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Alberto Muti
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So, my time is up!!!

How did I do?

Well, I didn't hit six. But I got 5, just about, and that's fine by me. One of these has also been iterated - one complete, expanded rewrite (200 to 5000 words!), two playtests, and notes for a second rewrite waiting to be acted upon.

I also have 2-3 half drafts and collections of notes that may yet grow into something more.

My hope was to turn game design into something I did daily, and I didn't quite hit that mark. On the other hand, Game design is now something I do: the ideas and tiny concepts and bits of inspiration and mechanics that flutter around at the back of my head have been shown that they can, and possibly will, come down to paper and a more defined form. The amount of work involved into that alchemical transformation - ether to matter - is stunning! The more you write down, the more nooks and crannies you realise need to be filled and explained. Still, I get less white page syndrome, and am a bit more self-assured in the "ok, how do I even start explaining this?". From the point of view of procedures and mechanics, I've noticed some recurring things (which I'm fine with), and I found myself grasping for things I didn't expect, like victory conditions in my fifth game, which was nice.

I'm happy I've done this! I might try again later, probably next year. In the meantime, I hope to keep this community alive (in the slow-burning way it has been so far) and turn it into something that can be welcoming and useful to others. How are you doing? Has this exercise been useful so far?

I'm Joining!

Hi, I'm Alberto and I've started this whole thing. I'm starting in April 2017 and I aim to write 6 games by September 2017!

I'm lucky (or maybe a bit cheeky) that I have a head start - in April I've written two games, thanks to the 200 Words RPG Challenge!

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Game 5!!!

I think I'm actually a bit over my own time limit, here, but what the hell, I decided this counts. I'd been toying with the idea for a while and realised the various pieces had sort of fallen into place.

So I give to you Strongman Republic!

It's another small game, something that can be played for a couple rounds, largely to make a point. Largely, it's about my frustration at the political fetish for "action", for the idea that the only reason things go wrong is inaction, and that action, any action, as long as it's disruptive and decisive and doesn't get bogged down in useless complication and minutiae, is fundamentally good and the way to fix things. I feel this is useless in the face of the many complex social problems we live now, and it is particularly toxic because it shifts the focus away from a politician's vision and intentions, and towards empty performative bluster. Sometimes, it feels downright masturbatory, the frenzied power fantasy of the bored voter who's tired of complexity. I hope this comes across when reading the game.

Partially, a lot of the exercise in this has just been writing it; games-wise, it's the kind of thing that I'd see played for a couple rounds to have a bitter laugh at something. I like the idea of the "hidden" problems - the stress here being on the fact that the Leader players are not in any way tasked to try and figure out the hidden problems so they can solve them, but rather, they have an incentive to just ignore them and steamroll complaints later. I also sort of like the win/lose conditions, which of course are heavily skewed.

What do you think?
Strongman Republic
Strongman Republic

#GnoccoCON2017 Royal Blood
Sabato, h. 16-21

Royal Blood è un gioco di heist stories - "colpi grossi" portati a termine da un team usando astuzia, pianificazione, faccia tosta e a volte un po' di sana violenza, alla Ocean's Eleven. Il setting è un Urban Fantasy potente e surreale; i personaggi giocano Reali, esseri umani con un tocco di magia, che cercano di usurpare il ruolo di un Arcano, entità sovraumane e trascendenti che regolano la realtà. Si gioca coi tarocchi.

Due posti sono già promessi a +Daniele Di Rubbo e +Mario Bolzoni; posso ospitare fino ad altre due persone.

#GnoccoCON2017 The Bridge
Sabato, h. 10-15

Ciao! Per il primo slot della Con, porterò The Bridge, il mio gioco in playtest sule relazioni a distanza. Il gioco segue due persone giovani impegnate in una relazione a distanza. Non ci si pone l'obiettivo di creare semplicemente una storia strappalacrime (per quanto l'esperienza non sia esattamente rappresentata come semplice). Alcune delle tematiche chiave sono lo sforzoo di coniugare la vita quotidiana, il lavoro sui propri sogni ed ambizioni, e l'impegno in una relazione; l'importanza e a volte la difficoltà di capire e far capire all'altra persona ciò di cui si ha bisogno.

E' un gioco per tre giocatori, quindi cerco due compagni o compagne di avventura. Il gioco è tuttora in playtest, anche se c'è già stata una prima partita di prova che ha dato risultati promettenti. L'intenzione sarebbe, per quanto possibile, quella di portare avanti una giocata "naturale", e poi parlare di eventuali lacune o problemi dopo. La giocata ha una durata abbastanza flessibile.

Buongiorno! Se alla fine io venissi, c'è una buonanima reggiana disposta a darmi un angolo di brandina dove dormire, oppure, dove consigliate che io dorma? probabilmente sarò senza macchina purtroppo.

Ma sapete che FORSE capita che io sia in Italia quei giorni?!

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Updates and Game 4!!!

Hi folks, how have you been?

The last few weeks/months have been very intense for me and I've had trouble finding the focus to sit down and do stuff. Also, I've focused on expanding The Bridge, one of my first 2 games, which started out as a 200-words mini-game, into a larger, more thoroughly explained version. The first draft of that is finished now, clocking at slightly more than 5000 words - what a difference! It will take a strong and merciless round of editing before I show it around, I'm afraid.

Meanwhile, let me show you Game n. 4 - I prepared this a while ago for another game design challenge with some friends: we were asked to work on "viral games" and games that create a community of players, and this is what I came up with. It sort of cannibalizes an earlier WIP game I had, Miserere Alla Storia, which I may or may not ever finish, one day. I knocked this out in one evening, and I'm pretty happy with it!

Let me know how you're doing!

Being Good in the Wonder Woman universe

Disclaimer 1: Spoilers for Wonder Woman

Disclaimer 2: Part of this is me interpreting the movie. I loved the movie's heart, its central concepts and tenets, despite what I felt was a sometimes sloppy execution. Often, I had the impression the movie gave us very interesting material, very strong thematic elements, that were not delivered very well by the writing. This is my reading of what's beneath that. Feel free to disagree!

So, Wonder Woman is out, and one thing that definitely marks a change in pace from the previous DC Universe movies is that the titular character is good. Wonder Woman is principled and compassionate. She does what she does because somebody needs to do it, even if it's dangerous, even if it's impossible. She believes in doing the right thing. There's one thing that's even better, though, and it's the fact that Steve Trevor, the male lead, is good too - but not the same kind of good.

In the beginning, Diana is the ultimate idealist: She's grown up in a world without real strife or sorrow, a literal Paradise Island, and she's been educated in a mythology that has very clear blacks and whites: humans are good, moral and altruistic unless they are corrupted by Ares, who is the source of all conflict and suffering. It's a simple morality, that reduces situations to simple problems, and offers simple solutions: a bloody, all-consuming war is on? Find Ares, kill him, everything is gonna be just fine. There is always reason to hope, to act, to be a hero. It's always worth it, because humans are good and deserve her help. And so, when she's in the trench and looking at horror in the face and Steve is telling here that you can't save them all, we get No Man's Land. And that is so important.

No Man's Land is basically what being a superhero is to me: refusing the "it just has to be this way", the allegedly-necessary tragedy, the impossible odds. Finding a better solution even when it seems there is none. And of course, here it's made possible by the fact that Diana can deflect bullets, but it's not the super strength or invulnerability that counts. It's the will to find a better way. It's the choice of climbing out of the trench. I love that scene so much.

However, things are not as easy, and her first, misguided showdown (against the General-who-wasn't-Ares-anyway) leaves Diana reeling. So far, she has had an easy time being a hero, because hey, black and white, Zeus and Ares, and humans are fundamentally good. So of course she has the will and clarity to save the day, of course she doesn't doubt. But how can she do it, if humans themselves are bad, too? If they're not the pure beings she thought they were?

And this is where Steve comes in. Steve is not morally superior to her. They are both good, but in different ways. He's your goody two-shoes American boy, but he also has hard-won experience, and he knows how to live with bad choices, with moments when morality is murky and the moral compass is lost. He can look at the shades of grey and still understand good and evil. And he teaches her that, he teaches her that it's not about deserving, and oh my god that single line, I love it. When Diana's neat black and white morality is shattered, it's that line that Steve leaves her that allows her moral compass to keep on working, to find a better, deeper "north".

In turn, Steve comes to understand and respect Diana's vision, her moral strength: later on, he will tell her that she's the only one who "can do it", and I think he does not only mean that she's invulnerable and super strong; he means that she really can see past the bad choices and look for something new, radical and good. As she fights Ares, he sees another problem that needs to be fixed, and acts like a true hero (even though he has to sacrifice himself - he can't fully escape the bad choices, that's Diana's purview).

Steve and Diana start with the same, simple motivation: they both feel that someone should do it, and since they can, they must. It's a relatively narrow common ground, because their moralities then expand in very different directions, and face different challenges. Being good in this movie is not easy, and is not shallow: it's challenging, and it's deep. The two vastly different ways in which Diana and Steve are good are a source of conflict, which is always interesting, but I love even more that they are a way for characters to learn from each other, and inspire each other to be better people and better heroes.
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Update from London

Some friends have gotten in touch about the terror attacks in London. I'm currently away from the city, at a gaming convention in Birmingham. +Talisa Tavella​ was already home, safe and sound. We're OK - if rattled. Thanks to those of you who were concerned.
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Status Update

Hi folks! The lovely +Simon Fernandez​ said he was going to check in regularly, and I realised that that's entirely the right call, and I should be doing it, especially since I've started this whole thingamabob.

So, how are you doing? What's going on in the part of your brains that stirs up new games?

I've written a game, but I'm not sure I'm going to count it for this purpose, for reasons (it's for a similar "write-small-games-regularly" thing some friends are doing, and while I'm happy to put games that I do for other stuff here, I am not sure yet I want to cross those two particularly streams).

In addition, I have a lot of what I sort of intend to be Game #4 written down - I'm at the stage where I have to come up with specific lists of stuff like prompts and questions rather than general architecture, and that takes finding some time to just do that.

I've also playtested one of my first two games, The Bridge, that I originally submitted to the 200words rpg challenge! I think the core concepts are there, and I'm happy with what I've seen, but I need to make it a bit tighter and really nail down the procedures clearly. I've started doing writing on a rework of that, too. The Bridge is a game that really comes from a personal place, and seeing it move the first, wobbly step in the right direction was so exciting.
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