November

Spent a week in Iowa. ¶ Wrote a lengthy blog post about what’s wrong with virtual tabletop conventions, and how we can fix...

Why Virtual Tabletop Conventions Fail, and How Organizers Can Fix It

Nine months into the pandemic, major tabletop convention organizers — the Gen Cons and PAXes of the world — have failed to bring their events online in a way that approximates their real-world magnificence. The challenge is monumental, and there’s only so much point in criticizing the moon for being far away. But in scrambling to make their events happen, organizers haven’t taken enough time to think through what’s critical about the experience they provide. The result is that they’ve mostly rushed to adapt each individual event to the online environment, and conducted this process en masse. But in tackling virtual adaptations individually, they haven’t taken into account the key factors that unite those events and spaces into a convention. And so they’ve left behind what it is about those assemblages that almost compels people to love them. Conventions are Control A key service — maybe the key service — a convention provides is to isolate you from your regular daily obligations. Not only that, but to make it socially appropriate for you to set those obligations aside for the duration of the con. A convention’s programming is secondary to the freeing permission it bestows. Why would we value this so highly? Because the most devilish conundrum of most gamers in their working lives is not their work itself, but how to organize and prioritize it. Most folks are trained for, talented at, and interested in the substance of their work. Conversely, almost no one is formally taught to mindfully structure their tasks, to set and revise their priorities, and to actively burn down the distractions that are everywhere and...

October

Although Dice Miner has not yet arrived with backers, it is not commanding very much of my time just now, so I’ve moved on to other Atlas Games development and producing projects: A new, simpler core game for the Once Upon a Time line, a new competitive+cooperative (so fun!) card game we licensed from a designer I met at Protospiel Madison last year, and (shhh!) probably some kind of new edition of an old classic card game whose name might rhyme with “Punch Bunny.” Stay...

September

I’ve hired a graphic designer to carry Gravstrike‘s visual design forward, and progress on the Tabletop Simulator implementation is coming along...

August

Too little progress has been made on Gravstrike in recent months and years, a fault-free but regrettable situation. In hopes of jumpstarting progress on the road to crowdfunding and publication, I recently bought my partner’s stake in Drive & Energy, its publisher. As Gravstrike‘s sole owner, I plan to accelerate progress. Look forward to a scripted Tabletop Simulator edition in the coming months as the first visible...