Master Mines

We’re digging RPGs

Bringing The Noise

Hi, I’m Paul. I do a podcast about games. That’s not why I’m here.

My current project is a revision of my Game Chef entry, A Penny For My Thoughts, which I’m preparing to release as an ashcan at GenCon. (For more on ashcans, see the Ashcan Front.) I’ve got some revisions I need to make to the draft, and there’s obvious some problems with it, but I’m happy with the core design. I’m in the playtesting stage right now, which means I need to get my game in front of people, especially people who aren’t me and can give me constructive feedback. I’ve already got one offer for some external playtesting, and I’ve got at least two more playtests with players other than my normal group scheduled for the next month. So, time to clean up that draft and get it out there.


June 8, 2007 - Posted by | A Penny For My Thoughts


  1. Rock on, Paul, and welcome! I’m very down with A Penny For My Thoughts. I’m definitely interested in playtesting it with my group.

    Comment by Ryan Macklin | June 8, 2007 | Reply

  2. Wow, Paul, I didn’t know you were at this stage already. We’ll have to change your status!

    Thanks for being here with us. ROCK ROCK ON

    Comment by misuba | June 12, 2007 | Reply

  3. Hey, Paul. I’m gonna be looking through the draft in the next couple of days, but I would also welcome a summary of the game in your project page, so as to get a quick idea of what it is about. Here’s wishing you good luck in getting this ready for the Ashcan Front and beyond.

    Comment by Daniel M. Perez | June 14, 2007 | Reply

  4. Thanks, Daniel. Does what I’ve added there help?

    Comment by ptevis | June 14, 2007 | Reply

  5. Very much so, Paul. That does sound fascinating, and indeed, it is funny to see how you and Ryan picked the same ingredients and ended up with different results.

    Comment by Daniel M. Perez | June 14, 2007 | Reply

  6. I really like it. I’m working on a similar game myself, which I’ll write about in a bit sometime. 🙂


    Comment by kynnbwbr | June 15, 2007 | Reply

  7. As I understand the game, it is like a storytelling version of “apples to apples” with no resolution mechanic. Is that correct?

    There appears to be no conflict or “game.” Is that intentional? What is the reward?

    Comment by octothorpemuffin | June 26, 2007 | Reply

  8. All of those assessments seem pretty accurate. APFMT is a roleplaying game in the same sense that Baron Munchausen and 1001 Nights are, in that you take on the role of another person. Like both of those games, it’s not about resolving conflict mechanically. Instead, it’s about taking input from the other players to shape the narrative in an interesting and unexpected fashion.

    Does that answer your questions?

    Comment by ptevis | June 27, 2007 | Reply

  9. IIRC in 1001 nights you are trying to accomplish a goal of some sort.

    The game as written seems to have no natural direction. Like if the player is stuck there is nothing to nudge them along. Also there seems to be little “game” element.

    My players want a game, I think APFMT would be a hard sell to them.

    Comment by octothorpemuffin | June 27, 2007 | Reply

  10. The framing device in 1001 Nights is that you’re all courtiers in the palace of the Sultan, trying to achieve either your secret desire or your freedom. In APFMT, you’re all amnesiacs trying to recover your memories. So there’s a roughly comparable set of goals there.

    In playtest, we discovered that the combination of the revised questionnaire and the new way that the memory seeds work provide just enough direction to keep people moving. It’s subtle, but it proved effective. Obviously, that may not be the case with every group, but figuring that out is what the playtest is for.

    The only case in which I’ve seen players get stuck is when they don’t listen to the Psychopomps. We’ve actually found it very easy to keep things moving. When you have no idea what should happen next, you ask the other players (as per the normal rules).

    It’s definitely more of a storytelling device than a “step on up and meet the challenge” game, but that’s by design.

    Comment by ptevis | June 27, 2007 | Reply

  11. As one of the playtesters, I will chime in with this: this is great for one of my one-shot RPG proposals that I sometimes toss to my board game group. It won’t satisfy my desire to punch Nazis with whatever mechanic is hot at the moment, but it scratches a different itch.

    I can see it being a hard sell to some folks, but similarly it’s hard to sell one D&D group I know that they should give Polaris a try. I think that’s part of the issue when developing a hyper-focused game like this.

    But this is Paul’s game thread so I’ll shut up now.

    Comment by Ryan Macklin | June 27, 2007 | Reply

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