Oh my gosh!!! I would be super excited to read it if you're comfortable sharing it!
Ben K Rosenbloom
Recent community posts
That sounds awesome!! Thanks so much for letting me know! And it's very generous of you to offer, but I was so interested that I went ahead and bought the whole bundle right away! It's my absolute pleasure to support cool games 😊
Cow Tools: Farming and Agriculture in Contemporary Hæth by Wiley Mallard
Waiting for Escargot by Samuel Beakit
The Origin of Kith by Charlese Finch
Lightning Strikes Twice: An Aesthetic History of the Lightning Dancers, by a poetic and/or honest art historian
The Mystery of Mirrorlake Mountain, a detective story/travelogue by a dramatic or quiet author
Ars Pscantur: The Key of Salmon, a book on fishing by a mysterious author, lost to time.
The Complete Ymistland, a compendium of Ursa K Legume's stories and writings of a fictional history
No apologies for language barrier necessary, and thanks for taking the time to write a response, ArmoredPumpkin. I'm 100% behind you about how the structure of the global economy is wildly unjust, and responsible for a great many problems. Most of the rest I can't agree with you about, though - I think it's useful to talk about racism and colonialism, and those things didn't just happen 100 years ago; they are happening today, across the world.
I certainly don't agree that fantasy worlds "should be racist" - I think that mindset is evidence of the fact that racist & colonialist ideas permeate our contemporary world. I'd like to dig in a little to the Drow/Lolth example. I think there are parts about the Drow that are extremely cool (I'm way into spiders, and living underground, and more)! But it seems to me undeniable that their original writing is a mishmash of racist ideas about dark skinned people and sexist ideas about a matriarchal society. Just the existence of a racist, slave-holding society isn't by itself a bad thing in fiction (especially in a fantasy game, where you'll probably be fighting against that society) - the trouble is, all the evil, racist, slave-holding societies in the book are described using words and language people use in the real-world to also describe people of color. The idea of an "evil" society itself I think is dangerous, and reminiscent of the way people justify horrendous tragedies. I'd like to do away with these things in my writing.
There's one part I'd like to zoom in on - the in the book part. My goal here is to announce my intention to write and create material that suggests other possible worlds, and do justice to the realities of our world. What you do in your games is your business. If you don't like my approach, there's no reason for you to be here.
Lastly, as to my "self-censorship" or "doing this for show" - I have very little patience for this line of thought. From my end, this argument feels like a fascist talking point, designed to make people believe that a better world isn't possible. Do you consider the way we teach children to be kind to one another a form of "self-censorship"? Is suffering consequences for causing others harm "harassment"? I would say no to both. On the other hand, writing random disparaging comments on my update sure does feel like harassment to me. In any event, whether you believe me or not, I'd like to assure you that I am completely sincere in my desire to write better, kinder, work, and not because I live in a "liberal dictatorship".
If you'd like to read more, I quite liked these. If you'd like to talk about them, I might have time.
- https://twitter.com/olde_fortran/status/1270909689430110208 (not an article, but Sage's comments on Dungeon World)
- https://twitter.com/zedecksiew/status/1188318931632586756 (one more twitter thread, from Zedeck Siew, who's a fantastic writer)
I'm sorry that my original commitments to antiracism/anticolonialism/justice did not come through in the original text. If you purchased Incomplete Adventurer or any of my other work, I would be happy to offer you a refund. It doesn't look like you did, so I think you could probably just leave?
If you're interested in learning more about the history of white supremacy, colonialism, and racism in our world and our shared hobby, and what we can do about it, I'd be happy to share some more resources I've found.
I never wrote one up because most of the changes are pretty minor - no playbook is dramatically different after the updates, and very few starting moves even got edited at all. The gist is mostly tighter language, more helpful notes, and replaced advanced moves. I've added a changelog with the stuff that stood out to me!
Thank you so much for taking a look!!
I'm very glad that the "scholarly-feeling" comes across - I know I talk about it in the introduction, but education is really near and dear to me, even if I have mixed feelings about academia.
I also like the term "balanced tone" - I really wanted to lean into the idea I got from Dream Apart & Dream Askew, something like, you can play a game to find out what it was you're playing about, or that coming to the game can be the conversation you have while you're just hanging out with your friends. That felt very much like my experience talking with other teachers and students. Both of those games set up communities that have more things set against them (/that's something I think is also core to those games, and talking about marginalized communities and the challenges they face), so I was really looking to see if the experience works also with an even more laid-back setting.
It's 2020!! Happy new year, everyone. Thanks so much for being a part of this jam! I've loved reading everyone's games, and I hope to play as many of them as I can in the new year. Here's a google doc with links to all the games and everyone's itch page - let me know if you'd like to be cited differently in the document! Finally, I wanted to share some thoughts (and invite the other readers to do the same), and share some awesome things that I saw in this jam!
How the Goblin Left the Dream Garden, Or Did Not, by seaofblackstars, Joshua Fox, and Jason Vanhee was an interesting case - each round had a different take on how to implement the core mechanic of the game! The themes and central idea stayed fairly consistent, but the expression of those ideas in the realms of possibilities implied by the dice rolls and moves was different each time. I really like where the game wound up, but more than most other games, I'd be interested to see three complete versions of this game, to see each designer's take on how to play it.
Triage, by breathing stories, katamoiran, and Mega Draco, also stood out to me as a game whose journey through the rounds was impactful. The entry in the first round was fairly short but packed full of ideas, and seemed poised to become a heartwarming game of caring for each other. But over the course of three rounds, the game grew less and less light hearted, leaving a truly poignant and moving game. I was totally blown away by how this game took an idea and ran with it, and became something beautiful and not at all what I had expected.
Special mention here to Nested Tales (by Gray Darling, StuffBySpencer, and Mags Maenad) and All the World's a Stage (by FrivYeti, Blake M. Stone, and Sam Zimmerman), which you'll notice took a very similar idea, the game-within-a-game, and turned it into two totally different and extremely neat games. You'll also notice that there's no overlap in their designer triads! Nested Tales asks us to imagine perhaps our classic roleplaying characters taking a break and playing a game of their own, and really zooms in on the personal experiences of the "players" around the "table". All the World's a Stage, meanwhile, frames the ultimate game you play as a theater production, with your eventual characters played by actors, and complete with tools for managing an audience, and their whims and expectations. Both very cool games!!
The Three Laws of Robotics
One of the absolutely wildest developments I saw came from Cogito - UnrestrAIned by Sohkrates, Dan Maruschak, and Josh Hittie, which included fully functioning code for a website!! Including addressing "todo" comments over the course of the rounds! The game itself is a very interesting single player experience, and the automated website I think adds so much to the experience. There's some very cool work that went into really simulating the feeling of being a machine, or having rules you can't break.
On the opposite side of "single player experience" is Astrobot Explorers, by Wasteland of Enchantment, seaofblackstars, and Joshua Fox, a game for two groups of players (and run by a single GM). In the first game, players simulate galaxy-altering entities of the ancient past, and discuss their civilization and the worlds they changed. In the second, players take the role of robots exploring those planets, learning about their history and building their future. Here, instead of trying to replicate the feeling of being a simple machine, the focus is instead on building that sense of wonder and discovery, of being something new in the world.
Tri Something New
Fae or Foul, by Pidj, Mags Maenad, and StuffBySpencer is a dinner party larp, where you attend the Unseelie Monarch's banquet as a Fae courtier! I have effectively zero experience with larping, so I was very interested to learn more, and this game seems like a very fun one. The special attention given to how to host a dinner party as well as thinking about what kinds of actions at dinner could be blended into the game was especially cool to me! And the rules and rolls do a great job of building the theme and atmosphere of the game.
Hunt, by Sam Zimmerman, Wasteland of Enchantment, and Luke Miller is another game that surprised me - the primary mechanic here is playing dominoes! What's especially fascinating is how this gameplay mechanic builds into the tropes of the genre (a monster hunt) - planning your attack becomes literally planning your trail of dominoes, as you think about what dominoes you can afford to chain (and potentially lose) or which ones you need to keep. There's something really fascinating too about making the game so tactile as well as mapped out, where the main path and each branch represent something in the physical game space as well as the narrative space you're building.
The Magic Number
There's no way I could pick a favorite game made for this jam (I don't think I could even always pick a favorite version of a game!). Each game captured my heart, one way or another, and I know this is not the last time I will see them! I do want to try and talk about three games that did feel particularly special, and that I think benefited from this strange, intense, triumvirate experience.
Embers of Spite, by Dan Maruschak, breathingstories, and FrivYeti, caught my eye specifically because of the way that it changed through the rounds. The first round entry had some fantastic setting details that were primed to explore exciting themes, but I wasn't sure how they would work out in play. But both subsequent rounds took what came before and carefully and creatively added, edited, and altered the game in ways directly in service to those themes. This isn't a "most improved" shout out - it's a celebration instead of how this game represents something that happened to every game, but I especially noticed here. Taking other peoples' ideas and making them your own isn't easy, but it led to some phenomenal games and ideas, like Embers of Spite.
Ascending the Tower, by Mags Maenad, Sohkrates, and katamoiran, accomplished a similar feat, starting out with an engaging and evocative core idea, but with most of the gameplay still up in the air. Each iteration took those ideas and found new ways to drive home the experience of climbing towards your doom. The final game is tense and weird and personal. The final result is a unique dungeon crawl that I'm very excited to play!
The Queen of Cups, by Nick Wedig, Jason Vanhee, and Blake M. Stone, finally, stands out to me not just because it's a beautiful game, or because the gameplay mechanics and tools for setting scenes are so useful and intuitive, or because each part of the game works so well in tandem with every other part. It's also fascinating to me because each designer managed to contribute meaningfully to several parts of the game, but those parts fit so perfectly together it doesn't feel like it was written by three people. In a crowd of incredible games, The Queen of Cups shines as a polished, cohesive, and innovative experience (even just in the .txt!).
All Good Things Must Come (To An End/In Threes)
Once again, I wanted to thank everyone who took part in this jam!! It was an honor and privilege to get to read through everyone's games, and I'm already looking forward to doing this again in 2020 (or passing on the torch to someone else who'd like to run it)! I'm sorry that I didn't have the time (or puns) to mention every game, but I want to reiterate that I think every game made along the way is truly something special, and I was delighted to read them all. Thank you all so much!!
The threefold flames of the forge are cooling, but that just means we get to relax and bask in their warmth! I'll be reading through every game and preparing some comments, and I'll be joined by some official readers! Everyone else is welcome to leave comments and reviews as well!! Here are the questions for reviewing:
- How clear & compelling is the game's central idea?
- How elegant, useful, & intuitive are the game's mechanics?
- How cohesively designed do you think the game is overall?
I'm shooting to have a conversation with the readers after the holidays to talk about our thoughts! I don't have the audio expertise to post the conversation I plan to post major highlights and takeaways.
If you haven't gotten your game submitted to the jam yet, do not worry!! Just let me know when you're ready to submit, and I can add it to the submissions page. I can guarantee that I'll write my thoughts for every submission!! But it might just be me.
It's an easy fix! If you go to your profile page, click "edit theme" and scroll down, you should see a list of all the games you've uploaded (as well as ones you're an admin for). However, those games you're an admin for are hidden by default, I believe - if you toggle the "hide" button next to the game's name, I believe that should fix the issue!
I'll be updating the Jam page with a link to a gdrive folder collecting all the text files from all three rounds! Meant to get it up monday but expect that soon (hopefully tonight). However I'm totally in favor of people also submitting their individual pieces if they would like!
Hello everyone!! I wanted to post here one last time just to see about two things:
- First, one forger had to drop out - if anyone is available to do some final editing for a game before the deadline, you can email me at email@example.com!
- Second, if anyone is interested in being an "official" reader with me to provide some thoughts on all the games after they're finished! If you've been wishing you could get involved but joined too late, or if you're just interested in reading some truly cool games, please let me know!!
Thanks! I'm looking forward to everyone getting to show off their games!!
The final round of game forging has begun!! Everyone who submitted to round 2 should have two emails from me - one asking for thoughts about the last deadline (which currently/technically sits at Dec. 15th, but I'm determining how to approach moving it back) and one of course with the game for you to edit! And just because I've gotten a few questions about it, a reminder that this final round is not merely for "polishing" or etc. - you are free to edit as much as you would like!
Please let me know if you did not receive a game, or received a game you've already worked on! I'm 99% certain that I've hammered out all the kinks this time, but (woosh, clink) the work is never finished.
Also, with the final submission impending, I'd like to add that I'm once again looking for readers/reviewers! If you're looking on in wonderment thinking about what amazing stuff people are creating and you'd like to be involved, feel free to get in touch! I'd love to involve as many people as would like in the process.
ahh sorry, it's not you either!! I did take a moment when I got your submission to say "uh oh I am for sure going to forget about this, better download the game right now" but I must have decoupled that from the "send an email confirmation!" impulse. Sorry for the confusion!
Hello all! If you've submitted a game for the second round, you should have received an email from me! If you haven't yet submitted a game for the second round, no worries at all! You should have also received an email from me. Please let me know how things are going, and if anyone needs additional time or support! Thanks so much :^) I have been having a lot of fun reading what everyone sends in!
Everyone who submitted to round 1 should now have received a new game to work on! If you did not, or you received your own game, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know.
If you didn't submit for Round 1 but you'd still like to be involved (as a reader for the final entries, or you'd be ok with having only two rounds of edits or so, or anything else!), please get in touch with me also!
I hate deadlines!! So I just wanted to double check that everyone was doing alright. So far I have received 12 submissions - if you haven't received an email from me confirming that I got it, please try again! The email again is email@example.com. But also, does anyone need more time? I'd be happy to push the date back a little if need be! Please let me know either below or by email!