Category Archives: gaming

Cards Against Humanity: Fantasy Pack

It’s no secret that I’m terribly fond of Max Temkin. Not only is he fun to be around, but he’s a genuinely nice person who has pitched in to help with Worldbuilders in several different ways over the last couple years.

For example, when we did our podcast together, we weren’t originally planning on having sponsors. But when our audience turned out to be startlingly large, Max immediately suggested we take on select ads and donate all the money directly to Worldbuilders.

Hold on, it occurs to me that some of you might not realize who I’m talking about here. Max is one of the guys who created Cards Against Humanity.

If you don’t know what Cards Against Humanity is… Well, I almost want to congratulate you, because this must be your very first time on the internet. Welcome, traveler! Adventure awaits!

CAH is a hugely, crassly inappropriate game that has given me many wonderful laughs with good friends. It’s… it’s really indescribable. So I might as well just post up a link to the very NSFW edition of Tabletop where they played it. As well as this video of grandmas getting high and playing the game.

But seriously, the game has penetrated pretty much every avenue of geek culture. And even better, (he said, gliding right past many, all-too-easy jokes that could be made due to the phrasing in that last sentence) the CAH folks have elevated irreverence to an art form. Last year, Max and his team protested Black Friday by selling something they called Holliday Bullshit.


What was in the box? Actual cow poop. This is a fact that still makes me smile. Then CAH took the money they made from that and donated it to Worldbuilders so it would go to Heifer International. Which is kinda poetic, if you think about it. Circle of life and all that.

I could go on and on about the things they’ve done. One year for black friday, they raised their prices instead of having a sale. Earlier this year, they released a pack of science-themed expansion pack of cards and donated all profits to provide full-ride scholarships for women seeking STEM degrees.

Anyway, today we finally get to unveil something we’ve been working on for a while: A fantasy-themed expansion pack for CAH.

Fantasy Pack

(I have no idea what’s going on in that picture. Seriously. No. Idea.)

This pack contains 30 cards, and it’s everything you’d expect from a fantasy-themed CAH expansion. The ideas for the cards were written by a team of crack authors who have helped out Worldbuilders in the past.

And (if you haven’t already guessed) ALL the proceeds from the first two weeks of sales will go to Worldbuilders in support of Heifer International. For those of you who have been wondering about the yellow progress bar on our website that says, “Coming Soon.” Well… now you know what that is for….


Some of the authors who wrote cards are:

  • Neil Gaiman
  • Sam Sykes
  • Myke Cole
  • Jacqueline Carey
  • Kevin Hearne
  • Martha Wells
  • Sherwood Smith
  • Elizabeth Bear
  • Wesley Chu
  • Laura Anne Gilman
  • Delilah Dawson
  • Me
  • And a few others who would prefer not to be named….

So there you go. I’ve seen the cards. I’ve held them in my hands and read them and they are delightfully awful. A few of them made me laugh my evilest laugh.

You can buy a pack by following this link. Hell, why not get two? Get 10! (Then you get free shipping, too.)

CAH has a running tally on their website showing how much they’ve raised for us, and we’ll be checking that regularly to update our thermometer. (But again, we’re doing it manually. Because it’s hard to automate these things, and we’d rather spend our money on helping people rather than re-programming widgets.)

So. Go forth. Make the world a better place by playing this wonderful, horrible game.

Also posted in cool news, cool things, Worldbuilders 2015 | By Pat27 Responses

Hundreds of Games from Mayfair

Last year, Mayfair Games came in as a sponsor for Worldbuilders. And to be honest, we were a little unprepared for the sheer level of awesome they brought to the table.

Some of you might remember the entire semi-trailer full of games….

It was so many games it took the Worldbuilders team 4 hours just to get them inside. (There were 18 pallets full.)

This year’s donation arrived on Monday, but this time it only took my team an hour and a half to get them inside. I like to think that it’s because my team has leveled up somehow, becoming more efficient. It’s better than the alternative, which is that over the past year they’ve somehow managed to become 200% stronger. That would not bode well for me, my position as leader and alpha male is already rather tenuous….

Anyway, today I drove down to Milwaukee to interview Jeffery Craynor and Joseph Fink, helping out with the tour they’re having for their delightful new book.

So guess what happens when I’m away? This happens….


(I wasn’t even gone 12 hours.)

You know, I’m not upset that as soon as I leave town, you all start to goof off. And I’m not upset that you made a fort out of the games Mayfair sent us….

No. It’s that you built a *square* fort. A circular fort would have been more aesthetically pleasing while at the same time being much more more structurally sound.

Also, where the hell are the crenelations?

I swear. It’s like you people haven’t been listening to a thing I’ve said all these years….

I’m not mad. I’m just…. disappointed.


 (If your game arrives damaged, blame Amanda.)

I’m going to have to come into the office tomorrow and make my disappointed dad face, aren’t I?

Anyway, as you can see, we have more than six hundred games that are going into our prize lottery. 100 of each of the following: Pillars of the Earth: Builders Duel, Dos Rios, Oceania, Patrician, Revolution: The Dutch Revolt, and Shear Panic.



That’s over $18,000 worth of games in this blog alone. Give or take a little, depending on if you value the ones touched by Amanda’s butt as worth more or less than their… uninitiated counterparts.

For every 10 dollars you chip in on our the donation page worldbuilders has set up, you have a chance to win these games, as well as everything else entered over the course of the fundraiser.

Big news tomorrow. Tune in for it.

Also posted in Worldbuilders 2015 | By Pat10 Responses

Novelties: Hoodies, T-Shirts, and Drug-Addled Dracci

Novelties has become a lot of fun over this last year, mostly because we get to show off the cool new things we’re putting up in The Tinker’s Packs for charity.

As of now, we’ve pretty much finished shipping out the Geeks Doing Good fundraiser perks, with the exception people who never got back to us about t-shirt sizes. *HINT HINT* So that means we can finally start rolling some of those products out in the store.

But first, a signed book:


Amanda geeked out when she found out John would be in Madison for a signing, and so drove down to see him in all of his sarcastic glory.

She got 10 copies of his newest book, The End of All Things, and he graciously signed them for her, despite her intense fangirling. We’ve got those first edition copies up for grabs right here.

  • Auri’s Gear Temporary Tattoos


This is, apparently, Amanda’s “tough” face. Amanda is hella street.


This is her ‘I am mildly surprised and a bit perplexed by this tattoo on my arm’ face.

There are two tattoos per pack, so you can be double tough. Or, y’know. Single tough twice as long.

They’re available right here.

  • Geek-a-Week decks.


These Geek-aWeek decks are cool, as each card has a geeky celebrity featured on the front with some of their vital stats on the back.

During the fundraiser we actually played a little game of D&D showing one of the best uses I’ve seen for these cards: namely, using them to generate off-the-cuff NPCs with more personality than is generally the case.

Here are some highlights from Season 1 and Season 5:



I’m guessing you can see a lot of familiar faces there.

Decks are available here. And fair warning: quantities are limited.

  • All of the t-shirts


Dear beloved Worldbuilders employees: Do not break each other. This is expressly forbidden in the employee handbook.


All four of the new t-shirts we made for the fundraiser are now live the the store. The team have been wearing theirs with pride, and Amanda, Jeff, and Rachel were all giddy when they saw some out in the wild at my recent signing in LA.

If you missed out on getting one before, or you suddenly thought of a friend who probably needs these, you can pick them up over here:

What Does It Unlock, Waystone Inn, You Have Died of Chandrian, and Polka Will Never Die.

  • Hoodies


Amanda’s been SUPER photogenic lately…


So apparently, this is what my team does when I’m not in the office to keep an eye them. They dress up and take pictures of their butts.

The hoodies were something of an experiment. They’re much more expensive than t-shirts to produce, so they’re more expensive to purchase, and we were worried no one would be interested in them. Or at least not enough people to make them worth the expense, not to mention the storage space.

They went over way better than we thought, and so even though we hadn’t intended to carry them in the store afterwards originally, you swayed us, and you can get your own over here.

  • Draccus for King of Tokyo and King of New York


As I mentioned before, King of Tokyo isn’t just a personal favorite game, it’s captured the hearts of the entire Worldbuilders team. They got together and played it a few weeks back, then posted a bunch of pictures up on the Worldbuilders Blog.

So imagine our delight when the lovely folks that make the game worked with us to create a special promotional character, so you can destroy Tokyo like the giant drug-addled cow-lizard you are.

When we brought this promotional Draccus card to GenCon, we only had about 400 of them, which we thought were plenty to last us the weekend. Even so, we limited it to 50 a day, so folks who only came on Saturday or Sunday still had a chance to pick some up. We sold out every day in just a couple of hours.

But now we have our full shipment of draccuses (dracci?) in the store, and we’re making them available to everyone for the first time.

Fair warning: We have a limited number of these, and once they’re gone, there won’t ever be any more. So if you want one, you might want to grab it sooner rather than later. Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if they sell out in just a couple of days.

For those of you who’ve never played the game before, I highly recommend it. So we’re selling copies of King of Tokyo and King of New York in the store, too. You can use the draccus in either game.king-of-tokyo-couverture2

And, as always, all the money raised in the Tinker’s Packs goes to charity. So you’re not just buying geeky swag, you’re making the world a better place, too.

* * *

Three final notes before I sign off today.

I’ve decided that I’m going to be fewer events and less overall traveling in 2016. So if you’d like to see me in person, you might want to catch me in some of the following events coming up here at the end of the year, if that’s at all possible.

1. I’m doing a bit of a tour with Paul and Storm on the East Coast this week. There will be stops in Philadelphia, Alexandria, Brooklyn, and Somerville. (Which is not the same as Sunnydale. I checked.)

2. The convention I’ve been helping plan is fast approaching: NerdCon: Stories. It’s going to be a seriously awesome time.

3. Expect another post later this week on the blog. Odds are I’ll have some news to share….

Later Space Cowboys,


Also posted in Novelties, The Tinker's Packs | By Pat14 Responses

Some News, and Events in Indianapolis

Heya everybody,

Sorry the posts have been a little slim here lately. It’s been a strange, busy couple weeks at Rothfuss HQ. Aside from the fact that it’s the middle of convention season, some other stuff has been going on too…

  • Hollywood Talk:

As many of you who follow me on facebook or twitter already know, this happened:


(Click the headline to read the article itself.)

That article is pretty impressive, not just because we didn’t make a press release, but because almost 90% of it is true. (Not the part about book 3, unfortunately.) That means that despite my plans to have a relaxing ComicCon where I caught up with some of my friends, most of my time in San Diego was spent meeting with fancy Hollywood people.

I didn’t know what to expect walking into those meetings, but I have to say, it was a surprisingly non-excruciating experience.

After the convention I came home for a couple days, then I headed out to LA to talk some more.

And honestly? That’s all I can say about that right now.

I might write a blog in a while talking about the extreme trepidation I feel about entering into this sort of arrangement, or the worry I feel about trying to adapt my books into alternate media. But right now, I just don’t have the time.

If you’re *really* interested, you can hear me talk about it at some length in the weekly podcast I’m doing with Max Temkin. I’ve spoken about it there at some length. Probably in more detail and with more caffeine involved than is entirely wise.

  • A brief adventure to Vidcon:

I was planning to fly back home on Thursday, but since I was already in LA, I decided to take an extra day or two and stop by Vidcon.

This was partly because I’m helping plan a book-centered convention with Hank Green, (Nerdcon, for those of you who don’t already know.) And I knew seeing Vidcon would help me be a better collaborator with his team.

But mostly I went because Vi Hart was there. And she is one of my favorite people.


(Actual footage.)

I also got to meet Hank and John Green in person for the first time, rather than e-mail meetings, which are rather thin, ephemeral things which preclude handshakes and hugs. (I don’t have any pictures of those meetings, because I never think of doing that sort of thing at the time.)

I also got to meet Henry Reich (from minute physics) and Jackson Bird, and had some lovely talk. I saw Freddy Wong, too. But didn’t approach him, because I was trying to play it cool.

It was an interesting convention, unlike any other con I’ve been to so far. And it’s made me even more excited about the upcoming Nerdcon….

  • Non-Gencon events in Indianapolis

I’m heading out to Indianapolis primarily because of Gencon. But for those of you who don’t go to conventions (or who couldn’t get a badge) I have a few events you can come to on Friday.

Friday, July 31

11am-12:30pm: A discussion of fantasy literature with PhD candidate Beth Avila.

Geek Chic at Gallery 42
42 E Washington St
Indianapolis, IN 46204

This is going to be a little bit outside of my normal realm of panel. This time, Geek Chic brought in a person with an actual literature degree to banter with me. I’m intrigued by this one, and if you are too you can grab a completely free ticket right here.

You don’t even need a GenCon badge for this, this is a great place to come check me out while I talk with someone about fantasy literature.

7:00 pm Concert Against Humanity

Murat Theatre at Old National Centre
502 North New Jersey Street
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204

This is a cool show that the folks from Cards Against Humanity are putting on. Performers include Kumail Nanjiani, Paul and Storm, Cameron Esposito, The Doubleclicks, Molly Lewis, Patrick Rothfuss, and John Scalzi.

You have to buy a ticket. But they’re handing out swag bags that have a bunch of games and goodies worth over a hundred bucks.

And if that weren’t enough by itself: here’s a code that will give you twenty bucks off your ticket. “indywelcomesall”

You can Buy tickets here.

  • GenCon:

This year, Worldbuilders will be all over Gencon. We’re going to have a booth by the Writer’s Symposium track of paneling. And a second booth we’re sharing with our longtime friends Badali Jewelry at #663 in the expo hall where we will be selling all manner of things.

Since we’re doing more than our average number of events at this year’s convention, we’ve got the fabulous Thera helping us coordinate volunteers for these booths.

Hey friends! There’s still space to volunteer for @PatrickRothfuss and @Worldbuilders_ during GenCon! If you’re interested let me know!

— Thera! 2016 (@Therajill) July 22, 2015

(From what I understand, we especially need people on Thursday)

If you’re interested in hanging out with the Worldbuilders team and lending a hand, drop her a line on twitter. And you can help us show off the cool things we’re going to have at our booth.

What kind of cool things? Well it’s funny you should ask….


Yup. That’s right. It’s a Draccus. Brought to you by the fine folks a Iello games, the people who make King of Tokyo.

When I met the folks from iello at GenCon two years ago, it turned out we had some mutual admiration going on. They loved my books, and I loved their games. I recommend King of Tokyo for anyone. It’s easy to learn, fun to play, and allows for a lot of trash talk, which I’m particularly good at.

So we’ve been working on creating a Draccus creature with them to release as a special promotion, with all the proceeds of the sale going to Worldbuilders.


The first time I’ll get to see our awesome Draccus is at GenCon. We’re going to limit how many are available each day. That way everyone has a chance to get them, even if you only have a day pass for Sunday. (And yes, if we have any left over, we’ll be putting them up in the Tinker’s Packs.)

What’s more, I’ve got two signings at the Worldbuilders booth (see the full schedule below for details).

If you want to come to one of my signings at the booth, there will be time tickets available there anytime before the signing, so you won’t have to wait in a long line. Just be sure to pick one up before the signing, because you have to have one to get your stuff signed.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Here’s all of the places I’ll be, and a few I won’t that I think you should check out anyway.

  • Thursday, July 30

If you’re at the con on Thursday, we’re going to be giving away a chance to play True Dungeon with me, Max Temkin, Sam Sykes, and Delilah S. Dawson. It’ll be from 2:30-5 Thursday afternoon.

Lycan's Afoot - Room 6 - Pat Rothfuss Run

(We had a great time playing last time, as you can see…)

If you want a chance of winning the ticket, you need to come by the Worldbuilders booth (#663) before noon, fill out a slip with your name and phone number, and put it into the hat. We’ll select one at random at 12:01, then call the winner and coordinate with them to come to the game.

If we don’t hear from you by 1pm we’ll call someone else, so be sure to answer your phone…

12pm-1pm: Second Stage Writing Career – What to Expect. Room 244

6pm-8pm: An Evening with Patrick Rothfuss. Westin hotel, Capitol III

The bad news is, this event is out of tickets. We filled the biggest room we could get to capacity, so if you don’t already have a ticket, you probably won’t be able to go.

That said, there’s another event going on at the same time that I think you might be interested in…

6pm-8pm: Storium Live with Chuck Wendig, Sam Sykes, Delilah S. Dawson, and Stephen Blackmoore. Room 245.

This is going to be a cool event. Storium is a collaborative story writing game, and we’ve got cool authors signed up to play a game live for you guys.

Additionally, this is a fundraiser for Worldbuilders. There’s a $4 admission fee, which goes to Worldbuilders, and once you’re in you can influence the story. Want to FORCE Sam Sykes to talk about Wols? Donate and make him change the story.

Yeah. You have the opportunity to screw around with people while also making the world a better place. It’s a win-win.

Tickets are still available here, and the more people who show up, the more fun it’s going to be.

  • Friday, July 31

11am-12:30pm: A discussion of fantasy literature with PhD candidate Beth Avila.

Geek Chic at Gallery 42
42 E Washington St
Indianapolis, IN 46204

1pm-2pm: Signing at the Worldbuilders Booth, #663

7pm Concert Against Humanity

Murat Theatre at Old National Centre
502 North New Jersey Street
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
Buy tickets here

This is going to be a pretty sweet event. It’ll be me and some of my favorite folks putting on a show. If you don’t have a badge for GenCon, this might be the coolest way to find me.

  • Saturday, August 1

11am-12pm: What Makes a Character a Hero? Room 245

4pm-5pm: Signing at the Worldbuilders Booth, #663

6pm-7pm: Writing the Other. Room 245

  • Sunday, August 2

12pm-1pm: Writer’s Craft: Satisfying Conclusions. Room 242

Other than that, I’ll be around the convention, goofing around and playing games. The Worldbuilders Team will be around too, so be sure to stop by and visit them at the booth if you get the chance. We’ve got some convention-only specials that are worth checking out.

Be seeing some of you soon…


Also posted in conventions, movie talk | By Pat45 Responses

Novelties: New Releases, White Rabbits, and My Appearance at PAX East

Novelties is fast becoming one of my favorite things we do. I love that we get to spread the word about cool new books, games, and geekery while raising money for charity at the same time.

What’s more, the longer we do this, the more folks come to us with new and interesting things for us to show off….

For example…


It was really cool for Worldbuilders to be contacted by Gary Whitta. For those of you who don’t know him, he’s a screenwriter best known for The Book of Eli. But he’s done work on The Walking Dead, too.

His first novel is coming out soon, and he very graciously signed and donated a few Advance Reader Copies for us to use in Novelties.

“Brutal, brilliant, and deeply compelling, Abomination is quite simply mandatory reading. You may as well call in sick to work now because the moment you pick up Abomination, you won’t want to put it down. This is historical fantasy done right.” - The Nerdist

Abomination won’t be published until May this year, so this is a rare opportunity to get your hands on it before anyone else. Seize the opportunity here.


I’ve talked about Gabriel before. He won a read-and-critique from a Worldbuilders auction a few years ago, and got his book picked up by the critiquing agent. He’s had some great success, and he was kind enough to donate a few ARCs.

“If China Miéville, Neil Gaiman, and Hunter S. Thompson had a ménage à trois, Dead Boys would be the lovechild. A cracking book.” – Jay Kristoff, author of Stormdancer

The book is out now, but you can still get the pre-release ARC right here.

  • Sentinels of the Multiverse: The Video Game.


Some of you may remember that we have a fun working relationship with Sentinels. They created a promo character out of Kvothe, which can be played with their card game.

Now they’re back with their video game, and it looks like it’s awesome. The game play is similar to the card game, in that you are a hero who is fighting a super villain in an environment that adds to the experience. The cool thing about the video game is that you can play it solo (but you don’t have to), so if your friends aren’t around or you don’t feel particularly social, you can still kick some super villain butt.

They donated some game codes to us, after seeing that we could do it with a bunch of other folks. So if you’d like to play, you can grab an access code for fifteen bucks and give the game a try…

  • White Rabbit everything.


These items are all inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and feature art by the wonderful Shane Tyree. We have a few different items from the same series.


There are of course, the Limited and Unlimited decks, as well as a cool option to pick up two dice with a limited deck. The limited decks (the one with the blue back) will never be printed again, and this is one of Shane’s earliest decks, so it’s a great deal to be able to pick them up and help out Worldbuilders at the same time…


(Click to embiggen the coolness…)

There’s also uncut card sheets for those of you who want to be able to see all of the beautiful card art in one place.


Finally, we have posters and magnets featuring a certain bearded fantasy author as the King of Hearts, as well as challenge coins styled to be the White Rabbit’s pocket watch.

  • Pinny Arcade Pins

Last year for PAX Prime, we hooked up with the Pinny Arcade people and made a limited edition Talent Pipes Pin.


We put them up for sale at PAX Prime and sold about a thousand of them. And up until now, that’s been the only place you could get them. But now we’re throwing them up in The Tinker’s Packs , because we know a lot of the rest of you would like the chance to get hold of them.

A few things to note:

1. We only produced a set number of these, and when they’re gone, they’re gone. We won’t be making more.

2. All the proceeds we make from these (as with everything we sell in The Tinker’s Packs) goes to charity.

3. If you’d like to buy some pins *and* see my smiling face…

  • PAX East

I’m going to be back at PAX East, and you’ll never guess why…

Okay. You can probably guess why.

It should be a good time. I’m going to swashbuckle the hell out of this game. There will be daring do. I will do it. I will dutifully do some daring-do.

PAX Prime generally doesn’t have booksellers, but the folks at Pandemonium Books will be at PAX East. Not only will they have my books available, but they’ll be selling the Pinny Arcade Talent Pipes. So you can grab some from them, too.

I’ll also be carrying around a few myself, if anyone’s in the mood to trade.

I’ve even got a couple of signings there in addition to my game…

Saturday, March 7
5:00 – 7:00pm Signing in the Queue Hall (Pandemonium Books)

Sunday, March 8
10:30am – 12:00pm Signing in the Queue Hall (Pandemonium Books)
1:30pm Acquisitions Inc Game, Main Theater

Hope to see you there…


P.S. Normally when I swing through a city for a convention (especially a convention that’s sold-out) I make a point of doing an off site signing for the people that aren’t attending.

Unfortunately, my schedule just doesn’t have room for that this time. My trip to Germany is coming up fast, and I’ve got some family things going on in Wisconsin that I need to keep an eye on.

But never fear, I’ll be signing stock for Pandemonium Books. So if you live in the area and you want some books with my name in them, you’ll be able to swing by and grab them there

Also posted in Novelties, The Tinker's Packs | By Pat19 Responses

A Truckload of Games from Mayfair

Here at Worldbuilders, we’ve been known to occasionally engage in some enthusiastic exaggeration. We might sometimes say someone gave us “a ton of books” when in truth, it was a *lot* of books that did not actually weigh 2000 pounds.

But in this particular case, we’re not being hyperbolic. Mayfair Games has literally sent us a truckload of games.

And it wasn’t a little truck either. There were so many games we had to get a forklift to unload it.

So yeah. There are a *lot* of games here. And we’re putting more than a thousand of them into the lottery. That means for every $10 you donate to Heifer International on the Worldbuilders team page, you get the chance to win these games as well as all the other goodies in the lottery.

*     *     *

We here at Worldbuilders take our jobs seriously. When people donate something to the fundraiser, we do our best to learn everything about it so we can show it off to good effect. We feel it’s our duty to become familiar with the prizes.

In the pursuit of that duty, we made a point of playing several of these games. We did it for you, really. And for charity.

One of the things I was pleased to discover is that the games we tried out were easy to learn and quick to play. Not that I don’t enjoy a nice, brisk twelve hour game of Civilization, mind you. But that sort of game isn’t for everyone.

A lot of these you can play in an hour or so. And if you’ve ever wasted a whole evening grinding away at a game of Monopoly that simply would not die, you know that’s a good thing.

  • 100 copies of Horus.


Horus is one of the games the team managed to crack open and play together. It’s a civilization building game where you vie for control of regions along the Nile.


Things got pretty heated. It’s a good game for a group, and Rachel had this to say about it:

I loved the game’s art, and even if I didn’t end up being King of Egypt, it was really fun trying! We all kind of teamed up against Adam at first, and then Nicole turned traitor and started stealing EVERYTHING. I don’t think Nicole and I should play games together….

Ah yes. Resentment and the end of friendships. The hallmarks of an excellent game….

  • 100 copies of Wacky Wacky West.


This game won Spiel des Jahres. Which my four years of high school German allows me to translate as, “Game of the Year.”

Through bluffing and deception, you are trying to develop the a town in the old west that is mostly full of… well… outhouses. Build things you want, prevent other players from doing so, and destroy things in your way.

  • 100 copies of Anno 1503.


This game is based on a computer game, which if you’re a skeptical person like myself, might tempt you to dismiss it. But this game was designed by Klaus Teuber, the same guy who made Catan. So personally, I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt.

You sail around, searching for outposts, trade agreements, or treasure to bring back to the motherland, and use those resources to build up your colonies. But as colonies grow, there’s risk for some gold-greedy pirates to come along and destroy everything…

  • 100 copies of Journey to the Center of the Earth.


Look at it journeying, there.

Adam played this one over Thanksgiving with some friends. Here’s what he had to say:

This is a fun competitive/co-op board game to see who can gather the most fame and come out on top. When we played, my friends and I had a blast trying to collect the most fossils and gold while at the same time conniving to prevent the others from doing the same. The rules are easy enough to figure out so after a single read-through, you’ll be set to play.

  • 100 copies of Nautilus, Adventure in the Deep.


In Nautilus, groups of researchers come together to search for lost treasures, build and develop an underwater city and, most importantly, search for the lost city of Atlantis. Each researcher has his or her own passions and goals, though everyone is motivated by treasure and money.

  • 100 copies of Justinian.


This is a game of court favor, specifically the favor of Emperor Justinian, through bribery of the other influential people in court. It’s hard to predict which members of the court will have the Emperor’s ear in the end, so you have to choose wisely and carefully…

This game sparked a wonderful history discussion that went about like this:

Me: [Looking down at the board] So… this one’s about saints?
Kat: No, it’s about Justinian, the Byzantine Emperor.
Me: Ah. Of course. Yes. I was… testing you.
Kat: Glad my history degree finally paid for itself.
  • 100 copies of Toledo.


Who doesn’t want to be a 17th century Spanish swordmaker? In Toledo, you send your five helpers to collect the finest metals and gems to craft the best swords, as well as duel with other swordsmen to defend your honor.

It combines worker placement and hand management into a fun, family-friendly game, so gamers new and old can enjoy it if they win it in the lottery.

  • 100 copies of Amazonas.


Amanda’s been playing this one with her gaming group, and they’ve been enjoying it. She wrote this to share with y’all:

You’re searching for rare plants and animals in the jungles of Amazonas. Your goal is to build outposts in specific places, while encountering as much of the flora and fauna as possible and making sure the other adventurers don’t beat you to the places you want to go. Competitive, but mostly strategic, and a lot of fun. Great game.

  • 100 copies of Grand Prix.


This game is great for families and larger groups, since it plays up to six (rather than just four). It’s a racing game that uses cards to help you move cars on the track, then bid on which car you’d like to control. Since that can change between turns, you need to keep all of the cars in the running until the end, in the hopes that you end up controlling the leading car at the finish line.

  • 100 copies of La Strada.


The team played this one together as well.


You’re trying to establish trade routes to major and minor settlements, preferably places your competition can’t get to. It’s simple and elegant, while still being a lot of fun to play and has potential for some serious strategy.

Nicole felt particularly strongly about it:

I really liked La Strada.  Finding the most efficient way to use my resources while sneaking past Rachel was an enjoyable challenge.  That said, Rachel totally squashed me, so there may have to be a rematch in our near future…

  • 100 copies of Weinhandler.


I played this one with the team. Generally speaking, I try to avoid playing games with them. It’s bad for morale, as I tend to viciously destroy all who stand against me.


(This is the expression I make when I’m destroying all who oppose me.)

The fact that I won wasn’t particularly surprising. That’s just the natural order of things. What surprised me was how much strategy there was compared to the simplicity of the rules. What’s more, it’s a nice small box, so it can travel easy.

The fact that it’s a relatively brief game is nice too. After our first play-through, we decided to try it again with five people instead of three.


(Brett is being rules monkey.)

And because I know they’ll point it out in the comments if I don’t admit to it here. Yes. It’s true. I didn’t win the second game.

* * *

So there you go, 1100 new games added to the Worldbuilders lottery. So when you donate make sure you remember to let us know what sort of stuff you’d like to win:

Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 9.17.18 PM

If you’d like to see the other stuff you can win in the lottery, including thousands of books, many of them rare, signed, or otherwise fancy, you can head over to the blog where I list all the donations and explain what Worldbuilders is.

Or, if you’ve heard enough and want to make the world a better place while winning cool prizes, you can make your tax-deductible donation directly to Heifer International over here.

See you later space cowboys…

Also posted in Worldbuilders 2014 | By Pat15 Responses

Auri, Art, and Something New….

As I type this, Worldbuilders has raised $287,000 dollars. We shot past the $250K stretch goal like it was nobody’s business, and that means tonight, (Wednesday the 26th) Nate Taylor and I will be going a Google Hangout taking about the art in The Slow Regard of Silent Things.

auri_front-closeUp 2

The hangout will be starting at 7:30 central time, and will last for about an hour. Nate and I will answer questions, talk about how we worked together to come up with the pictures, and show off some of the images that never made it into the book.

Amanda has set up two of these hangouts for the fundraiser, which means she’s pretty much a professional hang-outer. It also means we already have a link you can follow right now so when the hangout starts, you’ll already be there.

Yeah. That’s right. I just put a link in the text of the link that it’s a link to. That’s how I roll. Extra meta.

What I recommend you do is open a window on your computer right now and turn the volume on your computer up. Then when we start the hangout tonight you’ll freak the hell out because you’ll hear my voice coming out of nowhere and assume that I’m a maniac who has broken into your house.

You can show up and ask your questions in the hangout, or on twitter using the #GeeksDoingGood hashtag. Or, if you’re not into all the space age tech, you can just leave a question down in the comments at the bottom of the blog. That’s fine too.

* * *

As a bit of a teaser for our upcoming Black Friday sale, we’re doing something we’ve never done before in the Tinker’s Packs. Something we’ve never been *able* to do in the Tinker’s Packs because our previous website couldn’t handle it.

We’re selling computer games. Or rather, the steam codes for computer games.

This is kind of exciting for me because I know both of these companies, and I know they make quality games. And if there’s one thing better than sharing things I love with other people, it’s sharing things I love while making the world a better place.

Let’s do a picture here. I’ve been having the kind of day where I need to look at a happy kid to remind myself why we’re doing this.


There. That’s what this is all about.

I don’t want to get all heavy here in the middle of my charity post. But I’ll be honest with y’all. These last couple weeks have been hard for me. Sometimes it just feels like everything in the world is spiraling into shit. Politicians are awful. Corporations are worse. Our justice system seems to be irrevocably fucked. Cash register receipts are giving us cancer and the oceans are poisoned with our plastics.

There’s just so much of it, all the time, and I can’t fix it. All this shit is so wrong and it’s just so fucking *big* and I can’t do anything about it.

There is a word: “Weltschmerz.” I’ve heard it defined as “the despair we feel when the world that is, is not the world we wish it would be.”

I feel this way all the time. I am so endlessly angry and disappointed in the world. If people really understood how constantly, incessantly furious I am, nobody would ever dare come within arm’s reach of me.

That’s why I run Worldbuilders. Because the world isn’t what I want it to be. And I can’t fix it all, but if I don’t do something I’ll either start drinking or simply rage until there’s nothing left of me but ashes.

I can’t fix it all. But I can do this.

Lugazi Dioces Heifer Project (21-0616-01)

There. That’s what I’m about. That little guy is so fucking excited because he has clean water to drink.  That I can do.

So thanks for coming along with me, folks. I do this to make the world a better place, but the fact that so many of you come with me on the ride, the fact that you are all so generous with your help. It makes me feel like there’s hope for humanity. And hope is in such short supply these days.

Okay. Sorry about that. Like I said, it’s been a rough couple of days.

Enough digression. Quick link to the donation page, then on to games.

*     *     *

First let me talk about Hidden Path Entertainment.

Two years ago, I was on a panel out at PAX, titled something like “Narrative in Gaming.” I had a ton of fun because everyone else on the panel wrote games, and I was just a novel-type author. Since I wasn’t an expert, I just got to speak as a storyteller and someone who has been playing games for about 30 years.

Which mean I mostly made jokes and shot my mouth off a lot. I probably sounded like a cross between a mad prophet and that angry old man who shouts at kid to get off his yard. “Story is King! Today’s games don’t give people the chance to fail! Narrative engagement is the Holy Grail! I spent two years trying to solve Zork III! Uphill! In three feet of snow!”

At one point, a member of the audience asked, “Is narrative important for a good game?” And I jumped in quickly with a “Absolutely not!”

Everyone was pretty surprised, because I was the story guy on the panel.

“Tower defense games.” I said. “Vastly entertaining. No narrative.”

“What about Defense Grid?” someone asked. “That’s great tower defense game and it has a great narrative too.”

“What?” I said. “Seriously?”

That was the one game that I bothered tracking down at the convention, and when I did, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they were fans of my work. I admitted that I have a strange love for tower defense, and one of them gave me an access code for their game.

Simply said, I loved it.


Fast forward to now. Hidden Path has given us a bunch of codes for this, their first Defense Grid game. I have to say. I’m a bit of a connoisseur of this type of game. To say that this is the best tower defense I’ve ever played doesn’t even do it justice. It’s like saying Portal is my favorite Jumping game. Doesn’t come close to doing it justice.

Did I just compare this game to Portal? Yes I did. Let me say it more plainly. This is the Portal of Tower Defense games.

And I say that with layered meaning. The game bundle we have available in our store includes a bunch of DLC. And in addition to the extra levels and maps. There’s a special little expansion of the game called the You Monster DLC.

That expansion features GlaDOS from Portal. She effectively takes over your training simulation and starts to screw with you. Changing the rules of the game on ever level. Not playing fair in any way.

I have to say, I thought I was pretty good at the game before that DLC pack. But the truth is, I was cookie dough, after I worked my way through the levels and beat GlaDOS. I was carved out of wood.

Amanda says: “Really? Okay, Pat. You just made your first sale.”

You can head over to the Tinker’s Packs and buy it right now.

Defense Grid 2

After I played the game, I called Hidden Path and gushed about how much I liked it. I must have made an impression, because later on, when they were writing the sequel, they asked me if I’d like to come in and do some work on the game with them.

I really wanted to, but I said no. I was working on novel stuff, and besides, I was already committed to one video game project already. (Torment.)

So I introduce them to Mary Robinette Kowal, because not only is she an amazing writer in her own right, award-winning and more experienced with Sci-Fi than I am. But if they can’t get me, they should get someone who’s better at pretending to be me than I am.

Hidden Path has given us codes for the Steam Special Edition of this game. It comes with a bunch of stuff, including the digital book The Art of Defense Grid 2, the e-book The Making of Defense Grid 2: The Complete Story Behind the Game by Russ Pitts, and “A Matter of Endurance,” a audioplay written by Mary as well, performed by the same actors who voiced the game, including one of my favorite voice actors of all time: Alan Tudyk.

You can head over here to buy your code and all proceeds will go go Worldbuilders.


The folks over at Hidden Path also sent us download codes for the Early Release of their new game, Windborne. It’s a social sandbox game with quests, exploration, building, and lots of multiplayer options.

I haven’t played it yet, because I just had a book come out, and I’ve been busy running Worldbuilders. But at this point, I’m willing to trust them to produce a good game.

It’s already extremely well received on Steam, and you can be a part of this early access test by buying your copy over here.


Remember when I mentioned that I was already working on some video game stuff? Well that’s how I know this company. InXile Entertainment is the company that is making Torment, and I’ve been working with them on that for more than a year now, building my companion character and helping write that game.

I’ve been nothing but impressed with them so far. They have a strong focus on storytelling and character, and I’ve already seen them viciously revise the torment storyline once when it wasn’t doing what they wanted. As a hard-core reviser myself, I respect that dedication to the story.

Wasteland 2 is a game that follows in the tradition of the Fallout games. And not just thematically. The first Fallout games were actually put together by people who wanted to write a sequel to the original Wasteland. So Wasteland is actually where Fallout originally drew a chunk of its inspiration.

This game has been a long time coming, and it’s been getting good reviews. I haven’t had a chance to delve into it yet (because writing) But I’ve seen people having fun with it online:

So you can see that these guys have a strong sense of fun as well.

If you want to explore the apocalypse and find your own Wesley doll, you can buy a download code over here.

*     *     *

Tomorrow’s thanksgiving, so we’ve got something a special planned. We’ll be sharing some stories you might be interested in….

And after that we’re having our Black Friday sale in the store.

So stay tuned…


Also posted in baby ducks, Stories about stories., Worldbuilders 2014 | By Pat22 Responses
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