In this video I talk about the controversial Black Box Manifesto, and why you shouldn’t obsess over the couple of lines about art. The takeaway should be about barriers to entry. That includes both creators and players.
No one is saying that you can’t enjoy books that are heavy on the art. The game police are not going to kick in your door and raid your shelves. But what is a game? Is it the dice, the miniatures, the pretty illustrations? I think it’s the experience at the table. The social interaction. The collaboration and creativity that happens during play.
The Black Box Manifesto challenges that orthodoxy that tabletop roleplaying games have to, or should, be created in a certain way. That they have to look a certain way. The incurred expenses of doing things the traditional way creates a barrier to entry for new creators. I creates a barrier to entry for players who might not have the up-front costs for a big book with killer production value. It potentially keeps new people out of the hobby, because they think they need all of the swag to get started. What if they make the investment and decided they don’t like it.
The stuff that I create for Dancing Lights Press adheres to the guidelines set forth in the Black Box Manifesto. So far I’ve had very little blowback from actual customers. I’m fortunate and unfathomably grateful to have a fanbase that gets what I’m doing. Which is good, because I’m not planning to stop.