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Inactive Forums => Chimera Creative => Topic started by: Matt Snyder on November 01, 2005, 07:23:25 PM

Title: Game For Hire
Post by: Matt Snyder on November 01, 2005, 07:23:25 PM
Game design contests are all the rage these days. Good. I think they produce a lot of fun and clever ideas, and a few outstanding, fully-fledged games. If you'll allow me to be bold and self-centered, I now propose a new contest. Think of it as a reverse Iron Chef game. Here's how it works:

I want to design and release your game idea.

You propose a game idea. I then choose from the number of game ideas proposed the one game I will write, design, and produce. You and each member of your game group receive print copies of game for free. But, there's a catch:


If you can't promise to playtest, don't submit an idea for this contest. (Additionally, others are welcome to playtest, but the winner must playtest the game.)

Once the game is finished (the plan is before summer 2006) I will release it under a creative commons license, very much like The Shadow of Yesterday ( by Clinton R. Nixon. This means that once produced, ANYONE can take the text of the game and publish it himself or herself, including you, the winner.

The game will be designed with feedback and critiques from fellow game designers. It's as close as I can come to a guarantee the game won't suck. I'll pester the hell out of my game design pals (and they know their shit!).

More details . . .

Why the heck are you doing this?!? Don't you have your own ideas?

Yes, of course I have ideas. Several, in fact. And, I'm working on those, too. But, I think Game For Hire could be a really cool way to generate some interest and get some reliable playtesting done. That playtest bit? That's the main reason. Plus, I think it'll be one hell of a lot of fun.

When is it due?

I'll accept ideas through the month of November, 2005.

How many times can I enter?

Please enter a maximum of three ideas. Remember, you've got to be willing to playtest your winning idea.

How do I submit my awesome idea?

Write me an email (matt -at- chimera -dot- info) or reply to this blog post below with your idea. There is no minimum requirement nor any forbidden topics, but keep in mind you've got to win me over to making your game. I recommend at least sharing brief explanation of what the game is about, what its color and setting are like, and what the players will do to have fun in the game. If you want to share more details, go ahead.

Here's are three different examples how you might share an idea with me. Obviously, these are based on my own already-published games (or proto-games):
Archon Arcana
Matt, my group wants you to make a modern fantasy game. Players portray "archons" in an astrologically-based universe. They're participating in a universe-wide war among immortals. I think it's a narrativist or simulationist game, but I don't know GNS very well. Think Mage, Nobilis or Amber.

Six-Gun Demons
Our group wants you to make the following game:
Creative Agenda: Narrativist
Setting: Old West
Color: Gritty, like Eastwood movies
System: Use poker!
Characters: Characters "deviled" by a bad history, traumatic life event, evil nature, sin or corruption.
Situations: Shoot outs, gambling, train robberies, or anything that tempts a character's evil or violent nature.

Game pitch: Ok, Matt, here's the idea. I'm seeing a really sleek and slick, action packed near future game. My game idea is to have you make a Matrix-inspired cyberpunk game. I think it'd be cool to include some really powerful themes about man and machine, clones and artificial intelligence, but I've got to admit I'm most interested in seeing action! Lots of guns-blazing fun, but maybe less of the virtual reality stuff of the Matrix,  more real-world near future with action and intrigue. Maybe you can call it Archetype-13 or something similarly cryptic.
Can I bring a friend?

Yes. You and your pals can collaborate on the awesome game idea. However, every contributing idea member must playtest the game. Yes, this means you and your friend who live on opposite ends of the earth can submit. But, both of you must playtest the game locally (presumably in two separate groups, and yes everyone in your two groups gets a print-edition copy).

Again, keep in mind, I gotta like it! (Fortunately, I'm a pretty equal-opportunity guy that way -- I like lots of stuff.)

Do I get to help?

Yes, somewhat. I will be open about the design by posting as I go along, and I'll pay special attention to your critiques and ideas. (I'll seek other feedback as well.) I will also seek your input as I design the look and feel of the game. However, I have creative control and "final" say. Remember, if you don't like something I decide, you can alter it later via the Creative Commons license.

What will the final format be?

I will publish print edition copies via a POD publisher like Express Media or Lulu. Copies may be limited to a small number depending on my resources! Your playtest / game group will get handsome print editions regardless of my publishing plans. I don't know how long the text will be (that largely depends on the idea and the game design). That said, I don't expect it to be a 200+ page whopper, nor likely a flimsy 12-pager.

What about art?

I will seek artwork for the cover and interior. I usually pay a fee to illustrators that covers a limited use of the artwork, while the artist retains the rights to the work. I'll likely seek a similar license, unless the artists are willing to release their work under the Creative Commons as well. I'm not aware of any artists that have done so.

Is this an indie game project?

I think that it is because we'll all own the work once under the Creative Commons license. (I basically define "indie" as creator owned, which I think is how the Forge defines it.) I'm no lawyer or expert, but my understanding is that the Creative Commons license means we'll each have creator ownership of our particular iterations of the game publication.

To sum up

Submit me an idea by replying here or send me an email. If you win, you get:

* Your cool idea in a fully realized game!
* A print copy for every member of your playtest group!
* Rights to publish or expand/alter the game as you see fit!

What about that thing you didn't think of yet?

It's inevitable. This is a new idea, and I'm sure I haven't answered all your questions. Just ask by replying to this post or send me an email.

Title: Re: Game For Hire
Post by: Andrew Morris on November 01, 2005, 08:44:45 PM
Wow. Awesome idea! I'll be submitting my three concepts shortly.

Title: Re: Game For Hire
Post by: Shreyas Sampat on November 01, 2005, 11:59:41 PM
Matt, you're cool. Pending commitments to playtest-if-won, I am so there for this.

Title: Re: Game For Hire
Post by: Matt Snyder on November 27, 2005, 09:22:11 PM
Here is a friendly reminder -- I'll accept Game For Hire ideas through the November 30.

I'm looking forward to some 11th hour ideas to make my job choosing the game even more difficult! Bring it on!

Title: Re: Game For Hire
Post by: Matt Snyder on December 01, 2005, 11:06:53 AM
The following are the lists I pared down again and again to decide the winner of the Game For Hire.

First, THANKS to everyone who contributed. I received more than 30 fantastic game ideas. Some were brief, some were long. Most should be games in their own right, and I urge contributors to make that happen.

(I'm looking at you, Alex Fradera, creator of "Caught!" Mr. Fradera had four full pages of a game outline based on Cricket. Yes, the sport. He didn't make the lists below for two reasons: 1) I know as much about Cricket as Mr. Fradera knows about 16-inch slowpitch softball leagues in the Midwest ca. 1984 and 2) He's almost there with the game already!)

I'm lead to understand at least one contribution didn't make it my way because the creator has plans of his own. I couldn't ask for a better outcome right there.

There were some recurring themes in the submissions. Human identity in the face of artificial life was a big one. As was Rock 'n Roll, which lead me to believe people are paying attention to my love for rock. Science-fiction overall seemed to do well, but there was plenty of fantasy as well. Almost all ideas were lasersharked, which I found a bit surprising. Anyway, those are some off-the-cuff thoughts on the process.

And now, the envelopes please . . .

The Dirty Dozen
  • John Harper: 44
  • Neel Krishnaswami: "Founded" space opera
  • Trevis Martin: Artifact
  • Elizabeth Courts: Fantasy Ragnarok
  • Monica Valentinelli: Labyrinth City
  • Carl Muckenhoupt: Modern espionage & theft
  • Tony Dowler: Mathematica
  • Rob MacDougal: Sympathy: The Rolling Stones RPG
  • Nathan Redwood: Steam-driven, urban fantasy
  • Mike Sugarbaker: Get In the Van
  • Tony Dowler: Battle of the Bands
  • Bob Farnsworth: Ancient China fantasy romp
  • Carl "Spooky Fanboy": Luck magicians
  • David Pigeon: Space fantasy
  • John Harper: Fantasy Circus
  • Andrew Morris: Fantasy family epic

And then there were nine
  • John Harper: 44
  • Neel Krishnaswami: "Founded" space opera
  • Trevis Martin: Artifact
  • Elizabeth Courts: Fantasy Ragnarok
  • Monica Valentinelli: Labyrinth City
  • Carl Muckenhoupt: Modern espionage & theft
  • Tony Dowler: Mathematica      Rob MacDougal: Sympathy: The Rolling Stones RPG  Nathan Redwood: Steam-driven, urban fantasy

Holy Trinity!

These were the three game ideas in which I saw the most promise and opportunity for me to design.
  • John Harper: 44
  • Neel Krishnaswami: "Founded" space opera
  • Trevis Martin: Artifact

The Golden Ticket

Greetings to you, the lucky winner of this Game For Hire from Mr. Matt Snyder.       Post this on your blog at your earliest convenience on Dec. 1. Do not be late.       You may share with your game group, and confirm with them that they are willing to playtest "44." In your wildest dreams you could not imagine the marvelous surprises that await you!

-Sent to John Harper, originator of 44, this morning, December 1, 2005

John's entry is was as follows:



Clockwork agents (from another dimension?) are taking over our world by replacing us with clockwork duplicates. You have to stop them. Or maybe you're just going insane. "44" refers to the mysterious intelligence behind the clockworks, Unit 44. Are the automatons real? Are you destroying clockwork doppelgangers for the good of humanity, or becoming a murderous psychopath? What about the other people that can spot the clockworks, too? What happens to the people who get duplicated? What happens when the machines find out that you know their secret?

I've been tossing this idea around for quite a while, and now the new Battlestar Galactica is handling these machine vs. human themes in really great ways. Maybe it's time to fire up a shiny new Nar game engine and strap it to this sucker.

 Mr Harper and his gaming group (which includes, if I understand it correctly, other Game For Hire contributors!) will all receive print editions of 44, hopefully by the summer convention season. (In fact, I'm tinkering with the eponymous challenge of a game in 44 days).

Congratulations, John!

Now, I'll get cracking and Harper & Co. will get to playtesting!

Title: Re: Game For Hire
Post by: Spooky Fanboy on December 07, 2005, 02:02:26 PM
Well, glad I made it to the top 12. Hats off to (John) Harper, and I look forward to the playtest results of this game!

Title: Re: Game For Hire
Post by: Matt Snyder on December 08, 2005, 07:16:24 AM
Right on , Carl.

Time to shake 'em on down.

Title: Re: Game For Hire
Post by: joepub on December 08, 2005, 05:40:59 PM
Can I know how many there were in total?

Just out of curiousity.

Title: Re: Game For Hire
Post by: Matt Snyder on December 09, 2005, 08:43:31 AM
I believe there were around 30 submissions. I haven't gotten around to posting the ideas from the Dirty Dozen yet, but I will.

Title: Re: Game For Hire
Post by: Spooky Fanboy on December 09, 2005, 12:07:11 PM
And what does being part of the Dirty Dozen get me?

Title: Re: Game For Hire
Post by: Andrew Morris on December 09, 2005, 01:54:08 PM
The right to say you were part of the Dirty Dozen?

Title: Re: Game For Hire
Post by: Spooky Fanboy on December 10, 2005, 01:43:46 PM
Bragging rights are cool! ;-)