Design and submit a playable draft of a roleplaying game between Sept 11th-19th, preferably inspired by the theme and ingredients listed below.
Game Chef 2010 is official known as Game Chef: Sojourner, and the theme is Journey. As always, you are free to interpret that however you like.
In addition to the overall theme, pick 3 of these 4 ingredients to design your game around.
These ingredients were randomly selected from a list of 15 potential ingredients. The potential ingredients were culled from the titles of books on my bookshelf.
Rule on Previous Work
You may draw on concepts you have thought about or worked on before the contest starts, but everything you submit must be new work, not previously written material.
Rule on Intellectual Property
You are free to draw on or “hack” work by others as long as you include no previously written material (see above) and provide all the information needed to play the game, without requiring players to reference other material. Note that drawing on other people’s work may mean that your game is derivative intellectual property and you may not fully own the rights to it. That is okay in the eyes of Game Chef, for purposes of submission and judging, but it is ultimately the designer’s responsibility to deal with all rights-related issues.
There are dedicated forums set up for discussing Game Chef 2010 on both the Forge (our previous home from 2002-2004) and 1KM1KT (our host from 2005-2006). If you don’t find discussions at either of those places to give you what you need, other options include Praxis, the RPGnet design forums, your own blog (if you have one), or any other design-friendly forum on the internet, including ones that focus on more specific needs, like Structured Freedom (for freeform game design) or the “Other Systems” section of Yog-Sothoth (for Lovecraft-inspired games). Find a place that works for you, wherever that place is.
I highly recommend sticking to a single thread per individual game rather than filling a forum with multiple threads about the same game concept. That makes it easier for everyone else to parse the forums and for the people interested in your game to find your most recent posts. Other threads for general discussion, open questions, and joshing each other are, of course, totally cool.
A Hopefully Unnecessary Note
You (and your fellow chefs) are responsible for your own experience of Game Chef. I have tried to set up various structures to make the experience as good as I can make it for participants, based on my own previous experiences and the hard work of the great Master Chefs before me, but that only goes so far, especially as the contest has gotten bigger and bigger, more than any one person can attend to personally. So take the initiative, ask others (including me, but also fellow chefs) for what you need, create what you don’t have, participate in discussions much as you like, walk away from discussions when they are distracting you from your own design work, etc. For example, if someone wants to organize one or more feedback groups, like we had in 2007, that’s cool but entirely unofficial and up to you. This is your Game Chef, make it what you want it to be.
Games are due by the time I wake up on the morning of Sept 20th and are submitted by posting a link to them in the 2010 Game Submission thread (which will be posted once the contest starts). I prefer games to be submitted in PDF format, but will accept any possible format or combination of formats (audio, video, whatever), so long as I can open your documents on my Mac without purchasing proprietary software. There are lots of ways to find a free place to host files these days, so find one. I recommend 1KM1KT, a partner of Game Chef, if you are looking for options.
I will do an initial read-through of submitted games that focuses on three things:
- How complete is this game? Does it give me everything I need to bring it to the table and play?
- How successful are the rules in supporting the concept of the game? Has the designer achieved what they set out to do? Does the game seem likely to deliver what it promises? Are there superfluous parts that don’t add to the overall experience or key things that are missing?
- How effectively did you use the theme and ingredients? This includes smartly choosing not to use certain ingredients or even the theme if it is getting in the way of the design instead of contributing to it. The theme and ingredients are supposed to be inspirations and challenges, not traps and shouldn’t simply be tacked on at the end.
At the end of my read-through, I will post feedback on the games and announce which ones are Game Chef Finalists. I have no specific number or percentage of Finalists in mind, so — conceivably — any game could potentially qualify. At this point, the judging moves to a more democratic process, following traditions started under former Master Chef Kitkowski.
2010 Game Chef Playoffs
The Game Chef Finalist that has been played the most by the end of October (Halloween!) wins Game Chef 2010. This is determined by counting the number of different groups of people who have played it (no more than 50% player overlap between groups), with the tiebreaker — if necessary — being the number of total sessions played (including groups playing the game multiple times). We will log these sessions here on the Game Chef website, with participants posting comments saying that their group has played finalist X or finalist Y. Consequently, you can support the games you like most simply by playing them. Pretty cool, yeah? The winner will be announced early in November.
Winning Game Chef is Like Winning the Nobel Prize
It’s great, no doubt about it. But many folks who’ve won the Nobel Prize in Literature have books that are out of print. Really, it’s more like Barack Obama willing the Nobel Peace Prize: it demonstrates that you and your game have great promise and that a community of people are ready to support you. Whatever you decide to do with your game at that point is up to you. Rock on.