Announcing: Accelemechs vs. Crashotrons!

Accelemechs vs. Crashotrons is the most rigorous game of flinging socks at toys you’ll ever play, and the silliest deep tactical challenge you’ll ever face. Your Accelemechs and your opponent’s Crashotrons will maneuver across a battlefield set up on your dinner table, knocking each other over with speed, daring, and the occasional thrown object. If you own some robots that turn into vehicles, you can be playing inside of five minutes.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be talking about the game’s inspirations and design objectives. I’ll get into how it plays, and why it works the way it does. Perhaps more importantly, we’ll talk about all the reasons it doesn’t work like many wargames do.

Accelemechs vs. Crashotrons releases as a pay-what-you-want tabletop wargame on on August 24th. Check back every Tuesday and Thursday evening between now and then for new posts about the game. (EDIT: an index of these posts is below.)

Get your toy robots out of storage, clear the kitchen table, and roll up a sock. We’ve got battles to win!

Accelemechs vs. Crashotrons design posts

Writing the Rulebook

Starting–and Finishing–Your First Game

I recently had the great good fortune to give a talk at PAX East with Zach Barash, a good friend whose accomplishments are too numerous to easily list here. (Designer for Kingdom Death, Magic: the Gathering columnist, improv actor–seriously, we’ll be here all day and into the night!) Our talk, Starting–and Finishing–Your First Game, teaches a process that will reliably take you from an idea for a game to a finished product that you’re proud to show off. It also highlights some common pitfalls that derail projects, and explains how to avoid them.

You can find our slides here. Be sure to turn on presenter’s notes, which include our discussion for many of the slides.

Thanks to all who attended, to all those who asked questions (they were really good questions!), and to all who reached out afterward!

Wick Perry on Funding Edugames

Much of my work these days is in making games for education–mostly for use in classes I’m teaching. Thus, I was very interested in this article on getting paid for that kind of work.

In many ways, the article echoes frustrating aspects of my own experience, and the experience of others I’ve talked to in this area. There’s tremendous demand, but no organized way to connect designers to the specific people looking for something at any given time. Money is out there, but it is often caught up in systems meant for other kinds of products and services. It is hard to build a reliable income stream.

On the flip side, there really are–as the article makes clear–paying customers out there. It is possible to do this kind of work, make some money, and finish your day feeling like you put your skills toward making the world a little bit better. If that sounds good to you, I hope you’ll join me in making games for the classroom, and that the article gives you some ideas for how to get paid doing so.

Hello again!

Good to see you! It’s been a while.

For the past year and more I’ve been designing, teaching, and building a new life as a full-time creator/instructor/parent. The process has been a tremendous challenge. It has also been enormously rewarding.

Going forward, I will not be posting on the Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule. I loved discussing design here on a regular basis, and hope to do that again in the future. For now, though, I can foresee that posting with that kind of frequency is unrealistic.

Instead, I will be writing as events warrant. My expectation is that individual posts will cover the same areas as before: design theory, useful resources, and so forth. The first such note will go up shortly.

Thanks again for spending time here–and here’s to many more years of learning together!

Theory: Randomness and Responsibility

In the past, I’ve argued against employing control difficulty as a gate for player power. Sam Von Ehren offered an alternative perspective today, one that deserves more thought and time than I’m able to give it as the NYU Game Center End-of-Year Show approaches. For the future, then, a summary:

Randomness built into a game system can be frustrating. If players have to do something difficult, on the other hand, one gets much of the benefit of randomness–even experienced players will trip up sometimes, and will be concerned about it still more–while putting the burden on the players instead of on the game. When their errors introduce uncertainty into a match, they will see themselves as the cause, and want to improve. That’s much more palatable than feeling as though the game is out to get them.