Design Doc

Join Hannah and Evan on a journey in analog game design as they set out to redesign their first roleplaying game, Questlandia. Are you a junk poet or a world weaver? Can you Kickstart a roleplaying game in a three-ring binder?  It’s as close to live game design as it gets, and we’re inviting you along for the ride!

Hannah grew up on point-and-click adventures games and purple-aquamarine ‘90s tracksuits, and never really grew out of it. She designs games around themes of queerness, empathy, and optimistic nihilism. You can find more of her work at makebigthings.com, where she creates board and roleplaying games as part of the Make Big Things co-op.

Evan is an avid player and creator of both tabletop and coimputer games. He’s worked previously on Questlandia, 14 Days, Noirlandia, and is developing the upcoming video game Goblin Diplomat. His favorite game is Go. If you ask, he will definitely play Go with you.

17. Games Are Political

We talk about acknowledging—and embracing—the inherent politics of game design. Voting: https://votesaveamerica.com/ Intro music credits: New Ages 1 from Little Big Dog Ears. http://opsound.org/artist/littledogbigears/ http://opsound.org/info/license/ Design Doc Theme by Pat King.

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16. Retreat Forward

In September we met for a mini Questlandia retreat. We talked about how our intentions for the game have shifted in the current political landscape and introduced an unfolding guidebook that will sit at the center of play.

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15. Making Things in Hard Times

How do you keep making things when life throws the unexpected your way? We’re learning what that looks like now.

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14. Social Dynamics at the Table

A good GM can step up to manage social dynamics at the table. But in Questlandia 2, there is no GM, so the rules we write need to do some heavy hauling. How can we keep the excitement and ideas flowing without leaving quieter players out of the fun?

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13. You Can Kill a King, but You Can’t Make a Marinara

What happens if a player achieves their big character goal in the very first scene of the game? We found out.

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12. Romancing the Wall

With no GM, players in Questlandia 2 are responsible for framing their own scene types. As a result they animate objects, make holy voyages, and befriend a sentient wall.

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11. The Worst Ideas We’ve Had so Far

Good games are often built on an avalanche of bad ideas. We talk about the worst ideas we’ve had so far, and how to turn them into something useful.

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9. Mosslickers

The first playtest that takes us all the way through character creation. Meet beasts of burden, puppeteers, and the queens who inhabit Mosslicker Alley.

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8. The Symbol Reader

We experiment with a customized alethiometer to explore stories and build new worlds.

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Hannah S andogyn 2 (1)

Hannah Shaffer

Evan Rowland

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