Game Designer Workshop Episode 11: RPG Manager Simulator 2016

dhqs-bondsNews: The Brutalists campaign is well under way! Check out our actual play podcasts of the Red Markets beta. There’s also a subreddit for Red Markets and Caleb did an AMA on it. Don’t forget to check out Hebanon Game’s blog for more up to date news about Red Market’s development.

Synopsis: Creating a game usually involves more than one person. If it’s your game, you need to learn the esoteric art of project management in order to effectively coordinate the efforts between your team. Good project management can enhance the quality of a game while bad project management can doom it. We talk about contracts, budgets, art direction, and many of the many other challenges a project manager faces in an RPG project. Caleb also mentions working with talented freelancers like Laura B. and Rollplay Studios.

Song: Eastern Wind by Azgard


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  1. An excellent reminder of both why uncreative gits like me should stick to RPG consumption and exactly how many MBA’s who make a lot more money than us managed to ignore or miss the “Don’t Be A Prick” classes.

  2. The fact that Caleb is enjoying the campaign that Ross is running is honestly probably one of the best advertisements you could have for the game, because that means that Caleb managed to create a game he would want to play. The fact that Caleb is able to impart his artistic vision well enough to have somebody else (not just the author) emulate that artistic vision means that the game is, at the very least, successful at being a game.

    So don’t feel bad about saying that Caleb. Especially to fans of RPPR who already know your tastes. For people who enjoy your style of GM-ing, and have always wished they could run a game in your style (that sort of “grim / psychological” style of Know Evil, Brision Springs, God’s Teeth, Lover Under the Ice, etc…), to hear that you have managed to create a game that can let other people into that style is EXACTLY what makes us all (well, at least me) so excited about Red Markets.

    I mean, sure, to an outsider who doesn’t know you. The sell of the game is going to have to be purely about how you have managed to make Economic horror and zombies interesting, but to a lot of the listeners we already kind of know your style. So I think it’s OK to admit that you enjoy the game, because that’s going to let some people who already know you guess what kind of game it is.

    Does that make sense? I don’t mean to flatter you to much or anything, but I think it’s important not to sell yourself short.

  3. I agree entirely with Stringmaster. As a long-time RPPR fan, hearing that you [Caleb] like Ross’s Red Markets campaign is a very informative statement about how the game is functioning when being run by not-Caleb. Self-flattery or not, it’s a useful thing to know, just as it would be useful to know if, e.g., Tom liked it or Bill liked it.

    Also – and not that you [Caleb, still] need assurances from some random guy on the internet who you don’t know from Adam – I do a fair bit of project management professionally, and it sounds like you’re handling things very well given the circumstances. From your plan as stated here, I’m further encouraged to back your Kickstarter.

  4. ANACLASSISM. or possibly “classnachronisym?”

    man though that cover art was worth every penny and every word of text, it is fucking amazing, instant classic

    I know the whole point of this series is supposed to be that Caleb is faking his way through this process but he seems to be obscenely professional at every turn

    I’ll throw as much money as I can afford to at this Kickstarter. The Brutalists has been more than even I the fanboy could’ve hoped it’d be. I might even violate my principles and go in for a physical tier, because if World of Darkness special editions have taught me anything it’s that that shit tends to appreciate rapidly.

  5. Caleb, don’t worry about liking your own game: apparently Freddie Mercury’s favorite song was “Don’t Stop Me Now,” but he’d always punt the question in interviews because he thought he sounded like an ass.

    You guys mentioned Agile project management early on but then not again–we’re you able to make any progress using Agile at all?

  6. “GDW Project Management edition” didn’t sound that interesting when it came up in the RSS feed, but once again you two broke it down into accessible, thought-provoking pieces.

    It is pretty clear from watching other kickstarters and their trails that project management and coordination are absolutely things that many creators struggle with.

    Like the other commenters, I don’t think it’s bad to enjoy playing in your own game, Caleb. (Plus, imagine how soul crushing it would be if you didn’t.) You made the game to facilitate telling a certain kind of story that you enjoy. It’s doing that, despite the inevitable urge not to brag about it and/or to be critical of what you’ve created.

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