While this is primarily aimed at Dungeons and Dragons, especially my focuses on my rewrite, a lot of what I’m going to say here applies to other games as well. Well, board and card games. Balance is a much more complex issue when you get into anything with visuals and dexterity-based mechanics. The principles are basically the same in video games and dexterity games (like those weird games that came out in the 90s that involve catching butterfly toys or tapping out fake ice cubes from a plastic frame) but there are far more variables and more assumptions that have to be made during design.

So, anyway, what is balance? And why does it matter?

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We’ve examined those who use their Strength to Fight. We’ve looked at those who use their Dexterity for Rogueish ends. We’ve seen what the Brawlers can deal with because of their powerful Constitutions. We’ve glanced into the magical worlds driven by the Arcanist’s Intelligence and harnessed by the Acolyte’s Wisdom.

But who tells the stories that we know these by? Who rallies the armies of the world and who keeps the team together? When you read about heroes who don’t fit into neat containers, heroes who seem to draw many skills from many different places, they all started out somewhere. They were, at first, simple apprentices to someone. A budding Fighter, Rogue, Arcanist, Brawler, or Acolyte. When they reached the point where they could dedicate themselves fully to their skills, though, their talents pulled them elsewhere. They formed their abilities based on the mystical pull they have with their persona, the strength and flexibility they have threaded through their being.

They’re now Journeymen, walking the world and learning what they can to do what they can.

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Why Games?

June 8, 2016

I’m sure some of you out there, some of you who are friends and some of you who are not, are looking at the kind of person I am and wondering why games are so important to me. Not just a hobby I’m invested in, not just a cultural zeitgeist I count myself a part of, but something that I think represents and important philosophical and emotional technology to humanity. A very important element of culture that, I think, is currently being treated like no more than a toy. Games, I believe, are the cousin of narrative and storytelling that teach us empathy from the opposite direction. They inform our mechanisms for understanding empathy. Rules allow us to step into another person’s life and understand their motivations because the mechanisms tell us what we can and cannot do – that is, what decisions we would never make and which we would always make if we were the person we’re playing as.

To explain why in detail, come with me while I explore the very idea of what a game can be with you.

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I’m working on a draft for a Kickstarter for the boardgame concept I recently posted about. Partly so that I can generate money to work on it, partly so I can find an artist, and partly so I can find out if anyone else is interested in working on the idea with me.

Part of why I want to find a nice, small team (an artist that doesn’t mind doing a lot of drawing and another mechanic designer) is so we can knock this out quickly and get it going. I’m kind of in a situation where I need to find a way to generate income pretty quickly that isn’t dependent on unemployment insurance, so. Yeah.

I also want to do this quickly so that I can get the essential mechanics out of the way. I’ve got an idea for doing expansions and new versions using different tropes and structures not long after the first game comes out. The reward levels for the Kickstarter would include some of these expansions at different levels (one level will include the first expansion when it’s ready to print, another level is also going to include the next version of the game when it’s ready). I think. Still have to work out this one.

Part of this discussion, as well, is me looking for advice on what levels to offer for the Kickstarter and the kind of things to throw in as incentives. So, if you have any suggestions I’d love to hear them. Especially since until I get the essential mechanics hammered out I don’t even know how to assess printing costs. I can say one thing, though – it’ll mostly be a box full of cards and tiles.

So, what are your ideas, opinions, and expectations? Would you chip in for the game?

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