12: How to make work inclusive? Most of my work has content warnings and safety tools embedded into it. I’ll be honest, though; I can always do better.
13. Participate in streamed games? Yes, I’ve done this. I’ve streamed my own games on YouTube and Twitch, and I’ve been a player in a streamed game. When I was a player, the focus on “the show” part of the game felt intrusive to me– the game wasn’t enjoyable, and when I challenged the GM on a ruling, I was kicked out.
14. How are your game mechanics and characters intersectional? I am not sure. In Threadbare, at least, every toy defines their own gender, and the game focuses on using bodies that don’t work the way they were designed to work.
15. Favorite tropes to subvert? My least favorite trope in fantasy is “teenagers gain immense power through puberty, save the world, find their one true love.” Like…. I was such a mess when I was a young person, this just doesn’t make any sense to me, especially the true love bit (for a number of reasons, including the very Bad Idea it is to attach yourself to someone you’ve just shared a stressful world-saving event with). As a result, I prefer to play characters who are older, have lived a life, are maybe starting their adventure in their middle aged years, and maybe even had other plans for themselves.
#9: I tend to write games that are either GM-less/GM-ful, or put a heavier load of narrative control/responsibility on the players compared to the GM. That said, I do notice when I run games, I tend to do most of the narration, which is something I would like to train myself out of.
#10: I’d be very cautious about saying that my games dismantle colonialism. I’m a white creator from a colonizer heritage, so I don’t think I have the perspective to identify myself as writing decolonizing games. I’m much more comfortable saying that my games represent queerness well.
#11: I probably shout out/retweet Quinn Murphy about once every 2 weeks or so, and will keep doing so until he gets the recognition he deserves.
I’m going to skip the first couple of days of this, because if you don’t know me by now, you can pop over to my About page to learn more. I’ll update it… soonish.
3. Key to your making process? What an odd question. I think I’ll say the key to my “making” process is really just the key to finishing, and that’s playtesting. The playtesting cycle is how a game gets finished, in my mind. I’ve made and released untested games, but playtesting is absolutely the best way to complete a game and make it “ready” for the world.
4. Favorite type of game scenario? Anything that I can think or talk my way through is better than fighting.
5. Character or worldbuilding? Ideally, they go hand in hand.
6. Long or short ttrpg texts? OMG, short! My sweet spot is between 80 and 150 pages. Anything more than 200 pages and I feel like I have to invest in a lot of time to learn the game. It’s like the size of the box for board games– a really big box, you expect there’s going to be a 4 hour game in there.
7. How to increase accessibility? I price my games low– the PDF for Threadbare is only $9 and is included for free with any print purchase. I also installed Polly to make my blog audio-capable. And I’m getting Threadbare converted to Braille through the DOTS project.
8. Favorite collaborators? Well, it’s no shock that I work with Toby Strauss on a lot of things. He’s definitely my #1 collaborator.
My current inspiration right now, for a game I’m noodling with, hopefully in time for Strategicon, is a dream I had. It was shortly after I watched the pilot episode of Last Man on Earth, and in the dream, all the survivors of the apocalypse were monsters.
So, now I’m working on a game called Last Monster on Earth. It started as a PbtA game, but I think it works better in Fate. I’m hoping to playtest it at Strategicon on Memorial Day weekend.
And yes, this is a game I started working on 2 years ago.
Playing catchup. Don’t judge me– I’m on my 3rd week at a new job!
Day 14: What are your dreams and plans?
I would like to turn a profit on Threadbare. I’m honestly having some cashflow issues with getting it out. Nothing I can’t manage, but it makes the process a little tricky.
Day 15: Do you design in public or private?
Both? I’m a very public person, and have a fairly open circle in Google+ for playtesting. I post a lot on my blog where I muse about game design and decisions I’m making about various games.
Day 16: Design Partners?
That would be my best friend and partner, Toby Strauss. You will see his name crop up in collaborations with me in many places. Someday, we’ll probably have to form some kind of partnership corporation to handle our creative works together. To date, we’ve published a larp, a comic book, and have co-authored a game that’s in layout right now. He’s contributed to Threadbare, and I know I’ll be contributing to his next project, too. We’re collaborating on a PbtA game about office politics as well. We tend to throw our ideas around at each other quite a bit, and then note them in our various notebooks and google docs until we’re ready to flesh them out.
Day 17: Favorite form of feedback?
Direct, personal feedback from playtesters is always great, but I’m going to talk about feedback that’s motivating.
I love achievements, so any time I win something for my work, it’s a big rush. Winning the 200-word RPG contest was a huge motivator. Getting a Champion ribbon on a knitted shawl at the county fair provoked me into entering again this year. Money is great, but the amount I make from writing games is unlikely to match what I make at my day job. But accolades? Having someone semi-objectively judge my work and find it worthy? Yum!