A pictoral representation of the state of conversation regarding game design available through the internet.

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Pff. That's just the

Pff. That's just the theory-o-sphere. The design-o-sphere's hard at work, like a bunch of scribbling monks, too busy to argue. At least in the Western MA part of the design-o-sphere. I don't know what the rest of you monkeys are up to.

Isn't this the normal summer

Isn't this the normal summer depression (apart from the fact that I share vincent's opinion)? I also guess, people got more reclusive to try finish their games for the big shows and conventions.

Yeah, see if you still feel

Yeah, see if you still feel that way after GenCon. I know a lot of designers are hunkered down trying to get things published by then.

Yes yes yes, it's the

Yes yes yes, it's the pre-GenCon lull, and people are designing and working and all that, but you're all missing the important part: I'm not being entertained at work by intriguing design discussions. Can't we focus on what's important, here? ;)

I also think there is a

I also think there is a certain problem with the Forge, one Ron noticed, but it's still there.

When you have a game, you go there and look for replies, and you get replies from whoever is there. Once you finish getting your replies, you stop visiting, and stop commenting. Once you have other venues(your own blog), you may stop going to the Forge for design input altogether.

When you don't go to the Forge to get design input, you also don't go there to give design input.

This also results in the people who give input being those who stumble in the dark as well, but it does result in less in-breeding of theory.

I'm sure if you'd read all the posts in First Thoughts you'd feel different JBR.

Actually, I hit up the Forge

Actually, I hit up the Forge on a daily basis. Opera opens a suite of sites on startup, one of which is the Forge. I read through most, if not all, of First Thoughts and the rest and one of the things that led to this post here is the paucity of posters there with much experience. TonyLB is really the only 'veteran' that posts and replies regularly. And it shows -- First Thoughts is full of threads debating relatively unimportant stuff at length, like "how many skills should I have in my skill list?" Whereas I used to go to the Forge for insightful design discussions, now it feels like a fanboy dogpile experience, where most posts are informed by perspectiveless personal preferences (I like games with lots of skills in the list!) instead of considered design principles. Most of the real innovators and veterans have turned to designing privately, or via email consultations with each other.

I noted that, and I also

I noted that, and I also noted that that is the crux of the problem.

Once the 'veterans' stop helping the threads and design, what are you hoping to achieve? You get newbies who help since no one else does, and it shows. Once someone manages to get enough experience to actually provide help, he usually got the help he needed for his game and goes recluse, to work on his game, leaving the field once again dominated by lack of experience.

You want good design, you want meaningful questions, you want interesting design? Have people provide good answers first.
Also, many of the interesting threads which deal with interesting content get next to no replies. So we don't have "Theory Forum", so if someone posts something which is Theory-ish, it gets no replies, because those interested in such content don't even read the place anymore.

The tough thing about First

The tough thing about First Thoughts is that it's very frustrating to wade through those perspectiveless posts and post something that you hope is helpful, and have it misread or something, with no one at your back to help you communicate the idea at another angle.

At Story-Games these days, I can trust that if I say something in a dumb way, someone who knows me will go, "I think Shreyas actually meant..." and he'll probably be right; is that still true of the Forge? I don't know.

JBR had it right the first

JBR had it right the first time: tumbleweeds.

There are more healthy new games being born now than ever.

And some of those new games are dazzling evolutionary leaps forward in design, just like the last couple crops of games were.

But the peanut gallery-- the design-o-sphere-- isn't abuzz with dissecting HOW the newest games rock.
The design-o-sphere is still back at "DitV is the end-all-be-all".

Evolution doesn't sleep. lumpley doesn't sleep. Afraid isn't just a rehash. It's oozing with lessons to be learned-- from the nuances of how Vincent tailored his system to a different genre. And if you aren't stealing from his newest shit-- you are a relic. You're sooo 2005. By where are the brilliant analyses of the new newness?!
Why only tumbleweeds instead?

I think the 'veterans' got smug and slept.

JBR is wrong that the Forge's First Thoughts is -just- “how many skills should I have in my skill list?” What I've been seeing lately is "how many skills should I have in my skill list... for a really out-there game idea that ISN'T a fantasy heartbreaker."

And instead of recognition that 'holy krap-- this ignorant kid has a diamond in the rough on his hands'... the kid gets some boilerplate advice to go read a standard rant. Or the kid gets lectured on how his game Isn't like Dogs (or whatever other holy grail)... instead of getting nurtured -because- his game isn't like anything that's come before.

My expectation is that the next next generation of new newness will blindside the design-o-sphere. Sure, you'll be abuzz eventually. But don't assume your radar will just detect the next big thing, promptly.
Heck, it took Ron Edwards like 20 years to find out that Marvel Superheroes RPG was a good game. And he wasn't even asleep at the wheel. Unlike the design-o-sphere.

Heya, I'm just now


I'm just now starting to wake up. I've had a summer of really bizare and unfortunate events that made gaming take a back seat. I've not posted on my blog or The Forge for a while. But now I'm back. Post-GenCon I expect to see a lot of chatter. And I know I'm going to make a greater effort to help newer designers.

I will agree with JBR and Curly to a certain extent. When's the last time any one of us designed a game out front in the open on Inde Game Design/First Thoughts?



Agora was out in front a

Agora was out in front a couple months ago. Now I'm just line-editing FLFS -- not something that's very public-able. ;)