Master Mines

We’re digging RPGs

Seiyuu: Update

I spent an hour and a half breaking the game last Wednesday, using the Joshua Bishop-Roby’s method that Daniel Solis used for Do. I have a half-finished post sitting in my Inbox, but other things keep getting in the way. Hopefully, I’ll post something soon – at least something after I finish breaking the game.

I’ve been trying to schedule a playstorming session with some of the locals, but summer is turning out to be incredibly difficult for many of us. Work is crushing me, Andy is in a similar situation and has two projects with final edits due by the end of June, and others are on vacation or have tough schedules to coordinate. I’m going to keep trying, but I’m lowering my expectation to get significant playstorming or -testing done prior to GenCon.

That said, I’m now focusing on having a fully playable draft for GenCon, and I’m looking to collect commitments from any and all to participate in playtest sessions at GenCon. I have a separate post on my design blog (xposted to LiveJournal) soliticing commitments, so please sign up there, if you’re interested.

I wish I had more and better to report, but that’s where I am right now. I’m thrilled to hear about everyone else’s progress, though, and I understand that Mythender is being released at the end of this week. Maybe Ryan can explain the need for the name change to Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition? 🙂


June 3, 2008 Posted by | News & Updates, Seiyuu | 4 Comments

New Moderators

Master Miners,

This is the official announcement of a “changing of the guards”. Chris Perrin and I have volunteered to help moderate the site. Our term of office will be three months. After that, we pass it on. This is a self-imposed term of office completely of our own design. I have a drive to get far into the Playtesting phase by GenCon ’08, and hopefully can move to Reserve status after that (more on Reserves later).

We think the core of Master Mines is great: “we’re fledgling designers designing our games together”. Most of our efforts will be back to basics, resuming the Ping, keeping people posting, creating new buzz. That being said, I think in trying to be autocratic, some of the drive was lost. I want Master Mines to be synonymous with Mutualism, in that as a community we will push you towards your project goals and love you when you take each step. I myself look forward to getting the kick in the butt I need on my design, so feel free to Mutual away on me. Lastly, our default assumption for your project is that you plan on publishing it for people to buy. If this isn’t the case, please explicitly and openly say so.

Based on feedback from Miners, we have revised the status set-up: moving recharging, publishing and dormant Miners to the Reserves to keep focus on those of early in the design phase. This is in no way a demotion, it frees the Reservists to post and comment as they have time, but still be a contributing part of the community.

Here are a few things each Active member should contribute to their Projects page.

1. A draft. No mater if it is a bunch of bullets or something slightly out of date, we need something to read through in a single, focused sitting. This should be a living, breathing document. A Google doc might be a good idea for this, but for now, let’s keep that as is.

2. The Big Three. This is something everyone should do for their game at any state. I personally will be pushing for this from each Active member.

3. The Power 19. This is not a requirement, but a suggestion.  The Power 19 should be completed soon after Big Three or after you’ve completed a draft.  It will help you more than you’d expect and will challenge you on some of the assumptions you’ve made in your head about your game.

These changes aren’t set in stone. We are open to feedback. But ultimately, we hope these changes will benefit the group.

April 7, 2008 Posted by | News & Updates, The Rules | 5 Comments

Dreamation Meet-up

So, a good number of us are going to be at Dreamation, many of those folks running playtests of their games (or, in my case, running playtests of someone else’s in lieu of my own). I was thinking that we could perhaps sit down for maybe 30 minutes at Dreamation and do a Master Mines round table discussion, like what I did for Master Plan 11. Maybe sometime between 6p & 8p on Friday? Thoughts?

Also, here’s the Master Mines playtest schedule (composed from the Dreamation IGE game list):

Giants — Jeff Lower: Saturday, 2pm
Kingdom of Nothing — Jeff Himmelman : Thursday Midnight, Friday 2pm, Saturday 9am
Misspent Youth — Robert Bohl: Thursday 8pm, Friday 2pm, Saturday9am
A Penny For My Thoughts — Paul Tevis (session facilitated by Ryan Macklin): Saturday 2pm, Sunday 9am

Edit:  How about Saturday at lunch (1p-2p)?

January 11, 2008 Posted by | News & Updates | 8 Comments

Sight & Sound Challenge

Jason Morningstar posted up his Sight and Sound Game Design Challenge (requires S-G login).  I’ve decided to take part, and it looks like Mike will as well.  Anyone else looking to take a break from their current project and give this rather odd challenge a try?

September 10, 2007 Posted by | News & Updates | 5 Comments

And I’m Back!

Okay, after two months of some crappy stuff, some worrying stuff, some depressing stuff, some neat stuff, some awesome stuff and some settling stuff, I am ready to get back in the pilot’s chair and get going again with Grand Tour and Master Mines.

<insert Ryan’s canned cheering here>

It’ll be like I’m starting from scratch, I know it, but once more unto the breach for me. I have some very clear ideas of what I want Grand Tour to do (if not of how I want it to do it) as well as some parameters I will be working under for various reasons. So, let’s leave this post as the one announcing my triumphant return and I’ll later post on the game itself. Please change me back to Active and we’ll get rolling.

Oh, and btw, each of you Master Mines I met at Gen Con (Mike, dude, without you we couldn’t take the superhero photo), thanks a lot; whether you know it or not, meeting you, talking to you, seeing your game, helped me tons, both to get back to a good place in my mind and to get that drive to get back to designing the game. Thanks.

September 1, 2007 Posted by | News & Updates | Leave a comment

Here’s the mutiny I promised you

So… I have to change games again. Fortunately this will be low-impact on the group, because I’ve done precisely nothing with Bloody Subjects since I last posted.

BS (hah!) seemed a lot more glamorous and exciting to work on than OM, but in the end, they’re both the same – escapist entertainments, the content of which I don’t feel very personally connected to. Now, nothing’s wrong with escapist entertainment, but given the pressures on my life right now, if I’m gonna be putting time and energy into story-game design at all, I’ve got to fry a bigger fish. I’ve got to do something that really feels connected to me personally.

Back before Jason Morningstar ran the Undead Software Engineers in Alaska Challenge, he ran a challenge with similar rules but different ingredients. Those ingredients were 1) owlbears, 2) apiculture, 3) Mark Twain, and 4) owlbears – choose three. I chose 1, 2, and 4 and wrote my first complete draft of a supposed RPG ever. It involved owlbears who’d confused their own forest tribe for a corporation, and gathered honey from local beehives to make quota. I called it You Gotta Do What You Gotta Do.

It was meant to be an episode of The Office – starring adorable yet savage owlbears – that slowly transmogrified into Pan’s Labyrinth. More to the point, it was a completely unplayable board game with roleplaying interludes, but as I moved into playtesting, I realized the interludes – meetings with your boss – were the only parts of the game that anyone enjoyed. And they enjoyed them a lot.

Friends of friends have asked to be in on the next playtest, and here’s the kicker – these people are about as far from gamers as it gets. So that’s a big vote of confidence, besides the fact that the themes are actually something I feel a need to say into the culture.

I made a bet with myself that I’d have a playable new draft by Gen Con. Then my work went insane, so it might not happen, but hey, insane work can now be considered setting research!

I’d better get back to gathering honey… wouldn’t want management to send a memo or rip my arm off or anything.

August 7, 2007 Posted by | News & Updates | 3 Comments

Staying Dormant

First of all, I am very excited to see both Chris and Jeff here at Master Mines. I think it will be a great addition to the group both in terms of the games they bring to the mix and the opinions they’ll dish out. That we’re all podcasters is just so funny; mark my words, this will eventually turn into a podcast as well.  🙂 

I wanted to give you all a quick update: My mom has been diagnosed with early-stage endomitrioid cancer, and although I am in Miami and she is in Puerto Rico, I intend to fly over, as I did this past week, probably a couple more times before Gen Con. She is fine and in high spirits, which helps a lot, and I am hoping she can begin treatment this week.

For the time being, I will request to remain Dormant in this group; I like Master Mines and what we do here, and I don’t want to leave, but obviously my time will be otherwise spent for the next couple of weeks. I have been taking notes and I have a good idea of the format my first draft will take. If all goes well, I may have a first draft completed by Gen Con.

I will continue to monitor the group and comment as time permits; I may miss a few things here and there, but I am here to stay – I’m just taking a short break.

July 14, 2007 Posted by | News & Updates | 4 Comments

Master Mines talked about on Master Plan

So, at Go Play Northwest, Mike, Paul & I sat down and did an episode of Master Plan where we talked about our little design collective.  You can check it out at:

I know that Paul’s also mentioned us on Have Games, Will Travel.  I also spoke with the cool cats at Canon Puncture about Master Mines, which prompted Chris to talk with me about joining — the result which you see now.  Hell, since we’re *all* podcasters (at least at the moment) and a few of us will be at the Ashcan Front, I’m sure we’ll get even more exposure.  This brings to surface an idea I’ve been kicking around for a couple weeks or so now:  would anyone else besides just me be interested in a Master Mines logo that we could put on our games?  I think the idea of “hey, this game came out of this awesome collective that my friends and I do” in graphic form would be neat.

I don’t know if it fits with anything that we’re doing on our ashcans (for those of us who will have them at this year’s GenCon), but I’d like to know if this is something that’s “in scope” or “out of scope” of the group?  I’m not really looking at marketing a “brand” so much as a badge of pride we can be proud to display.

July 13, 2007 Posted by | News & Updates | 8 Comments

A Short Hiatus

Folks, in the last week or so, there has been some stuff going on in my personal life that has dragged me away from everything else I do. I was not able to do any kind of work on the draft this past week (the 4th of July week) and most likely it will be the same next week as well, as I will be traveling to Puerto Rico to accompany my mother to the doctor. I’m being vague now on purpose; depending on what happens this week I may be more specific later on. Just wanted to let you know.

July 8, 2007 Posted by | News & Updates | 2 Comments

A lot of steam, then *poof*

At least that’s how I feel right now about my first week here and this one just concluding. Last week I was spot on, offering comments and putting up stuff of my own; this week, I’ve certainly offered comments, but I have not done anything on GT, for various reasons: work taking up my day time (not usual), editing and laying out a product that needs to come out next week, stuff at home (nothing serious) and the great bit of news I got yesterday, I’m being laid off as of July 1st (so the time I had yesterday, which was a nice chunk, was spent doing the resume/job hunt thing). Bleh.

Anyway, I did start working on my Big 3/Power 19, and aside from getting the latest issue of my magazine out this week, doing a first draft of GT is my top (game-related) priority for the week. My goal is to post, by next Friday the latest, a first draft of the rules for GT for us to pick apart.

June 22, 2007 Posted by | Grand Tour, News & Updates | 3 Comments