Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

Where I’ve Been

The first quarter of this year, I limited myself to two posts a week with an average of 2000 words a week. Most of this was dedicated to covering session reports from the convention games I ran, but some general rambling and game reviews got slipped in for variety. This second quarter has been about experimentation. Its seemed a little crazy to write so much stuff that pretty well has negligible demand, so I felt like I really should try to branch out in to things that could conceivably lead to “real” writing.¹ When I couldn’t decide which specific thing to focus on, I figured… why not try several things at once. That lead to the following:

  • Weekly Interviews: These took a lot of work to do… and they were worth doing just to get information that doesn’t really exist anywhere else in a comprehensible format. While I enjoyed pretending to be a journalist, I have to say… I’m not sure that it was much use to anybody else. My schtick this round was down several small interviews on a regular basis and then pad it out with other stuff in order to rope in as many readers as possible…. But even with all that… I did not get the feeling that things actually took off.
  • Gaming Notes: That lead to my weekly gaming notes column evolving into Space Gaming News covering my favorite type of games, Blog Watch covering the OSR blogs, and On the Table focusing on actual tabletop experience. None of these things quite merit individual blog posts… and I’d hoped that the whole would somehow be more than the sum of its parts. (Ah well…. I had this idea last December that I really should be doing a weekly gaming column. I followed through on that even when I conjectured that no one would pay me to do it. I don’t have any idea what the next thing is at this point, though.)
  • Original Fiction: I made myself do this. Man, did it take a lot of effort. The results were disappointing on the whole, but the efforts paid off in unexpected ways. A negative book review that I’d done lead to me attempting to demonstrate what I thought it should have been which lead to my first game design. Mostly I flushed out stuff I needed to work on before I could actually do fiction– stuff like, learn how to describe alien critters, learn how to plot… learn how to pace things. I can drop a thousand words of fiction-like writing… but I just can’t spin a story as of yet.
  • Original Game Design: After years of complaining about the space combat games in the science fiction role playing games, I finally took a stab at what I thought it should be. While it can stand some development, I certainly have enough to determine if the idea is worth developing… which was as far as I wanted to get.
  • Original GURPS Stuff: This was a fun collaboration with my son. (He illustrated for me.) I’d actually spend hours after posting my Dungeon Fantasy Monsters looking up rules and stuff and polishing them based on feedback. There’s plenty of time to prep stuff for a con game, publish bits and pieces of it here, and then… see what potential Pyramid articles emerge from the whole mess. But the learning curve on Pyramid-quality articles is no cakewalk if you ask me.

That seems to cover most all of the threads I’ve started. I wonder what the theme will be for the third quarter this year. I mull over cutting back the words-per-week back to where they were… and focusing on just playing games like I used to. But maybe the genie is out of the bottle at this point.

If you have any requests for what you’d like to see in the next quarter of posts… please weigh in with a comment.

¹ This is known as “velveteen writer syndrome.”


2 responses to “Where I’ve Been

  1. Brendan June 14, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    I enjoyed the gaming notes series, but I feel that as a medium blogs work better as more tightly focused pieces. That is, one core thing that is easy to think of as a unity. Each of those gaming notes columns probably could have been 5 or more separate posts. Like, the interview is one post, highlighting an interesting article that you read on another blog could be another post (along with discussion/analysis of what you found interesting about it), and so forth. I think that kind of content is also more usable in an archival sense too, as people are more likely to remember and use “post about game feature X” if it is its own thing rather than if it is a paragraph of a longer column.

    One idea: maybe how some ideas from GURPS or other more specialized games could be used to inform playing in other systems, methods of using those ideas as house rules, etc.

    I also liked the Isle of Dread posts a lot.

    • jeffro June 15, 2013 at 2:06 pm

      The Isle of Dread has taught me things about D&D that I didn’t even know to wonder about….

      Hmm…. Yeah, the interviews are probably going to come out as separate posts. It feels chintzy to do a links-only post every week, but if I really try to get the space gaming news bits regularly maybe it’s worth it. I really wanted a “weekly news magazine” feel, though….

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