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General Forge Forums => Conventions => Topic started by: Paul Czege on March 03, 2007, 09:56:42 PM



Title: The Ashcan Front FAQ
Post by: Paul Czege on March 03, 2007, 09:56:42 PM
Hey all,

Matt Snyder and I are organizing a booth separate from the Forge booth for Gen Con this year. It will be a booth focused entirely on selling ashcans. And we're pretty excited about it. The FAQ has been posted at www.ashcanfront.net (http://www.ashcanfront.net/index.htm). Give it a look.

Paul


Title: Re: The Ashcan Front FAQ
Post by: Troy_Costisick on March 04, 2007, 07:36:29 AM
Heya,

Paul I hugely applaud this.  I think this is a necessary next step in independent RPG publishing.  I'll be linking this and your ashcan site to my blog.  There's a lot of newer designers who read it and might find your service very beneficial. 

I do have one question.  Say a designer would love to have his or her game there, but can't make the trip to GenCon.  Is personal attendance a requirement for offering a game at the Ashcan Front?

Peace,

-Troy

PS:  I've got some ideas to help support your project even more.  Will you be at Forge Midwest this year?


Title: Re: The Ashcan Front FAQ
Post by: Paul Czege on March 04, 2007, 10:14:21 AM
Hey Troy,

Paul I hugely applaud this.

Thanks. We're pretty geeked about it.

Say a designer would love to have his or her game there, but can't make the trip to GenCon. Is personal attendance a requirement for offering a game at the Ashcan Front?

Any designer who's in this situation should email me and/or Matt.

PS: I've got some ideas to help support your project even more. Will you be at Forge Midwest this year?

Let's have a phone conversation.

Paul


Title: Re: The Ashcan Front FAQ
Post by: Mike Sugarbaker on March 04, 2007, 11:18:57 AM
Will there be demos going on at the Ashcan Front booth at all?


Title: Re: The Ashcan Front FAQ
Post by: Paul Czege on March 04, 2007, 07:42:15 PM
Hey Mike,

Do you think the demo paradigm extends well to ashcans? I think what we want for the booth is to bring folks into the design and feedback activity. Demos bring folks into the enthusiasm of the play experience at the Forge booth. Can they do the same for the design activity at The Ashcan Front booth? Or would something else maybe work better?

Paul


Title: Re: The Ashcan Front FAQ
Post by: Troy_Costisick on March 05, 2007, 05:05:38 AM
Heya,

Hey Mike,

Do you think the demo paradigm extends well to ashcans? I think what we want for the booth is to bring folks into the design and feedback activity. Demos bring folks into the enthusiasm of the play experience at the Forge booth. Can they do the same for the design activity at The Ashcan Front booth? Or would something else maybe work better?

Paul

-I'll offer my experiences with this sort of thing.  I ran a 10x10 booth a GenCon a few years ago.  I had two other guys helping me.  We had just enough room in the booth for a card table, two chairs, a small bookcase that displayed our games, and an eisle that had a "menu" for what we were selling.  Quarters were cramped with three people there at a time. There's no way we could have fit a foruth.  If we wanted to run a demo, someone would have to leave in order to seat the customer comfortably.  This had advantages and disadvantages.  First, we could only run one demo at a time.  That's not good.  However, if people saw us running a demo they got interested.  The more people we had at the booth the more people would come to the booth.  In my (admittably limited) experience, running demos ala Forge Booth is not a feasible option in a 10x10 booth.  But having a way to attract and hold customers at the booth is something that should be considered.  Hope that helps some :)

Peace,

-Troy


Title: Re: The Ashcan Front FAQ
Post by: daemonchild on March 11, 2007, 09:29:45 AM
Hi guys,

Matt (from Flames Rising) and I interested in this project.

demonica@flamesrising.com

Monica


Title: Re: The Ashcan Front FAQ
Post by: Matt Snyder on March 12, 2007, 10:24:50 AM
Hi, Monica! Glad to hear you're interested in this. Do you and Matt have specific game-designs-in-progress you're thinking of? Or, did you mean some other way of contributing/supporting?

If you have more specifics, and want to take it to email, that's cool. I wanted to post here so people might benefit from any answers we give you.


Title: Re: The Ashcan Front FAQ
Post by: daemonchild on March 12, 2007, 05:28:56 PM
Hi, Monica! Glad to hear you're interested in this. Do you and Matt have specific game-designs-in-progress you're thinking of? Or, did you mean some other way of contributing/supporting?

If you have more specifics, and want to take it to email, that's cool. I wanted to post here so people might benefit from any answers we give you.

Well, we've been developing "Occupation" on and off now for two years. It's had some playtesting, but we were thinking of putting out the "Ashcan" edition through your booth. :)


Title: Re: The Ashcan Front FAQ
Post by: Matt Snyder on March 13, 2007, 06:21:12 PM
Monica, sounds good. I assume you've read the FAQ we've posted. Do you have any questions or concerns Paul or I can help with currently?


Title: Re: The Ashcan Front FAQ
Post by: Matt-M-McElroy on March 14, 2007, 04:33:31 AM
Hey folks,

As far as Occupation goes, what do you need from us?

We have done some playtesting on the game, had some feedback from a couple of players and authors and I'm in the middle of some rewrites based on that feedback.

So, how many copies of the game should we bring to the booth? What about demos and promotional materials?

I've got some other ideas for promotion and booth support, but we can probably cover that via e-mail or phone.

Regards,

Matt


Title: Re: The Ashcan Front FAQ
Post by: Kesher on March 14, 2007, 08:27:40 AM
Paul and Matt,

I've read the FAQ, and thanks to the links I get the visual aesthetic you have in mind (that four-artist collective page is amazing!), but I'm still unsure exactly 

1. What your vision is for the actual game text . Could either of you perhaps fabricate a short example?

2. What's going to be going on at the booth. Now, I haven't published a game before, but it seems to me that a game already "90% there" isn't really in need of the kind of development this effort calls for, though maybe I'm misunderstanding something.

Most of the discussion around this project over at Story Games has been about either the aesthetic or the price. I guess I'd like to see some more discussion/clarification around this:

Quote from: Paul
The text is written not with the aim of a fully baked game, to communicate the architecture of play to the customer, and to inspire play with the fullness of its vision, but with the goal of provoking playtesting and feedback toward the as-yet-unrealized design goals. As such, the text includes overt language about the game's design goals, and directly calls out mechanics that need validation and/or refinement.

So, what you're looking for, and please correct me if I'm wrong, is NOT a game that needs, really, any more playtesting; instead, your vision for ashcans is an aesthetically pleasing document that explicitly details the design choices made at different points, with special attention focused on one or two sections/mechanics/parts that aren't quite yet firing on all cylinders. The game should be, basically, playable as is. The hope is that, out of all those who buy the text, one or two may help you generate solutions for the sticky parts. Is this right?

Aaron


Title: Re: The Ashcan Front FAQ
Post by: Paul Czege on March 16, 2007, 12:41:41 PM
Hey Matt,

As far as Occupation goes, what do you need from us?

Tell me a little about Occupation, and about your design goals for it?

So, how many copies of the game should we bring to the booth? What about demos and promotional materials?

I've got some other ideas for promotion and booth support, but we can probably cover that via e-mail or phone.

They're not up yet, but Matt and I are planning to have forums for participants to discuss these kinds of details. In the interim, definitely email or pm me your thoughts.

Paul


Title: Re: The Ashcan Front FAQ
Post by: Paul Czege on March 16, 2007, 12:48:40 PM
Hey Aaron,

Well...I think we'll be entering uncharted territory together on this. I think "90%" could mean the mechanics are solid, no further playtesting required, just the text needs attention, but I don't think that'll be true for most ashcans. And it won't be true of my Acts of Evil ashcan. (In fact, if I thought the game didn't need further playtesting I don't think I'd be doing it as an ashcan.) My own plans for the Acts of Evil text are to talk directly to the reader (using sidebars, or another font or something) about my design goals and what I'm trying to accomplish with various mechanics, focus reader/playtester attention on mechanics that playtesting has told me aren't working as well as I think they should, and on new mechanics intended to fix problems from prior playtests, and ask directly for the contributions I think the game text needs (e.g. "I need an evocative quote here"). My ashcan objective is for playtesting informed by my design goals and focused on mechanics that I think need attention, but I can't expect every reader will manage a playtest of the game and I certainly need other kinds of input.

Paul


Title: Re: The Ashcan Front FAQ
Post by: Kesher on March 16, 2007, 07:26:41 PM
Paul,

Well, it appears we are in cosmic sync. Your response was exactly the clarification I was hoping for. Unfortunately, in the interim between my post and today, I've had to decide against going to GenCon in August. There's a new Kesher due on Sept. 9th, so needless to say, my priorities will be elsewhere!

That being said, I think this idea is cooler than ever. I'm going to be playtesting the crap out of dungeonkind over the next couple of months, including a session at Forge Midwest. I don't know if you're planning to be there, but I'd love to talk in person with either you or Matt about ashcans. I may well do one for the game anyway, even if I can't participate in the booth at GenConIndy.

Also, it appears likely that I'll be going instead to GenConSoCal, and I don't know what the indiegame presence is like there; maybe an ashcan booth is an option at that event as well (obviously with myself or others organizing it...), informed by your own experiences this summer.

Aaron


Title: Re: The Ashcan Front FAQ
Post by: Larry L. on March 16, 2007, 08:13:48 PM
Kesher,

I hate to break it to you, but GenCon SoCal is no more.

http://www.gencon.com/2007/socal/default.aspx


Title: Re: The Ashcan Front FAQ
Post by: Kesher on March 16, 2007, 08:31:32 PM
Yeah, Paul just IM'd me about that. Sigh. Well, dammit, I can make one for dungeonkind; wanna help me playtest? Email me.

Aaron


Title: Re: The Ashcan Front FAQ
Post by: ptevis on April 24, 2007, 03:17:36 PM
I'm planning on producing an ashcan edition of my Game Chef entry, A Penny For My Thoughts. This is a small game that's nominally about people helping each other recover from global amnesia. In reality, it's about players learning active listening skills and embracing their fellow players' contributions. Based on the playtesting I've done so far and the feedback I've gotten, it seems to be about 75% of the way there. I'm struggling with some currency and endgame issues right now, but core mechanics seem to be good. Because this is intended somewhat as a teaching text, I want to be sure that the book tells you how to play the game correctly, which is something that only blind playtesting can really accomplish.

--Paul


Title: Re: The Ashcan Front FAQ
Post by: Paul Czege on April 26, 2007, 09:43:12 AM
Hey Paul,

Yeah, that sounds cool. Welcome to The Front.

And y'know, probably Matt and I should post about the games we're each doing as ashcans.

Mine is Acts of Evil. It's a game about occult ambition. Player characters are new initiates to an occult tradition devoted to aggressive and competitive pursuit of personal godhood. They are irredeemably evil, and play is very disturbing. Again and again you'll do harm to people who don't deserve it. My goal for play is to transform non-occultist NPCs from objects and obstacles to subjects we care about, without ever separating the players from management of their occultist characters. Early versions weren't delivering on this, but the current mechanics are very very close.

Paul


Title: Re: The Ashcan Front FAQ
Post by: Matt Snyder on April 26, 2007, 05:56:24 PM
Good point, Paul!

I'll be bringing an ashcan of my game 44.

It's a game about people who are being replaced with machines by a nefarious organization, Unit 44. It's a horror game, rather obviously.

Players portray individuals who have someone in their lives replaced, and they believe they are next. Each player takes a turn as a game-wide countdown ticks away toward the 0-hour. They confront their own Anxieties while dealing with their immediate situation. Agents of 44 emerge to interfere and hound the main characters.

Also, players are working against Control (the game master figure). At the end of each countdown, they roll off against Control to gain benefits or lose an advantage. Players strive to increase scores so that their characters can act in concert within the game (the scores have to meet or exceed the countdown).

Should individual players suffer enough stress, they will become replaced by Unit 44. Then, the player will become an ally of Control. This aspect of the game remains untested at this point, and is one of the key features, along with end game, I'll be seeking input on.

The game is about how you choose to treat others around you, whom to help, and why. We ran a very constructive playtest at Forge Midwest last weekend, and I'm very excited about some things worked out there.


Title: Re: The Ashcan Front FAQ
Post by: Thor on May 07, 2007, 11:26:48 AM
Hi all,

I have dipped my toe in the printing thing again thanks to Paul (and I mean thanks! that was the kick in the pants I needed) I have a line on a good copy shop and some finishing and would be glad to produce ashcans for you.

If anyone is interested please feel free to contact me.


Title: Re: The Ashcan Front FAQ
Post by: chris_moore on May 10, 2007, 04:51:57 AM
Michael and I are interested in doing an ashcan of psi run for the booth.  We have a ton of excitement, and zero knowledge about layout, printing, etc.  Anyone's advice would be helpful.

Chris Moore


Title: Re: The Ashcan Front FAQ
Post by: Matt Snyder on May 10, 2007, 05:16:28 AM
Chris, that's great. I'd be happy to help out. Feel free to contact me. I'm off to work right this minute, but just wanted to chime in and say this Hawkeye's got your back.


Title: Re: The Ashcan Front FAQ
Post by: thelostgm on May 14, 2007, 08:24:48 PM
Hey Folks,

I'd love to be part of this and bring an ashcan of my game Giants.

I also have some podcasting duties to consider, but I think this is a fantastic idea and can't wait to see how it goes.

I read some stuff about demos a few posts back, has there been any more thoughts on that?  I know for me one of the best thing about conventions is getting to demo games.


Title: Re: The Ashcan Front FAQ
Post by: somniturne on May 15, 2007, 07:16:23 AM
I'd also love to participate with my game Kingdom of Nothing.  The only thing holding me back is the time commitment.  I also may have some podcasting responsibilities as well as self promotion for my illustration.  Are there any details yet on how long people will need to hang out at the booth?


Title: Re: The Ashcan Front FAQ
Post by: Paul Czege on May 15, 2007, 07:23:45 AM
Hey Jeff,

It sort of depends on how many participants we have, but right now Matt and I are thinking folks would commit to two or three hours a day at the booth.

But what's truly important is that we make it clear to interested folks when you're going to be around to represent the game if they have questions. Probably we'll solve that with a schedule, and then you'd just slot yourself for time when you didn't have podcasting stuff going on.

Do you think you'd have days where your availability for representing your game at the booth was less than two hours? Less than an hour?

Paul


Title: Re: The Ashcan Front FAQ
Post by: Paul Czege on May 15, 2007, 07:50:36 AM
Hey Jeff,

I read some stuff about demos a few posts back, has there been any more thoughts on that?  I know for me one of the best thing about conventions is getting to demo games.

We need to figure this out. Forge booth style demos probably don't make sense for games in development, because the value proposition of an ashcan isn't the play experience, but rather, creative engagement in game design, problem solving, and playtesting. We definitely want something demo-like going on. But not quickie "playtests." I'm thinking it's something we'll call a demo, but it'll be more of a demonstration of a game mechanic that needs the validation of playtesting, with some kind of conversational transition into the ashcan text, showing how the ashcan engages you in the design and problem solving effort.

Paul


Title: Re: The Ashcan Front FAQ
Post by: thelostgm on May 15, 2007, 08:51:40 AM
So let me see if I get this right.  Would I be showing them a part of the system that I am having trouble with?  If so that might be a bad way to get interest in the game.


Title: Re: The Ashcan Front FAQ
Post by: thelostgm on May 15, 2007, 06:10:52 PM
Ok, reading that a few hours later it sounded very negative, sorry about that.  I'm really into the demo idea and just want to be clear on how it's going to work.


Title: Re: The Ashcan Front FAQ
Post by: somniturne on May 16, 2007, 06:13:23 AM
Okay that sounds reasonable.  I'm in.


Title: Re: The Ashcan Front FAQ
Post by: Mike Holmes on May 31, 2007, 06:07:28 AM
I know it's a bit last second, but I'm in if you'll have me.

Sorcerer & Space

Don't know why it hadn't occured to me before. Been sitting on this unable to move it forward for years. The Ashcan process is, of course, precisely what it needs.

And I may have one other product available too, but I have to look into a few things...

Mike


Title: Re: The Ashcan Front FAQ
Post by: Paul Czege on May 31, 2007, 06:14:35 AM
Hey Mike,

Welcome to the Front. (You know that you personally have always been fighting at the Front, right?)

The limit for the booth is one game per designer, however, so choose wisely...

Paul


Title: Re: The Ashcan Front FAQ
Post by: michael lingner on May 31, 2007, 10:04:39 AM
Hey Matt(& every one else), this Michael Lingner, Chris Moore's PsiRUN cohort. i just wanted to ask if  our membership status is confirmed & set in the Ashcan Front booth? if not is there anything else that we need to do to comply with the process?  thanks. 

~cloud


Title: Re: The Ashcan Front FAQ
Post by: Paul Czege on May 31, 2007, 10:21:51 AM
Hey Michael,

Yes, Chris paid me and provided me with your Gen Con ID numbers, and so now you're committed.

Paul


Title: Re: The Ashcan Front FAQ
Post by: Matt Snyder on May 31, 2007, 10:23:53 AM
Hey Matt(& every one else), this Michael Lingner, Chris Moore's PsiRUN cohort. i just wanted to ask if  our membership status is confirmed & set in the Ashcan Front booth? if not is there anything else that we need to do to comply with the process?  thanks. 

~cloud

Hi, Michael! I'm really pleased to have you guys on board.

As Paul said, you should be all squared away. The next steps for you are preparing the text and production for printing (in whatever format you guys are going with). We'll also be discussing the games, their formats, and logistics both here and at www.ashcanfront.net. For the immediate future, you're good! Just keep kicking butt with a great game.


Title: Re: The Ashcan Front FAQ
Post by: JasonWalters on July 15, 2007, 09:14:13 PM
Are there any more spaces open at the Ashcan Front booth? I'll be working over at the Hero Games/GPA booth during GenCon, but I would like to participate if possible. I gave away 25 copies of the "slashcan" edition of my game - You Brought This On Yourself: The Roleplaying Game Of Slash Film Morality - at Origins and the response has been good so far. It would be neat to make another 25 and sell them at GenCon before I do my actual print run.

I'm not sure how much time I can put in at the booth (Hero Games is paying for me to be at the Con, after all!), but I strongly approve of this project and would like to be a part of it.

Jason Walters   


Title: Re: The Ashcan Front FAQ
Post by: JasonWalters on July 15, 2007, 09:15:32 PM
Er, "Slasher Film Morality" is what I meant to say!

Jason Walters


Title: Re: The Ashcan Front FAQ
Post by: Paul Czege on July 16, 2007, 05:32:31 AM
Hey Jason,

Do you still have design issues you're trying to solve? Or is it pretty solid, and you're moving forward on publishing it?

Paul




Title: Re: The Ashcan Front FAQ
Post by: ptevis on July 16, 2007, 10:54:35 AM
Not to prevent Jason from speaking for himself, but having read the current Slashcan Edition of You Brought This On Yourself (and I'm sorry I haven't commented on it yet), I think it would fit right in.

--Paul


Title: Re: The Ashcan Front FAQ
Post by: Jason Walters on July 16, 2007, 10:58:30 PM
Paul(s)-

Thank you for the complement Paul #2. Paul #1, It's pretty solid but I have some serious concerns about the "game masterless" aspect of YBTOY. It seems to work well for Polaris, but I have taken a different tack with my game & would like more player feedback before publication. If accepted into the booth, I was considering asking for specific input on this topic the final page of the GenCon slashcan edition.

- Jason


Title: Re: The Ashcan Front FAQ
Post by: Paul Czege on July 17, 2007, 08:02:22 AM
Hey Jason,

As it so happens, Alexander Newman showed me your slashcan briefly at Origins and it looks great. And Matt and I think the booth can support a couple of games by designers who can't be among us to physically represent their own games. So, you already have a badge via Hero Games? Then shoot me a PayPal payment of $100 to paul +at+ halfmeme +dot+ com, with "You Brought This On Yourself for The Ashcan Front" as the subject, and you'll have signed up.

Welcome to the Front.

Paul


Title: Re: The Ashcan Front FAQ
Post by: JasonWalters on July 18, 2007, 08:17:20 PM
Paul-

Will do and thank you!

Jason


Title: Re: The Ashcan Front FAQ
Post by: Paul Czege on July 22, 2007, 06:49:13 AM
Hey Jason,

I got your payment. But I get the impression from the "per Jason Walters" note within it that you had someone else submit it on your behalf, and that the email address it came from isn't yours. I need an email address for you.

Thanks,

Paul