Share the conversations – Week 4

This is it everyone! We are heading into the final stretch of National Game Design Month, so hang on to your hat!

Now is the time to do those last minute fix-ups and give your game another play (or a first play!). Tell your friends all about it, and share your experiences with anyone and everyone who will listen!

This week there is no specific link-up for your conversations. With the finish line so close many of you will be completing your work or putting the finishing touches on your game, playing it and so on. When you are ready, head over to the 2013 Slayers page and link to your finished game or any other work you want to share. The 2013 Slayers page will become an easy-to-navigate point to find everyone’s work from this year. You will be able to add your link to that page until December 24th.

Good luck, everyone!

Share the conversations – Week 3

Three weeks in already – can you believe it? I hope you are making great progress – some people are already playing their games, trying them out, tweaking and refining. This can often be a tough week and the motivation to keep going can be hard to come by, but don’t worry – YOU CAN DO IT! The end is fast approaching, so why not buckle down and give it your best shot!

Share anything about your game design journey, and don’t forget to visit a few of the links as they appear below – leaving comments, offering advice and generally supporting each other is a really important part of this whole event!

Have you been playing your game this week? What has been difficult, surprising, or fun about your game design so-far?

Share the conversations – Week 2

I hope your first ten days of game design and demon slaying have been exciting, fun and successful! Keep up the hard work and continue to make progress on that game. I was amazed at how many people linked up to their blog posts and other thoughts on game design last week and am looking forward to seeing how your work progresses as we move towards the mid-point of the month.

The title for this post says “week 2” but I am not sure if that is accurate as we are kind of a week and a half into the month already – oops. I am going to continue the format of calling each of these posts “week 2”, “week 3” etc, but feel free to post links about what you have done at any point in your game design journey. (Journey – did I really just call it a “journey”, that’s the English teacher coming out…)

Once again, hit the blue button below to add your link and pic. If you get the chance, please visit a few other people’s links and leave a comment or two – it is great to find a comment from a new person on your blog, or an encouraging statement, or a brilliant piece of feedback!

So, what have you been up to this week?

Share the conversations – Week 1

Okay, here’s the idea. Wherever you decide to talk about your game, game design or your general NaGa DeMon experiences, share that stuff here. I am going to put up one post like this every Saturday (I know, today’s not Saturday, but I wanted to get it out before November started!) so we collate a weekly “snapshot” of the conversations that are happening. This post will stay “open” until next Friday, then a new one will open on Saturday November 9th.

I will also create a page closer to the end of November so that everyone can link-up their actual game, or a post related to their completed work.

How do you share your conversations? Well you can leave a comment at the end of the post, but what you really should do is use the blue “add your link” button below. You can link to a blog, forum or Facebook post, a website, images or anything else that has a URL. Add a picture to make it pretty and a short title and you’re done. At the end of the week we will hopefully have a bunch of easy to navigate links that will take us to each other’s thoughts, ideas and experiences.

Once you’ve added your link, by all means get back to working on that game! It would also be really cool if you visited one or two other links, left a comment on that person’s blog or FB page or whatever they have linked to.

So, how has your first week been?

Demon Hunter: Andrew Smith

Demon Hunter is where we grill a NaGa DeMon participant about games, their goals for November, and more. Read on to meet today’s Demon Hunter, Andrew Smith!

Hi Andrew! Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m Andrew Smith: blogger, mini-con organiser, amateur photographer and collector of too much Star Wars Lego. You can check out more about my gaming thoughts by going to Tabletop Manifesto. And while you’re there, download Siege. It’s my first story game and it’s all about running out of resolve and patience and ammo just to get what you want.

Which games impress you and why?

I adore Don’t Rest Your Head by Fred Hicks. The setting and rules mesh together in just the right way to drive the story forward and then get out of the way to let you make more story. And the same is true of Poison’d and Apocalypse World, both by Vincent Baker. Vincent’s model of gaming follows the same concept, and in many ways takes it even further. Good rules push you back into the fiction so that you make more story.

How are you participating in NaGa DeMon this year?

Last year I only managed to contribute a Scrabble variant to Naga Demon. This year I’m indulging myself a lot by writing about Lego and by building on the deceptively simple innovation of FU to make Lego FU. This will be a game about creativity and building on the other players to make an adventure in the Lego universe. And if I have enough time I’ll add some paragraphs on how to Lego-fy your other games. Hmm. Don’t Rest Your Brick? 🙂

What are you expecting to be a challenge over November?

The challenge for me is to find a way to encapsulate all the good values of Lego into a story game. It’s such an upbeat and relentlessly positive setting, especially in the face of opposition. Our hobby tends to produce a lot of games with destruction and angst, so I’ll need to invert much of that thinking to make it fit Lego.

What are you looking forward to over November? 

I can’t wait to play this game. Story games plus Lego? Doesn’t get much better for me. The other thing I’m keen for is the chance to work with John Reid on the layout for this project. I’ve had the immense joy of gaming with him at conventions for a few years as well as having his feedback as a play tester. I was over the moon when he agreed.

Who would you most like to play a game with?

I think I’d play Fiasco with Shaun Micallef, Bill Bailey and Stephen Fry. If I win Naga Demon, do you arrange this for me? There’s a winner, right?

Thanks for participating!

Demon Hunter: Mike Bilter

Demon Hunter is where we grill a NaGa DeMon participant about games, their goals for November, and more. Read on to meet today’s Demon Hunter, Mike Bilter!

Hi Mike! Tell us a little about yourself. 

My name is Mike, AKA ElfIRL.  I have been a gamer my entire life and was blessed in the 80s with parents that didn’t think D&D was the devils work.  While I find most games interesting and will play anything I can get my hands on, my favorite gaming has been in RPGs.  So many hours have been spent writing, making maps, and telling stories over the last 24 years of my GMing, and I wouldn’t change any of it.

My day job is spent building communities, and I decided to take this experience and start a community for gamers of all tabletop games.  We provide forums, blogs, and groups to help gamers schedule and plan with their current groups, find new groups and places to game, and share gaming experiences to introduce each other to new games.  We are also working with publishers to bring new and exciting titles to our members and help the gamers voice reach the publishers.  Feel free to come by and join –

I’ve been a creative force most of my life, but have never sat down and tried to make a full game.  When I found out about NaGa DeMon I knew I had to get involved.  This November will be very busy and I can’t wait to get started.

Which games impress you and why?

I have spent a lot of time lately with non-collectable card games.  Games like Cutthroat Caverns, Ascension, Poo, Epic Spell Wars, and Chez Geek to name a few.  I find these games to be a ton of fun.  They’re fast paced, the rules are simple and they provide hours of entertainment, and that is why they impress me.

How are you participating in NaGa DeMon this year?

As a wanna be designer, I will be using my first year in NaGa DeMon to work on a non-collectable card game idea I was joking about a few weeks ago.  The game will be silly like Poo, and it involves pickles.  I don’t want to give too much away yet.  =)

I will also be on the sidelines trying to help spread the word, and providing gamers a place to share in discussion on our site –

What are you expecting to be a challenge over November?

As far as my game goes, I have an idea on the rules and I think that is one of the hardest parts of a new game.  My challenges will be with art, both the pictures on the actual cards as well as the card itself.  I am no artist and intend to ping my friends to lend a hand.  I mean, how hard can it be to draw silly looking pickles?

What are you looking forward to over November?

Aside from actually making my own game, seeing the reports of all the other participants on their projects.  I can’t wait to see what sort of challenges come up and learning about new resources for things like art, print on demand services, etc. as the community shares what they find.

Who would you most like to play a game with?

My wife.  She doesn’t play games at all, so if I could convince her to play something with me, it would be a huge step towards her understanding why I love these games so much.

Thanks for participating!

Thank you for having me.  Best of luck to everyone out there taking a step to make their very own game.

Demon Hunter: Keith Fyans

Demon Hunter is where we grill a NaGa DeMon participant about games, their goals for November, and more. Read on to meet today’s Demon Hunter, Keith Fyans!

Hi Keith! Tell us a little about yourself.

Hi, I’m Keith Fyans. I live in the sunny city of Glasgow, Scotland. These days I’m more of a consumer than a producer when it comes to gaming, though in the past I’ve been heavily involved in setting up and running all kinds of events, from clubs and conventions through to LARP festivals and banquets. These days I take a more supportive role in this sort of thing due to other commitments. Away from the gaming table my social media blurbs describe me as an Anarchist Communist, Feminist, Atheist, Poly, Queer, Geek, Transhumanist, Vegan – Peeps can make of that what they will. 🙂

Which games impress you and why?

Freemarket: This game is the closest fusion of game terminology and mechanics and setting I’ve ever seen. And WHAT mechanics they are. And WHAT A SETTING.

Houses of the Blooded: I love stories of Tragedy with a capital T. The Oresteia. Hamlet. Elric of Melnibone. The Wire. This has all the ingredients cranked upto 11 thanks to the best riff on Aspects I’ve seen to date. Again the system and setting go so well together.

Sweet Agatha: Wow. I’ve played through this a few times. Cutting the book. Reviewing the clues. Creating a story. A David Lynch movie. A modern day fairy tale. Film Noir. Every time different journey that reveals more about the people playing than it does Agatha.

Fiasco: If anyone reading this has enjoyed a Cohen Brothers film but hasn’t played Fiasco  then they are missing out on a great experience. In the time you would take to watch a film with your friends you can collaborate to make a story for yourselves. Again, the system drops in all the elements to make the themes work.

L5R CCG up until the Time of the Void and the 1st ed RPG: A story has a beginning, middle and an end. AEG may have forgot this, but the quality of their products didn’t. L5R in that moment was something incredibly special. Tragic. Heroic. A true epic. Since then all you get are high-quality standard products, but they don’t have the magic. Each edition of the RPG keeps “fixing” a near-perfect machine. Each set of cards is just another chapter in a closed book.

How are you participating in NaGa DeMon this year?

I try design a new game every NaGaDeMon, with as little knowledge or planning in advance as possible. All I know this year is that I’m going to do a game involving pirate ships, frantic crew assignment and drinking rum. This all came out of a conversation with a friend who is on the brink of publishing a small press game about ship-combat (I’d plug it here but the title is one of the last things they are going to do!). While I found us talking in  similar terms it became obvious to me that we had two very different beasts in mind, and so I decided to put my ideas on ice for a couple of weeks and then see what November brings me!

What are you expecting to be a challenge over November?

Finding the time for gaming has been a real challenge for me over the past few years, and NaGaDeMon will be no different. I’m hoping that we’ll see a couple of “Design Jam” sessions here in Glasgow where me and some of the other local participants can meet up and bounce ideas off one another.

What are you looking forward to over November? 

NaGaDeMon gives me a taste of the frantic preparation and organisation I used to put into gaming events near-enough full-time. While I don’t think I’d want quite that level of involvement and commitment again, it is nice to keep the old “muscle memory” alive just in case!

Who would you most like to play a game with?

Wow. Errrm. Well… I’d play Death at Twister! Most Excellent!

Talkin’ About Talkin’

Yesterday I took a break from my game design to head to my monthly games club meet-up. I played a game of Libertalia (micro-review: really good!) and then became engrossed in a discussion on game design with my good friend Duff.

Duff is designing a board / card game. He has a solid concept of what the game is about, but just wanted to talk through some ideas on actual play. We chatted for a good hour or so, drew sketches of cards on scrap paper and jotted ideas for mechanisms to force decision making and create tension. I asked him questions about the goal of the game, what he wanted players to feel, and to be doing, and where on the “deep strategy <–> beer and pretzels” chart he wanted his game to live.

By the time Duff left he had a folder full of notes, a head full of ideas and a smile on his face. And do you know what, so did I! It turns out, talking about game design can help you out even when it is not your game you are focusing on!

So, have you been talking about game design, your successes, failures, discoveries or troubles? Feel free to leave a link to your latest blog or forum post below, or just blurt it all out here!

Demon Hunter: Michael Wenman

Demon Hunter is where we grill a NaGa DeMon participant about games, their goals for November, and more. Read on to meet today’s Demon Hunter, Michael Wenman!

Hi Michael! Tell us a bit about yourself. 

I’m Michael Wenman. Those in the game design world might have heard of me as the principle designer, artist and publisher at Vulpinoid Studios. Here we’ve released a few games, such as the time-travelling pirate adventure “The Eighth Sea”, the freewheeling Dada-inspired “FUBAR”, and the single player iterative game “Spider’s Dance”.  Beyond this, I’ve started producing freelance artwork for a few other publishers, while I’m not earning money taste-testing wine and spirits or designing websites, I study fine arts.

Which games impress you and why?

I really enjoy games that make players explore alternatives and make tough decisions. With this in mind, I’m impressed by games where the mechanisms of play either fall into the background or act as a conduit to entice players deeper into the world. If I have to disrupt the flow of play to go looking through a rulebook, then that’s a failure.

I’m also impressed by the games played on Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop. While some impress me more than others, they remain consistently playable while pushing the envelope in one direction or another. I’ve been inspired to buy quite a few games via this show.

How are you participating in NaGa DeMon this year?

In 2010 I wrote a game called Walkabout. It was in a genre that could be called “Shaman-Punk”, a post-apocalyptic setting where spirits and gods have returned to a shattered Earth, it’s basically a fusion of Mad Max, Tank Girl and a Studio Ghibli anime film (eg. Spirited Away/Princess Mononoke). The survivors and the spirits of this setting are out of balance, and it is up to the players to discover the source of problems before restoring the balance to the world. This is a game about relationships first and foremost, relationships to specific people, to cultures, and to your ideals.

It’s been sitting in the back of my mind as a game that I’d like to refine, and all year I’ve been blogging about how I’d fix it up. NaGa DeMon seemed the perfect opportunity to get those thoughts in order and write up a second edition of the game; one that I can use crowd-funding to publish at a more professional level than anything previously done by Vulpinoid Studios.

What are you expecting to be a challenge over November?

This year I’ve taken some time off work and have been studying fine arts. November is the end of the year for my studies; so I’ve got two sculptures, a painting and two series of prints to produce, in addition to my game design work. The challenge is going to be fitting everything in.

What are you looking forward to over November?

I love being a part of contests and game design initiatives like NaGa DeMon because you can be assured that someone is going to create something brilliant, or at least something out of left field. Sometimes you get a first insight into a potential game changer for the hobby.

Who would you most like to play a game with?

I’d love to play a game with Wil Wheaton, especially on his Tabletop Web TV series. I’d love to play one of my games on tabletop. I’ve become addicted to that show, have downloaded every episode and burnt them to DVD to show others. I figure it’s the closest we’ve got to a “gaming big leagues” at the moment.

Thanks for participating!

Demon Hunter: Ben Gerber

Demon Hunter is where we grill a NaGa DeMon participant about games, their goals for November, and more. Read on to meet today’s Demon Hunter, Ben Gerber!

Hi Ben! Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m Ben Gerber. I’ve been running the multi-author blog Troll in the Corner since September 2008. It’s dedicated to all things table top with a hefty side helping of other geek related stuff. I’ve been publishing my own RPG content through DriveThruRPG since mid-2010. I started with Pathfinder expansions and have been gently working my way into my own mini-RPGs.

My first really successful product was Argyle & Crew, a base game of extremely light RPG rules for kids, where rather than worrying about a character sheet with all sorts of numbers and explanations scattered over it, you have a sock puppet, called a Soppet. The players are limited only by their imaginations and a very loose set of rules, although there is a basic dice mechanic available for those who want to do a little more with it.

I’ve since published Encounters ~ Plots ~ Places, a 60 page, system neutral source book for just about any fantasy RPG. It’s full of detailed NPCs, items, places and encounters. I’ve also developed Something Went Wrong, a mini-RPG in which every player gets a turn at being the GM and it’s a race to the last surviving character. SWW takes about 5-10 minutes to set up and plays in an hour or two.

Which games impress you and why?

I’m really enjoying story based games right now, things like Fiasco, School Daze, and whatnot. I’m interested in how they use game mechanics to facilitate story, rather than dictate it. Although I’ll always have a soft spot for the games I played as a teen in the mid to late 80s as well.

How are you participating in NaGa DeMon this year?

I’ve got three projects currently in the works. I plan on using NaGa DeMon as a push to finish at least one of them

First is Aruneus – the setting that started this all for me. It’s a high fantasy, zombie apocalypse setting that utilizes the Pathfinder rule set. It’s been 100 years since flesh eating zombies have decimated the world. Now things are starting to come back from the edge, but the undead are still a huge, environmental threat.

Next is Upgrade Wars, a deck-building, tactical combat game I’ve been working feverishly on for the past few months.

Lastly is a game who’s setting I’ve mapped out but the mechanics are spotty at best. It’s tentatively called No Spill Blood and takes place on an earth far in the future, when humans have up and left or otherwise vanished.

What are you expecting to be a challenge over November?

Time. It’s always time. I’ve got a day job that can get fairly intense, my wife who I enjoy spending time with, two fairly young kids that I love. That basically leaves the times when no one is awake but me to work on these things.

What are you looking forward to over November? 

American Thanksgiving and having an excuse to need to work on these things.

Who would you most like to play a game with?

I’d love to gather together a contingent of folks who are in the public eye and know what Dungeons and Dragons is and then play something completely different with them – say Fiasco or SWW.

Thanks for participating!

My pleasure!