Ronnies 2011, Round three results

Started by Ron Edwards, April 11, 2011, 06:38:34 PM

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Ron Edwards

It's true: there's a certain similarity across this round of entries. Last time there was a weird compatibility across a variety of different games; here, it's almost as if everyone were trying to write the same game, somehow. One particular design trend turned out to be a problem, in my mind anyway, and perhaps the discussion in this forum can bring out that issue.


Homage to Ninshubar, Tales of Lust

Runners-Up - As usual, this category is traumatic for me, especially for Guy's game which really hovers at the border of a Ronny and which may have been robbed by my eventual decision.

Within My Clutches, Beholden, You Are My Destiny

Card/board/token game in the making - I didn't see any of this in the first or second round this year, but it showed up a lot back in 2005. As I wrote in the October round back then,

Quote... They are essentially "I get to say what the dice tell me" procedures, organized into specific scenes and what-to-roll rituals. Unfortunately, this is not an SIS-generating procedure, any more than putting on a funny hat and voice when playing Monopoly is role-playing. These games are entirely too structured in terms of what a character "is," imaginatively speaking, and more generally, what "can happen" during play. In contrast with fairly ritualized games like My Life with Master and Polaris, I think these are marked by a complete inability for characters actually to do stuff outside the immediate instructions of the rules, up to and including making crucial choices about relationships with other characters.

Which begs the question, however, of whether these games work. Mechanically, they well might, in the sense that gears will shift and cogs will revolve. Imaginatively and motivationally? That will be a very, very local question, and my judgment at this point is that all of these entries have gone over a crucial line, to the point where the role of human input is restricted only to the end-process of resolution, too much so for it to play a conflict-generating role.

Her Son, Queens of Time and Space, Camwhores

The quote is only negative insofar as we're talking about role-playing. Whereas I think each of these has a lot of potential to become an excellent card or board game, or the whatever-it-is combination of techniques you find in many European games like Oriente or Bang.

Fermentation - By which I mean, these designs look to me as if they need a specific kind of addition or shift in perspective or reward in order to gain excitement. There's some potential to shift them into a board/card game design instead of the RPG track, but it's less definite in my mind than the above category; these look to me as if they could go either way. Either beef up their strategic element and abandon the SIS, or find a way for the SIS to become more exciting through some kind of ongoing reward system.

Queen of Thorns, In Exile, Shackled Self

Baking - As I wrote in the second round, "the features of the game are largely in place, and either lack fleshing out to the point of being usable, or include stuff which doesn't fit, or lack a certain discernible point or purpose to play." In this round, they are also interesting because they present the most abstract and subtle use of the terms.

Brick & Mortar, The Strongest Link

Issues I plan to address

I want to follow up on my claims, or at least perspective, about the curious design profile that showed up across most of the games this time. Maybe the best way will be to keep chipping away with each feedback thread and sooner or later it'll turn into a developed argument.

Best, Ron


First, congratulations to everyone who participated, and some more congratulations to those who got a Ronny :)

Thanks! I am actually very pleased by where I landed, which is probably not surprising considering I thought I'd end in the "Baking" area or something.
I was terribly crunched for time, so I know the text is... not as clear as it could be. It needs to breathe some more.

Two issues that probably need addressing in the text as it stands, is that Chosen Children can begin fights with one another, and not only when attempting to shunt damage to one another.
The other, which is not an issue but something I thought of later, is that the Entity's Chosen Child shouldn't get what they wish for - but you could have thematic and stylistic arguments on whether this is the right way or not - still mulling over it some.

And finally, for those who wonder, it's not the current Madoka Magica anime which gave me the core idea of this game, but the older Mai-HiME. And thanks to Paul Czege who's mentioning of Shock: in regards to something else altogether made me think of the Shock:, previously Trollbabe mechanic, which gave me what I needed mechanically for what I wanted to accomplish.

I'm quite glad with what I wrote :) And the fact there'd be a feedback thread is something I considered to be one of the main offerings, probably the most major, next to me writing an alpha document.
Guy Shalev.

Cranium Rats Central, looking for playtesters for my various games.
CSI Games, my RPG Blog and Project. Last Updated on: January 29th 2010

Jacob Bouvier

I can't agree more that the feedback thread is exactly the reason I considered this something I'd try out. Getting an alpha design down on paper was another motivating factor, and getting over my unwillingness to show my games to people I don't know was another, but the biggest draw was the prospect of feedback from people who have proved they know what they're doing.

I'm not at all surprised at where my creation ended up, I can't say with honesty that I'm not disappointed, but really my expectations were low. I'm new at this and hadn't even read half of the theory threads posted around here before I started on the game. I'm sure I haven't even read half of them now, but I'm excited to have gotten something down on paper that's somewhat readable, and even more excited to see the feedback I get.

Nothing about this forum suggested that it would be the case, but I had an irrational fear that I'd get a category all to myself entitled "Who Does This Guy Think He Is," or something to that effect. Again, no reason to think it, but I just had to face down the fear of rejection that everyone sees, and I'm glad I did.

Ben Lehman

Well yay. I won.

I was really impressed with this round's entries. I want to play several of them, and there are really rich themes about women, empowerment and powerlessness which are just so much crack to me.

Ron Edwards


I usually remember to say this earlier, but I'll say it now and hope people believe me ...

My listing of categories isn't a full hierarchy. The way to look at it is the Ronnies on top, the Runners-Up just beneath or outside of them, and all the other categories equidistant from that. In other words, the Baking category isn't "at the bottom." Baking, Fermentation, and the clumsy-named other one are all equivalent in rank.

Best, Ron

Ross Cowman

Andreas Eriksson

Well, that was quite a suprise to be honest. I had simmilar worries as Jacob, to be stamped with the stupid stamp, for daring to dip my toes into the wast sea of game design. Fortunately the alure of feedback is just to great and I had to give it a try and I can't wait to hear it. I've quite enjoyed reading all the enteries and I'll certainly suggest a few once gaming sessions pick up around here.


Yup, I agree with the general assessment of that description for Camwhores.I figured it was toeing a line and pretty limited in terms of what you could address during play.



I look forward to having this unpacked for me more, i still don't get it.
sure of ourselves, aren't we?


Congratulations to Andreas!  Double congratulations to Ben, both for winning and for directly inspiring my runner-up.  Also, an extra "good job" to every first-time entrant -- these are all games worth developing.  I mean, really, to the point where I feel guilty singling out a few.

Her Son has a devastating core idea - I could see this being a real gut punch of a game.  I love the unqualified heroes of Queen of ThornsShackled Self seems a lot like my Beholden (or Beloved) in that it is primed to deliver deep and potentially uncomfortable epiphanies to a group that is ready to approach it.  And I want to see Brick and Mortar in the hands of a group that "gets it" 100% - and to watch it play out simultaneously on the literal level and metaphorical level.

BTW, Ross - that wasn't the review, just the quick judgment.  Ron will start new threads later with specific feedback on each individual game.  And if you'd like even more discussion from the rest of us, feel free to start a thread over in Game Development.  I'm going to do that myself with Beholden (even though I don't expect to significantly develop it further) - I'm already working my way through a playtest.

- Bax