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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 137 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: The Ashcan Front FAQ  (Read 13290 times)
Paul Czege
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 2341


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« 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. Give it a look.

Paul
« Last Edit: April 05, 2007, 07:16:01 AM by Paul Czege » Logged

My Life with Master knows codependence.
And if you're doing anything with your Acts of Evil ashcan license, of course I'm curious and would love to hear about your plans
Troy_Costisick
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Posts: 802


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« Reply #1 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?
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Paul Czege
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 2341


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« Reply #2 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
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My Life with Master knows codependence.
And if you're doing anything with your Acts of Evil ashcan license, of course I'm curious and would love to hear about your plans
Mike Sugarbaker
Member

Posts: 108

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« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2007, 11:18:57 AM »

Will there be demos going on at the Ashcan Front booth at all?
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Paul Czege
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 2341


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« Reply #4 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
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My Life with Master knows codependence.
And if you're doing anything with your Acts of Evil ashcan license, of course I'm curious and would love to hear about your plans
Troy_Costisick
Member

Posts: 802


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« Reply #5 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 Smiley

Peace,

-Troy
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daemonchild
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« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2007, 09:29:45 AM »

Hi guys,

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

demonica@flamesrising.com

Monica
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What are you afraid of?
Matt Snyder
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« Reply #7 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.
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Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra
daemonchild
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« Reply #8 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. Smiley
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What are you afraid of?
Matt Snyder
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« Reply #9 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?
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Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra
Matt-M-McElroy
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Posts: 118


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« Reply #10 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
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"What Are You Afraid Of?"
www.flamesrising.com
Kesher
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Posts: 174


« Reply #11 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
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Paul Czege
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 2341


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« Reply #12 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
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My Life with Master knows codependence.
And if you're doing anything with your Acts of Evil ashcan license, of course I'm curious and would love to hear about your plans
Paul Czege
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 2341


WWW
« Reply #13 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
Logged

My Life with Master knows codependence.
And if you're doing anything with your Acts of Evil ashcan license, of course I'm curious and would love to hear about your plans
Kesher
Member

Posts: 174


« Reply #14 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
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