February

Twenty-eight-day February seems like an apt month for progress on everything, but nothing brought fully complete. Teaching is ongoing, Gravstrike‘s faction logos were redesigned, Left Justified Studio’s kintsugi card game project found an artist, and I’m in the exciting process of [redacted], whose road, sadly, leads through a ton of accounting and tax...

January

The groundwork was laid in December, but in January I received the coin design for a new Band or Album campaign, to almost-certainly be called Band or Album Remix. To get word when it launches, sign up for my wildly infrequent email newsletter. ¶ I picked up a spring-term gig teaching an Introduction to Game Design course at UW-Stout. I really enjoyed teaching at the Kansas City Art Institute the semester I filled in there a few years ago, and am quite excited to taken another spin at teaching game design to college...

December

2020 is almost over. Good riddance. ¶ Gravstrike graphic (re)design proceeds! Here’s a version of the new logo that’s getting very close, in a box cover mock-up and...

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...