A bunch of random maudlin thoughts

A bunch of random maudlin thoughts

Man I really thought I’d dodged this summer cold that Iris had a couple weeks back. But here it is, the day my wife got back from another week in Tokyo. The very first thing that happens any more is that I slide into a funk. Borderline depression? Dunno. I’m like for fuck’s sake not this again. I know it’s gonna just be a couple days of yuck, but still. But still.

Here’s what’s in my brain these days. Prepare to mute/uncircle/block.

Con(test) Drop: This was a good year for me Game Chef-wise, since I made it to finalist and IMO it’s a really solid piece of work. Yay me. And now that I’m out of the mix, it’s gotten me thinking about how utterly unsuited I am to this event. I mean I should never do one again. A mix of bad-competitiveness, unrealistic expectations, some stuff other participants got up to that I did not love, the abyss of terrible feedback (terrible as in, it read like everyone loved my thing without qualification, which is nice for my ego in the beginning, terrible for my ego when I lost, and as a practical matter useless to me going forward), and in retrospect kind of crappy ingredients.

I didn’t think they were crappy when I started! In fact the mix really pulled me in for whatever reason. But the deeper I got into the reviews and the contest itself, some things jumped out at me:

* “A different audience” didn’t really do much other than get people to consider their audience. Which, you know, for crying out loud you should absolutely be considering your audience. All the time, every time. 

* Good ingredients are open to many approaches and inversions. So like “abandon” is good because you can flip it over (embrace/abandon), you can use the word several ways (leave something behind, wild abandon, etc.), and so on. It has room to breathe. Excellent. Stillness also. Dream maybe less so; there were a godawful lot of games about dreams and dreamers, not so many about “thing you want to achieve in your life” type dreams. And dragonfly was universally terrible: either you end up with a shitton of games about bugs — which happened — or you play with it and get accused of “deliberately misinterpreting” an ingredient. Which I gotta say, not cool. 

Too Many Games: Since I can’t get my shit together to actually work on work, I thought I’d browse through the list of games at boardgamegeek.com and add rankings/ownership stats. God do I own a lot of games. And not-mysteriously the collection grows when my wife is out of town. New hotness is a way for me to treat myself with something nice when it’s just me and the kiddo, but it might be a borderline problem. I’m going to see what happens on her next big trip, pay attention to my urges and needs. 

Eternal Mediocrity: But going through the list — I made it to around #1500 — got me thinking about other stuff. Like, when I’m ill/borderline depressed I’m like “holy mackeral, can you imagine being the designer of #1500 here? For all time, you’re gonna be associated with this crap that didn’t score as well as Eat Poop You Cat.

But of course I have been exactly that guy. Modiphius has recently released the third edition of Mutant Chronicles RPG. I’ve been reading it and it’s really good. The designers have taken advantage of the past decade of hothouse game design thinking, much as they did with Mutant: Year Zero, and come up with something really good. On the other hand, I also get to read previews and reviews by fans who slag the shit out of second edition.

Which is rough when I’m in the wrong head because I’m the guy who wrote second edition.

I think when I’m in a better mood I can mutter something to myself about standing on the shoulders of giants or whatever, but right now, ugh. Not what I need to read.

It also makes me wonder what the point of releasing so-so designs into the wild even is: Sick Paul turns into a skeptical hardcore capitalist, seeing value only in ROI and not in adding to the creative collective, giving some people a way to have a nice time, self expression, etc. I’ll get over that when I’m not sick. Just an interesting character thing/flaw of mine.

This is the End: It’s gonna be a month between sessions of my Mutant: Year Zero game. Has the fizz escaped the bottle? I think it might have. Semi-glad because my to-play list is long. Mostly sad because FFS I can’t seem to see a game to its conclusion.

This Is The End, part 2: I watched this stupid movie on my little out of town trip last weekend. It is so terrible. Do not subject yourself to it.

So. How’s your week going?

0 thoughts on “A bunch of random maudlin thoughts”

  1. Re: “Too Many Games”, I absolutely see connections between my emotional state and binge purchases. I half wonder if the act of purchasing is something I crave, and actually receiving the product is barely a distant third place. Seriously, once the game arrives, it goes into a pile and I basically forget about it.

    (Not that I don’t consider myself awfully lucky to have a problem like this.)

  2. Which, you know, for crying out loud you should absolutely be considering your audience. All the time, every time.

    …you’d be surprised. I had a knockdown G+ thread with someone who vehemently disagreed.

  3. Paul Beakley: The core thread was “this Game Chef sucks; I want to make the game I want to make”, at least as far as I remember it. (I may be selling said person short and misinterpreting things, on the other hand.)

  4. Side note: I’m bummed at myself that I flaked on Game Chef, I had an interesting idea for a game that I also should use Saturday to finish up.

  5. Although it was a somewhat common theme amongst the most sour of grapes this year. EDIT: I’m still hung up on the “you misinterpreted the ingredients!” thing.

    I’m gonna go read your thread now.

  6. Mischa Krilov I have in fact considered the benefits of being a runner-up versus wearing the heavy crown. And absolutely to her credit, the winner this year produced a fine game. Nailed the ingredients better than I did and submitted an attractive draft to boot.

  7. The “you didn’t use the ingredients right” thing can be very frustrating. When I participated in one round of The Ronnies I thought I included a really clever interpretation of the ingredient Amazon but Ron didn’t pick up on the nuances of my metaphor or the way it was manifested in the game design so he dinged me for merely giving it lip service. It really got on my nerves, but then I also started feeling dumb for being angry that people weren’t recognizing my conception of how clever I thought I was being.

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