless misplays in Hearthstone.

And my posture is likely terrible because I look down at my phone for the better part of 30-45 minutes while walking.

One could say that I was multitasking well because I combined exercise with my enjoyment of professional ice hockey and video games. Another point of view is that I’m doing a disservice to all three activities because I’m not focused on any of them.

Now that I have a newborn in the house, multitasking is even less effective. I’ve tried to balance feeding him while doing other things.

It doesn’t go well!

Coloring as Stress Management?

Coloring is an activity that is difficult to combine with something else. Perhaps one can listen to music or have a show or movie on in the background, but coloring requires you to stay in one place and focus on filling in spaces with different pens or pencils. Many of the coloring pages have intricate shapes and tiny details that encourage the artist to concentrate on his or her coloring efforts. This level of strict concentration on one activity can be soothing.

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Ego Check with The Id DM – Episode 11 – Dr. Janina Scarlet

Janina Scarlet bio pic

Dr. Janina Scarlet

I am joined this week by Dr. Janina Scarlet, and we talk about her upcoming book, Superhero Therapy – A Hero’s Journey Through Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Dr. Scarlet shares her fascinating origin story and how her personal journey with negative emotions led her to pursue a career in psychology. She describes how she has used various elements of geek culture in her work as a therapist providing care to Veterans and other individuals struggling with shame, anxiety, fear, and anxiety. She educates people about the purpose of therapy, and elaborates on several skills listed in her book. Near the end of the conversation, she shares her personal experience as a refugee to the United States, and how recent political events have been challenging. We also talk a bit of hockey before closing down!

Enjoy the 11th episode of Ego Check with The Id DM! And please subscribe to the podcast at one of the links below:

You can also listen to the show right here:

 

Please consider leaving a review on iTunes and help spread the word about the show. New episodes are released the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month. The next episode will post on April 4th , 2017.

If you are interested in coming on the show for an interview, or would like to become a sponsor, contact me to make arrangements.

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Time Traveling with My Son

After many years of attempting to have a child, my wife and I welcomed our son, Hugo, into the world in January. We are hopefully exiting the new-parent haze that settles in after a newborn enters the home. He is getting into a bit of a routine, and the three of us are all sleeping a bit easier each night. It is wonderful that he is in our lives, and we are excited to watch him grow and experience the world.

An idea was proposed to us by a friend; she started to email her child with messages throughout the early years of her life. She plans to “give” the email account to her daughter when she’s a teenager, and that struck me as a fabulous idea! Given my awareness that life can be short, I figured it would be an useful record my son can refer to in the future if I’m not around to speak for myself.

I set up an email account for the little guy, and here’s the first message that will greet him in the year 2033 or so….

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Ego Check with The Id DM – Episode 10 – Dr. Peter Whalen & Dr. Tzachi Zach

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Peter Whalen, Senior Game Designer

This week’s MEGA Hearthstone episode celebrates the annoucement of the next expansion, Journey to Un’Goro. First, Peter Whalen, Senior Game Designer for Hearthstone, joins me to discuss his experiences working for Blizzard since 2015 and his role as Lead Designer for the Journey to Un’Goro expansion. He provides additional details about the Adapt and Quest mechanics, including strategy for how to effectively use the choices given to the player each time Adapt is offered. Dr. Whalen also discusses the realities of designing content for a passionate fanbase that has access to data analytics to attack Ranked play. He describes how the meta game in Hearthstone has sped up as a result of community resources, and what it means for players and the design team moving forward. Finally, he shares his thoughts on design concepts that have yet to clear the cutting room floor and specific cards that might shine during the upcoming Year of the Mammoth rotation.

tzachi-zach-bio-pic

Dr. Tzachi Zach, Data Analyst

Then around the 30-minute mark, Dr. Tzachi Zach joins me to talk about the his role as Co-Owner and Data Analyst for Vicious Syndicate. He explains how the weekly Data Reaper Reports are created, and comments on how players and the Hearthstone designers can benefit from the analytics provided by Vicious Syndicate. He speaks about searching for the “truth” in data analysis, and how he is confident the Vicious Syndicate team is honing in on a reliable and valid estimate of how specific decks are performing in Ranked play. He offers a glimpse of the future for Vicious Syndicate, including how they might venture into data reports on the Wild format.

Enjoy the 10th episode of Ego Check with The Id DM! And please subscribe to the podcast at one of the links below:

You can also listen to the show right here:

Please consider leaving a review on iTunes and help spread the word about the show. New episodes are released the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month. The next episode will post on March 21st, 2017.

If you are interested in coming on the show for an interview, or would like to become a sponsor, contact me to make arrangements.

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Ego Check with The Id DM – Episode 9 – Shanna Germain

shanna-germain-bio

Shanna Germain

My guest for Episode 9 of Ego Check with The Id DM is Shanna Germain, co-founder of Monte Cook Games, and an acclaimed writer and game designer. She covered many topics during our discussion, including her work as an activist and advocate in and out of the gaming industry. She speaks about her work with Monte Cook Games and how she balances the demands of writing novels and designing games. We spent an extended amount of time on the concept of grief in gaming, and this led into a discussion of politics and the recent statement by Monte Cook Games titled, Our Core Values. We conclude by talking about her roleplaying game for young children, No Thank You, Evil.

Enjoy the ninth episode of Ego Check with The Id DM! And please subscribe to the podcast at one of the links below:

You can also listen to the show right here:

Please consider leaving a review on iTunes and help spread the word about the show. New episodes are released the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month. The next episode will post on March 7th, 2017.

If you are interested in coming on the show for an interview, or would like to become a sponsor, contact me to make arrangements.

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