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Game Jams

I paid money for domain and hosting, yet I have been neglecting this website. Maybe I should start a Patreon creator account and write my blog posts over there instead. That way, I would be earning money instead of losing it.

Anyway, I have not been posting on my blog because I had been participating in game jams (and posting on Twitter). I am going to go through the games I have designed in the past few months for various game jams.

Swansong of Blood and Tears is designed for Emotional Mecha Jam. It is a Dread-hack inspired by mecha anime where the protagonists have a last-ditch attempt to bring down the big bad. In those stories, the protagonists would fall one by one, making heroic sacrifices so that the team can move forward. I originally started with a simple dice system, where success with a cost is the most probable outcome, and the player mechas would make heroic sacrifices when their hit points is down to zero. I wanted to use a more elegant system without having to count hit points, and I remembered people telling me how players in Dread can sacrifice themselves by knocking over the tower, so I worked the Jenga mechanics into the game.

One of my design philosophy is that the player always retain narrative control of their character. In SoBaT, the GM decides when the player needs to make a check, but the player chooses if they want to pull one or three blocks. I like the fact that success is the only possible outcome, which is something you don't see a lot in tabletop RPGs.

Note: Dread is written by Epidiah Ravachol.

Chicken Coup is designed for Felonious Fauna 2k19 game jam. It is a hack of Grant Howitt's Honey Heist. I started with a pun (coup in the chicken coop) and an idea about chicken revolution. When I was coming up with ideas for the mechanics, some of them translated really well into the mechanics of Honey Heist. I then proceeded to build the game around the Honey Heist mechanics.

The two stats of Chicken Coup are Chicken and Pluck. I love the fact that the word chicken can be used to mean cowardice as well as the animal, and I chose pluck because it means courage as well as being a chicken pun. It follows the Honey Heist stats of "Animal" and "Quality", as well as being the polar opposite of each other, which makes the shifting stats more meaningful.

I love coming up with chicken puns for the game. I came up with adjective that can be used for both personality, and as a way to cook chicken. I actually did some research of chicken breeds, but I used feather pattern in the end, and associated those words with specialties. I have to thank my friend Charlie for explaining Grant Howitt's humour to me, and that honey badger is supposed to be the odd one out from the bears (I was trying to rationalise why honey badger is a bear). Therefore, the sixth chicken variant is actually a pigeon.

Magical Cleanup Service is designed for March of the Wizards 2k19 game jam. It is a fun little PbtA game about wizards cleaning up magical messes. It is minimalistic, yet contained everything essential to a PbtA game (in my opinion). There four stats, with one basic move for each. Because it is a game about a specific experience (i.e. cleaning), it allows me to do away with a universal move like "act under fire" from Apocalypse World or "defy danger" from Dungeon World. I also like the fact that none of the basic moves are combat oriented. Having two moves for each playbook allows me to create 6 distinct wizard archetype within the time frame of the jam. I can go back to add more moves for each archetype, but I actually like the simplicity of the two-moves playbooks. Some additional highlights of the game include boom-fu and trash-pocalypse.

I actually made a Twitter thread about my design process, so I am not going to repeat myself too much here.

Note: Apocalypse World is written by Vincent Baker and Meguey Baker.

Obligation Free is written Short Rest game jam. This is a very storytelling RPG with just 37 words, and can be played by any number of players. You write down a list of obligations for your characters, and a list of things they enjoy doing, then you destroy the list of obligations and narrate your characters doing what they like. Just because the list of obligations is destroyed, it doesn't mean the list is not important. By writing down the list, you get to know more about your character. I also had fun doing the layout of the game and giving it a postcard look.

The Novelist and The Dreamer are the two one-word RPGs I wrote, and not as part of any game jam. The one-word RPG idea was originally conceived by Taylor from Riverhouse Games, in his game We are but Worms. Although the actual rules for the game are only one word each, I did come up with an overly long introduction for each of them, and I put effort into making the layout look great.

Having participated in a number of game jam, I am now hosting my own. Folklore Jam is running from today (the 19th of April) to the 3rd of May. 200 people have joined so far, and I can't wait to see what games people will come up with!