The first post is the hardest, or: I love games

Always wanted to be a science fiction writer as a kid. Got hooked on chess, science, and science fiction at 10, and war games at 12. That first war game was Charles S. Roberts’ original Gettysburg game, published by Avalon Hill. Read every sf book in the Syracuse public library system as a teen, and started designing my own very bad, fairly complex wargames. Had science fiction dreams in my 20’s and 30’s, and designed rather better games. Wrote down the sf ideas, and kept designing hobby games. Retired at 55, and wound up getting hooked on chess variants. Designed a whole bunch of them, some actually good. Also got sucked into a 3-way story with 2 actual authors, accidentally of course, and inherited the story from them. I’ve plotted it in my head, written several scene layouts, several parts of the story, all in my head, and designed and self-published a few games that haven’t yet gotten any traction. They say you know you’re a singer when you wake up with a song in your head. I started waking up with games in my head. So I went with them, and became obscurely famous, known by tens worldwide for chess variants.

I only design games I think I would like to play, and when only 6 people in the world have ever played a particular game of mine, it’s tough for me to come up with opponents to actually play the game myself. So I decided to design a game a lot of people would like and would play more than once or twice. And now, after a number of false starts, dead ends, disasters, and other painful learning experiences, I’m on the verge of making 100 copies of a well-playtested and actually popular/enjoyable game I designed, and embarking on attempting to make back some of the $10k or so I and some family members have invested in this harebrained scheme. I’ve expressed this before, and have been accused of being mercenary, been told I should do it for love. I do. So I’m inflicting Shoot ‘Em Up Spaceships on the world.

I do it for love. I do it because I have to do it; and I need the money to keep doing it. I do it because I enjoy the hell out of it (except for the burned-out on rules rewrites parts, which are somewhat sucky.) But my Muse is rarely a lady, and sometimes she’s a real bitch. For example, it’s 3:38 a.m. now. Well, okay, maybe she’s not a bitch, maybe she just works the night-shift. Gotta be nice to her, because I’ve learned the differences between game ideas and game designs, and actual playtested, well-developed games. And to take an idea, good as it may be, and transform it into a very playable and enjoyable game requires her willing and frequent assistance. SEUSs did very well at Unpub 5, well enough that my brother and I both think it should do well commercially. That means we’re hoping to sell the initial 100 games for more than they cost to make. You should easily be able to tell how well we did by the ultimate length of this blog.

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