Master Mines

We’re digging RPGs

MY Dreamation roundup

(D’you like the double entendre there? I do!)

I ran Misspent Youth three times and it went extremely well each time. Each one went to a full game, from exposition scene to deneumont. Revelations:

  1. The game works. It’s hella fun.
  2. The three-act structure scene economy works very well. We had definite stories in every game.
  3. Writing it such that people do it “right” as GMs is going to be tough.
  4. The first trait that Youthful Offenders have, Mistreatment, may be too passive and focused on the past. I may have to come up with a more active and present-focused trait.
  5. Despite what came up at the indie roundtable, I’ve got to make conflicts a bit easier for YOs. Right now, they are winning at a vanishingly small degree. Mendel confirmed this for me with some rough supermath in the final moments of the con. I don’t want to make it too easy, but I’m hoping that the YOs will come out of conflicts winning somewhere between 25% and 40% of the time. Right now it’s something like 8%.
  6. I’m not going to try to have a final book for Gen Con 2008. I am going to have an ashcan, however. To that end I’m downloading free (and maybe one cheap) layout programs. As to why I’m editing my expectations, I came away feeling that I won’t really know what the game does until and unless I’ve released it into the wild and gotten feedback
    1. I want to give people a price break for buying the ashcan when they buy the final book. I think I’m going to stamp each one with a unique “citizen identification number” or something similarly creepy.
  7. Jennifer Rogers is going to do art for me, for reals now. At minimum, I’m going to get a cover and some motif images that I’ll reuse as chapter stops or page markers.
  8. I am not going to write any part of it in-voice. I am going to do layout and stuff as though it were a magazine, though.
  9. I want to make it comic-book sized.
  10. The following quote will be on the cover: “If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.” — George Orwell

January 28, 2008 - Posted by | Misspent Youth | , , , , ,


  1. Sounds like everything’s going really well!

    Not sure if you’re on a mac, but if you are you may want to look into Pages. It’s made by apple and it’s got most of the same features InDesign does, but for $79.

    Comment by jhimmelman | January 28, 2008 | Reply

  2. Sorry, got a Vista machine. I’d kinda like to get a Mac but it’s so expensive these days! Hopefully that’ll change by the time I need a machine again.

    Comment by robertbohl | January 28, 2008 | Reply

  3. I can’t recall the second trait, but it also felt very passive and difficult to incorporate.

    Comment by Ryan Macklin | January 28, 2008 | Reply

  4. I’m tellin’ ya: don’t make it too easy to succeed.

    Let me reiterate my roundtable comment. Maybe tweak the difficulty a little but also add a player-tunable mechanic. Give each player 0-5 crutches that they can cross off before they start flipping traits.

    Perhaps even give them three bubbles that they tick off to turn a failure into a cover (but not a win unless all numbers are already covered). Once they cross off all three bubbles, they have to flip traits to avoid failures. Perhaps flipping a trait also resets their bubbles.

    Each player group can decide how many bubbles they want. Maybe none. Maybe three. Maybe five.

    Comment by adamdray | January 28, 2008 | Reply

  5. Hm. I’ll consider that, Adam. I might write a couple of versions of the text to do a sort of a scientific experiment with different groups.

    Currently, my strategy was going to be to give the Authority 7 at all times, but to split the other two numbers between the YOs and the Authority. Keep in mind, in craps, the game starts with the house owning 7 and the players owning some other number.

    If I did do the wiggle room thing I don’t think I’d make it as many as three. You get only 6 conflicts per game, and each player with three cross-offs means they may never have to sell a trait. What I might do is give like a ral–ooh, a “do-over.” That’s kiddish enough. You get one do-over per session which lets you turn a loss into a claim. That’s maybe something worth doing.

    Comment by robertbohl | January 29, 2008 | Reply

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