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Introducing a new contest

Started by Ron Edwards, August 30, 2005, 11:03:43 PM

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Ron Edwards


I always wanted the Indie Awards to be called the Andies. Ben just started up the Bennies on his blog. Coincidentally, right when he was talking about that beforehand, I was already thinking of a contest I'd like to set up. And of course, it's gotta be the "Ronnies."

To get a "Ronny," you write a 24-hour RPG during a contest-time period designated by me. You follow the rules and submit it at the 24-hour RPG site; see also the 1KM1KT site. After you do so, notify me that it's posted, by sending me an email at You don't have to notify me that you are working on it, or are about to submit it, or anything like that.

Follow all the normal 24-hour RPG rules. Preferred format is PDF, no outside help, et cetera. Do understand that the twenty-four pages is not a hard limit, but rather something to shoot for, which in practice is generally ultimately ignored.

It has to include exactly two, no more and no less, of the four terms I'll provide for each given time period.

"Include" means as a significant component of the game, not just a mention or an arbitrary label for an attribute. If you'd like, think in terms of my five components of Exploration (Character, Setting, Situation, System, and Color). Remember, two of the terms. Using more than two of them is not extra credit; it will make your game ineligible.

The time period that I designate is important. If you submit a game after the deadline for those terms, it's ineligible. I hope everyone understands that I am talking about real time and the dates of submission, not the in-game setting time period.

There are no other restrictions on the contest submissions aside from merely being a role-playing game.

I plan to keep this going for quite a while, in fact, as long as I can stand it. As soon as one time period is over and winners are decided, then I'll post a new time period and four new terms.

Criteria for winning are as follows.

1. It's not a pain in my ass to read. Conciseness is a virtue, and if you want to use colorful wordbrush, it'd better be good.

2. I want to play the game. This is utterly subjective on my part and depends as well on the vagaries and relationships among my fellow role-players in our groups.

3. I don't have to guess or extend the content of the game in order to play through and repeat "reward cycles" for it. In other words, it's not just a resolution system or a bunch of funny genre information.

Strong warning: do not try to ramp up the "innovative" dial in order to impress me. I am easily annoyed by this tactic and already have seen and playtested things you cannot spell, so don't try. Concentrate instead on clarity, playability, and the fruitful interactions among character creation, resolution, and reward.

The somewhat-good news is, if you don't win, I'll tell you why not.

The good news is, there are no limits on winners. Yes, Ronnies will be awarded on the basis of individual merit, per game. You don't have to beat other contestants, although a certain economy of my own effort, and a certain degree of comparison among the eligible games, will inevitably be involved. In other words, you benefit from being better or best, but you don't have to beat all the others out of the award.

Um, the not-so-good news is that it's possible for there to be no winners at all.

What do you get?

1. You get a cool logo you may put on the game and/or on your website, as you like.

2. You get a full written document by me and others which provide as much feedback as we can, about the content, system, experience of play, and publication suggestions.

3. You also get $75 from Adept Press, with the understanding that you may use it as seed money for some aspect of individually developing and publishing the game. Pay website fees, put it toward printing, commit it to presenting the game at the Forge booth at GenCon or some other con, whatever.


Time Period: post your game from (and including) September 4 through (and including) September 24

Terms: suburb hatred girlfriend rat

Remember, only two of these! No more, no less.


Ron Edwards

Oh yeah.

If you have any questions or comments about the contest, this thread's available.


M Jason Parent

Just when I'm getting over my first 24 hour RPG and am elbow-deep in Junk Dreams, eh?

Yer a mean one, Mr Ron.

Well, the girls start school on the 6th... and things will hopefully have settled down by the 20th. The good aprt is a 24 hour RPG is exactly that, 24 hours - so I won't even think about it until then.

That said - I think you should make a method of enforcing the 24 hour part. As it is, I've purposefully NOT read the terms you put in the post above, because if I do, I'll start musing over how to use them... and suddenly I'll be breaking the 24 hour RPG rule.

You should set up an auto-responder on an email account that sends out the key words, so someone can decide to start, email the account, get the words, and then go. This gives you the ability to monitor compliance with the 24 hour deadline, and also keeps people like me from thinking about the words until it is time to launch the project.... is where I would set up the auto-responder. :)

Other than that, what a great way to make me try to do another 24 hour game within 2 months of the last one. Although it worries me that it will give Evan, the unofficial reviewer of the 24 hour games, a load of extra work to do.
M Jason Parent
(not really an Indie publisher, but I like to pretend)

Junk Dreams Design Journal (an archive of old Junk Dreams posts)

Ron Edwards

Hey, Evan's deal is his own deal. I figure this is only helping the whole 24-hour game thing.

That's an interesting suggestion about the terms, but the cat's outta the bag for this round. Maybe I'll institute something like that for next time.


Eero Tuovinen

I read the thread a minute ago. Because I'm excited by getting a ronny, I'm not going to pretend that I'm not going to be thinking about the terms and the game. Therefore: my 24 hours starts now. If I've not mailed my game before tomorrow morning at 8am my time, you can assume that I'm sitting this one out. Sorry.

Ron: if you're going for a repeat, please hide the keywords. Today is not the optimal day to design for me. Although a spoiler warning would suffice, too: just mention in your next thread that the keywords will be there, and warn about the spoiling possibility. I should have figure half-way through that there'd be keywords, but I only realized the situation after reading all the way to Jason's post.

Other than that, I love competitions. This one looks like fun. Good going. It's miraculous how you can get a guy off his ass and writing with a simple competition!
Blogging at Game Design is about Structure.
Publishing Zombie Cinema and Solar System at Arkenstone Publishing.

Ron Edwards


It so happens I'm not such a purist as that. It seems to me that knowing the four words ahead of the 24-hour time isn't a big deal. You can simply put off choosing which two until that time starts.

After all, M Jason Parent knew what the OGL was before he started writing AssassinX, and I do not think that he violated the rules by using it. And if, in the dim mist of time before his 24-hour period for that game, he once or twice thought about writing an assassin-game, I don't think that violates it either.

However! If anyone is so hard-core as Eero, feel free to invoke whatever further constraints you want, and I'll consider changing the way the terms are announced for future iterations of the contest.

Again, everyone knows that this is ongoing, right? After any Ronnies get awarded for this round (ending Sept 24), I'll finish up the winners' prizes and then post a new round. I have a nice handful of "sets of four" waiting their turns.


Ben Lehman

Rules question:  Is it all right to design the game on paper within 24 hours, and simply transcribe the text after the 24 hours have elapsed?

To clarify, I'm emphatically *not* talking about a rewrite at all, just a word-for-word transcription from a notebook.

It's just that I have this great 24-hour block of time on a boat from Rostock to Helsinki, and I'd love to try the contest during that, but the chances of me having electrical power to run my laptop are slim-to-none.

If not, I'll eek out some other time somewhere.


Ron Edwards

Hi Ben,

I guess that's another personal judgment call regarding the 24-hours standards on their website. I think it's OK, and would even say that formatting stuff later is OK if the drafts /diagrams for it were done during the 24 hours, but I bet that is stretching their standards very far. Maybe it would be good to point out how you stretched the concept in the intro or afterward to the game. I'd probably say it's still eligible for a Ronny, but that leaves the 24-hour guys the right to decide whether it can stay on their website.

And everybody? That doesn't mean you can stretch it like that just because you feel like it. Ben is dealing with a technological constraint, and he came forward and asked. Do that sort of thing "just because" and I'll stomp you.



Just popped in to say "this totally rocks".

And yes, if I do get arround to continuing the reviews, I am sure to get a hand hernia... but them's the breaks!

Warm regards,
Evangelos (Evan) Paliatseas

"Do not meddle in the affairs of Ninjas, for they are subtle and quick to radioactively decapitate."

Eero Tuovinen

OK... I struggled valiantly, but ultimately it was all in vain. I cite a busy batch of correspondence, what with having to coordinate a book tour for Ben Lehman. It's all his fault. Although it's by no means easy to combine 24h and IGC into one. A very hard core design competition, this one.

In other words, I failed ignomiously in producing a complete game yesterday. My game was supposed to be called Don't Believe in Accidence and deal with low-key everyday drama. Suburban romance, more or less. I managed to finish an outline and chargen, but stalled horribly in figuring out the non-conflict not-resolution system I needed (mechanical aspects, mainly). In retrospect I have advice for anybody else who's going to take Ron's challenge: DON'T try to be innovative, just steal the guts from some earlier project. If I'd just did that, then I might have managed it.

Well, it's still useful. I like the game I was making, so if I find the inspiration at some point I might return to it yet.

Ron: be sure to have another round after this one. I still want to get the award.
Blogging at Game Design is about Structure.
Publishing Zombie Cinema and Solar System at Arkenstone Publishing.

Ron Edwards

All right, Mister Speedy Jump-Up and Choke, here's some information that might help you.

1. The damn contest hasn't even started yet. First day for submissions is September 4.

2. No one said you had to start the second you read the four terms. See my post above.

So basically, I'm going to treat your posts like the student who flings up his hand and shouts "Me! Me!" and then, when called on, goes "Um, uhh, evolution? Wait! What was the question?"

In other words, quit posting here, and if you find the time and inclination between September 4 and September 24, write a game. And that inclination better not be solely composed of "impress Ron."

I hate posts about "the game I'm writing" followed by "Oh, I gave up." Just work on the damn game and don't post about it.


Ron Edwards

Hi everyone,

I've begun a thread for monitoring and commenting on the Ronnies here in the Adept Press forum. Two submissions already!


Andy Kitkowski

I'm seeing lots of great entries come through (three so far). And all three use Rats. :-)

suburb hatred girlfriend rat

Just a note, I will add $10 to Ron's Pot if he chooses your game as the winner, and you make your game based on:


Just because I want to see what people can do with this.

The Story Games Community - It's like RPGNet for small press games and new play styles.

Lance D. Allen

I was playing with the idea, Andy, but it wasn't clicking.

So mine uses rats.. in a somewhat metaphorical sense.

And it has hatred. Hatred is huge.
~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls

Gregor Hutton


Heh, Andy I used hatred and girlfriends before I saw your post. :-)

Anyway, I've got to go to work now but I'll upload my PDF later on today. Don't know if it is good or not, though. We'll see.