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This is how NASA writes software:

I want the software driving cars around my family to be held to the a similar standard of quality. In the context of self-driving cars, "Move fast and break things" means "Half-arse it and kill people."

Humans in the USA manage 1.16 fatalities per 100,000,000 miles travelled. Uber's software couldn't even get to 3 million miles before it killed someone.

We do this properly, or not at all.

"What game do you want to take apart and make into something new?"

Basically every game I come into contact with.

At the moment I'm on a bit of a kick looking at board game mechanics and finding ways to use them to structure narratives in RPGs. There's a lot of interesting mechanics and dynamics in the board game world. Those ideas can help make for new, different, interesting games. The challenge is using these ideas while still making the fiction matter to gameplay.

I made a tiny game for this year's 200 Word RPG Challenge. The same game is also my monster game of the month. That's like killing two mutant bird monsters with one stone golem.

Anyway, you play bored D&D monsters trying to live peaceably together in the dungeon in the long boring months between adventuring parties. You can only communicate with your dungeonmates via passive-aggressive post-it notes.

"Why do you make games in the genres and styles that you do?"

Because I don't have any other choice. I make games because my mind fixates on an idea, spinning out dynamics and mechanics that can tie into it in interesting ways, thinking about new structures of play and novel ways to create the experience that I want. I don't choose an idea, genre or style. I just realize that my brain is repeatedly looping back to this idea or that thing and finding ways to work with it.

@BrentNewhall I'm saying that it's impossible for them to not know what die they are touching. Then they will be making an informed decision to take that die or not, which isn't random.

I'm saying the system you outline incentivizes certain behaviors, but your rhetoric insults the people who pursue those obvious incentives. But the failure isn't in those players, it's in creating a system where the incentives encourage the wrong behavior.

@BrentNewhall Then I don't understand what purpose the bag serves at all. It's pure show, pretending there is randomness there when there isn't.

@BrentNewhall Who is pulling these dice from the bag? Because that won't be random, that will just be that GM or player choosing what die size you have.

It's way too easy to tell those dice apart by feel for it to really be random.

"In what environment do you most enjoy playing?"

My home. I am lazy and I hate ever leaving my home. So it is very convenient for me that my players come to my place each week. (It also gives me a reason to regularly clean up the house.)

I have two children, and having them playing around in an environment they know and control works a lot better than taking them to the homes of other players, where they wind up bored or they get into things they shouldn't.

"Where do you get inspiration for characters, settings, or design?"

Everywhere. I think inspiration is the easy part. You just have to pay attention to the world around you. Think critically about the world you perceive, the media you consume and the emotions you feel. Then think about how to recombine those, how to critique, subvert, augment, modify or repurpose those things. I wind up with far more ideas for games than I could ever make in multiple lifetimes.

“What mechanics make you feel excited and ready to play?”

Interpreting Tarot-like cards. I don’t understand how Tarot-based games haven’t taken over RPG game design following in the footsteps of Ganakagok. Ambiguous imagery and meaning, plus the human brain’s pattern recognition systems, immediately spurs on the imagination in a way that is magical seeming.

@hardcorenarrativist I would guess they're talking about things like Bonds and gaining Inspiration by playing to your character's personality. But "centered heavily" is way overstating things. 5th edition D&D is (like all versions of D&D) centered heavily on murdering things and taking their stuff.

"What games do you dream about making?" (3/3)
House of Masks - The original (unplayably bad) version of this won "Best Game" of Game Chef... exactly ten years ago next week. I keep hoping to revise it and make it work better. I made a better version later, but even that remains unfinished.

Those 3 incomplete games share something of a dreamlike, melancholic tone. That might be what I find compelling, but also nearly impossible to express in rules or to produce in actual play.

"What games do you dream about making?” (2/3)
Strange Visitors - A game about the sad lives of comic book creators in the 1930s and 40s. It would be a game about the contrast between impossible superhero ideals and grimy, complicated real life.

Death Takes a Holiday - A lighthearted black humor game about filling in for the Grim Reaper while he is on vacation. I've made several versions of this game but I've never been quite satisfied.

"What games do you dream about making, but haven't quite got there?" (1/3)

Too many. As I said before, I've made dozens of prototypes that never go very far. There's a point I reach in working with these games, and I seem to lack whatever skills, resources or motivation you need to move beyond. (Not to mention many, many more that never make it to playtestable prototype stage that I’d love to make if I had more time in life.)

There are 3 specific games I keep returning to, though.

@cardboard Tarot cards are a great thing to include in roleplaying games. It provides ambiguous imagery that immediately starts the brain's pattern recognition systems going, spurring on creativty and making new things you'd never have thought of without it.

If you haven't, you should check out the excellent game Ganakagok by Bill White, which uses a Tarot-like deck to generate the fiction.

I use Tarot-like decks in many games I design, in different ways, e.g.

Thesis: Tarot card reading is a kind of tabletop roleplaying game. It is the aleatoric generation of a narrative following a set of rules. That is to say, a roleplaying game, the same as D&D.

(It just happens to be a game where your character is identified as yourself, like in Villains and Vigilantes, and where the narrative is supposed to occur in the real future, like in Continuum: Roleplaying in the Yet.)

how designers talk about play Show more

"What games have you worked on - informally, formally or semi-formally?" (continued 2/2)

Informally, I have a tendency to make to make too many first drafts of games, abandon them and move on to making entirely new games. So I've written something like 46 separate RPGs of varying length and quality, 13 larps and a couple board and card games. Nearly all of those you can find online for free or pay-what-you-want.

"What games have you worked on - informally, formally or semi-formally?"

In a formally published manner, I wrote the first draft of Ultranormal Encounters (UFO Press), the 300 word rpg LOVEINT in the Impostors anthology (from Ginger Goat), a brief section in a Dramasystem supplement, and a short adventure in Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple. I also wrote a lot of words for FASA that have yet to see the light of day, and may never do so for all I know.



I think that you could create hexagon patterns like that in Scribus.

Scribus is sometimes obtuse to use, so it would be "quick" and "easy" relative to other tasks in Scribus. That might not be quick or easy relative to tasks in other programs.