2013-05-16 : What I Neglected to Tell You

I've been doing almost all of my internetting on G+ for a while now. If you don't follow me there, but only read my blog, here are the highlights of what you've missed.

First and foremost, we curse the name of Epidiah Ravachol.

At PAX East he released a vicious little beast of a game called Vast & Starlit. He calls it a "nanogame," it's a core book plus three supplements, and it fits on four folding business cards. All told it's just under 2,000 words long. Which is fine, I don't curse him for that; we're indie and he gets to do whatever he wants.

Problem is, it's really, really good. It's at the cutting edge of both technical rpg design and humane social footprint. It shook up my thinking, posed me a challenge, like nothing has since 3:16.

I had three other projects going full-tilt. I'm going to name them here coyly: A Prelude for Venus, Apocalypse World: Nightmare City, and an untitled swashbuckling romance game. I haven't abandoned any of them, but I've set them aside for now to answer this accursed, unignorable nanogame challenge.

Meg went to Ethiopia.

Meg spent two weeks in Ethiopia at the beginning of February doing game design for The Girl Effect, the culmination of a project she'd been working on since October or November. She and her team - Jess Hammer, Julia Ellingboe, Giulia Barbano, John Stavropoulos - designed a suite of social games for play by teenage girls' clubs in Ethiopia, and Meg, Jess and John went to Ethiopia to field test them.

I'm blown away by the game design they did. It was a beautiful coming-together of three of Meg's four passions, games, sex ed/girls' activism, and small group work, and she and her team kicked its very butt. (The fourth is textile history & conservation.)

Meg and her team won't be publishing the games they designed, and we aren't their audience anyway. The closest we get is this game based on one of Meg's design, adapted for us, in (no surprise) beautiful nanogame form: Valiant Girls.

I was guest of honor at Fastaval!

Fastaval was great, remarkable. I played some Fastaval games, talked about game design, called the Fastavalers "game designers" against their wishes, and drew diagrams for everyone who asked. I'll tell you about it sometime, maybe try to reproduce the diagrams here, but there's a whole lot of groundwork to do first.

Then more nanogames and nanogame talk.

Epidiah Ravachol published his nanogame What is a Roleplaying Game?

Marshall Miller published his nanogame Nanoworld: A Game of Clones.

Ben Lehman published his nanogame Witch House.

There's been some talk about what's the difference between a nanogame and a game poem and other small games that we've been making all along, like Lady Blackbird and so on. My answer: nothing important! My advice is to take all games as they come, on their own terms.

And there have been early rumbles of the coming backlash, which only makes sense to me. This is some threatening, challenging, provocative biz. Rob Bohl's guest post below (here) softpedals it as a joke, but look out, the real thing's on its way.

We're up to date!

Coming next: my own nanogames.

The Sundered Land is a series of 5 games plus 2 supplements. Four of the games are designed for face to face play; the fifth for play online, on your blog or G+ or wherever. I'll be running it here sometime soon. The whole series will be out by the end of this month. The games are:
- Caravan Guards in the Ruins of the Future (face to face)
- Night Watch in the Ruins of the Future (face to face)
- At Ends in the Ruins of the Future (face to face)
- Warriors in the Ruins of the Future (face to face)
- A Doomed Pilgrim in the Ruins of the Future (online; you can see it in action here, eg.)
The supplements are:
- Restless Ambition in the Ruins of the Future
- Roleplaying in the Ruins of the Future

I can't wait to show them to you! I think they're pretty neat.

1. On 2013-05-16, John Harper said:

I can't wait to see your nanogames! Very exciting.


direct link

This makes...
JC go "Me too!"

2. On 2013-05-17, Keith said:

So, does the new nanogame craze have any impact on your Trauma Games thing? Murderous Ghosts, for example, was a very small game (probably not nano-sized, but).

It seemed like you were going for smaller, more direct games with that, as well as that dragon-fighting game you threw up documents for.

Last: when you say you've set your other games aside for now to explore nanogamery, how long do you think that's for? Just to pump out the Ruins stuff, or are you going more into nano material? (I know I'm excited either way!)


RSS feed: new comments to this thread