Showing posts from June, 2011

Upcoming Interview on With Special Guest

I'll be on With Special Guest on July 3rd at 8p Eastern. We'll talk about the Thousand-Year Game Design Challenge and a bunch of other stuff. Past episodes' guests have included Jonathan Coulton, MC Frontalot, and Wendee Lee. Good company! Check out the show Sunday night. » With Special Guest » With Special Guest

Doh: Something of the Something Something

A gift from John Harper

Happy Birthday, Robot! at the Tower's All-Weekend Gaming Event

Alexander Williams shares his experience running several sessions of Happy Birthday, Robot! "I ended up running three games of HBR in a day, twice with an eleven year old and a fourteen year old and once with an all adult group. The big take-away from that? I should never play with children because they're too violent and nasty. Also, they never needed an explanation of what a complete sentence was; adults? It took them a while to figure out that complete sentences were." » Read the stories on his blog » Photo: CC BY Alexander Williams

Time Between Kickstarters [Twitter]

[ View on Storify] So what do you think is an appropriate time between Kickstarters? Any of the above tweets close to the mark? Speak your mind in the comments!

Deadline Extended for the Thousand-Year Game Design Challenge [RELEASE]

[FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE] The Thousand-Year Game Design Challenge deadline for entry is now extended by one month, to August 31st . The reason? Challenge founder Daniel Solis will speak as a guest of honor at Gen Con! Solis will devote an hour to discussing the Challenge and its current entrants. The deadline for entries is extended to allow Gen Con attendees just learning about the challenge to develop and submit their game. Look for SEM1128728 in the events listings. Bring your prototypes and pitches! The Thousand-Year Game Design Challenge offers a $1,000 reward to a game designer who can create a game that will still be played by people a thousand years from now. For more information, visit Gen Con: The Best Four Days in Gaming! is a consumer and trade experience dedicated to gaming culture and community. For more information, visit or register at

He says "She says…"

Becky Chambers' recent article " A Few Good Chells " is an honest, refreshing perspective on third- and first-person gaming. Specifically, the importance of protagonists' gender and how that importance is diminished or enhanced depending on third- or first-person interface. It's a great read. Of particular note is her childhood experience of choosing female video game characters even though they didn't fit her preferred style of gameplay. The best parts are when she's trying to explain video games to her mom and why this all means so much to her. Mom sums it up wisely: “ It’s not so much about wanting to be female as it is about wanting to be you. And you are female. ” In general, I try not to start big, serious internet discussions about race or gender in gaming. The subject draws a lot of heat, but little gets produced. Many of my friends dive vigorously into those discussions, but I'm content to sit out. I find it much more satisfying to just m

Cel Shading the Cover of Do: The Book of Letters

I recorded my cel shading process for the cover of Do: The Book of Letters . As you can probably tell, it takes a LONG time to do each character. This figure alone is about three and a half hours. Music: Troublemakers - Matt Wilson As sete mulheres do Minho - De Outra Margem - CC-BY Departures - Mattias Westlund - CC-BY

Father's Day Edition of Happy Birthday, Robot!

Charles Starrett had only one wish for Father's Day: To play Happy Birthday, Robot! with the family. He posted his family's Father's Day-themed story on his blog and kindly allowed me to repost it here: Happy Papa’s Day! Papa walked downstairs and opened the cabinet doors to find chocolate. Papa saw J there and she promptly ate the cake batter! S scolded J and J bit S’s butt fiercely but silently. S turned and made Papa punish bad J but Papa refused. He wouldn’t dare hurt J because she’s awesome and he had received J’s bribe previously! S protested hysterically and Mama whined but sent J to bed. Papa made J serve him his dinner but she ate his dessert. Papa asked, “What happened?” and ate J’s dessert but apologized. Papa launched a world-scale invasion while riding on S’s back. J backed down immediately. Papa apologized and paid S’s medical bill. Papa won anyway. » Charles Starrett's Blog » More about Happy Birthday, Robot!

Interview on WGN Radio about the Thousand-Year Game Design Challenge

WGN - Thousand Year Game Design Challenge Interview by Daniel A Solis Nick Digilio interviewed me on WGN Radio about the Thousand-Year Game Design Challenge . It's a lively conversation with a surprise call-in at the end. This went much less awkwardly than my first radio interview.

Amy Houser's Art for Do: The Book of Letters

We knew Do: The Book of Letters had a very tight timeline, so we decided to split up art duties. (Liz Radtke continued her tradition of fine cover illos for Do.) For the interior, we tapped illustrator and toy designer Amy Houser to do some quick doodles and fancy lettering. Little did we know that Amy's "quick doodles" are pretty polished by our standards! They look right out of concept drawings of a Pixar movie. Above is a montage of just a small sample of the drawings she put together for the supplement. Each illo is paired with a different letter, so some of you contributors may recognize scenes from your own letter in this mix. » Buy Do: Book of Letters for five bucks! » Amy Houser's Blog » Find Amy and other recommended artists in my artist directory

Speaking at GenCon 2011

I'm happy to be an Industry Insider Guest of Honor at GenCon 2011. This means I'll speak on a variety of panels and seminars with topics ranging from cover design to crowdfunding to game design. Here's my schedule. The No-No's of Game Design - SEM1128758 Matt Forbeck, Jonathan Tweet, Jeff Neil Bellinger, Stan!, Daniel Solis Designing games is as much about what NOT to do, as it is what you should do. Our Industry Insider panelist Stan!, Jeff Neil Bellinger, Matt Forbeck, Daniel Solis and Jonathan Tweet will review different mistakes new (and experienced) game designers make. Thur 12pm - 1 Hr - ICC 212 Patronage & Kickstarter: How to Get Paid Up Front - SEM1128827 Gary M. Sarli, Wolfgang Baur, Daniel Solis, Greg Stolze Insights from Industry Insider Guests of Honor Wolfgang Baur, Gary M. Sarli, Daniel Solis and Greg Stolze on how they funded projects by convincing patrons to donate early in exchange for exclusive access, rewards, and even input into the pro

Cover Design for J.R. Blackwell's "Shelter In Place"

J.R. Blackwell asked me to lay out her zombie LARP Shelter In Place . For now, here's the first draft of the cover. and the rationale I sent along with it: "I decided to use real photos to make it clear that this isn't a tabletop RPG, which would normally use illustrations or computer-generated art on the cover. The first thing you see is a pair of eyes staring right back at you. I imagine these eyes would pop even if the book is on the back rack in the indie RPG shelves. All photos are sourced from CC-licensed Flickr photos or stock imagery. "I'm continuing the severe diagonal motif from the inside pages as a structure for the rest of the cover elements. To contrast the cold teal of the top half, the rest of the cover is an intense hazardous orange, like traffic cones or hunting jackets. "I hope you don't mind that I added "live" to the tagline. Purely from a marketing perspective, I thought the parallel between "live" and &qu

JIm White's Playtest Feedback for Belle of the Ball Beta v1.1

Jim White recently downloaded the Belle of the Ball Beta and playtested it with his group. He sent such a thorough and well-considered critique that I decided (with his permission) to just post the email in its entirety. I hope it starts a bit of conversation and maybe gets some more playlists going soon. --- I printed out and played Belle of the Ball Beta v.1.1 yesterday, and I thought I'd email you about my experience with it. We had 4 players; two of us were moderately hard-core gamers, and two were more casual board gamers. To give you an idea of our gaming context, yesterday we also played Bananagrams and Ticket to Ride Europe, and Bohnanza is a perennial favorite game. I picked Felicia Fawsley's Felicitous Feast as it seemed a simpler belle to start with. After a quick walk-through of the rules, we got to playing. First thing we wished for: Honored Guest tokens need to be something physically substantial so they can be seen more easily. I heard many comments a

"Next" or "Adjacent" [Twitter]

[ View the story ""Next" or "Adjacent"" on Storify]

"Cydonia or Bust" Letter Contest [Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple]

Grant Chen of gaming blog MiniEnt is holding a letter-writing contest to get the pilgrims to Mars! He says: "I want to see letters from Mars. That’s why MiniEnt is going to hold its very first contest: CyDonia or Bust ! We want to see letters from Mars addressed to the Pilgrims of the Flying Temple asking for help. "If you write the best letter, you’ll be getting a PDF of Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple when it becomes available for sale. "If you already have a copy, we can offer Happy Birthday Robot or some other non-Dresden Files PDF from the Evil Hat store." Deadline: Saturday, June 18, 2011 » See more at Cydonia or Bust!

Liz Radtke's Vector Trace for the Cover of Do: The Book of Letters

Liz just finished the vector trace for the cover of Do: The Book of Letters . I'll cel shade and color this like I did for the corebook's cover. W00t! » See the process . » Liz Radtke's Blog

Happy Anniversary, Mego!

I don't know how she puts up with me. :P

PDF of Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple Now Available to Backers

Hello, Backers! You should now have access to the electronic edition of Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple. This includes a full-color PDF and a barebones printer-friendly PDF, too. Hope you enjoy! Please share your experiences on forums, Facebook and Twitter. Ping me at gobi81 at gmail dot com when you do so. I'd love to share your stories, too. Here are some more updates: * The PDF will be for sale on in a few days! Or right now! * The book is at the printer. It is on schedule for distribution with plenty of time for GenCon. (I'll be a GenCon signing books at the Indie Press Revolution booth. Schedule TBD.) * The book will be on sale for pre-order in July at . * Do: The Book of Letters is being edited and illustrated right now. (All of your letters have been accepted!) You can see Liz Radtke's sketches for the cover here . * We plan on wrapping up BoL in late July, so look for more announcements then.

First playtest of Stupor Market [In the Lab]

We playtested Stupor Market at local German restaurant and bar Ingrid's Kitchen. (Great food and drinks as usual.) Findings: * During the reveal, holding up your word next to your card made it much easier to tally points. Definitely including that in the rules. * Being clear about how to phrase point scoring is particularly important. Easiest way to explain it was as "Bonus" points. "You get one point for every food you guess correctly. You get a bonus point for every player who guessed your food correctly, but not if they all guessed correctly. In that case, you only get your standard points, but not bonus points." * I had an occasional advantage because I knew which foods were in the deck, but I was still perplexed by some of the words. "YALLER BUR PEDDER?" * 30 seconds feels like a good time limit. No need to be randomized, but may need to increase for more players. * A low-budget version of the game would be just a deck of food cards, re

Dan Cetorelli Completes Hand-Bound Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple

Dan Cetorelli just put the finishing touches on the custom, hand-bound copy of Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple. This lovely artifact is going to our highest Kickstarter backer, along with a bunch of other Evil Hat goodies. If you've enjoyed watching Dan's process, leave a comment on his blog !

Good and Bad Examples of Game Jargon [Twitter]

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Iron Solis [Twitter]

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Lyndsay Peters' Dragon Chow Bags for Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple

One of the exciting things about the exclusive rewards we offered for the Kickstarter is when they actually become real! Lyndsay Peters of Dragon Chow Dice Bags made these pouches with custom fabric combination for Do's high-end backers. I'll bundle them up with the green and white stones and send them along with the game as soon as it's printed. Thanks so much, Lyndsay! » Dragon Chow Dice Bags

#DoCrossover [Twitter]

I have really fun brainstorming sessions with twitterfolk. I'd like to save those conversations for posterity, so I'm experimenting with Storify and starting a new "Twitter" tag. Storify lets you embed a whole stream of related social media units into a single widget. Each tweet has live links so you can reply and retweet straight from the widget, too. Saves me the work of directly linking to each tweet. Really enjoying it so far. Hope you dig it, too! [ View the story "Dear Pilgrims of the Flying Temple - #DoCrossover" on Storify]

Thousand Year Game Design Challenge - May Update

Recent buzz from the Long Now Blog , MetaFilter , and Jane McGonigal spurred a huge spike in traffic. We had several new entries last month and many more rumored to be coming soon. Here's what we have for May. Cartography by Benjamin Alan Mohr Here's an example of a classic genre with a clever visual motif. Each tile has land and water. One player is trying to create self-contained areas of land (islands) while the other is trying to create self-contained areas of water (lakes). I look forward to giving this one a play or two. The Movie Game by Tonio Loewald (or the World-Playing Game) This game is sort of a freeform narrative exercise in which each player takes on the role of a character from a movie, using the beginning, middle or end as a breakpoint from the established story. Together, the players take turns being the protagonist and supporting cast. Rush Run Riot by Kelvin Beriguete This kinda-sorta chess variant strips down your pieces to kings, pawns and &q

Liz Radtke's Cover Sketches for Do: The Book of Letters

Sketch process between Liz Radtke and I as she illustrates the cover of Do: The Book of Letters. This is just one way an art director and artist can work together and certainly not the only way. We've been friends for years, so that certainly influences how well we work together. My first direction to Liz was something like this: "Let's continue using the same trio of pilgrims for the covers, with dreadlock kid taking the spotlight. This time, they're being chased by some kind of crazy monster on the back cover. I dunno. Something crazy, though. Go wild." She came back with the first sketch you see up top. She says: "The monster on the back is kind of a mix of a Kirin and Lamassu (a Sumerian god.) He is being teased by that awful rabbit jerk. With eggs. Get it? Rabbit eggs. :P Hopefully no one will read into this too much as a battle between Christians and Pagans, but I do love me some weird mythology." I compiled some art references as notes to