The Living Card Game as Formulaic Epic, part 3: Scenario Advancement

Sep 22, 20 Cards from the Lord of the Rings Living Card Game

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(Earlier posts in this series: part 1, part 2.) In the previous post of this series I described the basic function of what I call the scenario deck(s) in the three Living Card Games (LCGs) I’m analyzing: The Lord of the Rings: the Card Game (LOTR), Arkham Horror: The Card Game (AH), and Marvel Champions: the Card Game...

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The Living Card Game as formulaic epic, part 2: cooperation and scenario

Aug 11, 20 Cards from the Lord of the Rings Living Card Game

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(Click here for the first post of this series.) I want to try to describe the living card game (LCG) as thickly as I possibly can, almost as an ethnographer might. Not only do the various narratives to be found in the games’ scenarios present crucial links to storyworlds outside the ambit of the rules’ so-called...

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The Living Card Game: a New Mode of Epic Performance

Jul 07, 20 Cards from the Lord of the Rings Living Card Game

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Let’s start with the cards themselves. They work like epic formulae (e.g. the “cunning” in “cunning Odysseus”) but with game-mechanics, and with pictures, some of them lovely and some merely serviceable. In homeric epic, certain formulae — the epithets every student remembers, like podas okus...

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The Bethesda Style, 2: Progression by Performance

Jun 06, 18 The Bethesda Style, 2: Progression by Performance

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I apologize for not replying to comments on the first post of this series! I’ll remedy that now, and promise to be more vigilant with this post! Digital RPGs have a wide variety of ways to allow the player-performer to progress their player-character towards greater prowess. The process is universally referred to as leveling...

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The Bethesda style of oral formulaic epic, part 1

May 22, 18 The Bethesda style of oral formulaic epic, part 1

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In a series of essays starting in 2004 and including a series of posts here on Play the Past, I’ve described player-performance in adventure games of various genres as examples of what Albert Lord, in The Singer of Tales, the seminal work on oral formulaic composition of homeric epic, calls thematic recomposition. Briefly put,...

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