Friday, November 2, 2012

NaGaMoBloPoGnoFiGroLoMo

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, this is NaBloPoMo, where I'm trying to write a blog post every day for a month. The concept coincides with NaNoWriMo, which is National Novel Writing Month. People try and write a 50,000-word novel in a month; while this might not be enough for a full novel, it's enough to get the entire creative process started. (As an aside, I tried to do this as a New Year's Resolution, when I figured out the math and determined that by simply writing one page a day for a year, you would have a solid 365-page novel by the end of the year. I have, in my possession, a one-page novel. My math was more solid than my willpower, it seems.)

One of the main rules, however, is that it has to be created in the month of November--you can't pick up a novel you've previously worked on. You can gather information and sketch out outlines, but the first time pen goes to paper (as it were) is on November 1st. For blog posts, of course, that is more or less moot, given the nature of blogging, but can present a problem for those of us who have more ideas than ability to actually execute them.

However, I sadly found out that there is a third creative endeavor, and that is NaGaDeMon. Obviously, obviously, this stands for National Game Design Month. (I really wish they had come up with a different name. It sounds a little too...sinister. Also I wish it had specified board games, but I understand that the title is already pretty clunky.) It's not a particularly popular or well-known concept, but I kind of like it. I am, of course, an armchair designer, with files full of poorly centered Excel spreadsheets pasted together with bad formatting and duct tape. (My current project, dealing with the 2012 election, has several playtesters at the moment.) I've got a dozen workable ideas.

Unfortunately, creating a game wholly contained in a month will be tricky--most board game ideas I have have already been designed, in part. So coming up with a new or fresh subject--along with game mechanics that don't already replicate something I have in the pipeline--might not be doable. It doesn't help that I just found out about it today.

Of course, the board game industry being what it is, it's all a pipe dream anyway; people don't make any money on board games, and chances are they just end up blowing their life savings. (The economies of scale are pretty poor with board games, since print runs are generally small. And the chance of being a "successful" board game designer are low in and of themselves; "successful" is in quotes because a successful board game is one that breaks even.) However, with Kickstarter, designers can get pledges for board games to guarantee that they will at least break even, and the Kickstarter board game industry is thriving at the moment. At some point, however, everyone knows that there is going to be an epic failure--either a game is not going to live up to its promises or someone is just going to abscond with all the cash--and everyone's wallets will snap shut. So the independent board game renaissance going on right now is most likely going to be brutal and short-lived.

Anyway, it's still fun to design, but with everything else going on I'm not sure if I will have the time to participate. Hopefully so, but we shall see. I suspect I can at least go further than my novel.

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