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TTRPG Game Jams - Ideas/debrief

A topic by transistence (e/em) created 64 days ago Views: 774 Replies: 50
Viewing posts 1 to 22
(+3)

It seems like the success of the Emotional Mech Jam did a lot to get itch on the map of indie games and analog games on the map at itch. Seems like the ball is still rolling on those with March of the Wizards, Short Rest, Roll to Craft and Short and Easy. How was it participating in a jam, for those that did?

I posted my first game on itch for the #sadmechjam and It was a huge confidence boost to actually get direct sales for something I wrote. My wizard game idea went through about 20 iterations before finally resolving a day too late. I'm still working on it though, and I'm in love with the idea and grateful to the jam hosts for evocative prompts that were clearly inspiring for a lot of designers. I'm really curious about what kind of events we'll see in the future, since game contests/jams are a way a lot of designers get their start. Maybe existing design events could find a home here as well...

(+4)

Now that it's becoming more acceptable to actually charge for jam games, I am a lot more interested in the prospect of participating in future jams. I had promised my therapist to mostly stop releasing free stuff, so now I can do jams and not break my promise! Yay! Hopefully, there will be more ttrpg and tabletop jams popping up. I might resurrect Tarot Jam, which I hosted a few years ago, with more of a storytelling ttrpg focus. The result of that jam was the first tabletop rpg I actually published, and it wasn't exactly great, but it definitely sparked something in me. 

(+1)

That sounds great! I've seen a lot of tarot-inspired work out there. I'd love to see how those develop along side each other.

I hear you on charging for games as well. I felt a bit weird charging for my mech game, but I definitely think it's important to show our work has value (a conversation I've had in many spaces with a lot of folks that actually started for me when I was trying to get my foot in the door as a semi-professional improviser.)

Nice! I'd love to be part of a tarot jam. I actually did a tarot-based hack of Alone Among the Stars by Takuma Okada for the #SadMechJam and had a lot of fun making it.

(+2)

Would absolutely love a Tarot inspired game jam! IMHO tarot and divination in general (this is one of my favorite wikipedia pages: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methods_of_divination) are such precursors to so many of the techniques in storygames. Would love an excuse to dive deeper

(+1)

ooh, i would love a tarot jam! i developed a pretty cool tarot-based system for one of my record collection jam games that i really want to try and apply to other games.

Deleted post

my shadowrun gm has us pull from a tarot deck sometimes to determine events that will happen during a session, and it's always very cool and mysterious :)

Moderator(+14)

There’s definitely going to be at least one each month hosted by the RPG Design Friends, and I’ve already heard plans for #hothorrorjam in the summer and I’m really looking forward to them. 

Ironically, I haven’t managed to finish any of the RPGDF jam games yet 😅 I do think a thing we really need to emphasize is to pick the ones that excite you most. The fact that the monthly themed jams only run for the first two weeks of the month and have two weeks to rest is really vital imo. This goes for general game design too! I’ve got way too many plates spinning right now and cutting back on them has been hard but necessary. 

(+2)

That's really great advice. I got really worked up trying to do both Short Rest and March of the Wizards after coming off sad mechs and I didn't realize that it was obviously too much until too late.

Moderator(+1)

Ahh yeah I have games for both too but I don’t even know when I’ll be able to finish them sadly. But beating myself up over it isn’t gonna help!

(+5)

Short Rest will always take “late” submissions as strict time limits are Not Cozy. So no worries on your cozy submission, it’ll be here when you’re ready.

(1 edit) (+1)

I definitely appreciate that. How would the mechanics of it work? Is there a way to add a game to the jam page after it's ended, or would it be adopted into the group some other way? (I say because the stress of trying to get my wizard game done in time was, as you say, definitely not cozy.)

Moderator(+1)

Yeah jam organizers can generate custom links that let you add a project into a game jam late, I did it for sad mech jam

NOOOOOOOOOOOO! I had a game idea and was all set to do it for sadmechjam then I didn't cuz the deadline. I should have spoken up. oops. Oh well. :D

(+3)

I'm not going to lie, I'm incredibly interested in whatever #hothorrorjam turns out to be. Any hints as to when in summer I can look forward to this?

Moderator(+1)

Not totally sure yet! seems like Ben/Flowers is more taking the lead, although I've offered to help support basically. I'm hosting an RPGDF jam in July so hopefully not then? June or August?

(+1)

Oh my gosh, a horror jam... might have to be my first jam!

(+4)

I'd never taken part in a game jam before March of the Wizards, and it was really fun to step away from my main project for a little while and make something smaller.

(1 edit) (+3)

i think jams can be really valuable especially to new game designers to give them a little prompt and a way to showcase their work easily. #sadmechjam and march of the wizards were both so awesome in that regard (i was definitely one of those people whose first itch game was for emotional mecha jam), and i'm sure we're only going to see more of those in the future.

one thing i've been wondering about is how better we can promote physical game jams, on itch and on other social media. the RPGDF jams are going to be fairly well promoted i think but i'm sure there are going to be other, equally awesome jams that'll maybe fly under the radar (i hadn't known about short and easy until this forum post). would love to hear if folks have ideas about this!

(+1)

I'm wondering if there would be a way to sort out physical vs. digital jams on that schedule? I heard about the ones I mentioned because of Twitter, and looking right now, there doesn't seem to be a way to tell until it's mentioned in the jam description, which sometimes doesn't happen util way later...

(+2)

+1 to that. Would be great to be able to filter by analogue vs digital (maybe other categories? not sure)

(+2)

#sadmechjam was extremely rewarding to participate in. I also partook in the wizard jam. In both cases, I was rushing to finish before the deadline because I forgot about them until it was almost too late. Looking forward to whatever the next jam will be.

sad mech was my first game jam and it was also very confidence boosting to get direct sales because of it

Moderator moved this topic to Game Jams
(+2)

i’ve always restrictions prompted my creativity. I’ve really enjoyed participating in game jams even if i’m not always happy with my games in the end for this reason. Having some sort of direction helps me come up with new ideas that i wouldn’t have come up with without them.

(+1)

This is such a great perspective on the whole thing. I also like having a set of rules before starting, whether I set them myself or here the jams sorta dictate them, but it helps me narrow my focus and get things done. I also think the timeline of a jam is great for people who sorta perpetually edit or self scrutinize, with a deadline you have to call it "finished" at some point, even if it isn't up to your finished standards, but generally it seems that the people downloading these games also know what to expect and these won't be hundred page books with pro layout & art, the little things are quirks to me that I appreciate.

Basically this, and also, I’ve always loved deadlines! I get 99% more work done on a deadline. 

(+3)

One thing I've been thinking of for over a year now would be some kind of game "covers" jam. Like, take an existing game and redesign it in your style? Still haven't figured out the particulars of explaining exactly what that means, or how to avoid problematic stealing/appropriation of work.

That would be interesting, I'd say a lot of games fit the idea of a "cover". PbtA games might count as covers of Apocalypse world (mechanically), Dungeon World might be a cover of D&D (thematically), etc and that's usually not a problem. There would need to be some lines drawn as to what counts as plagiarism, but I feel like for the most part it should be fine?

(+1)

Ooh, dang, I'd definitely be into that.

(1 edit) (+1)

I really love this idea and I'd definitely join it; I've more than once considered taking games that are in systems I find too complicated and/or find the base game problematic and reworking them into an engine that's a lot lighter and simpler. I agree that Dungeon World is kinda a "cover" for D&D, and Urban Shadows is one for the World of Darkness, and that's the sort of thing I'd be really into.

(+3)

is anyone interested in a 'random table poem' jam? as in, random tables that tell some kind of narrative in its entries.

Having made a random table based game before, I say definitely yes :)

(+10)

Can a jam be for related supplements, rather than whole separate games? For example, one page settings or adventures or similar things.

(+1)

An adventure jam would be cool! I could also see doing supplement jams for different systems, like doing a D&D supplement jam or a Dungeon World supplement jam or a Blades supplement jam

(+1)

I believe there is a fairly famous "One Page Dungeon" contest. But this also sounds like a wonderful Jam premise.

(+1)

Yeah, thinking more collaborative or themed than competitive!

(+1)

One idea I have is a "Mini Monster Jam" for creating a supplement for your system of choice with a set of original monsters.

(+5)

I wrote my first game for #sadmechjamand just finished my second for #WizJam2k19. As someone who has a serious tendency to let projects grow to nigh unmanageable proportions (I'm looking at you, hundreds of pages of comics), I find game-jams - with clear themes, definite deadlines and a solid goal - a good way for me to get things finished.

I've got another game that I've been tinkering with for a while, but for now it's mostly a big stack of notes, brainstorming documents and a general goal... and one of several reasons why I haven't gotten it into a playable shape yet is that there isn't any external pressure to do so. Getting the chance to write and actually finish games has been healthy for me.

Also, themed jams gives you the chance to maybe step outside your comfortable box occasionally. Genre-wise - both as a player and a creator - I feel very at home in the fantasy/magic bullshit subgenre... but the #sadmechjam let me play in the mecha sandbox for a bit, for example. It pushes me creatively in a way that I enjoy.

*gently sweeps away all references to his folder of campaign concepts that would probably run for 150+pp each*
I have NO idea what you might mean there Anna... no idea AT ALL.

(+1)

look, I'm not saying I chronicled an entire year-long Dungeon World campaign I played in in the form of a 170-page recap-sketchcomic, but I'm not NOT saying that either. >.>

Chill and I don't live in the same zip code.

(+2)

My first jam was the Record Collection jam in January. I make games based on albums all the time anyway so it was just sort of a fun challenge to make a game in two weeks, but that gave me a taste of what jams can be and now I check the list all the time for other things that might inspire me.

I'm planning on putting together a Dog Jam in April. My pitbull Dude requires a pretty expensive hip bone surgery and I was joking about needing to make a really good game to pay for it, but some friends on twitter suggested a gang of us making dog-inspired games and now my brain is already spinning with the potential. Inspired by dogs, for dogs?!, BY DOGS?!, I think there is a lot of potential there.

(+4)

besides being a fantastic motivator (I took Hearts of Magic from an abandoned project that was a line by line reskin of Firebrands with not a lot of original content to an edited, laid out game with art, three new games, and ideas I can be proud of, in a week!), I love the way game jams bring us as creators together, working on parallel projects and giving us all something to work on together and bring us closer! watching grandpa vinny bakes D Vincent Baker livetweet working on a WizJam game was super rewarding and I hope more and more "big name" indie designers get involved in the next ones!

(+2)

I have been sitting on this idea for an anthology project for a long time, that I'm starting to wonder if might be better suited for a Game Jam?

The premise in a nutshell is, "Pro Wrestling RPGs." Tabletop RPGs and LARPs built around, or meaningfully involving, My Favorite LARP, Professional Wrestling.

I have several wrestling-themed games I've been meaning to finish that I've wanted to publish in an anthology together alongside works of other creators... but I'm starting to think that a Game Jam might be the better option. There are pros and cons to each approach, but I've never thought of it as a Jam before, and the idea is intriguing.

I do think this brings up another interesting discussion of the differences between putting together a collection and running a jam. I feel like the former presents a more comprehensible product in some ways, but the latter means you'll get input from people you probably wouldn't reach out to normally.

(1 edit) (+2)

The other major advantage of a jam as opposed to a collection is, a jam presents the opportunity for spontaneous design--something I noticed a lot of during the Sad Mech Jam. People who said "oh, these games are cool, what about a game where..." and then made a game. That's something you couldn't really get making a collection, and something that I think is really valuable to the community/hobby as a whole.

(+1)

Record Collection was the jam that really got me Deep Into working on my own games, because I love love love music, and the idea of using it as a jumping-off point for TTRPG-making had somehow never occurred to me. Wide-open themes like that are what I have the most fun with...I would love to see a jam sort of the same as ReCo, but with favorite written works instead of music, maybe? That might just be the English major in me jumping out.

(+1)

I ran and participated in a game jam last year, and I'm working on a game for the Roll to Craft Jam right now. I like the opportunity to get those straggler ideas out of my head that wouldn't make the cut for turning into a "major" project. Game jams often fit the bill for staying creative between big games, too.

(+3)

How about a Cut It Down To Size game jam, where you take an overly large or ambitious project and cut it down to a small and snappy zine format.

(+5)

the I Was Never Gonna Finish It At That Size Was I jam lmao I love it

(+2)

A finished thing is better than any beautiful palace of notes, no matter how perfect.

I love jams, and have been excited. But I'm also dealing with jam burnout. There are several I'd like to be a part of but I'm kind of feeling like "if i'm not in all the jams i am the failure" so that's a thing. I think that's something I might need to work through.

(+1)

I was thinking about a "Finish It! Game Jam" for perhaps the second half of June. The idea is: finish a project that you've had sitting around but needed the motivation to finally wrap up. Would be people be interested in that?