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The Rule of Three June 10, 2006

Josh - 7:39 EST

Wow. You guys are awesome. I got 18 people who want to play (1 still hasn't sent me their character choices), and most of those were in the first two days of the week. However, I also failed to take into account just how much mail I'd have to deal with! Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad thing, it's just going to take me a few days or so to get used to filtering out all the mail. I actually managed to get a bunch of staff guys to play, so it's up to you readers to decimate them! I will definitely not be giving them any preferential treatment, since I'd love to see you guys knock them off of their high horses! Hehehehehehe!

Also, as the title may obscurly suggest, DiceyBot seems to have taken a liking to you. Of all of the rolls...9 of you rolled a 3, and 2 of you rolled a 2, and then HASTE rolled a 1. So, it took some doing fitting all of you on the board. Heh. I fully expect the lot of you to cause some chaos once you start hitting those spell squares.

Updated Rules: See the THONG section.

I do have a good sense of direction!

Rao Uinu (Hey Ouro)

Is that Final Fantasy 6's world map on your game board? Anyway I think I will talk about world maps anyway! What world map from any RPG has been the easiest for you to navigate in? Certain World Maps (like FF can be quite easy to get lost in even with a map and many like the SNES FF's and Lufia share the same style of World Map! The one that I quite liked was Terranigma's Underworld map that sort of curved around to act as if it were a sphere, and had the fiery overword displayed on the top half of the screen! Lastly has there ever been a world map that obeye a spherical earths rules that if you head over the north pole you will still be in the northern hemisphere and not the southern hemisphere? If so then I havn't played it!

Bainick, your next co-host!


Um...not that I can think of...Certianly nothing from the 2D era...and even though FFVIII had a spherical map, it still acted as if it was a plane. That would be interesting though...but I can see how people would get lost easily. If you ever get in a car with me, you would see just how dejected with the world of driving I am. I get in the car, assume everyone else who is driving is an idiot, and it makes my life a lot easier. Now, take the driving skills of those people, and apply it to a plane. If they could see...

Um...ok. I really have no idea where I was going with that. Point numero uno: People don't know how to drive. Point zwei: Changing the perspective on something visual will just throw people's heads into the wash. Would be pretty cool, though ^^.

As for ease, pretty much anything from Final Fantasy...those have always been user-friendly. I always liked Illusion of Gaia's map. You basically are...walking on a map.

Win a date with Carlisle!!!

Dear Mr. Bolus,

Why doesn't your contest have better prizes that merely co-hosting opportunities? Matt's already been there and done that. If you want to show him who's boss, you'll have to come up with something original, like... a date or... a back massage... or some other similarly sexy activities. You have to sell yourself to stay alive in this business man, it's the only way.




  1. I'm cheap (unless we're dating or something, but you and I will never be...sorry).
  2. Cohosting is infinite in supply.
  3. This first board is an experiment (which seems to be going well...).
  4. I'll add more stuff later.
  5. Dates would be interesting, but I have yet to find a Penn Stater, and hell if I'm going to drive much further ^^.

Ok, for the next board, you can win a date with Carlisle! He will pay for everything, up to and including movies, dinners, jewelry, and midgets. This will be a reusable prize, so you can win as many times as you want!

Istanbul, not Constantinople...

Why do you think RPG designers shy away from untried settings? The Japanese-style fantasy setting has been thoroughly beaten to death by Japanese, American, and European developers. How about some classical Greco-Roman RPGs? Persian, Mogul, or Mongolian empires, anyone? The Americas (pre-Columbus, colonial, and western) are under-represented. An American Civil War RPG would rule. I've been playing RPGs long enough now that every "new" RPG that comes out just feels like a rehash of something I've played a hundred times before. Branching to new settings would encourage redesigning archaic game mechanics as well. Does mediocrity really sell well enough to discount these ideas? Historical fiction in general is woefully underrepresented in the RPG genre. I can't imagine why that would be. In my mind, RPGs (the good ones anyway) are about telling good stories, and historical fictions are wildly successful as books, movies, and TV programs. Why can't shouldn't the success of historical fiction continue into the video game arena? And what better genre to continue that success than RPGs? Vicissitude


People play with what is familiar. Since RPGs are accepted as a derived game from fantasy, it's just what is natural for people to play/develop. This isn't to say that every game does this. The Shadow Hearts series, for instance, takes place around the time of World War I and the 1930s. Gladius is a SRPG that takes place back in a fictional form of the Greco-Roman era, so it's not as if these games do not exist.

The reason why I think most developers stick to fantasy is that fantasy is more flexible than historical fiction. Historical fiction forces the developer to conform to SOME kind of guideline, whether it's the setting, time, or characters. Fantasy, on the other hand, is entirely based on nothing concrete, meaning that the developers can do whatever they want with whatever they want. Why they tend to stick with many familiar elements (elves, orcs, etc) is beyond me, but it probably stems back to the fact that people play with what they are used to.

This always makes me giggle.

Now, Ouro, it's time we chatted, one Q&A host to another, for the first time in a long time, though I never would have thought originally that our roles would be reversed in this most interesting of ways.

What is your personal take on these sales numbers lately? It wasn't long ago that I wouldn't have DREAMED that the Top 10 lists would be completely dominated by Xbox 360 and DS titles; last week, the only PS2 game in the Top 10 was Kingdom Hearts 2, which ranked at, uh, 10th. Is this just a hiccup in a hugely successful run, or is Sony already falling prey to the evils of Microsoft and the coolness of Nintendo? I personally think it's a little bit of both, especially when there are so many PS2s in people's living rooms, comparatively speaking.

Thanks! And keep up the great work!


Yes...YES! Bow to my greatness! Shine my shoes! Shave my back! Go run 10 miles with me!

Those lists are weird, aren't they? I've never seen something this strange. I can't really think of any game at the moment which is out there for the PS2 currently that is supposed to be eating up the charts though.

But, the Xbox 360 is still relatively new, so people are still building up their libraries with games chock-full of gorgeous graphics. The DS is a nifty little thing (well, in everyone else's opinion...I still find it very gimmicky), so people are also looking for ways to develop their game-playing experience through new methods of stylus use.

With the information on the next generation systems slowly filtering out, people are starting to take notice and plan for the future. I know I would, if I didn't love my fluffy-wuffy PS2 so much! *huggles his PS2*

Matt, you do realize that the entire readership of RPGamer will be destroying you in THONG, right? ^^.


What made you think of this wonderful game of yours? Also, what happens if someone else gets a 3? O_O

I was actually listening to a briefing by a colonel at the time. Uh...don't tell anyone. And if someone else lands on that square before these people move, I'll explode the square and give myself the co-host spot. :D

Hey Josh,

Looks like you got yourself a crazy virtual board game going on. I can't wait to see where this goes. Hopefully you got some pointers from Matt on how to keep track of everything.

I've been meaning to ask, does your friend still play Oblivion or did he actually burn out?

Xlash the dwarf berserker

Actually, he hasn't told me anything. I'm completely winging this...^^;;

I think he burned out and became obsessed with WoW, actually. Which is probably my fault, but I probably did him a favor.

Prepare for the THONG carnage!!!

Combat Log

Carabbit moves 3 spaces to tile 3.
Gouden Draak moves 3 spaces to tile 3.
Bainick moves 3 spaces to tile 3.
Genjuu moves 3 spaces to tile 3.
Carlisle moves 3 spaces to tile 3.
Powerlord moves 3 spaces to tile 3.
Vicissitude moves 3 spaces to tile 3.
Roku moves 3 spaces to tile 3.
JCIV moves 3 spaces to tile 3.
Macstorm moves 1 space to tile 1.
Angel moves 2 spaces to tile 2.
Angel casts HASTE!
Angel moves 1 space to tile 3.
Wonderslime moves 2 spaces to tile 2.
Wonderslime casts HASTE!
Wonderslime moves 1 space to tile 3.
Arros Raikou moves 2 spaces to tile 2.
Arros Raikou casts HASTE!
Arros Raikou moves 2 spaces to tile 4.

For lower resolutions, click here



Or, THONG for short. For now, the prizes will be limited to Guest-Hosting opportunities, since this is essentially an experiment. I'm positive that it will turn out well, though! Now, for the setup:

This is the game board. If you ever talk to CactuarJoe, make sure to thank him for the wonderful job he did! Thanks Joe!

If you want to join: Please send me your top 3 choices for characters for your game piece. A list of them that can be used can be found here. Please only choose from the "PARTY" or "NPC" links. Also make sure that the character has a left/right-facing sprite, and a front/back facing sprite. Thanks!

  • Everyone begins the game on START.
  • For every letter you write in, I will roll a 3-sided die (I'll use RPGamer's resident Random Number Generator, DiceyBot). That will determine how many spaces you move.
  • You may only get credit for one letter, per day - max 3 per weekend. Timestamps will be checked, and only letters sent during Friday - Monday before my column will be counted towards that weekend. Letters sent at other times during the week will not count until Saturday.
  • Letters must be addressed to me, at either or Letters will get credit even if they are unanswered, or even if Matt answers them.
  • If you land on a Spell Tile, you MUST use the spell listed on the Tile. Spells and their effects are listed after the rules.
  • The Trivia Tile MUST be landed on before you may enter the FINISH Tile. Answering the trivia question correctly will automatically grant you entry into the FINISH Tile, and you will receive the prize.
  • If you reach the Trivia Tile, another reader who is participating in the game will ask you a question. However, the person who lands on the Tile decides WHICH reader asks the question, as well as WHICH RPG from which the question will be asked (e.g. "Wonderslime wants Bainick to ask him a question about Chrono Trigger").
  • If the person who provides the question has not played the game, they may use anything necessary to come up with a question. Failure to provide a question over 2 days of my column will result in the same effect as if the receiver answered the question right, and he/she will progress to the FINISH Tile.
  • The Prize for this initial board will be 5 Guest Hosting positions. Once those are completed, a new board will be created, probably with more prizes.
  • NEW: The effects will go as such. Movement->Spells Cast->Effects. Everyone will move at the same time, all spells will be cast at the same time, and all effects will happen at the same time.

Spell effects are as follows:

  • Bolt 1: Player chooses another player to push back 1 tile.
  • Bolt 2: Player chooses another player to push back 2 tiles.
  • Stop: Player must send in a letter to lose the 'Stop' status, at which point he may send in a letter the next day to resume rolling.
  • Haste: Player receives an extra roll which will make him/her advance 1-3 tiles.
  • Slow: Player receives an extra roll which will make him/her retreat 1-3 tiles.
  • Merton: Player chooses another player to push back 4 tiles, at the cost of Player moving back 2 tiles.
  • Roulette: I roll a 20-sided die. Any players standing on that numbered tile are pushed back 2 tiles.

Note: Remember, you can join in THONG at any time! The board is designed to allow newcomers to use their spells and letters to rise up and knock others back! It's an equal opportunity game! :)

Ok, I'm pretty sure that's what was supposed to happen. Expect more rules to present themselves after I remember them ^^;;.

Vicissitude's letter got me thinking. They really do need more games that stray from the normal fantasy setting. I'd appreciate more modern-day stuff! What do you say?

See you all tomorrow! ^^
***Josh can't wait to see what happens with THONG!

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I really need to get back to writing this week's report...sigh.


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About the Host

Quote Archives!

Josh's Top 3 Distractions:

1. Guild Wars: Factions

2. Sleeping

3. Plotting to take over this site

RPGs I'm currently playing:

1. Grandia III

2. Xenosaga II

3. Romancing SaGa

4. Radiata Stories

5. Wild Arms: ACF

THONG Players

1. Carabbit
Fairy Esper

2. Gouden Draak
Blue Dragon

3. Macstorm
General Leo

4. Genjuu

5. Carlisle

6. Bainick

7. Angel

8. Wonderslime

9. Powerlord

10. Vicissitude

11. Bucket

12. Donovan

13. Roku

14. JCIV

15. Arros Raikou

16. The Bluick

17. Chinroku

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