Game Design Snapshot: Reckoning

For these snapshots, I seem to be going in descending order of completion.  Now that Parsec is almost done as far as I am concerned as a writer, Reckoning is where my attention has primarily turned.

We’ve had a lot of trouble finding playtesting groups that aren’t just our friends.  There has basically been on “beta” playtesting of this game.  We have run about a half-dozen games, though, and two years ago the system was probably 90% done.  Reckoning is dice-less and very quick and direct, so there isn’t a lot of technical work that really has to go into the system.

The main challenge is revising what is now the playtest document, winnowing it down to a rough draft.  Without beta playtesters, though, it is hard to gauge how well we are writing the text as an instruction manual. If Aric or I run a game of Reckoning, it goes really well, everyone has a good time, the system is quickly grasped, and periodically people get scared.  I know, though, that this fact is meaningless with regard to how good the text is at teaching players to replicate these experiences.

Currently, the goal with Reckoning is for us to self-publish it and sell it on a small scale for not very much money.  We’d love to have an artist join us in working on the project for the love of it, the hope of a small-time publication credit, with the understanding that it may not make money after we’ve paid to produce it.

Another option that I think is worth exploring is looking for a publisher who would be willing to do layout, artwork, and the actual publishing work on the project.  The thing is, we both have day-jobs that take up 50+ hours every week, a number of other writing projects, and for my own part, I’m no longer sure how much I want to learn how to be a publisher.  Maybe finding someone who just loves publishing and is good at that is the way to go.  We will have less creative control of the game, but also a whole lot of new skills we won’t have to learn.  We can spend all that time doing more writing and gaming, which is the part that I really love.

2 thoughts on “Game Design Snapshot: Reckoning

  1. I'm inclined to search for a publisher. We have enough other projects going on, that I think I'd rather spend my energy on writing those than on trying to do layout and design (things I'm not skilled at, and don't really enjoy).

    I definitely think we ought to keep our aim for finishing the manuscript by midyear 2011. Then we blast that thing to every publisher we can find.


  2. Ok – I think I agree, for the same reasons. I would still like to learn layout and design, someday, but that sounds more like an adult ed class at the local college or something, rather than a thing I want to tackle on my own on top of everything else.

    Sounds like a plan then 🙂


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