Master Mines

We’re digging RPGs

MM Pulse Check


Since the changeover of moderators in April, we saw a push of posts and activity.  Penny, Giants, MY and Mecha are getting close to done.  Seiyuu has a developer.  D-Com and SKMAV are plodding along slowly (at least with what is on the MM site).

Are you getting what you need from Master Mines?  What could we be doing differently/better?

What do we currently offer each of the current designers that you don’t get anywhere else?

What aren’t you getting anywhere else that we could provide you to bring your game along?


June 28, 2008 Posted by | Group Feedback | 2 Comments

Why the Rush to GenCon?

I think this might be worth dialoging about. Here are my thoughts.

GenCon is arguably the biggest gaming convention of the year. Having a new game there means a huge amount of exposure and possible sales.

However, I think it’s easy for any given product to get lost in the sea of new products. Even if you’re running demos at your booth (Ashcan Front, Play Collective, Forge/IPR, whatever), it’s still hard to grab people and translate that into sales.

And are sales even what we’re aiming for? I know that there are folks, like Paul Czege, who are more interested in purchases translating into actual play than purchases translating into profit or fame. I know I’m not doing this for money – or even fame. (I’ll detail my reasons along with my alternate Big Three Questions post.)

Assuming things kick into high gear, the earliest I’d consider releasing Seiyuu would be Dreamation 2009. I think, if you want to aim for a convention for release, Dreamation is actually better – there’s a lot of indie presence there, especially via the IPR booth. I realize this doesn’t work well for west coast folks, but I suspect there is something similar – doesn’t Endgame have something?

Even if Dreamation 2009 doesn’t work out, I’m not just considering a convention for my release schedule. Just look at Spirit of the Century – it came out a few months after GenCon and had no real convention tie-in.

How do the rest of you view a GenCon release or aiming your release for a major convention?

April 10, 2008 Posted by | General Advice & Thoughts, Goals, Group Feedback | 13 Comments

Behold, The Naysayer

“If you don’t have a nigh-completed manuscript, having a finished product at GenCon is… a bit enthusiastic, let’s say.”

That’s the advice Josh Roby gave to me on February 1st last year. And I think he’s right. Heck, right now it’s four months until GenCon, and it takes six to eight weeks to get a book printed.

Now this is the point where I probably get unpopular. Having been hip-deep in the the development process (which is different from the design process, mind you) for six months now, I have to say this: don’t underestimate the amount of time it takes to get the text written, tested, and solid. Hell, I’m just hoping to get Penny out by the end of the year and I had a playable, mostly workable draft ten months ago.

Now I understand that I am neither the fastest nor the best writer around, so I suspect that just because it’s taken me this long doesn’t mean it will necessary take you that long. But I think we need to be realistic about things. I guess what I’m really saying is that while Master Mines is about design, don’t make the mistake of thinking that design is the hard or time-consuming part of publishing a game.

April 9, 2008 Posted by | Group Feedback | 12 Comments

Feedback: Is this working?

So, I’ve been questioning this model for a few months now. This worked early on, but it’s not something that can be sustained. I haven’t posted up my monthly bits because, well, I don’t feel like I’m much of a participant anymore.If you look at the three people who first started this: Mike, Paul & I — look at how much we post. Really, none of us are doing what the site was created to support. Paul’s really beyond the scope of this. Mike doesn’t really post much and is having problems getting started. I have found personal conversations with some friends to be more gratifying about Mythender than here — and that’s after I changed my project on here more than once. (Hell, I just realized that what I should be working on with Mythender isn’t Mythender the RPG, but Mythender the narrative war game — and grow the RPG out of that.  And maybe here isn’t the place for that.)

Jeff Himmelman has found an audience for his book, and (I assume) is engaging with them. Jeff Lower hasn’t posted much here, but I didn’t want to seem uninviting by taking him off. Daniel has just bowed out, and Ben before him. Clyde posted recently, but hasn’t posted in some time. And, frankly, is anyone actually doing the Ping anymore? I got a little burned in pinging people only to hear them say they’ll post and not, so I just stopped in the interest of letting those with drive get the time they put into the site.

Right now, this site is the Chris Perrin & Rob Bohl show, with some of us watching on occasion or making our own posts. And that’s totally cool — but, some people have moved on. Overall, this group needs something new to happen to it — I just don’t quite know what that is, and in the spirit of being autocratic I shouldn’t be the only one making that decision. The only decision I feel like I can make without consulting ya’ll (including those who aren’t on the list but have an interest, like Rich Rogers & Matt Gandy), is to bow out, but as the accidentally-official head of this thing that’s more complicated.

Consider this the “monthly group feedback” post that I haven’t done in some time.

April 3, 2008 Posted by | Group Feedback | 19 Comments

Monthly Group Post

Hey gang, here’s the group update/feedback post for December.

So, it looks like the posting requirement backfired on us. 🙂 I think instead of “posts per week,” the idea should be re-focused to the Ping — how long you go dormant before we ping you about it.

I’d also like to change one of the notions of this group. Rather than a vibe of “this group is for people who want to get a game done and published,” I think “this group is for people who want to get a game as done as they like” fits better. Not every game needs to be published in order for us to be happy with it and take away lessons from designing it.

With that in mind, I’m going to get autocratic for a moment and say that jumping from one game to another is cool. I got a bit of flak for it when I started designing a new game after GenCon, and that is actually why I don’t post much anymore. I have a new game I’ve been working on for the last week or so now, as a way to work on something that is the exact opposite of Know Thyself, in order to get some perspective. So, expect to see some posts about Mythender soon, because I want to crank on that for at least a couple months. Its causing me to make notes about Know Thyself on occasion, because my brain doesn’t feel stalled out on the project when moving forward on another.

Last bit of news from me: we’ve got another member.

December 4, 2007 Posted by | Group Feedback | 7 Comments

October Group Feedback

Hey gang,

I just posted up about the new modes. I also have added a couple new folks, but as it’s the Master Mines way, they’ll be the ones introducing themselves and their games.

So, what’s working for ya’ll? What’s not? As always, I’ll post my own thoughts in the comments.

By the way, I just figured out that you can resize the edit window in WordPress. That is so awesome.

October 10, 2007 Posted by | Group Feedback | 3 Comments

Monthly Check-in

So, guys, this group has had a rather low turnout since GenCon, which is understandable.  So, I’d like everyone to check in with their status — I’d like to know if we have room for new blood, or if we’re about to ramp back up to speed. I know I haven’t been posting much lately, but that’s because I fear overwhelming the group with my posts.

So chime in, gang!  Are my fellow Ashcan Fronters on hiatus?  Is Mike ready to dive back in?  Inquiring minds want to know!

September 5, 2007 Posted by | Group Feedback | 12 Comments

July 2007 Group Feedback

Here’s our second group feedback post — I put it up a bit late in the month, but here it is.

Given that so many in the group are polishing or dormant, and that GenCon is right upon us, our recent activity isn’t very representative of “business as usual.”  At least, I’m really hoping not.  But we’ll wait until September before changing things around, in case we get back into the swing of things after GenCon & a short break.

So, Master Miners, what’s working for you?  What’s not?

August 7, 2007 Posted by | Group Feedback | 3 Comments

June 2007 Group Feedback

So guys, here’s our first feedback post. Every month, someone will make a Group Feedback post for the previous month, and all Master Mines participants are asked to comment on this post with their thoughts: What’s working for you? What isn’t? How are you doing? Is there something we could be doing that we aren’t? Is there something we are doing that you don’t like? Feel free to ask the group questions about how you’re doing, as I will in my comment.

Since my thoughts are no more or less valued than yours, I’ll put my own personal thoughts in the comments.

Share with us and help the group grow. Stagnation is death, and death is lame.

July 2, 2007 Posted by | Group Feedback | 4 Comments