Archive for January 2nd, 2009

Damn You, Paul

2009 Jan 2

Listening to Paul Tevis has provoked me into planning a podcast again. Here’s my outline for the first episode:

Top Five Interesting Developments of 2008
(in no particular order)

1. Fourth Edition: focused design, the GMG being good, skill challenges, making minis fun, borrowing good stuff from Blizzard, the GSL eliminating most third party publishers.

2. Diversification of the Forge Diaspora: too many games to keep up with, too many different kinds of games to like them all, localization of communities, and (finally) diversification of publication models beginning.

3. Nordic Invasion: US roleplaying scene stops playing footsie with Scandinavia and gets serious, Jeep arrives, Eero publishes Zombie Cinema and Solar System, Chris Pramas goes to Ropecon, etc.

4. Leading with the Fiction: with In A Wicked Age and Poison’d, Vincent points to another alternative to focusing on resolution.

5. Structured Freeform Arrives Despite Me: thanks to Eero (Zombie Cinema), Elizabeth (It’s Complicated), and Shreyas (Mist-Robed Gate).

Yes, between Jeep, leading with the fiction, and structured freeform… that gives us three new styles of design and play that don’t focus on resolution. Woohoo!

Five Predictions for 2009

1. Further syncretization of board games, card games, miniatures games, roleplaying games, and larp as the differences between genres of “analog games” are destroyed by boundary-spanning designs.

2. White Wolf has to do something to avoid becoming Palladium Books, producing the same kinds of games for the same audience. They’ve already started producing fancy board games. Maybe they produce a focused design RPG (not their traditional fare), produce a legitimate RPG-board game hybrid (probably based on Exalted), or start a boutique label in the mode of Vertigo, hiring “edgy indie designers” to revamp IP they’re not currently using (“Luke Crane’s Dark Age Viking Werewolves”) or producing creator-owned content by their own freelancers.

3. GenCon stops being the annual meeting of the indie game community as the community diversifies and fragments, localizes, and tries different publishing styles.

4. In similar terms to my White Wolf prediction, some company steps up to be the Vertigo/Image of the indie games scene, publishing creator-owned material for a number of people who would otherwise be creator-publishers. Keep your eye on Fred Hicks and Brennan Taylor in this regard.

5. The GSL is revised to be more publisher-friendly, but it’s too late to change the general movement towards medium-sized publishers using proprietary or open content, not licensing stuff from Wizards.