A Small But Fierce Update on the VIP Party Aug. 2

So, just a small update. You might not think it’s a big deal. Or you might, you know.


Pandora Boxx. from Logo TV’s RuPaul’s Drag Race, will be hosting Friday night’s VIP party. So, you know, there’s that.


You may squee now.


Oh, and she wanted us to share this with you too..I wonder what it could mean.. :3



My Ex-Boyfriend the Space Tyrant removes mentions of Nintendo in wake of Tomodachi controversy

Up Multimedia just updated My Ex-Boyfriend the Space Tyrant – Already one of the very few gay-oriented computer games currently available, version 1.5 adds a bunch of options aimed at enabling players with a disability to join in the fun. Woop woop!



Up Multimedia has also responded to the recent Nintendo same-sex censorship controversy by withdrawing references to popular Nintendo titles from the game.

Specific improvements to My Ex-Boyfriend the Space Tyrant include introducing a unique high contrast mode for players with vision impairment and a subtitling system for sound effects for players with a hearing impairment.


“Gay people with a disability can sometimes feel like they’re trapped in a second closet,” says developer Luke Miller. “Making our game accessible to people with different requirements has always been a goal of ours and we are pleased to take some steps towards it.”

“Even with the limited resources of an indie company, it was surprisingly easy to meet many of the suggestions provided by the Game Accessibility Guidelines at http://gameaccessibilityguidelines.com/. We’re hoping our efforts here will inspire other developers to include gamers with disabilities in the fun.”

Additionally, the new version of My Ex-Boyfriend the Space Tyrant removed references to Nintendo’s Zelda: Ocarina in Time that had been part of the pop-culture-laden game. This comes after reports last week that Nintendo have controversially patched their game Tomodachi Collection: New Life to remove a “bug” that allowed same-sex characters to get married (and also get pregnant). The glitch was a game breaking bug, but the way they handled it has left much to be desired in the gay community



“What is particularly disheartening about Nintendo’s actions is that it shows that the near absence of gay and lesbian characters in video games is not always an oversight but often the result of deliberate decision-making by developers to exclude people like us from computer games. And we can, and we will, withdraw our support when we see that happening.”

My Ex-Boyfriend the Space Tyrant is available now for Windows/Mac/Linux for $22US(same price worldwide) at http://www.um.com.au/spaceout/ and will have a booth at GaymerX.

The Final Boss of Honor is… A POTATO!

We’re pleased to introduce our final Boss of Honor. This Boss of Honor has spent time as an administrator of mass destruction, a robot, and yes, briefly as a potato. She thinks you are fashion-stunted, unlikable, and a horrible person.

You’ll love her.


She’s Ellen McLain, the voice actress from many of Valve’s games, including Half-Life 2 (as the Combine Overwatch) and Team Fortress 2 (as the Administrator). Her most recognizable role is that of the Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System, also known as the villainous sentient robot GLaDOS. Initially seen as a guide to Chell in Portal, it soon becomes clear that the AI in charge of the Aperture Science Research Facility wants nothing more than to kill her off. Needless to say, when she is reactivated in Portal 2 she is NOT happy to see Chell.

With a snarky, passive-aggressive personality that is sinister to the core (pun intended), GLaDOS was ranked by IGN in 2010 as the number one video game villain of all time. GLaDOS and Ellen have won several other video game awards, and Ellen herself won the Spike VGA for “Best Performance by a Human Female” for GLaDOS in Portal 2 in 2011. Ellen has long been a supporter of GaymerX, including being featured in one of the early advertisements for the convention (formerly GaymerCon):



When she’s not busy voicing homicidal robots, Ellen is a diva! But not, like, divas you find in the gay bars… she’s an actual diva in the world of opera. Her singing talents can be found at the end of both Portal games, as she sings both “Still Alive” and “Want You Gone” from Portal and Portal 2 respectively. Her operatic talents are also featured in Portal 2 in the track commonly referred to as the Turret Opera, “Cara Mia Addio.”



Ellen’s work is expanding beyond the video game – her voicework will be featured in the upcoming film Pacific Rim, directed by Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth). Del Toro has confessed to being a huge Valve fan, and insisted on Ellen as the voice of Jaeger AI as a tribute to her work in the Portal series. She will also star in the web series Wish It Inc. as the Fairy Godmother, which recently met its Kickstarter goal.

Ellen is married to fellow Boss of Honor John Patrick Lowrie and lives in Nashville, Tennessee. She’ll be featured in the opening ceremonies as well as panels and two autograph sessions! You can follow her on Twitter at @EllenMcLain.

And now, Ellen doing what she does best… voicing a murderous piece of machinery:



Boss of Honor #4! Musician of… uh… Music #4!

More Bosses of Honor! More GaymerX musicians! More more more! (The Andrea True Connection.) Gimme gimme gimme! (ABBA.) I want, I want, I want, me, me, me, me, mine, mine, mine, mine, now, now, now, now! (Dustin Hoffman in Hook.)


Calm yourself, Iago. I have more for you.

JPLThe fourth Boss of Honor at Gaymer X this August is none other than video game voiceover artist legend John Patrick Lowrie. Don’t recognize the name? You’ve probably heard his voice though, if you’ve played games like Half-Life 2 (Odessa Cubbage), The Operative: No One Lives Forever and No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy in H.A.R.M.’s Way (Bruno Lawrie), and Team Fortress 2 (The Sniper).

Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Lowrie lived the hippie life until picked up by the draft. He bravely served America in the United States Navy. That’s right: he was a seaman.

Lowrie graduated with highest distinction from the Indiana University School of Music and began composing and touring with his acoustic fusion duo, The Kiethe Lowrie Duet. He took to acting for better pay and steadier work, making him the reverse of pretty much every other actor ever. 2013 will see Lowrie in his latest role as the narrator of Uber Entertainment’s Planetary Annihilation. Lowrie published his first sci-fi novel, Dancing With Eternity, in 2011.



Aethernaut is our musician du jour, and I’m completely in love with his music already. He’s a classical musician who’s gone electro, taking chiptune/8-bit music and remixing it with everything from house to rock to hip hop and even electric violin. A violin that’s electric, people! Is your mind blown yet?

Aethernaut has released three works: 2011-2003=8, Super Mega Ultra, and Steam Fist Island II. Check out this remix of one of my ABSOLUTE favorite NES tracks, the music from The Moon from Capcom’s Ducktales.





The big Boss of Honor comes tomorrow!

Who’s Got Two Thumbs and Will Be Totally Awesome at GaymerX? These People! (Though I suppose between them that’s 10 thumbs.)

Who wants more GaymerX news, raise your hand?


Oh, good. I have more and I really wanted to tell someone. Introducing Boss of Honor Anna Anthropy and GaymerX rockin’ musicians Crashfaster. Anna and Crashfaster kick all sorts of butt from all angles of the spectrum. GET IT? LIKE THE GAMING SPECTRUM AND THE RAINBOW??? FREEEEEEEE COMEDY, RIGHT OVER HERE!



773529129First, we start with Anna Anthropy. Anna Anthropy is an important person. You know why? She has her own Wikipedia page. I’m impressed already. Billed as the “90th Hottest Queer Woman in the Galaxy,” Anna is more than just hot, she’s a talented artist and game creatrix too. Her first book, Rise of the Videogame Zinesters, champions the idea of “small, interesting, personal experiences by hobbyist authors,” much like she did with dys4ia, a largely-autobiographical game about her experiences with hormone replacement therapy. Her work explores the interplay with video game dynamics and the world of kink, as well as promoting queer visibility in gaming.


Indie Games Searchlight did a whole episode on her awesome game that was picked up by Adult Swim Games with an incredibly fun title to say, Lesbian Spider Queens of Mars:

Crashfaster is not just one awesome musician, it’s FOUR awesome musicians for the price of one! Crashfaster combines chiptune/8-bit music with rock and synth to make some seriously bangin’ music. I’m actually downloading this track below as we speak, from BUTCHERED: Splatterhouse Remixes:

CrashfasterCrashfaster also created the soundtrack to the throwback RPG series “Dragon Fantasy,” and has contributed to Caustic’s 12 Remixes and C418’s One.


Crashfaster features Morgan Tucker (programming, vocals), Devin Nixon (drums), Ryan Case (guitar), and Keiko Takamura (vocals).

A Board Game Primer for the Questioning Gaymer

If you were not aware (and I don’t blame you if you’re not), board games are in a sort of renaissance. In the past decade, board games have blown up all over the world and are becoming a popular phenomenon once again. This trend started in Europe, but soon enough spread outwards, reaching American shores first, and now is influencing Japanese game designers as well. Compared to video games and movies, board games are offering a new, compelling experience that you can only enjoy with your friends in person. Obviously you want to get in on this! However, before you dive on in, I am here to offer you some advice on where to get started.

Now, the first thing you need to know about board games is the lingo. “New” board games (that is, board games that have been made since the Settlers of Catan came out in 1995) fall under two major categories: American (sometimes referred to as “Ameritrash” [in the most loving of ways, of course]) and European (sometimes referred to as “Euro” or “Eurotrash” [again, in a totally loving way]). Generally, the separating factor between these two categories is that American games are heavy with theme. A popular example is Battlestar Galactica. BSG does everything in its power to make you feel like you’re a survivor on Galactica, trying to desperately to survive against hidden Cylon enemies. Many of the game mechanics were made to suit the theme. European games, on the other hand, put mechanics first. A Euro example would be Dominion, which has you building your kingdom by adding cards to your deck. Sometimes this makes sense, like buying new provinces, but sometimes you buy a feast and use it over and over again and if you think about the implications of that too much you might not buy feasts again.

Within these two categories there are several genres:

Deckbuilding Games

Deckbuilders are categdominionorized as board games, but they’re more like card games. Generally the idea is that you have a deck of basic cards which you can use to buy more powerful cards to add to your deck, building it up (see what they did there?). The original (and still one of the more popular) deckbuilding games is Dominion, mentioned above. Dominion has you buying from fifteen different card piles which change every game, as well as standard better money and land. Land don’t do anything in your hand, but are worth points at the end of the game. Once the game is over (after the best kind of land, the provinces, pile is depleted or three other piles are empty), the game ends.

Dominion is more about creating a more efficient engine than your opponents (though some expansions change this dramatically), so if you want a more interactive experience, Ascension is a more American take on the genre. You get a basic deck of spellcasters and fighters and use them to summon more powerful heroes and defeat monsterascensions. Instead of all cards available to you at once, however, there are only six cards available at a time. With this limitation, there is a greater emphasis on buying or destroying cards that you know your opponents want. Both are great games, and both are a wonderful introduction to deckbuilding games.

Worker Placement 

Worker placement games are mainly European games. The basic premise is that you have a limited number of workers. Each turn, you send these workers out to gather resources or do jobs for you. The catch is that when you send a worker to do something, that action is now blocked off from your opponents.

stone ageA basic worker placement game is Stone Age. Stone Age sees each player as a tribe simply struggling to survive. You start with five workers who you can send to gather food, resources, or build huts (which give points). You can also send two workers to “create” a new worker, but you have to feed your workers each turn, so the more workers you have, the more you can do, but the more food you have to gather. It’s a simple concept but very in-depth. I would recommend it as a great game to start learning about worker placement.

Co-operative Games (with or without Traitors)

But games don’t always have to be about competition! pandemicSometimes you want to work together to solve a problem, and that’s fun too! Pandemic is a good example of a classic co-op board game that is great for beginners. Players band together as scientists trying to eradicate four deadly diseases before they infect the world. Pandemic does have some problems, though, including the same problem that a lot of co-op games have, referred to as “quarterbacking.” Quarterbacking is when one player “figures out” the game and basically tells everyone else what they need to do. This is a complex problem common to a lot of board games. Usually the player who is quarterbacking is just trying to be helpful, but it can make the other players feel like they’re not actually playing the game. On the other hand, if the player doesn’t quarterback when he knows how to win, then he’s not helping the team, which is what you should be doing battlestar galacticain a co-op game! More recent co-operative board games have tried to circumvent the quarterbacking problem. Battlestar Galactica is one of those board games.

As described earlier, BSG casts players as crew member aboard Galactica, fighting off Cylons and just trying to survive on the way back to Earth (as a side note, actual knowledge of the show is unnecessary. I haven’t watched a single episode and I love it). The way that BSG gets around the quarterbacking issue, however, is that the person telling you what to do might actually be a Cylon. You see, at the beginning of the game, each player gets a Loyalty card that says if they are a Cylon or not. Then, halfway through the game, players get a second Loyalty card. Halfway through, you might wake up as a Cylon! Co-op games with a traitor element are a great way to spread mistrust through the group, and if you don’t trust the person trying to give you advice, well, why follow it?

Battlestar Galactica, by the way, is a great game to start with if you’re just getting into the hobby, but it requires a larger group (at least 5 players), can be complicated, and does take at least a couple of hours to play.

carcassonneTile-Laying Games

Not really it’s own genre, but more one gameplay mechanic that fits into lots of games. It is, however, the primary mechanic for the game Carcassonne, another great game for someone beginning to play board games. In it, you lay tiles (who knew!) trying to make complete roads and cities. You can park your little people icons (“meeples”) on half-finished cities or roads to block them off and score points when the location in competed. It’s also a great way to feel burning hatred when one of your so-called “friends” blocks off your city, making sure it will never be complete and your wooden person will be stranded for eternity. Carcassonne can be vicious sometimes, but that’s part of what makes it great!

It’s Complicated” Games

Now here’s where I drop a bomb on you. All of these things I have been calling “genres” are more like “mechanics.” That is, you see very few games these days that are “just” worker placement. Rather, you have games—like Archipelago, which combines worker placement, resource management, tile-laying, and semi-cooperation—that mix and match different gameplay mechanics to make a truly unique experience, even if it shares mechanics with another game. Another example is Dungeon Lords, which combines worker placement, tile-laying, and resource management just like Archipelago, but goes about it in a completely different way. It’s hard to pin down genres in this era of board games, and honestly, that’s okay! Board games are trying to make themselves stand out from each other, and this makes for incredibly entertaining experiences. archipelagodungeon lordsOr, at least, it can. Which brings me to…

Games to Be Wary of 

I was going to call this “games to avoid,” but that seems a bit too strong. I don’t think you should run the other way screaming if someone were to bring one of these games out, but you should definitely keep in the back of your mind whilst playing these games that they are not indicative of the hobby as a whole. There are three games that stick out in my mind. Those three are The Settlers of Catan, Munchkin, and Arkham Horror. I mention these three specifically for a couple reasons, one of them being that each game has its own fairly large following, so if you tell a friend that you want to get into board games, there’s a good chance that they own one of these three and want you to play it. The other reason is that these three do offer something to a new player. They’re either easy to learn or are absolutely dripping with theme, two things that draw new players in. But, well…

The Settlers of Catan’s biggest problem is that it’s a relic of the times. Like I said before, it was made in 1995 and sort of kicked off the whole board gaming revolution. However, board games have changed a lot in the eighteen years since then! The game itself has settlers of catanyou building a town, gathering resources and trading with other players, trying to make the biggest and best. The two main mechanics of gathering resources and trading don’t really work that well, though. To gather a resource, you have to rely on a specific dice roll coming up, and if it doesn’t…tough. You could trade, but unless you have something you know someone else wants, chances are you aren’t going to get what you need. It also can be a long game (especially with the expansion that makes the maximum number of players six instead of four, oy). Settlers is not a bad game, per se. I don’t even think it’s a terrible choice for your first taste of modern board games. It’s just not something I want to play again. I played it once, had my eyes opened to what board games are now, and, well, that was enough for me.

munchkinMunchkin, on the other hand, is not a game I can recommend. It seems so simple! Deceptively so, in fact. Each turn, a player knocks down a dungeon door and fights the monster within. If you win, you gain a level and possibly some items. The first person to reach level ten wins. Simple, right? Well, yes, but the trouble is you get cards to prevent others from winning. Basically the game devolves into “this person will win if they kill this monster, so I have to play these cards to make sure they don’t, which means the next person who goes is going to win because everyone used their cards on the last guy.” It’s also long. Soul-crushingly long. The game will be over long before anyone will be crowned the winner. The worst part is that in the end the game isn’t really fun. It’s too simple and too basic to derive any real pleasure from it. People say it’s a great game to play while having a drink and laughing with friends, but really, you can do that with a good game as well.

Arkham Horror has the biggest “Be Wary” sticker on it. Again, like Settlers, not because it’s a bad game. Rather, it’s a very complex game. It is a co-operative game where players play as investigators in the New England town of Arkham, where Cthulhu, Nyarlathotep, or some other eldritch evil is trying to awaken. Obviously, you have to make sure that that doesn’t happen. So what makes it something to be wary of? For starterarkham horrors, it has one of the worst-written rulebooks I’ve ever read (and as you learn more about board games, you’ll realize that this is “a thing” with Fantasy Flight Games), so learning the game on your own is an exercise in trying to figure out which rules you got wrong. If you want to play, I recommend finding someone who already knows the game and getting them to teach you. Another mark against it is that like Settlers, it’s a highly random game. I once spent the first half of a game of Arkham failing basically every single thing I tried to do because the dice just didn’t want to be on my side. It’s also a very long game. Boardgamegeek.com tells me that the average playing time is around four hours. Ouch.


But! If any of these games sound interesting to you, even the ones I don’t like as much, I say go out and try them! Maybe you’ll play them and really enjoy yourself. Maybe you’ll pick up Battlestar Galactica and decide it’s not the game for you. That’s okay! Try what sounds interesting and see what you like. Now, I say try, because board games can be expensive. As a tip, though, from what I’ve seen, the people playing them and the stores that sell them want you to play them. Here in San Francisco, one of my local game stores has a board game night every week where they open their gaming closet and let you play away. For free, even! I say go out, ask around, and try playing some board games. In addition, definitely do some research before you decide to buy something. If you hear about a game, try looking it up on Boardgamegeek.com or Shut Up & Sit Down. Both places have plenty of resources and reviews. You can also find practically every game’s rulebook online as a PDF if you want a quick readthrough. And if you’re still unsure, there is a recent trend of board games showing up on iOS for a fraction of the cost! Most of the board games I mentioned are available for $10 or less. The biggest thing, though, is to have fun. That is, after all, what board games are about.

13th Age: One Unique RPG


(Hi everyone! The name’s Bryce, and I’m the newest writer here at GaymerConnect! Expect reviews, news, and editorials mostly concerning tabletop RPGs and board games from me, with the odd piece for video games thrown in as well.)

Here’s a question that nobody has the right answer for: what makes the perfect tabletop RPG? Obviously this is a matter of opinion. Some people love the thrill of combat and want a system that accentuates that. Others want to tell a story with their characters as the protagonists. Maybe you want a system that allows you to build a unique character that nobody else would be able to build. The perfect RPG may mean something completely different from person to person.

Well. I’m not here to tell you about the second coming of RPG Jesus, unfortunately. However, I am here to tell you about a brand new RPG coming out that has me very excited. It’s called 13th Age. It’s made by Johnathan Tweet (the lead developer for D&D, 3rd Edition) and Rob Heinsoo (the lead developer for D&D, 4th Edition), and this is the game they wanted to play. A mixture of old-school dungeon-crawling with new-school story-telling, 13th Age hopes to have a mixture of everything for the aspiring adventurer or dungeon master (or game master, if you prefer that nomenclature).

So what makes 13th Age special? A lot of it has to do with the character creation system. It’s mostly basic D&D affair: select your race and class, get your ability scores, figure out what kind of weapon you’re swinging, that sort of thing. After the usual stuff, though, you start picking things that flesh out your character. The first thing is your character’s One Unique Thing. What makes your character unique? And by unique, they mean unique to everyone else. Perhaps you are the reincarnation of a god but you don’t know it. Maybe you’re an atheist Cleric who casts spells using his faith in nothing. Hell, you could be a talking bear! After that, you choose your background, abstract points that may help you in skill checks (one of my characters can use his expertise as a village shaman to help him brew potions or tend wounds, for instance, or his stint as a Templar could help him detect religious iconography).

Then you choose your character’s relationships with a small handful of the thirteen Icons that rule the world of 13th Age. This beginning choice already ties your character to the events that will shape the world in your campaign and insures that they will have some sort of personal investment in what is going on. You can choose to have a positive relationship with the Emperor, for instance, whose forces raised you as an orphan. Maybe your family was killed by the Lich King, and now you have a personal vendetta to destroy him, giving you a negative relationship. Additionally, you were given a strange gift sometime during your life by the Diabolist, normally a force of evil and chaos, netting you a conflicted relationship with her as you wonder what plans she has in store for you. These relationships have a mechanical impact, allowing you to roll your relationship dice in an attempt to curry favor with or against your relationships. They also have a story impact, as DM’s should try to focus the story around the Icons that the characters have an affinity or particular hatred toward. In my campaign, at the end of each session, I have my players roll their relationship dice to see what Icons will pop up next time. You can also try to have the players roll their dice at the beginning of each session if you think you can improv the results well enough!

The actual game system works very well. Many of the more minute details are abstracted down to reduce downtime and looking up rules. The system encourages a more open-ended method of playing the game. Rules for jumping, swimming, or climbing are not there. Just roll, compare it to a basic difficulty check depending on what kind of adventuring tier you’re at, and see what happens. The system also encourages a clever “fail-forward” style of advancement. If you fail to find that secret door leading on, then the game doesn’t just grind to a halt. Perhaps they find it but it took longer than expected or they had to take an alternate route, allowing the forces of the Diabolist to further their ritual. The system tries hard to make sure that the story and game keep going, despite any snags that the players could get hung up on. There’s no experience points! Characters simply level up when they hit an appropriate point in the story (I’ve been doing a level up at the end of every other session). This is great! I always felt like I had to cram needless encounters into 4E when I DM’ed the game so that my players would be getting enough experience along the way. Now that’s not a problem!

The book itself is fantastic as well, and a joy to read. Normally I flip through game books to get to the sections I need to reference, but the 13th Age book is written so well that I actually took the time to read the whole time. It’s written in a conversational, lighthearted tone that draws you in and makes you want to learn about this game and the world it exists in. It’s also ~$50 for basically a Player’s Guide, DM Guide, and Monster Manual in one, so that’s a fantastic bargain.

Now for the complaints. The biggest complaint I have is that some of the character classes have a lack of options. The Bard, for instance, gets access to attacks that can trigger off of a die roll, songs, and various spells…while the Barbarian doesn’t get much beyond “hit mans, make them fall down.” I can understand playing a more simple class while learning the system so as not to be overwhelmed, but I feel like by level 3 or 4 I’d be wanting something a bit more complex. Barbarians, Paladins, and Rangers seem to be somewhat shafted in this regard. In another instance, Sorcerers get a lot of spells…but most of them only seem to do more damage. Wizards get a host of “utility spells” that can be applied to out of combat situations, but Sorcerers don’t really get anything like that. There is a “Ritual” system in place that allows a character to expend one of their spells to create a ritual to get past a story-related obstacle. My party has only done that once, however, so I’m not sure how much of a solution that is, and like much of this game, those effects are restricted by the players’ imaginations.

For the most part, I am definitely a fan of this game, though. There’s a lot I haven’t touched on, like the fact that magic items all have their own personality quirks that can influence the players, or that monsters are stupidly easy to make on the fly, or the fleshed-out world of Axis, but I urge you to check out the game if you’re interested. If you’re not happy with the base world or classes, there is also a definite push to let players do what they want. Reskin your Sorcerer as a psychic-using class. Make your own world populated with your own Icons (which I might be attempting!). The important thing is to have fun, and fun is definitely the main draw of 13th Age.

As a note, 13th Age is not yet released (the current tentative release date is June-ish). You can, however, pre-order the game from Pelgrane Press’ website. Do so and you’ll get a PDF of the rules to use right now, then they will ship you the physical book once it is released. I for one can’t wait to get the physical copy in my hands!

As a second note, the makers of 13th Age recently just held a successful Kickstarter for an additional book called 13 True Ways. The new book is going to have new classes, rules for multiclassing, more in-depth maps and descriptions of the major cities of Axis, new monsters, and lots of other neat stuff. It’s not available for pre-order yet, but it’s something else to look forward to!