It seems to be my month for consulting on projects which have hunkered down in people's notebooks for fifteen or twenty years, refusing either to get past a design hump or to yield gracefully into "not gonna do this game" status.
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Here's where I post about my current role-playing game design consulting, with the permission of the clients. Sometimes it's a text piece, sometimes it's video or audio. Sometimes it's a discussion, and sometimes it's a playtesting session.
I do not insert my own design, writing, or editing into others' games. I engage with your goals and your aesthetic priorities to help you see your way through the questions or struggles you may have, to provide new information or perspectives, to play a little bit, to listen, and to ask the tough questions. Check out any of the posts and videos to see how it goes, and whether you'd like it.
- If you want to become a client, please click on the "Come into the Lab" link to contact me for initial discussion.
- If we agree it's a good fit, then the fee is 1000 SEK + VAT (250 SEK) for three sessions.
Manu's Finding Haven began as a contest entry and runner-up in the 2013 Iron Game Chef, and the accompanying tale is familiar to me. Briefly, these contests degenerated quickly into a takeover process in which game designs disintegrated. I have a fairly reliable procedure in my pocket for this situation. The underlying logic goes something like this.
Ever since Sean talked to me about consulting for his project The Empire of the Dragon Lotus, I've been looking through old files and papers for the earliest work by that name that I remembered from him, fifteen to seventeen years ago. I wanted to review some points of interest - especially since what he was working with now seemed to me pale or lacking in spark, at least as I'd recalled being there, if not what exactly.
Bleed as a term has arisen in and around the safety-techniques discussion of the past decade; I'm not sure who coined it or in what context. It concerns strong and possibly aversive or uncontrollable emotions that well up during play. If I'm not mistaken, at least sometimes it's identified as undesirable or unsafe.
The super-powered young (and not-so-young) godlings are now in action.
Here's our play experience with Ola's Compact Stories, which is well-timed considering our recently-concluded season of Primetime Adventures. It's a chance to perceive precisely what distinguishes his design, and for him to see what to dial down or to dial up inside it.
Similar to my consult with Jared, I wonder whether Jerry and I are even comprehensible to a third-party listener. I know it'll be entertaining; we've known each other for almost twenty years, trading thoughts about life et cetera. I kept laughing out loud while editing. However, he's published big, beautiful games (Atlantis, Hellas), managing money and production in ways I can't imagine or do.
I think you'll find this one interesting. Jared and I have known each other a long time, and in a significant fashion affecting the history of role-playing design. We don't explain when we talk, we say things and the other gets to process them internally and to decide what to say next. We just take it as given that there's some connection made and go on to make our own, and there is no overt "work" concerning the game design.
Ola Jansson has been working on his Compact Stories for a while, with plenty of playtesting and revision along the way. But it's hit that point I've identified as critical, when the design questions and the presentation questions are bleeding into one another. With any luck I can put some of the work of the past couple of years at this site to good use.
I love this quote from The Mountain Witch: "All conflict is a form of combat." For Justin Nichols' Kinfolk, the issue is that he's got a big whole-game arc of whether the invading industrials can be successfully repelled or otherwise stopped by the fey folk ... and sure, you can make a chapter structure, and sure, you can think of points that accumulate through lower-scale actions and fights ...