game compilation idea

I would be interested in publishing a book of short games. A compilation of out-of-the-box ideas in the 500-2000 word range. Before I begin soliciting for people to be included in my endeavor, is this something people would even be interested in submitting games for? I have no interest in owning the rights to your games, but rather to add them to a document of short games I've been working on for a while now.

Who would even want to be in a book like this? Knowing full-well that I'm going to edit your text heavily to make it match my publishing style?

(Knowing who I am might help you determine that I'm not a publish neophyte.)

So begins the conversation where I learn there's a better way to ask this question and I constantly update my verbiage to find a better way to ask this question.

Comments

  • You may know "200 word rpg". Many authors hadn't published anything before, a few had already published a few games. There is a lot of disposable games in it, but the project worked, like a blow of wind on embers, and it's still available.
    I would give my game, sure, but that's not necessarily a good thing for you :p
  • i am aware of 200 word (i've actually written two myself). i am looking for out of the box games, not necessarily abbreviated ones. but if the book is to include MANY games, it can't have long games.
  • Were you thinking of a particular theme, or just a grab-bag of whatever you might attract?

    I'm asking because while I like the format, I think that an anthology should have some sort of an unifying topic to justify its existence.
  • I got some free (and playtested) games that people can download as pdfs, but I'm interested in including them in a book too.
  • I'd be interested. What's the theme?
  • I would also be interested, if any of my existing games might be of interest for the project. I don't have the time or skills to publish them myself, so it would be nice to see them in circulation. "Edit your text heavily" gives me pause, however; will the author retain any kind of veto or editorial control?
  • I would also be interested, if any of my existing games might be of interest for the project. I don't have the time or skills to publish them myself, so it would be nice to see them in circulation. "Edit your text heavily" gives me pause, however; will the author retain any kind of veto or editorial control?
    when i say edit, i mean clean up the verbiage, not change your rules. lots of people write games in noisome style and i prefer concision.
    I'd be interested. What's the theme?
    i don't know that yet. my preference is to collect a series of games that people can break out and play in under two hours at a convention or when you're waiting for others. and also, written short enough so i can include 50 or so games in the same book.

    at this point, i'm brainstorming. when i land on something, there will be a different post about it, asking for submissions.
  • Jim,

    I understand the desire and need for editing. However, what if the author feels that your edits have altered something significant in the game?
  • everyone will see the pdf before i goes out. that's everyone's chance to tell me i screwed it up.
  • Ok, thanks! That would probably be enough for me. :)
  • @rgrassi may be interested too ?
  • @DeReel thanks.
    @jim pinto Yes, I may be interested. Almost all of my games are downloadable here.
    http://www.levity-rpg.net/en/?page_id=398

    Rob
  • edited April 2018
    Jim,

    I’d be interested; however, I very much disagree that theme should be the major unifier. I think that the quality of the game’s should be most important dispite theme or genre; there are lots and lots of short games to choose from, but less that have been vetted via rigorous play-testing and the like, and that actually play well. Often concept is chosen over quality and a thorough vetting isn’t done, do to the work load necessary.

    I suggest making this the first criteria, and having the submitters play-test each other’s games thoroughly—have a requirement that submitters must playtest a certain number of their competitors games, vote on the best, group them by genre or theme, and then publish the book. Make sure to be patient with the process so that enough playtesting is done to separate the wheat from the chaff. I know you like to work fast, so outsource most of the play-testing and work on your other designs while the best submissions become clear.

    One of the biggest problems with these type of publications is their pool quality—they need to be good games. 20 good games would be much better than 50 poorly tested, mediocre games chosen because of their “cool concept.” This is what would make the publication unique, appealing, lasting and have real merit.
  • I actually agree with that. There are so many games out there these days, and picking through to find the good ones is a much more valuable service or draw for me than a themed compilation.
  • edited April 2018
    I would be interested in publishing a book of short games. A compilation of out-of-the-box ideas in the 500-2000 word range.
    I've worked with a 2000-word limit for Worlds Without Master (including one game that made it, one that didn't, and one which I gave up trying to cut down to 2000 words and am going to publish through some other venue eventually). I found it challenging, maybe quite restrictive, but definitely viable and perhaps stimulating.
    Who would even want to be in a book like this? Knowing full-well that I'm going to edit your text heavily to make it match my publishing style?
    As a non-native writer of English, the promise of decisive editing actually feels like a plus.
    I suggest making this the first criteria, and having the submitters play-test each other’s games thoroughly—have a requirement that submitters must playtest a certain number of their competitors games, vote on the best, group them by genre or theme, and then publish the book. Make sure to be patient with the process so that enough playtesting is done to separate the wheat from the chaff. I know you like to work fast, so outsource most of the play-testing and work on your other designs while the best submissions become clear.
    While I disagree that more testing directly translates to higher quality, that sure does help. If @jim pinto managed to actually get this mutual playtest group going, that in itself would be a valuable aspect of the deal.

    However, I confess I dislike the somewhat pseudo-Darwinist bullshit overtones of this paragraph! :P Not all ideas are good, but most non-bad ideas can actually be honed to good games with hard work. If we see playtesting as part of such work - and in going with this suggestion it's already implied we do - then good, useful playtesting is specialized labor which demands compensation!
    Specifically, I believe one should find ways to compensate those people who'll be involved with the project by playtesting other people's games but whose games won't themselves make it into the book. Consider, for example, sharing any dividends with all project members in the testing pool rather than just the final royalty-entitled authors (whatever meager dividends are to be had from an RPG book, anyway). Or not. But whatever the editor chooses to do should help differentiate this project from just another game-design contest with a mandatory-not-really-mandatory peer review phase and rise the buy-in bar for getting involved - so that one gets better thought-out, better quality submissions to begin with, and get them from people who really are motivated to try each other's out.

    EDITED TO CLARIFY WHO I'M TALKING TO
  • edited April 2018

    Not all ideas are good, but most non-bad ideas can actually be honed to good games with hard work.
    I definitely agree with this, and was going to add something to include it in the process, but I didn’t really know what the right approach would be. Maybe, there could be one playtest phase in which people help refine each other’s games—with feedback, suggestions, etc—so that people who had good/innovative ideas that weren’t executed very well in design terms, could get their game’s in shape, and then after that a second playtesting phase (with actual voting) could start.

    Then the people who get the most votes get published and those whose don’t get sentenced to death—survival of the fittest, baby! :wink: j/k Rafu...but I’m serious about the first paragraph. :smile:



  • edited April 2018
    i have no idea who here is familiar with my work and who isn't, so i won't presume anything and certainly do not want to sound like i'm talking down to anyone. that is not my intent. i find a great deal of GMless gaming verbiage to be cumbersome IN THE CONTEXT of the fact that it is a GMless game. or a story game. or whatever. the audiences for these games GENERALLY know how to frame a scene.

    however.

    i've spent the last 10 years making story games for a different kind of crowd. my games are meant to create a shared language (see protocol) for how things operate. a vignette and an interlude (for example) are terms i devised that i wish appeared in more GMless games.

    this kind of book could benefit from a shared language of narration that does not undermine each game's desire to develop their own narratives.

    a book filled with great game ideas that have been cracked and reformed to include only the essential elements because the book has already taught you what an ensemble scene is will only benefit from editing and playtesting.

    i have zero interest in a grab bag of loosely-fitting games. but, my intent at this point was merely to mine the forum for INTEREST in such a book. could it even generate enough sales to be of interest to the 500 people who would need to buy it to justify the work.

    end rant
  • a book filled with great game ideas that have been cracked and reformed to include only the essential elements because the book has already taught you what an ensemble scene is will only benefit from editing and playtesting.
    I would buy something like this: there are many times I've just been tempted to write a "General Theory of Storygaming" pdf and include it as a freebie with everything else I create, just so I don't have to write that chapter again for the Nth time.
  • i've spent the last 10 years making story games for a different kind of crowd. my games are meant to create a shared language (see protocol) for how things operate. a vignette and an interlude (for example) are terms i devised that i wish appeared in more GMless games.

    this kind of book could benefit from a shared language of narration that does not undermine each game's desire to develop their own narratives.

    a book filled with great game ideas that have been cracked and reformed to include only the essential elements because the book has already taught you what an ensemble scene is will only benefit from editing and playtesting.
    Well, that looks like quite a good summary of your work - which I'm not familiar with except in name. Reading this actually increases my interest in checking it out.

    "Collection of short games by a single author, unified by genre/setting" (such as Protocol Fantasy) has never caught my interest powerfully enough, I admit - there's a bit of "I already have like a thousand one-shot games to try out" and a bit of "How can this one guy write these many games and they all possibly be good? Why doesn't he choose one big bad idea to showcase instead? Is this just the vanity press of RPG books?"
    This talk about a collection by multiple authors, especially with the "editing them for coherence" element, instinctively holds more promise to me: there's an air of mature project management and fostering talent to it that I find alluring. One pictures the established self-publisher with a record of successful kickstarters, regular convention attendance, established Internet presence dangling an opportunity before the oddball, punk game-designer who might chance upon it.

    In fact, because of this increased interest I'm going to ask: if I were to buy and read just one of your works to get an idea, which one would you recommend? Which is the one you're most proud of? (I know it's a hard question to answer, totally unfair to a creator).

    Now, if I encountered the multi-author anthology after the fact - and had never seen this one discussion - my interest in buying it would depend largely on the subject matter. Specifically, the more unusual, provocative, unexpected and politically charged the theme, the more likely I am to buy an RPG book - but that's me. Who are the contributing authors would be the other defining factor:
    - Do I know one of them and think they're a genius? The work of some authors I'm even an avid collector of - could trigger an "I can't miss it" effect.
    - Do I know none of them and they all look like a diverse bunch of people, from all corners of the world and walks of life, none of the usual suspects? "Breath of fresh air" effect will kick in.
  • a book filled with great game ideas that have been cracked and reformed to include only the essential elements because the book has already taught you what an ensemble scene is will only benefit from editing and playtesting.
    I would buy something like this: there are many times I've just been tempted to write a "General Theory of Storygaming" pdf and include it as a freebie with everything else I create, just so I don't have to write that chapter again for the Nth time.
    i have written so many advice books, i can't keep track anymore

    i wrote the GM chapter for Legend of the Five Rings 4th edition in a day

    here's my guide to protocol and story games:

    http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/180167/Protocol-Primer-A-Guide-to-GMless-Gaming

  • "Collection of short games by a single author, unified by genre/setting" (such as Protocol Fantasy) has never caught my interest powerfully enough, I admit - there's a bit of "I already have like a thousand one-shot games to try out" and a bit of "How can this one guy write these many games and they all possibly be good? Why doesn't he choose one big bad idea to showcase instead? Is this just the vanity press of RPG books?"

    In fact, because of this increased interest I'm going to ask: if I were to buy and read just one of your works to get an idea, which one would you recommend? Which is the one you're most proud of? (I know it's a hard question to answer, totally unfair to a creator).
    ha. i get that all the time.

    here's the short response. i have too many story ideas and too many games i want to write. i'm in the 2006 guiness book of world records for the longest RPG book ever made (at that time).

    so. if you want to check out a Protocol fantasy game to see what i can do (and that everyone seems to like), check out HOME.

    if you want to check out a Praxis fantasy game I'm really proud of, check out Black Monk.

    if you want to see a sandbox fantasy campaign book that it's in the top 4% of sales on drivethrurpg, check out King for a Day.

    if you want to see my politically charged games, check out coyote, skyrise, or nacht engel (all protocols)

    and for my darkest work to date, check out heaven's collapse.

    if you really want my BEST thing ever… it's black monk. which is why i made five different versions of it.

    as for the rest of your comments, that's exactly what i was looking for. which ingredients would motivate people to give a crap about ME doing an anthology of games.
  • edited April 2018
    For those asking about Jim’s work:

    I own a lot of his works: his (Protocol game collections [Book 1 and Book 2]); his Praxis series of games and their accessories—as well as, Heaven’s Collapse; and Protocol Primer.

    Most of you know that I’m an RPG collection junky, so it won’t come as a surprise that I haven’t had time to play any of Jim’s games yet; that said, I’ve browsed them and I’ve read Protocol Primer.

    The one thing I can say about Protacol Primer is that Jim makes it clear that he understands GMless design and talks about many of the same issues that I’ve raised about the form; he doesn’t fall into the same design traps/issues that result from some of the widespread, unexamined assumptions about the form—assumptions that result in unsatisfactory stories happening way too often in many GMless games. Also, he’s refreshingly honest about these issues.

    So even though I’ve yet to play his games, I can tell (given his insights) that he understands design and issues in the GMless form better than most. Pretty much everything we play at Story Games SLC have been GMless games, and we play a different one every week, so this is one area of game design I feel qualified to speak about. Take it for what you will.

    ...this kind of book could benefit from a shared language of narration that does not undermine each game's desire to develop their own narratives.

    a book filled with great game ideas that have been cracked and reformed to include only the essential elements because the book has already taught you what an ensemble scene is will only benefit from editing and playtesting.

    i have zero interest in a grab bag of loosely-fitting games...
    Jim, can you give us some more detail about what you mean by the games having a “shared language of narration.” Are you talking primarily about the terms and the language of the book AND/OR are you essentially saying that the book should consist of games that that share similar design elements as your own games and others that have design tech that produce a narrative-style/gameplay-style similar to the narrative-style/gameplay-style in games like Protocol, Praxis and the like? With the other designers essentially riffing on these elements? Of the GMless-ish variety, or the like? I’m having trouble understanding the exact type of game designs that the game’s in the book would consist of; what would this language and these elements consistent of? And what would their features/qualities be like in the broad sense? I’m familiar with your designs so you can use them for the purpose of comparison. Any info would be super helpful :smile:

    I would personally be very interested in, and would purchase, the book, if I’m understanding the type of book you’re talking about making, if it rifted on similar designs to your own and other similar, tried-and-true designs in the GMless-ish/GM-lite design space, it would be really cool. I think you could very likely sell 500 copies, especially if it included a lot of other designers’ games. If you go into the nature of the type of games you’d include I could provide a better idea; people at Story Games SLC buy these types of games, we have about 130 members, so I could at least give you an idea about their level of interest. Thanks :smile:

  • Jim, can you give us some more detail about what you mean by the games having a “shared language of narration.” Are you talking primarily about the terms and the language of the book AND/OR are you essentially saying that the book should consist of games that that share similar design elements as your own games and others that have design tech that produce a narrative-style/gameplay-style similar to the narrative-style/gameplay-style in games like Protocol, Praxis and the like? With the other designers essentially riffing on these elements? Of the GMless-ish variety, or the like? I’m having trouble understanding the exact type of game designs that the game’s in the book would consist of; what would this language and these elements consistent of? And what would their features/qualities be like in the broad sense? I’m familiar with your designs so you can use them for the purpose of comparison. Any info would be super helpful :smile:
    Protocol and Praxis utilize a language of scene types. If you were work on a movie set, there's a language to how a movie gets made. Expecting players to know all the rules and tools of narration (how you write a story) is cumbersome. In order to write their narrative (the story itself), Protocol and Praxis remove the language of narration and reduce it down to the most essential parts: vignette, interlude, interrogation, ensemble, fork, intercut, etc.

    Games do not even need hard and fast rules on how to use those scene-framing techniques. But making players aware of them and deciding what kind of scene you have takes a lot of guess work out of your turn as 'director' (another term I use to describe the person whose turn it is).

    This language takes up anywhere from half a page to 12 pages of a book based on how developed one needs it to be.

    BUT.

    I honestly believe, the language of Protocol and Praxis scene-types should be in any and all scene-framing games. It is just that helpful for new players. And if I'm publishing someone else's games in my compilation, you better believe the compilation itself is going to open with that language and tell people, these are the types of scenes out there. They are training wheels for narration until you don't need them anymore.

    And that's for the other kind words.
  • I think that this plan looks pretty good - a book like that would certainly be a worthwhile endeavour. I've thought of doing something similar myself at some point. The technical editing will make individual games consistently understandable, and having the games all feature similar social footprint (tools, no. of players, time it takes to learn and play) helps a selection have practical utility.

    I'm thinking, though, that it'd be even better if you did this as a website: you could update it over time with new games, sell it as a subscription service (free samples, 5 dollars per month of unlimited access?) and distribute author royalties in as simple or complex manner as preferred - by popularity, for example.

    The length limit means that it's trivial for a person to print out the game they want to play, after all, or just read it off the screen. The games will also probably lean towards low replayability value, which makes a couple of sheets of print superior to a bound book on a per-session basis.

    I will consider participation carefully once the concrete proposal takes shape.

  • I will consider participation carefully once the concrete proposal takes shape.
    Ditto.
  • edited April 2018
    I see this kind of thing (a compendium of short games that cohere to a specific set of terms of art) as a far more valuable offering than a book that elaborates just one game. Our playtest group in Seattle (only 4 months old technically, but with shared roots that go back some years prior) writes and plays games almost entirely within the size range you are looking at. Not sure who among us would be interested. There’s probably a dozen or so games we’ve brought to life in recent months. Most of these are still being worked on. Are you thinking Kickstarter? Paper and pdf? Straight to drivethru?
    I’ll have to read some of your games!

    Anywho, interesting idea. One we might have been slowly slowly inching toward, but that hasn’t crossed over into the manifest realm of discussion in our group. I’ll bring this up at our next playtest.
  • Jim, You live in federal way (I just discovered). You should come by our Meetup group sometime. Look up RPG workshop in Seattle. It could be fun to loop you in to our goings ons.
Sign In or Register to comment.