Ronnies participants, I'm curious

Started by Paul Czege, February 28, 2011, 10:32:14 PM

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Paul Czege

Ronnies participants,

What did you learn from your participation (completion and submission of a game) in either round one or two of the Ronnies this year? I'm curious.

"[My Life with Master] is anything but a safe game to have designed. It has balls, and then some. It is as bold, as fresh, and as incisive  now as it was when it came out." -- Gregor Hutton

Bret Gillan

I got some confidence in my design chops, which is nice. After slogging away at the game on currently on the verge of releasing for awhile, even though *I* think it's good and so do the playtesters, it feels like I'm designing in a vacuum sometimes.

So putting a game out there, getting such positive feedback taught me that I'm doing something worth doing.

Paolo D.

I think that I learned to focus much and better on the Situation and on the Reward cycles of a game (the things that Ron pointed out the most in his feedback on my Wings of Blood). I'm pretty good when it's time to tweak with the mechanics and the Currency, but sometimes I just forget of all the rest (especially when numbers are not directly involved - I learned a lot on "emergent" components too). ;-)


Quote from: Bret Gillan on February 28, 2011, 10:36:39 PM
I got some confidence in my design chops, which is nice.

Yes, this.

Prior to participating in the Ronnies, I didn't really have much confidence in my designs. I was making games for my own small group with no real thought of expanding beyond that. I didn't put most of my ideas in writing. I didn't think that anyone else would be interested in them.

Since the Ronnies, I have begun to think more seriously about refining my games and turning them into a finished product that others can enjoy.
terrible games about terrible people in terrible situations/
terrible games about terrible people in terrible situations

David Berg

Trying a bunch of new designs is fun, and you never know which ones might actually work!  Writing one up to be complete and comprehensible to someone else is a useful and manageable first test.

I'd be happy to do a 24-hr game a month in perpetuity, ultimately abandoning some designs, revising and alpha-testing others, and working to publish the best few.  In theory, anyway.  In practice, having that carrot of Ron's thoughtful critique sure helps get me off my ass to commit those 24 hours.
here's my blog, discussing Delve, my game in development


Heya Paul,

Quote from: Paul Czege on February 28, 2011, 10:32:14 PM
Ronnies participants,

What did you learn from your participation (completion and submission of a game) in either round one or two of the Ronnies this year? I'm curious.


I learned that I don't yet have the designer tools to complete my Three Roses project.  I still need to grow.  For me, this is similar to how Vincent tried to design Dragon Killer, but didn't have the tools yet and designed Appocalypse World instead.  So I'm pursuing design with a new game that I think will help get me there.

I've taken the Destiny mechnic from The Sword and The Skull and applied it to my new design, and I'm having much better success with it now.  I'm really excited about this new game.  I appreciate you asking this question.  It's a good one.




Designing is actually pretty easy.  It's sitting down to do it that's hard.  That's my biggest takeaway.

Ben Lehman

Quote from: Willow on March 01, 2011, 10:52:21 PM
Designing is actually pretty easy.  It's sitting down to do it that's hard.  That's my biggest takeaway.

<3 this

Ben Lehman

Furthermore, I think that a lot of RPG theory is incomplete and, in fact, impossible to discuss outside of the context of game design. Hence, in untitled jeepform, I'm exploring jeep theories by sitting down to design one and, in Beloved I'm really aggressively exploring small-time play, continuous play, self-as-character, the Czege principle, as well as a heaping dose of Premise.

If I sit down and try to express what I mean by "continuous play" people are going to look at me like I'm crazy (rightly.) By writing Beloved, I can make it much more comprehensible "you know how, when you're playing Beloved, you never really stop playing it as long as it's in the back of your mind?"

Thus, I'm less broken up about these games not all seeing final publication than Ron is over here. I think that contest games serve a purpose of furthering RPG theory conversation, and thus the forefront of RPG design, even if the particular games themselves don't see final polish and sale.


P.S. Just started playing Beloved last night, in a dream. It's that kind of game.

Cliff H

I learned how "in the box" much of my thinking is regarding many things RPG. Only through participation in the Ronnies (both the initial 24 hours and the development that's followed) have slowly pulled back the veil on a game that discards these assumptions one at a time. And with the feedback often coming with other titles as suggestions, references, and examples, it's increased my exposure to a lot more games, which comes full circle to showing how many assumptions I still hold that aren't necessary. It's been an enlightening process.


I learned an unspeakably large amount about how to look at a game and see the holes, without going through playtests that might not address where things fail in the text. I learned how important clarity is when it comes to instructions. And that it's even possible for me to write a first game draft in 24 hours.

Really, looking at the way Ron breaks down games for analysis and critique was the biggest takeaway. I've read every one of the critique threads in the hopes of really internalizing that critical eye; I think my games will be demonstrably better for it in the future.

Devon Oratz

So far, I learned that I'm even CAPABLE of putting together any RPG, at all, in 24 hours. Let alone one that wins an award! I also learned that apparently many other people are capable of this too. At first, it seemed impossible but then again I come from a very traditional RPG paradigm where "an RPG" is typically a book 100-300 pages long, not as few as six (or less!) pages.

I'm still waiting on any deeper lessons to unfold.
~"Quiet desperation, it ain't my goddamn scene!"~
My Blog: tarotAmerican



For me, this is one of the first games I've written purely from the perspective of assuming that those who play it will (a) understand what it's about and (b) want to do that thing and (c) only require the tools necessary to do it.  This is as opposed to some of my other designs which have a very strong "teaching" component to them.  That is, those games, are actively trying to teach the players how too appreciate and utilize it.  It stars with, "You won't get this.  You won't know how to play it.  Here let me show you."

In many ways this was helped in that I wrote the game "for" Ron.  Not in the sense that I catered to his preferences and tastes in favor of my own but rather I picked textural word choices and ideas I knew I didn't have to explain to Ron or more generally, to someone LIKE Ron.

The most direct example of that would be my decision to use the word, "crisis" to describe the murderer's opening situation.  I knew that Ron would know exactly what was meant by that and I wouldn't have to illustrate it or draw out any deeper setup mechanics to train a player on what constitutes a "crisis."

Now, if I developed the text for wider consumption I'll probably add more instructional text and examples.  But that's not the same thing as encoding instructional procedures like: Pick thing A and thing B.  Now relate thing A to thing B in along one of the following lines.  Okay, now add N.  When you're done you'll have a crisis worthy of play.... etc.



I just love to challenge myself.

An old lecturer once told me that "Pressure makes diamonds"...

...of course, pressure also turns a beautiful car into scrap metal.

You never know which way things will go unless you try.

I've done the Game Chef thing a few times, and I've done the 24-hour thing a few times. Both of these to varied success levels, the Ronnies seemed ike a great way to push the envelope and tighten the restrictions further.

I've got heaps of ideas still churning away in my head and scattered through dozens of notebooks, so I'll be entering more rounds of the Ronnies later in the year. Hopefully I'll be able to combine one or more of these ideas with a few ingredients to make something that I can really be proud of.

I'm still striving for my diamond.
A.K.A. Michael Wenman
Vulpinoid Studios The Eighth Sea now available for as a pdf for $1.