Archive for February, 2012


Thread to watch: Designing for the non-hardcore

February 22, 2012

Ben Lehman has started a Forge thread on the publishing and design of Animal Crime – coveringa wide host of things from affordable box sets, art, comics, and how to teach rules.

I’m guessing this will probably spin out into a couple of useful additional threads, so it’s worth keeping an eye on.


Mist Robed Gate PDF

February 15, 2012

Shreyas Sampat has released the Mist Robed Gate PDF for download, and will soon be putting it together in a text-only file for Creative Commons use.

Mist Robed Gate is a wuxia game that is aimed very strongly at the deep melodrama of the Zhang Yimou films, and it includes both a section on tea, food, and filmography, which all pluses in my book.


Vincent’s 3 Problems

February 14, 2012

Over on Anyway, Vincent talks about 3 Problems, or, what I’ve often labeled “hurdles”. I’ve written about these issues before.

Parallels in games to consider:

Magic the Gathering (Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh…)
– Opaque content
– Good Social Footprint (20-30 min games, portable)
– Constructive procedures

Roller Derby
– Clear content (I’d argue most physical sports are like this.)
– Oppressive Social Footprint (regular practice, sizable team, specialized gear) BUT – social reward – mini celebrity status, etc.
– Constructive procedures

Most AAA Videogames
– Opaque content
– Humane Social Footprint (1 person, when you want to play, save when you want to stop)
– Constructive procedures

Casual videogames
– Simple content (there’s not much you need to learn for these games in terms of fluff/lore)
– Minimum social footprint (play for 3 minute chunks)
– Constructive procedures

Forum/PBP rpgs
– Opaque content (usually based on a licensed property, and with deep lore amongst the players)
– Humane social footprint (write a forum post semi-regularly, no one has to gather at the same time to play. )
– ??? Procedures?
I think the usual defaults of freeform, either GM-says or group-says probably aren’t that constructive, but given the super low social footprint and the ease of dropping out, or finding other games to jump into, and the social context of a strong fandom, maybe those make up the difference?

I think ultimately what these hurdles come down to is two aspects: How hard is it to start playing, and how well does it keep people playing? These are all design issues and certainly other games have addressed them before.


Jeff Vogel on game pricing & business

February 13, 2012

Jeff Vogel’s Principles of an Indie Game Bottom Feeder is a pretty good post on business side of indie videogames, but I think it has a lot of crossover value for tabletop games – all the issues are pretty much the same; easy piracy, niche markets, pricing drive, etc.