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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 92 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Short Games  (Read 1675 times)
Uncle Dark
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Posts: 215


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« on: August 07, 2001, 10:42:00 PM »

Hi, all.

I have to thank Jared for introducing me to a concept so brilliant it looks glaringly obvious, after the fact.

I'm talking aobut short games.  Complete, playable games that print out to 10 pages or less.  It seems obvious (now) that rules-light games don't have to be 128 pages long to be good.

One of the keys is in the way that the rules themselves present the (admittedly minimalistic) setting.  The names of attributes, and the way the mechanics work, say as much about what  the game focuses on and what characters are about as any bit of "fiction" that can be used to pad out a game.

Thanks, Jared.

Lon
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unodiablo
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« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2001, 07:28:00 AM »

Try Jared's InSpectres!

We played a session at GenCon and it was a blast! Very much like the movies GhostBusters or Evolution, with more corporate sillyness thrown in. Can't wait to play it again locally!

Sean
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Uncle Dark
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« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2001, 09:23:00 AM »

I downloaded InSpectres and it's supplements last night.  Maybe I'll get to look at them tonight, after classes and clients.

No, that's not an RPG.  Though it could be...

Hurm.  Attributes like "Fake It" which measures the student therapist's ability to project confidence to the client  despite the fact that this is their first session with their first client.

A "santity" track which drops steadily as the character struggles to balance grad school, client load, paying jobs, real life, and his obsession with indie games...

Nah.

Lon
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Jared A. Sorensen
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« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2001, 09:37:00 AM »

Quote

I'm talking aobut short games.  Complete, playable games that print out to 10 pages or less.  It seems obvious (now) that rules-light games don't have to be 128 pages long to be good.


I'm really conflicted about the whole "minimalist" game thing. First of all, I'm a sprinter. I don't want to go the long haul on a writing project (and I probably can't)...which is why I don't consider myself to be a writer. I can do micro-fiction and fragments, that's it. Anything else and I start showing my weaknesses as a writer.

But (and I stress that this is a result of 17 years of expsoure to RPGs), don't RPGs HAVE to be mighty tomes? I know that they DON'T (for real) but still...I show someone a copy of Squeam of Schism and I say, "Haha...please buy my game?" and I feel sick.

At least the big games have a lot of shit, even if it's shit, right?

Tooth & Claw is going to be 64 pages. Holy shit. That seems like a lot.

I'm on the brink of starting a "scareware" program for selling Squeam 3 - download it and send me $5 if you like it. Even THAT level of salesmanship bothers me (witness my reticence to dive into the Sorcerer sales pit-bull style like Ron, Raven, et al) -- it ain't a fear of public speaking...it's just because money makes me ill.

Making it, spending it...no problem.

Selling my WORK for it?  Gah.

So, any words of advice or encouragement would be most helpful.

- J
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Ferry Bazelmans
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« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2001, 01:11:00 PM »

Quote

So, any words of advice or encouragement would be most helpful.


Words of encouragement...?

Think of this. Isn't it justifiable to ask a few dollars for a game you spent a little more effort on to make it worth those dollars. For example, I am currently working on Toothfaerie Inc. which should weigh in at about 32 - 40 pages including original artwork and a cool lay-out. I think that is worth $2.00 for download of the PDF.

If I'd have put it on the net without unique artwork its production values would not be sufficient for me to feel comfortable with charging money for it. So I wouldn't.

That said, Scareware of something equally non-obligatory is no problem at all. I could put a dice mechanic on-line and make it scareware. :smile:

You're not making people send you money, you're giving them something and asking them to be generous if they like it. My guess is in this industry you will get at least some money from it.

I'd go for it. It doesn't compromise your integrity, it fuels your next project, right?

Crayne
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sdemory
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Posts: 84


« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2001, 01:43:00 PM »

    No words of inspirado here, but perhaps a business plan.
    Have you considered going halfway in-depth on about four games, packaging them together and selling them together? Not necessarily a connected set of games (InSpectres/Ward 13/Nightwatch)... just games, a little background, a few characters and an adventure for each one. Doing six or seven pages of text per game wouldn't be too much of a hassle, and it'd give enough of a path to push people in a good direction with your games.
    Something to think about.
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Uncle Dark
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« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2001, 07:30:00 PM »

Quote


But (and I stress that this is a result of 17 years of expsoure to RPGs), don't RPGs HAVE to be mighty tomes? I know that they DON'T (for real) but still...I show someone a copy of Squeam of Schism and I say, "Haha...please buy my game?" and I feel sick.

At least the big games have a lot of shit, even if it's shit, right?



And there you answer your own question.  If the game is 10 pages of good stuff and 54 pages of shit, why the hell would I want to pay  $16 out of $20 for stuff I'm just gonna ignore, anyway?

Now, I'm not saying that I'll never buy another RPG.  Nor am I saying that I'll never buy another big (64-128+ page) game.  I did just pay Ron for the Sorcerer hardback, after all.

What I am praising you for is delivering the good stuff without making me wade through 100 pages of secondary material to get to it.

Quote


it's just because money makes me ill.

Making it, spending it...no problem.

Selling my WORK for it?  Gah.



I understand.  I feel the same way about some of my spiritual and therapeutic work.  Think about it this way:

What you have up on the site (for the most part) is stuff that you put together as a hobby over a couple of afternoons.  To turn it into a full game (with setting ideas and more examples and stuff) would require you to spend more time on it.  So, the (for example) 32 page full version of The Code would represent several hours of labor on your part.  You wouldn't be charging for the creative inspiration, you'd be charging for the labor of putting a professional polish on it.

Not that there's anything wrong with getting paid for being cool and creative.  Or so I tell myself.

I've got no problem with charging (roughly) a buck a minute for tarot readings.  My readings are good ones, and usually take only 10 or 15 minutes.  But I'd never be able to sleep at night if I charged $25 for 15 minutes, and then pad the reading out to at least 30 minutes, like some readers do.  For me, the question is "where have I crossed the line between fair pricing and gouging the customer?"

I hope all that made some sense...

Lon
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sdemory
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Posts: 84


« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2001, 05:19:00 AM »

On 2001-08-08 23:30, Uncle Dark wrote:
Quote

Think about it this way:

What you have up on the site (for the most part) is stuff that you put together as a hobby over a couple of afternoons.  To turn it into a full game (with setting ideas and more examples and stuff) would require you to spend more time on it.  So, the (for example) 32 page full version of The Code would represent several hours of labor on your part.  You wouldn't be charging for the creative inspiration, you'd be charging for the labor of putting a professional polish on it.

Not that there's anything wrong with getting paid for being cool and creative.  Or so I tell myself.



    Exactly. I'd be happy to shell out for a more fully-realized version of one of the Memento Mori games, and I wouldn't feel that it was somehow a cheat. One must acknowledge, appreciate and pay for additional work on a project. That's reasonable, and I don't think anyone who enjoys or cares about gaming would argue that point. Actually, some people would... but they're not worth listening to.
    Another point: There's a certain degree of pride in patronage. There's nothing wrong with paying someone who's cool and creative for sharing that cool creativity, either. Especially if it allows one to work toward the cool, creative person's vision and become a collaborator in the creative process. That's all to the good.
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FilthySuperman
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« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2001, 04:11:00 AM »

Man this topic is near and dear...

I've been working on "indie" games for years, but I have the opposite flaw. I write too much. I'll work on something and then put it down for awhile, when I come back and read through it.. Whoa! Lots of junk/filler. I will say this though, in my opinion, the short quick games are alot of fun for me (as a player) to mess with. Honestly, they lead to alot of interesting campaigns, and perhaps even more importantly, they give a gaming group something to do when we "just don't feel like jumping into our long campaign". So I say, keep up the shorts. I have to agree with a few other people though.. I'd pay money for MM games if they had more substanance. It seems to me, that you've proven you can create fun playable games. I'd love to see what you could do with a full length game; rules, background, skills, items, scenarios, etc. The whole nine yards.

T
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