The FAQ section of the main challenge page was getting a little long, so I'm splitting it off to its own post. If you have any questions about the challenge, I'm happy to answer in the comments. :)
What inspired the challenge?
This challenge is inspired by The Long Now Foundation, whose support of long-term thinking influenced the scope of this challenge and its duration. It is also inspired by The X Prize Foundation, using contests to encourage private citizens to do public good. And the biggest inspiration is the DivNull Lark, in which one generous guy helps get unreleased games published.
What's your goal for the challenge?
Greg Stolze once said that Chess wouldn't be sold today because there isn't enough commercial potential. That lingered in my mind for years. I want to offer some incentive to would-be game designers who like making those games. Perhaps one of them will make the next classic that will stand the test of centuries.
Why such a generous timeline for the challenge?
The challenge spans a full year with a deadline for entries is in the middle of that year to give my wife and me (and anyone else) enough time to play the entries a few times. We like the idea of having enough patience to wait a year for the conclusion of the challenge.
How will you know if a game still exists a thousand years from now?
We won't, obviously, but we still like the idea of thinking that far in advance. Yes, it's an audacious, hubris-laden goal that makes a good headline. The challenge is as much about present-day design and production of game experiences as it is about the future.
How do we know you'll follow through? Is it possible there won't be a winner?
This is an understandable concern, but I hope have a good reputation among gaming community that my word is enough. So, take my word, there will be a winner announced on January 1, 2012 and he or she will earn the prize.
Who are you anyway?
We're just folks who like to play games. By day, I'm senior art director at an ad agency. By night, I like designing games and talking about game design in general. My wife is a crafty jack-of-all-trades and frequently my first playtester. Together with our friends, we play board games in coffee shops and host the occasional RPG at home.
Why special favor for creative commons licenses?
No one owns the rules for the classic games, which is one small part of why they have survived and adapted for so long. We actively encourage the use of Creative Commons license, in some form. It's won't make or break our decision, but it might give your game that extra little nudge to help it survive the next thousand years.
If the game is published after it is entered, but before the deadline, is it still be eligible for the prize?
Yes, it is still eligible. Actually, if you are able to concept and publish a game within the span of a year, we'll be very impressed. (It's uncommon, but doable.)
Is this an annual thing?
Maybe. We're waiting to see how the first year progresses before we make any plans for next year. We may need to change the format or requirements a bit here and there, but we want to get this first experiment completed.
I have a game that I posted to a blog/forum: What counts as "published"?
The reason we exclude "published" games is that we want to avoid any legal liabilities. (We're not lawyers, but money is always sticky issue, so we're just trying to keep ourselves safe.) We also wanted to make sure contestants were entering *new* games to the challenge. Now, what counts as "published"? If it has been produced in a physical format for commercial release, that is definitely published. If it's released online as a download for commercial release, that is also published. If it's posted online for free... We'll let that slide.