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Don Mappin
Lives in Salt Lake City, UT
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Don Mappin

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So, we're pretty much addicted to Marvel Legendary. Here's everything sans Fear Itself. Tons of replay value and no two games are anywhere near alike!

Thanks for the recommendation +Daniel Milne!

And if anyone can check their FLGS for Fantastic Four I'd greatly appreciate it and so would the kids!
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The beauty of comics is that you can rationalize anything. I once had Kingpin as the Mastermind AND one of the "heroes". Must have been a robot, clone, skrull or imposter.
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Don Mappin

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I'm not a prude by a long shot, but I am having a hard time reconciling the interesting ideas in Apocalypse World versus the usage of the work "fuck" some 147 times throughout its text. That's roughly one "fuck" per page spread. It's really turning me off to this game.
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Todd Grotenhuis's profile photoWilliam Keller's profile photoDon Mappin's profile photo
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I was just curious and typed it in the PDF search box. Doing so does not make me a prude.
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Don Mappin

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I’m going to talk about the Numenera Boxed Set Edition but not with an unboxing video or the usual number of superlatives associated with it. I’m going to talk about why it’s an important product for the industry.

Over roughly the last decade there’s been a marked shift in the quality of RPGs and the rise of them as an art form. While in decades past—as you watched the industry struggle around how to handle other forms of media and stay relevant in the three tier distribution model—self-publishing, POD, and boutique publishers have carved out their own niche in our already niche cottage industry. Unfettered by the necessity of of a big-name publisher and controls, more voices made themselves heard.

The art in the art form continues to be addressed. The form, less so.

Small-house publishing—or even self-publishing—brings rapid development and freedom, but the output varies wildly. I’m painting in broad strokes certainly, and while there are outliers like, say, Artesia, most small press offerings are fairly unremarkable in their presentation. And, to be fair, while development continues to be something of a soft cost (time), actual product creation (printing, if there’s a physical edition at all!) has a very real hard cost.

Which is to say in another way, presentation matters.

Interestingly, during this time there’s also been a rise in “limited” or “exclusive” versions of games. A marked uptick in targeting the collectable nature of RPGs and highlighting them as a luxury good. Take the content, put it on 80 lb. paper, give it a faux leather cover and double its price. That addresses a different area but doesn’t improve the form; if you take something of “X” quality and put it on better paper and give it a leather cover you still have “X” quality, just more expensive.

That’s where the Numenera Boxed Set Edition comes into play. It’s taking something that was already successful (Numenera) and re-envisioning it for a new medium. Taking that medium—the boxed form—and maximizing its potential. Hell, turing the dial all the way to 11.

It makes the form of the art form actually useful and meaningful.

The boxed set isn’t new, although in this case it’s very much so. I’m hard pressed to think of any RPG presented in such a manner where the form—the presentation—received as much care and feeding as the actual content inside the pages. I look at the special editions of Fantasy Flight Game’s RPG books (steel case Deathwatch comes to mind) and while decadent in their presentation, it doesn’t add any value to the equation. The Numenera Boxed Set Edition does.

Why did the boxed set go away for starters? They’ve been around since the dawn of RPGs. Back when dice and crayons were included or, in my most favorite examples, the James Bond RPG adventure modules by Victory Games. Boxes crammed with inserts, screens, handouts, glossy color prints, maps and more. All very expensive to print, ship, and store. Longer to produce, harder to create, and retailers didn’t like them much. The boxes had to be shrink-wrapped, so buyers couldn’t look through them.

Fast forward to today and we have the merging of two ideas: the exclusivity of a luxury good combined with the utility and reimagining of the form of the product to create a presentation of the product that matters.

Instead of selling through the retail channel, now direct from the publisher. That assuages retailer concerns because publishers can’t sell discounted SKUs directly, lest they anger their retailers and distributors. Making the boxed set a publisher exclusive avoids that headache and improves the margin; no distributor discount taking a percentage right off the top. Plus, marketed as a luxury item—it’s not necessary, you don’t “need” it, although you damn well “want” it—offsets the pricing issue. Exclusivity also ties into production volume; only a limited number available so no sunk costs beyond a small inventory that will be sold through quickly.

But all this really glosses over why I love the Numenera Boxed Set Edition so much. It’s the RPG form taken to the extreme. It questions the status quo and asks “why the hell not?” Why not put a magnetic latch on the box? Why not use the box to split the book contents into player and GM components? Why not include cards and a mess of play aides? Why not include a cloth map, a homage to the video game industry and their increasingly ridiculous collector editions?

Does any of this make Numenera a better game? I honestly can’t say as I haven’t parsed through my copy yet. Maybe the game isn’t all that. I don’t know. I do know that I appreciate the level of effort involved to make the product. Make no mistake, +Monte Cook  didn’t lose money on this venture, but it was a risk. And when someone stands up, shakes the status quo, and legitimately tries to raise the bar?

Well, that really excites me. And when you open your copy and that smell of the freshly printed contents wafts up at you…yes, it’s pretty damn special.

(Full, but-probably-meanginless disclosure, Monte was the editor on a book I wrote for Iron Crown some 20 years ago.)
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Don Mappin

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The Last Ship (much like the book) now has a submarine enemy for this season.

This makes me super stoked!!
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The book is...decent. I know that isn't inspiring but it's a rough read. At some points you'll be convinced the author was being paid by the syllable. But overall, it's good. It's no "Red Storm Rising" but that level of accuracy makes you overlook its shortcomings.

It's a single book. The TV show veered off very early (the entire premise is different; pandemic versus nuclear war) and is mostly just inspired by the book.
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Don Mappin

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Landed back in the US. Anything interesting happen while I was away? ;)

Time to find a new project, methinks. 
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Sorry man. :(
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Don Mappin

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The ENnies statement as well as my own in the comments.

Thank you for your support!
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I wish the Mass Effect RPG were still available. https://alexschroeder.ch/wiki/2015-07-01_Mass_Effect_RPG
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Don Mappin

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This news is shocking and humbling, to say the least!

Product of the Year and two other nominations for my Mass Effect: Fate RPG! (/mindblown)

And congrats to to +Martin Ralya and the peeps of +Gnome Stew keeping the streak alive!

#MassEffectRPG
Congratulations to all of the 2015 ENnie Award Nominees and to all of the 2015 Judges' Spotlight winners! Click the badges below to download a larger version to
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Very well deserved congratulations.

Sent from my iPad
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Don Mappin

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Finally was able to play my Kickstarted Agents of SMERSH board game with +Daniel Milne and a great time was had! Love the ability to customize your agent and the narrative storybook is fun to read. A pleasant surprise!
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Had a blast even though we lost twice, which to me is the very definition of a good coop game. 
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Don Mappin

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I'm such a layout geek I miss working in InDesign this past year and find myself wanting to write/design something for no other reason than to have an excuse to lay it out! :)
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Oh yes. A few months anyway.

I will be in touch when we are closer to being finished. We are attempting an Eve Online ttrpg version.

It is kind of tough to make it appeal to current players as well as bring in role players. Eve players love complexity while table top needs to be accessible for new players. 
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Don Mappin

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Strongly considering a Tesla Model S purchase. However, I've yet to drive one and the local showroom is still deadlocked with the state legislature.

Anyone in Utah help close a sale?

+Tesla Motors
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Don Mappin

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So, she's, um...a lot larger than I anticipated. As in, will dominate my home office desk! First world Mass Effect problems, I know.

But she's awesome! 😳👍
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Tres hot too ;)
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Don Mappin

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Apparently my Mass Effect: Fate RPG is being considered for removal since it is unlicensed and just "fan work."

I hope the judges allow a quality piece of work to stand on its merits and be judged accordingly. 
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There should be a fan-work category.
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In his circles
51 people
Have him in circles
185 people
Ernie Gygax's profile photo
Lon daDiceGuy Braidwood's profile photo
Abdallah Taki's profile photo
Andrew Glover's profile photo
Екатерина Щеняева (Atlantis-TV)'s profile photo
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Today, still wanted by the masses, he survives as a writer of fortune. If you have a project, if no one else can help, and if you can find him, maybe you can hire Don Mappin.
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