Master Mines

We’re digging RPGs

Mission Statement & The Rules

Who are you guys?

Master Mines started with Mike Sugarbaker emailing me (Ryan Macklin) about starting up a design group, similar to the very active, very collaborative design groups from this year’s Game Chef. After reading a thread on Story Games about a site to form design groups and seeing the group that Jonathan Walton & Shreyas Sampat formed on their own, he grabbed me (since I do a game design podcast), and we started Master Mines. He grabbed me at exactly the right time, because I was thinking about announcing my own game design challenge on Master Plan called the “Put Up or Shut Up” Challenge, challenging people to design the game that’s been in their head for years alongside me & my design efforts. I was (and still am) very much on board, and took some of my ideas from Put Up or Shut Up — namely pinging inactive people and really turning the “support network” idea to 11 — and incorporated them into the Master Mines philosophy.

Then we grabbed Paul Tevis, who was all over this idea, and you have the origin of Master Mines. Of course, it’s doubtful that anyone outside of Mike, myself, and maybe Paul care about this, since it’s just a story about us. Let’s get down to the business of how we do things at Master Mines. We’re covering all this in our “The Rules” posts, but since that’s a link to a tag and posts are sorted by date in descending order, that’s not as useful as a directory of posts & what they cover. If you’re in Master Mines, consider this required reading (the posts, not just the synopses), and do comment if you have any questions or thoughts. These are living documents, just like everything else here.

Everyone is welcome to comment and even steal this model whole-cloth for their use. I’d ask that you let us know if you do, because I’d like to see how others use it. After all, you could easily come up with an awesome idea that we could incorporate here.

The Participant Modes: Active, Testing, Polishing & Dormant
This is the first post, where Mike talks about organizing participants into one of four categories depending on where they are in their designs, and what’s expected of each mode.

The Master Mines Ping
A huge part of Master Mines is that we’re a support network, and this outlines the idea that if you don’t post in a week or so (and you’re not dormant), one of us will ask you if there’s anything going on and if we can help you out. You won’t escape the ping if you are dormant either — we’ll just wait longer to ping you.

On Participating: The Lifeblood of Master Mines
Here we talk about that fact that commenting on others posts is as vital as posting your own stuff up. We’ll ping you if you aren’t commenting just like we will if you aren’t posting. We also talk about what you should do as a designer to get the most out of Master Mines.

Be Your Own Introduction
There isn’t much in this post, but it’s a reminder that we’re big on making sure people who are involved, well, are involved. So, don’t wait for us. Be your own introduction, make the first move, and everything will follow.

Monthly Check-ups
Master Mines will check up on itself from time to time to see if this group is working for its members. The group is not static — being static is admitting there’s no improvement to be made, and that’s antithetical to the group ideal.

Defining Goals
One of the ways to produce a slow-burning, sustainable collaboration group is for us to set out short-term goals for ourselves.  This gives us something in the immediate future to shoot for an others to know what we’re noodling on.


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