2018-02-21 : Retrospective: How RPGs Work

Over the years, I've presented here a number of series of posts about how I think rpgs work. Some of them were fruitful, some less so, but here are a few of my favorites.

Dice & Clouds (2009)
Prologue: 1-18-05 : How RPG Rules Work
2009-04-07 : 3 Resolution Systems
2009-04-09 : cloud-to-cloud
2009-04-09 : Scale, Depth, Clouds, Dice
2009-04-10 : A Moment of Judgment
2009-04-27 : Dice & Cloud: a Symmetry
2009-05-13 : Now where WAS I...
2009-06-07 : Concrete Examples of Arrows
2009-06-08 : Restating: Fictional Causes and Realization
2009-06-09 : Adequacy, Cause and Effect
2009-06-15 : Lazy Play vs IIEE with Teeth
Culminating in:
2009-06-24 : Rock of Tahamaat, Tyrant of IIEE

Unreliable Currency (2010)
Prologue: 2005-05-20 : Things on Character Sheets
2010-02-16 : Things on Character Sheets (2)
2010-02-18 : Currency - Spanning Divide and Range
2010-02-19 : Shared Positioning at the Micro
2010-02-23 : Can your brains just do it?
2010-03-01 : Reliable vs Unreliable Currency

Monster Mania Con (2012)
2012-02-11 : 3 Problems
2012-03-15 : Monster Mania Con
2012-03-19 : If it isn't an RPG, is it still an RPG?
2012-03-21 : Monster Mania Con: barriers to interest
2012-04-14 : Jessica Hammer on Dread

Positioning, Real & Fictional (2012)
2012-11-12 : Where were we...?
2012-11-14 : Emily on Fictional Positioning
2012-11-15 : the Big Model vs Emily, reconciled
2012-11-16 : System and gameplay options
2012-11-20 : My Premature Conclusion
2012-11-21 : Some Looly Pooly Groundwork
2012-11-26 : Two Timelines
2012-12-04 : Two Timelines in Text
2012-12-07 : Legitimacy and Occult Co-ownership
2012-12-20 : Retroactive
2012-12-26 : what about Resource and Effectiveness?
2012-12-27 : the Okay Cycle
2012-12-28 : Disagreements?

Objects Schmobjects (2014)
2014-07-15 : Procedure, Components, Object, Strategy, Style
2014-07-17 : Strategy vs Style
2014-07-18 : Objects of RPGs
2014-07-18 : Non-Endstate Objects, Strategy & Style
2014-07-19 : Aside: Designing a Bell Curve
2014-07-21 : The Object and Particular Strategy
2014-07-21 : Reminder: Object Schmobject
2014-07-23 : The Trouble with RPGs
2014-07-24 : The Trouble with RPGs (ii)
2014-07-25 : RPGs Have Objects, Q&A

2018-02-20 : Retrospective: Games

Over the years I've published a few complete or complete-ish games here on anyway. Some of these are pretty fun!

Matchmaker (2001)

Otherkind Dice (2003)

Toward One (2003)

The Nighttime Animals Save the World (2004)

Rock of Tahamaat, Space Tyrant (2008)

Spin the Beetle (2014)

Midsummer Wood (2014)

The Vengeful Demon of the Ring (2015)

High Five the ISS (2015)

2017-09-22 : Two Apocalypse World / PbtA Things

One is a Twitter thread:

Basic moves in Apocalypse World! A quick & dirty thread for PbtA designers! #PbtAdesign

The other is An open letter re: Powered by the Apocalypse:

Dear friends, fellow designers, critics, and concerned citizens,
It was a going topic, not to say a sore point, at Gen Con, so please allow Meg and me to define once and for all what "Powered by the Apocalypse" is.

I'm always happy to answer questions, so if you've got 'em, feel free!

2017-09-01 : Systems in Miniature

In Rise of the Videogame Zinesters, my unrivaled favorite book of game thinkery, Anna Anthropy puts forward this thesis*:

Just as we draw pictures to examine, explore, understand, or explain things, and just as we write poems to examine, explore, understand, or explain feelings, so we create games to examine, explore, understand, or explain dynamic systems.

Sketch the line at the RMV and you learn something about what it is; write a poem about the line at the RMV and you learn something about how it feels; design a game about the line at the RMV and you learn something about how it works.

I have kind of a lot to say about some of our games - games that Meg and I have designed, games that our friends have designed. What I want to say, follows from this idea of Anna's, so I'm starting here.

But even more, I think that this idea of Anna's is important and good, and I recommend her book. She says that we should all design games, basically all the time, basically whenever we meet a dynamic system and we want to tell someone else about it or understand it better than we do.

2017-08-28 : Vigil

Over at his Patreon, Ron Edwards has just released the very first playtest/notes document for Vigil [patrons only], a superhero game he's working on. I got to try it out at GenCon, and holy mac am I excited for it.

In full, sober honesty, I've never once actually cared about a superhero before now.

Here's the deal: we sit down and we choose something that we all honestly hate, in real life. In our game, it was debt used as an instrument of violent control. Which seems a little abstract when I write it out, but you should just feel my blood boiling over here.

Then we create our characters. Before we start, as an absolute given, we know two things about them:

First, they have broken the law and will break the law to fight debt as an instrument of violent control. Given.

Second, they're living a double life: a workaday life and a vigilante life. Given.

So here's me, and I'm like, you are TOO GODDAMN RIGHT I've broken the law and will keep breaking the law to fight debt as an instrument of violent control! And I have this rising enraged coil of light inside me, and a few minutes later I have this character I can channel it into. I'm white-knuckled and grinning.

Anyhow, Ron's got a ton of work to put into this game still, and I want him to have the time and space to do it, BADLY, and we all have this grinding erosion of time and space we have to contend with all the time. Back his Patreon if you can!

2017-08-09 : Shays' Rebellion

2017-08-01 : Apocalypse World is In Print Again

2017-07-25 : #rpgtheoryJuly: Violence In My Games

2017-06-24 : Roleplaying is a Conversation?

2017-06-07 : Failure in RPGs (by Paganini)

2016-12-12 : Love, Warmth, Good Will, etc.

2016-11-20 : Butt Trumpets

2016-07-26 : Amazons!

2016-06-07 : Core Tension

2016-05-31 : Fallen London Again