Game Design: Imitate, Then Innovate

There are always people within the industry, the community, the hobby — however you choose to parse those terms — who insist that things need to be done a certain way. Sometimes there are good reasons, best practices that have developed logically over years and decades of experience. Other times they assert “That’s how it’s…

Inspiration: the Dogme95 Film Movement

The Dogme95 movement in filmmaking was started by Danish filmmakers Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg in 1995. It was a response to the rising budgets, technical gimmicks, and overwhelming special effects that were taking over the industry. What they wanted was to wrest control of filmmaking away from the studios, and put it back…

Lighthouse System: Characters Without Numbers

There will always be a place in my heart for media reference books. You know, the encyclopedia for that popular movie franchise. The episode guide for the favorite TV show. Character compendiums like the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe. Guides to long-running series of novels. I love that stuff, because nearly everything you could…

Game Design: Experience Outranks Meaning

In both Worldbuilding Power and the Lighthouse System I talk about literary theme and motif. It’s fun, for me at least, when things within the game mean something. As a gamemaster, I like adding those little touches. And as a player, there’s a little thrill that comes with making connections. It’s like finding Easter Eggs…