One thing I wanna do more of this year on this blog is talking about design. Particularly, I want to talk about things I learned in my three years of monthly games. I want to make sure that information lives here on a blog, a searchable data point, rather than in a notebook with an index and a scribbled number.
I’m doing this, because I want you to know what I’m doing. I’ve done a bit of stuff about the graphic design techniques I use, and I’ll try and keep those up. But I’m also going to try and talk more about decisions, the actual plans involved.
Okay, with that in mind, gunna start on this. Design is the process of making choices to achieve outcomes within constraints.
One of my constraints at the moment is the Pacific Ocean.
If I want to print a game, DriveThruCards asks me to order at least 1 copy before I can sell it on their storefront. They have to print it, then send it to me, a process that takes a few weeks. If I want to change anything, I have to print another copy, and get that sent. This means that a small revision can add two weeks to a work and a large revision can add six or so. This can also mean that sometimes I’ll have to stock up on a game, and realise it’s got a mistake in it after the fact and then I’m left with goods that just fail in some way. This can be a real bummer!
This is definitely a local thing. If you’re in America, the costs are much lower, and the wait times aren’t so bad.
This has me thinking more about digital distribution of goods. Things I can send to people digitally, or small products, are a good idea. Right now, the most basic ideas I can see here are what I consider booklet games, where a small booklet (and maybe some extra things like dice or playing cards) is all you need to play. Another option is RPG Supplements – things like classes, ancestries, equipment or whatnot for various tabletop game systems I like and use. Another option is print and play, which… well, last year I meant to do experiments in that, and I didn’t get around to sharing much about it.
The final option, which is a bit more ambitious, is the idea of an expanding supplement game. A game that starts with maybe 10-15 cards as a print-and-play; and then month to month, I start adding more to the print-and-play, until it culminates with a large, final design and visual aesthetic. This sounds really exciting especially if people invested in it get to request/suggest specific card ideas, and see their ideas implemented!
These are some ideas.
For now I think I’m going to try and talk more about the process of finishing up betas for Adventure Town, then the project currently called The Reunion. The Reunion is an improv game, a single-session RPG which can have a storyteller or not, based around the players all being actors coming together to reunite after their most successful show has ended, inspired by Bojack Horseman and a hidden-identity mechanic I cannot escape thinking about.