2008-09-18 : Deadlines Maybe?

Since GenCon for lumpley games I've designed a new board game, designed a new roleplaying game, worked on this other thing, and let all the projects I had going before GenCon drift. This isn't what I intended! Time to exercise some discipline, set myself some T-minuses.

T-minus 5: this other thing.

T-minus 8: outstanding business decisions & followup. (I'm the slackingest small business owner in history, I'm pretty sure.)

T-minus 20: Storming the Wizard's Tower playtest document.

T-minus 60: some kind of serious Mechaton plan.

T-minus 90: playtest document for [choose one], prototypes for [choose as many as apply].

That gets me to the new year. Details subject to change, especially out past T-minus 20.

At GenCon, Paul and Ron both made fun of me for designing games, like, all the time. I CAN'T HELP IT. THEY COME INTO MY HEAD AND I DON'T KNOW HOW ELSE TO GET THEM OUT.

1. On 2008-09-18, Ben Lehman said:

(I'm the slackingest small business owner in history, I'm pretty sure.)

Hah. You'll never take my crown, Baker.



2. On 2008-09-18, Vincent said:

But I bet I have Claudia's vote!


3. On 2008-09-18, Graham said:

T-minus 90: playtest document for Vincent Baker's World Of Darkness, prototypes for D&D 4E modules.


4. On 2008-09-18, Vincent said:

But I've already published my World of Darkness. I don't have to make another one, do I?

(I'm the decider! I'm!)


5. On 2008-09-18, Seth Ben-Ezra said:

Should those be "T plus" numbers?

P.S. I typed "human" in the box, but maybe I should have typed "pedant".


6. On 2008-09-18, Vincent said:

...I'm not really sure.

Oh! Here's how I think it works. If T is now, then yes, they should all be T-plus numbers. However, T is then, so NOW is T-5, T-8, T-20, etc.

Deadlines: T+. Countdown: T-. I'm counting down but I said deadlines, so it's my bad.



7. On 2008-09-18, Ron Edwards said:

Vincent: Aaaaahh - CHOO! Excude me, do you hab a Gleenezx?

Me: Sure, here.

Vincent: Thags ... (blow, blow) Hey, look! There's a game in here!

And the aggravating thing about it is that the game is really good.


8. On 2008-09-19, misuba said:

can has Red Sky AM?


9. On 2008-09-19, Meguey said:

I think that's part of how we connect, because I'm the same way with quilts. They just keep showing up and shouting until they get made. I can drown out the noise if I must, but it just makes my head hurt. *hug*


10. On 2008-09-21, Vincent said:

This other thing in T-3.
Business decisions in T-6.
StWT playtest doc in T-18.
Mechaton plan in T-58.
Other stuff in T-88.


11. On 2008-09-22, Vincent said:

This other thing: done!
Business decisions: T-5.


12. On 2008-09-22, Marhault said:

So when do we find out what this other thing is?


13. On 2008-09-22, Vincent said:

Pretty soon, probably. It's on the publishing side, a piece of publishing-related infrastructure, not a new game or anything.


14. On 2008-09-24, David Artman said:

Mechaton plan, you say? Would you have to fold spacetime to give us a hint of what generally is "in plan"?


15. On 2008-09-24, Vincent said:

For Mechaton:

Campaign rules - I need a plan about how, when and whether to add them to the text.

A new edition - no "whether," but I need a plan for its visual design, including, crucially, a plan for communicating to non-Lego-nerds how to build mechs.

Providing Legos - I need a plan about how I'm going to get a good mix of parts into the hands of people who want to play but don't already have the broad assortment I do.

Once I make those plans, then there's implementing them, and that's a WHOLE new timeline.


16. On 2008-09-24, Vincent said:

Business decisions & followthrough: T-2
StWT playtest doc: T-14

Mm. That's coming up fast, that one.


17. On 2008-09-24, David Artman said:

RE Mechaton—AWESOME. My offer to do layout (and help with editing) still stands. Perhaps I'll have finished Spite for Raf by then, so you can look at it for a gauge of my quality (see Perfect v1, if you can't wait).


18. On 2008-09-26, Vincent said:

...And I've made most of my outstanding urgent business decisions and followthrough. Whew.

Hey, anybody with outstanding business with me, if you haven't heard from me in the last week or so, write to remind me. I've misplaced you! I'm trying to win Ben's crown, you see...


19. On 2008-09-26, David Artman said:

Oh, and about providing Legos—you could try the following:
1) Determine which existing sets have a lot of "good" pieces for Mecha (i.e. small, Technics, varied).
2) Find an existing retailer that has some kind of partnering arrangement.
3) Provide links to the sets on your site, which are just "pass-through" links to order from the actual retailer.
4) Collect minor finders fee.

This would also mean that you can generally reference pieces for Mecha examples while knowing that they are available in the set(s) you recommend.
Another notion: DO you think you could use Lego Digital Designer to make "assembly instructions" that are just like those that Lego provides in sets?


20. On 2008-09-26, Soren said:

I'm willing to help you with Lego-stuff.


21. On 2008-09-29, Joao said:

Hey Vincent,

I just chimed in to ask about Storming the Wizard's Tower.

I have checked your article on Fight On! Magazine - The Monster Machine.

You teased about the social conflict system. It will be different than other conflict rules (like combat, for instance?)

As a GM, I tend to narrate the fictional events hard and fast, while moving the rules silently into the background, whenever I can, especially when describing fights. Are you trying to deliver a system to facilitate this?

What about your design goals? Anything else you care to share?

Ho, and have you any plans to release the play test doc. as an ashcan?

Can we expect it to be available to us otherwise?

Anyway, whish you best of luck with StWT. You have managed to rouse my curiosity already!

Jo??o (jbmgc[at]yahoo[dot]co[dot]uk)


22. On 2008-09-29, Vincent said:

Thanks for asking!

1. The social conflict system is not the same as the combat system at all. Both are nice and in-character-driven, both are nicely softcore-tactical, but mechanics-wise they're quite dissimilar. As it should be, in a game about fighting monsters.

2. The fighting rules involve active dice manipulation. It's not intrusive or unwieldy, by any stretch - it's quite fun, and it lines up well with the narration - but no, it won't be easy (or desirable) to move them silently into the background.

3. There's more about the game in this thread, at comments #6 and #7.

4. I won't be publishing the playtest doc as an ashcan, no, but I will be making it available otherwise, yes.


23. On 2008-09-29, Vincent said:

T-minus 9 on that sucker. Holy cow, coming up fast.


24. On 2008-09-30, Joao said:


I'm waiting patiently 'till T.

Good luck!



25. On 2008-09-30, Weeks said:

By way of unsolicited input on that T-49 Mechaton plan goal of yours: it needs campaign rules.

My son, whom you and J taught Mechaton 3(?) GenCons back, and I are playing a campaign with rules that we cobbled together after my search-fu failed—I was sure I'd read some nifty ideas somewhere.  Anyway, we're not far enough in to know how our currency cycles will work out long-term but I doubt they're very good and it looks like nothing will drive the campaign to completion the way we set things up.


26. On 2008-10-06, Vincent said:

T minus 2.

Yikes! But I'm basically on-target.


27. On 2008-10-06, Marhault said:

Hey Weeks,

Vincent, Joshua and Emily ran a campaign game of Mechaton a while back.  The rules they used are outlined in this post.  You might be able to mine for some gold there and in the ongoing battle reports posted thereafter.

Just in case you haven't already seen them.


28. On 2008-10-07, Vincent said:

Tomorrow, Storming the Wizard's Tower. Hooray!


29. On 2008-10-07, Joao said:



30. On 2008-10-08, Gregor said:

Storm on!

(How you are keeping to these deadlines amazes me, by the way.)


31. On 2008-11-09, Ianator said:

How's it going on that "serious plan for Mechaton"? Hope it's not too serious... nobody likes tummyaches!


32. On 2008-11-10, Vincent said:

Today's the 10th? So I have 20 days to make a serious Mechaton plan.

Tummyaches abound. Dang that game right in the head.


33. On 2008-11-11, Joshua A.C. Newman said:

I'm here for ya, man.


34. On 2008-12-04, Sage said:

Just read Mechaton (thanks for the PDF, by the way), and loved it. Looking forward to a few days of hardcore play over my Christmas break.

Can't wait to see some Campaign rules. I'm sure you've already got great stuff worked out, I'm hoping to see the same lopsided, built-in-conflict setup as the individual battles.


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