A collection of role-playing game books, including Dungeons & Dragons and GURPS

S2E8 Lunchtime Gaming, Forbidden West, Mutant Crawl Classics, Resident Alien, Electric Cars, Dropout TV

Grab a sandwich and a Mountain Dew and join us for this episode’s topic: lunch tie gaming

The typical role-playing game session lasts 4-5 hours and happens once a week. Sometimes they’re more frequent, sometimes they’re a little longer, but a four-hour Friday night hangout is pretty typical. With a lunchtime game, sessions may happen a couple of times a week but only last an hour We delve into what works and doesn’t work when running time-crunched games based on Ken’s 10+ years of lunchtime gaming.

We also talk about Horizon Forbidden West, Mutant Crawl Classics, Resident Alien, electric vehicles, and Dropout TV.

  • Arcade Level 22
    • Ken’s playing Horizon Forbidden West, the sequel to the most excellent Horizon Zero Dawn
    • Takes place 6 months after the original game, and sees Aloy travel to the west cost of a post-apocalyptic America
    • It’s available for PS4 (with a possible upgrade to PS5).
    • Just as beautiful as the first game
  • Mutant Spawning Grounds
    • Ken’s in a gonzo mutant mood thanks to the new softcover Mutant Crawl Classics and Kenzer & Co’s Knights of the Dinner Table. The storyline from the 260s involves one of the characters, Sara, running a “Hackworld” game.
    • Mutant Crawl Classics is nicely bonkers, with all kinds of special charts and funky dice.
  • Theatre of Infinite Streams
  • Electric Garage
    • After looking at several different electric and hybrid cars, the Teslas David looked at are in a comparable price range.
  • Crystaline Memory Archive
    • Letting old things go
      • After Serenity
      • The Game Master Show
  • The Tele-Chamber
    • Discovering some gaming shows on Dropout TV.
    • Along the lines of Critical Role, they are entertaining and I would love to sit at their table, but I also know that your regular game isn’t produced to this extent. (Though some are just as or more fun.)
    • Dimension 20: A Starstruck Odyssey

Main Topic: Lunchtime RPGs

  • Overview of the concept
    • Ken started running a lunchtime game called “Gamer Working Group” in 2010. Inspired by Mike Mearls’s (WotC) tweets about his lunchtime D&D 5e game.
    • The group meets once a week for 1 hour, over lunch.
    • 1 month of lunchtime gaming = one 4-hour session
    • Started in the real world, moved online with the pandemic.
    • Games played:
      • Savage Worlds
      • Numenera
      • Dragon Age
      • D&D 5e
      • GURPs Lite
    • Currently running D&D & GURPS
  • What works, what doesn’t.
    • What works:
      • Light-weight games that are easy to learn and fast to play.
      • Simple, focused stories. We get one day a week to advance the story, and the story advances in small chunks.
      • ACTION! You don’t have a lot of time for boxed text or exposition, so get people rolling dice as quickly as possible.
    • What doesn’t work:
      • Complicated stories.
      • Combats that last for hours.
      • Games that are hard to learn or play quickly
  • Tips and tricks for running a lunchtime game
    • Ken’s Nuketown columns:
    • Things you should do:
      • GMs should always be ready to go
        • Digital map ready, Tokens made, role-books handy.
        • Bookmark your monsters (either physically with he
        • Don’t waste precious time getting ready!
      • Adjust your story beats to match the time you have
        • With a regular 4-hour game, the game has a certain cadence (e.g. RP encounter, a combat encounter, a RP encounter, final combat)
        • As a GM and a group, figure out the cadence of the game. Be aware of how much time you have left, so you can fit in role playing combat, BSing, etc.
        • For our GURPS Lunchtime game, we’ve gotten surprisingly good at setting up cliff hangers.
      • Consider using a pregen world
        • Using a pre-existing world (e.g. Forgotten Realms) makes it easy to prep ahead of time and improvise on the fly.
      • Do what you can outside of the game
        • Next session planning
        • Treasure picks
        • Leveling up


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A few of the games that Ken played as part of the Gamer Working Group, his lunchtime gaming group.

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