Forgive me, By The Stars, for I lack the resources to go on. It has been eleven days since my last confession.
What do you need to make a create a great role-playing game?
|What A Designer Needs||What I Got|
|Insiration/Passion||It comes and it goes, but it’s usually good.|
|Time/Thought||Some weeks I need to fight for every minute, but I’m in no hurry.|
|An editor||Thor Olavsrud’s all lined up and ready to go.|
|An artist||Keith Senkowski’s doing amazing stuff in color these days and ready to work with me.|
|A reliable group of regular playtesters||Nope.|
And like a chain with a single weak link, it’s time I face the reality that I don’t have the resources to further develop By The Stars at this time. Lacking an editor would make for a hard-to-understand game. Lacking an artist would make for a drab game. Lacking playtesters would make for a game that doesn’t play well. And what’s the point of that?
My local circle of gaming friends has atrophied considerably over the last few years. So I find myself without a regular game, able to only scrape together an occasional meet-up. By The Stars needs a different sort of play environment. One doesn’t buy-in to a fantastic far-off galaxy for a day-trip. It’s a long-term voyage and I ain’t got the crew right now. I’m not shoving it out the airlock, but I am putting it into cryo-sleep. One day, when I’ve rebuilt my circle of gamers, By The Stars will return…
Which is not to say that I don’t have anyone to play any games with. A good deal of that atrophy I mentioned is due to the extreme popularity of German and German-style board & card games. They have a lot of advantages over RPGs:
- So long as one person has already read the rules, time from opening the box to finishing the game is one to two hours.
- Popular games are easily replayable with no additional prep.
- You can play with whomever shows up a given week.
- Folks don’t feel that they need to be “a gamer” to play.
They say that when one door closes, another one opens. Sometimes it’s the same door. What I do have is a group of people who meet bi-weekly to play complex games, often those that they’ve never heard of before. I go to a decent number of conventions, where a single play-group lives for only four hours. I’ve got a number of semi-distant friends that can make the occasional game, but not something regular.
These are the game-players in my life. These are the people I should be designing for, because I’m one of those people, too. I may long for long-term, regular play, but, at the moment, that’s as realistic as galaxies far, far away. One-shot play is the bird in the hand. That’s what I need to shoot for.
And I will. I’ve already got ideas that will capitalize on those strengths of board and card games, infuse them with the creative freedom and drama of role-playing, and make them my own. More about that next week…