Judges will read each game that has been written for their category, give feedback on the strengths and weaknesses they see in the game, what aspects are most exciting, and what they'd recommend for future development. If there are multiple entries in a category, each judge will choose one as their pick.
Build a Better Choose-Your-Adventure®
The Stuff in Your Domicile
Pencil and Paper
Living in the Future
Unlonely Your Fun
ARG! RPGS! (or, the Andy Kaufman Challenge)
The Scheherazade Challenge
Judge Evan's Challenges:
"You wake up in a room surrounded by toad people. One of them offers you a ring. If you take the ring, go to page 34. If you refuse it - hoo boy - go to page 6."
Choose-Your-Own-Adventure® (CYOA)* stories are books told in the second-person with forking, linear narratives. Each page describes a situation and at least two ways for the player-reader to respond to it. By directing them to other pages through their choices, the book serves as a basic GM or computer program to moderate the decisions of an active reader. Since their heyday in the 1980s, the choose-your-own-adventure style genre has been gradually replaced with the text-based computer adventure and/or modified with dice rolls (i.e. the Narnia Solo Games) and eBook technology (i.e. with hyperlinks). But is there a way to take back the genre on its own terms?
The objective of this Challenge is quite simple: design a solitaire RPG that either incorporates or expands upon the mechanics and tropes that make CYOA novels great. The game may be a proposal for such a game, or even a short game itself. For the Category Favorite, entries will be judged on the clarity and originality of their content and mechanics.
*Choose-Your-Own-Adventure is a registered trademark of Chooseco LLC.
Despite austerity measures and the digital revolution, we still seem to have a lot of objects in our homes. This challenge focuses on the development of a solitaire RPG using these objects as a source of inspiration. Though the game mechanics can be drawn from sources outside your home, the game itself must significantly include the finite set of items a hypothetical player would have around. Games might involve action figures, kitchen appliances, media or something else entirely. Please keep safety in mind, of course! For the Category Favorite, entries will be evaluated on their originality, feasibility and flexibility.
Judge Emily's Challenges:
Simple pencil & paper games such as tic tac toe and hang-man are classics that have passed from generation to generation, shared by word of mouth. Let's see if we can make some solo rpgs that can do the same. With little or no preparation, no game text needed to remember the rules, and no special objects (e.g. dice, character sheets, etc.). Just a simple piece (or pad) of paper and a pen or pencil and you can conjure up what is needed. No limitations on what kind of paper or writing implements, but the idea is to make it easy to play at any time. For the Category Favorite, I'll be looking for accessibility, elegance and easy ways to remember the rules.
Computers transform rp. Google, wikis, flash, java, apps: the list goes on of the the information available to players and the platforms they can use to explore a world or create a story alone. Recorded audio, videos, and text of course are all on the table. The key is to create a structure or to describe the elements that exist already, that will help someone have an rp experience. Whether that is story oriented, emotional immersive, or character or world intensive is up to you. Due to the special nature of this challenge, additional files may be submitted, in addition to the plain text write up. But having an app or program completed is not necessary for the Challenge. A complete write up of how it would work, and perhaps screen shots or charts describing the use of the media may be essential.
For the Category Favorite, I'll be looking for use of the strengths of the media, extending what you can normally do in an rp, and catchiness--does this seem like something I'd do every day at lunch?
Judge Robert's Challenges:
Unlonely Your Fun
Tony Dowler's How to Host a Dungeon opened the door to designing games built around "lonely fun" — the stuff you used to do to prepare for games with friends. The Unlonely Your Fun challenge asks you to take this a step further. Design a game around the fun things you can do with RPGs by yourself, but make it so that this material touches on the experiences of others playing the game. Maybe you synch up every now and then, maybe your actions have an effect on others that's light, maybe a serial modular design that can be played by one person, then another, then another for different phases of the game. Important to this challenge is that you not violate the solitaire aspect of this contest, despite the interlocking elements. For the Category Favorite, I'll be looking for something that lets you set your own level of involvement with other players, and will be just as fun regardless of how lonely you want to keep it.
ARG! RPGS! (Or, the Andy Kaufman Challenge)
Design a game which produces a product of play in the voice of the character or characters being played. This could be blog posts, Facebook entries, journal entries, music, whatever. Ideally, the products of play will tell a story anyone can appreciate. For the Category Favorite, I'll be looking for people who successfully teach people creative skills they don't already possess.
Judge Epidiah's Challenges:
The Scheherazade (or Campaigner's) Challenge
The best part of D&D when you're 12 years old in the 80s is sitting in your room, leafing through rulebook and dreaming about the impossibly long campaigns you're going to run for your players. The other players, of course, being the only thing standing between you and such glory. Now that we've once and for all eliminated those pesky nuisances, it's time to get to work on that saga.
Your mission: to design a game in which the story grows with each session and the player finds him- or herself deliciously compelled to return session after session to see where it'll go next. For the Category Favorite, I'm looking for a game that not only draws me back in repeatedly, but promises more each time it does.
The Sharing Challenge
You're an audience of one, but sometimes that's simply not enough. Games qualifying for the Sharing Award must produce something--be it fiction, poetry, cartography, what have you--that can be shared with a wider audience without comment on it's origin as product of a game. For the Category Favorite, I'm looking for a game that produces something beautiful, especially if it isn't the primary goal of the game.
For all those who have begun a game and then find that their game just doesn't fit what we have here, this challenge will cover your submission. It will be read by Judge Epidiah, and if he finds upon a close perusal that it does indeed fit somewhere, it will then be entered under the other challenge. But for those whose games defy categorization (well, under the challenges we have here), this will provide the catch all. However, you must include a write-up to say why it could not be written within the other challenges and the game will be judged on those terms.
Limitations: You may enter this challenge by permission only. Email e.chimerapi at gmail for more information. Number of games accepted under it will be limited.