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Author Topic: [Ronnies 2011] Round One kicks in now - what we do next  (Read 2581 times)
Ron Edwards
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« on: January 16, 2011, 06:46:53 PM »

Hi,

I've mentioned that the Ronnies are a little different from most contests, and here's another reason: it doesn't end with the judging. The whole point is to develop what we started, and instead of setting up committees and schedules, we're going to use what the Forge already offers.

"We" in this case does not refer to my august status (whatever that may be) nor to me and my tapeworm, if I had one. It refers to me and you, reading this.

1. Playtesting. If you like a game you've seen here so far, playtest it and post in Game Development. I want to stress, hard, that if you try to break a game's rules or criticize every last bit as if you were a mainstream book-publishing editor, you're doing damage rather than helping. At this stage, playtesting isn't about finding holes. It's about whether the primary, core mechanics function at all, and whether the Color and inspiration that led to the playtest in the first place can be sustained, even for a while. Think of yourself as a fanboy having fun, and find what does work.

2. Talkin'. I would very much like to get some commentary going in the feedback threads, because I am merely one voice and my comments are not guruic* pronouncements. The more people contributing their views, reactions, and readings per game, the better. Note that the threads are not called "Ron's feedback" - they're intended for community input.

3. Reflection. The design of the activity did what I hoped it would. Clearly topics were jarred into creative motion which might otherwise never have been brought into a design, and although the procedures-level design was necessarily rough, more than a few were damned solid and even scarily functional looking. If you wrote an entry, I'm interested in what the process felt like for you and what value it might have had. The feedback threads are great for that too - perhaps it's easy to overlook that the word "feedback" includes repeated two-way exchange, not just one thing, then one thing back, and done.

For those who might be interested, I'm not going to get the next round of Ronnies going for at least a couple of weeks. I don't want to leave this batch behind yet. I've already playtested two of the games and want to get my posts up about that. And this time, I'd like to do more for supporting efforts to publish, especially resources like artists, layout, printing, and more. All this will take a bit of time to get rolling and I don't want the next round to steamroll the previous one and also receive less attention than it did, which is sort of what happened back in 2005.

So if you would, please jump in! The Ronnies should be a fun thing we do together for a while, not a single burst of submissions which end on my desk.

Best, Ron

* ? What is the adjectival form of "guru," anyway?
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Abkajud
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Posts: 285


« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2011, 11:09:44 PM »

Seriously, Ron,
The feedback I got from your review has exploded my design! I'll see how it ends up developing, but things have gotten a lot more elaborate in the past few days. It's pretty exciting.

-- Zac
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Mask of the Emperor rules, admittedly a work in progress - http://abbysgamerbasement.blogspot.com/
Troy_Costisick
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« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2011, 12:16:54 PM »

Heya,

Iíve always asked Rom to share his thoughts after a round of Ronnies is over.  Iíd like to do the same this time, but also open the door for everyone to reflect on the process this time around.  So for everyone, what did you learn from this?  How are things different for you now than there were before you entered your game?

For me, this was a chance to test my learning and open new doors.  Iíve gained a deeper understanding about how Characters relate to Setting and how Characters and Setting combine to make Situation.  This was a large stumbling block for me.  I now have an idea of where I need to go with my design work, but I can tell that the journey to the next level will take some time.  I also know that my entry, The Sword and the Skull, will expand my skill set- something that a good design will do.

For Ron, I have a few questions.

1. You got 16 entries total.  Was that more than you were expecting?
2. What was different about this round from the rounds you did back five years ago?
3. Is there something about this process that really worked well or didnít work as well as you hoped?
4. What will be different (aside form the terms) for next time?
5. I really appreciate you being deliberate in naming thread titles for easy reference later, but do you think it would be possible to start a new Endeavor forum for each round of Ronnies?  Doing so would make researching the Ronnies much easier years from now when people are referencing them for design ideas and advice.  It would also make the forum less cluttered with threads and highlight the new games without threads from the old games interfering by someone who bumps them.  also, by moving the old Ronny forums to the inactive section, you would also force future posting to take place in Game Development and Actual Play- which is where I gather youíd like conversations to continue anyway.  Finally, it would make it easier to spot trends and changes throughout the year if each round was kept in its own discrete forum. 

Last, Iíd just like to add my thanks once again for running these contests, Ron.  I know youíre usual reply is that you run them so you can sell more copies of your games or whatever, but itís clear that you have a passion for RPG design and play.  Thank you for sharing your passion in this manner.  Itís a really awesome thing to do.

Peace,

-Troy
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2011, 12:33:24 PM »

Ah, the dreaded Costisick inquiries, how well I remember these. By the numbers:

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1. You got 16 entries total.  Was that more than you were expecting?

Yeah. I didn't expect more than a couple additional entries in that final 24 hours. I really enjoyed that outcome. It was pleasantly more than I thought while remaining in the realm of the possible.

Quote
2. What was different about this round from the rounds you did back five years ago?

Obviously the timing procedures and their consequences. Some of the differences are still being applied, such as the points I made above about working on the games instead of leapin' ahead to new rounds with stuff un-done. I'm not sure what else to tell you except that the design community is different now in a lot of ways and so I am not surprised by a certain difference in tone. I think it's a good difference, specifically a slightly higher degree of personal seriousness and less apparent status involved in participating.

Quote
3. Is there something about this process that really worked well or didnít work as well as you hoped?

I typically don't visualize the outcomes of my projects, being more of a "let's try it this way, let what happens happen" kind of guy. So the "hoped" part of your question doesn't really apply to me. I can say that it worked really well overall, and I'm genuinely excited about the entries. I'm especially happy that a number of the authors were not regular Forge posters, demonstrating that the goal of the site yet remains free of the common internet community peril of becoming too socially inbred.

Quote
4. What will be different (aside form the terms) for next time?

I'll be posting a "get ready" thread for the next round by and by with the details. For now, I don't anticipate any difference in the actual rules of the activity. Perhaps I'll add a slight clarification regarding the limits of terms use, explained with examples from previous rounds rather than abstractions.

Quote
5. I really appreciate you being deliberate in naming thread titles for easy reference later, but do you think it would be possible to start a new Endeavor forum for each round of Ronnies?


At present I don't want to do this. If it turns out to be a good idea as things play out, it's easy to switch to that format. But if I do it now and it's unnecessary, then it can't be reversed the other way without a big pain in the ass.

Best, Ron
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Callan S.
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« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2011, 04:41:20 PM »

In terms of number 2 I was going to actually ask whether we could post in other threads but did not. I'd sort of attributed them as the creators spotlight and it'd be like stepping into it. A bit like if someones on a winners podium, climbing up with them (eh, perhaps I think to much of the accomplishment of completing a (rough) design within the time frame).


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If you wrote an entry, I'm interested in what the process felt like for you and what value it might have had

I took it as an opportunity to write utter crap, and yet still be part of a social structure/social event. The 24 hours being a permissive excuse for anything, no matter how crap.

The thing is, if you write with pure open slate, who the heck are you writing for? Social contact requires following certain conventions (the very least usually being using a language the other guy actually knows). Open slate means being beyond convention - you might write something that fits a convention by chance, but it certainly wont be because you tried to follow a social convention. In terms of social and social connection, the other guy either gives you some excuse to let something into his space that fails his social conventions, or otherwise your just failing his social conventions. I could write some stuff here that'd probably make you think I'm a nutter. But if someone had challenged me to write something in fifteen seconds, you'd chalk it up to the time constraint. That's a doorway through. I think normally, for various reasons gamers change their social conventions as they go, which removes any real communication channel (barring simple yes man assumption affirmation). With no fixed social conventions to work with I think this makes design either hard or perhaps just impossible. However this comp made clear a fixed social convention. Note: If there are other fixed social conventions to work with out there that I'm not aware of - well, I'm unaware of them/no ones made me aware of them.
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Erik Weissengruber
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Designing "In this Sign, Conquer:


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« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2011, 05:28:43 PM »

"* ? What is the adjectival form of "guru," anyway?"

We need a past participle of the verb.

"dismay -- dismayed -- the crowd dispersed, dismayed [adjective]"

A guru gurus so you can say that once a guru has exerted special activity on an object, that object has been thoroughly "gurued"
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2011, 08:10:07 AM »

In a perfect world, I'd have a 5-foot-by-3-foot poster on my wall with sixteeen separate black-and-white illustrations, perhaps more-or-less in the style of Will Eisner, as follows.

A shadowy sorcerer directing a deadly looking but mournful zombie forth

A group of modern people at a table, piecing together a skull with a crazy sticky-noted diagram on the wall behind them

A weary skullie soldier in his armor, at the end of the day

A group of friends tokin' up the awesome skull-bong, entering the awesome realm

A demilich presiding over minions in its lair

Surrealistically-heavy-metal Arthurian knights gathered before the ill, feeble Sword king

An old warrior-wizard facing his lost love in a cemetery

A bio-armored renaissance-looking duellist squaring off vs. an equally fencing-looking demon

The danse macabre, in modern dress

An SS officer levels his Schmeisser at the zombie concentration camp prisoners who've cornered him in the killing-shower room

An old, dying American man in bed, with a relative and Vietnamese ghosts

A bad-ass classic-D&D adventurer, foes' bodies strewn behind him, claiming the item of all items as described by Willow for his own

A desperate lone survivor in urban ruins, bracing for a showdown with sword-wielding skull-takers

Elderly military guys entertaining one another with stories at the veterans' hall

A group of sword-armed, practical-looking women guarding an injured, foreign, martial-looking man

Three fierce warriors with extraordinary swords cutting their way through ape-men and necromancers in an all-time bad-ass extravaganza


It'd cost way too much but I'd sure like it.

Best, Ron
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Callan S.
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« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2011, 01:29:32 PM »

It'd be interesting if there was an informal thing where people have atleast one illustration for their game (even if it's a stick figure one). Then it'd just be a matter of cutting and pasting them all together. Though that'd probably get in the way of the idea of just writing something, and also your probably thinking of consistantly good art (some people here are good at art, but not all of us are, of course). But a collage of whatever-art from each author as they enact it (stick figures or whatever), I'd find interesting.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2011, 08:15:50 AM »

Let's talk about activities that should follow up on my initial feedback for Ronnies entries. Or in other words, what I really think the Ronnies are for. I urge all of the following not only for participants, but for everyone who's been interested in the endeavor so far. To participants, I'm talking about what to do with others' entries, as well as being interested in what people contribute toward your own.

1. Playtesting what we have in front of us, including the initial entries, the various discussion threads which clarify the authors' visions and proposed changes, and revised drafts when available.

2. Posting in the current feedback threads for game you like. Goals include identifying the important issues and providing more depth, as well as more conversational comparison with existing games and your own play-experiences which might be relevant.

3. If you already spend time maintaining an internet presence at various websites, link to those games and discussions about them, and let your support for them extend out into the internet via your presence.

4. Helping to find or if possible volunteering services such as art for games you especially like.

I'm pretty serious about this being the point of the activity. A Ronnies round is not supposed to be "done" upon submission and judging.

Best, Ron
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