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Remember when people came to The Forge in 2004 or 2005 and were frustrated there were too many finished conversations that felt like a barrier to entry? Well, my recommendation is to start reading and playing games from .itch.io now. Start with PWYW games. Give yourself a...

...monthly budget to spend.

Don't think you're seeing the leading edge of the hobby by reading Game Chef games. Game Chef is about the internal battle. Can I complete a game? Can I find a better personal understanding of what "complete" means for an RPG? But the...

...most interesting games on itch.io are by people who've won that battle and who are now instead wielding their true selves and wholehearted inspirations against paradigms in RPG culture, just like The Forge.

It's harder than The Forge though. Games aren't direct assertions in forum posts, supported by direct reporting of experiences in actual play posts. You have to submit to a game, and play it, to truly understand what a designer is saying.

It's not really hard though. The conversation about RPGs through the vehicle of publishing RPGs on .itch.io moves mostly through small games that don't take long to read and play and reflect upon.

Also, don't let the humility of a designer be a factor that dissuades you. Lots of inspired creators will say stuff like "I put this together on a lark" or "I don't know if I'm going to do anything more with this." These can be expressions of self-doubt or self-deprecation as...

...an emotional defense against creative rejection. People on the leading edge of every creative discipline say stuff like this. "Yeah, I'm just messing around." But they aren't just messing around. It's because...

...the leading edge of a creative discipline feels like a territory of uncertain acceptance, and so people hedge against that.

Better criteria for choosing or not choosing games are:

1. Does the designer seem to have conviction? Look at their other games. Look at their social media posts. Conviction in one sphere of life will absolutely manifest as conviction in creative works. And a...

...sense of conviction in one game is a good indication of substance in another game, even one that looks more like a lark.

2. Does the game feel like a complete articulation of itself? A game may be trying to make inspired creative assertions, but they won't land with you if...

... it is too much of a fragment.

3. Is there something about the game that draws you to it?

You'll make mistakes. It's like panning for gold. There's lots of dirt in the river too. But it's super fun. Stick to your budget. And even if you buy some dirt...

@paulczege Are there any tags or ways to see what's over there outside of following already amazing creators?

@craigmaloney @paulczege Each creator has the option to tag their games. And if you click on a tag (click "more information on any game's listing to see its tags) you can see all the games with that tag.

These tags seem to have a lot of tabletop RPGs:

itch.io/physical-games/tag-tab
itch.io/physical-games/tag-tab

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