Tim Fowers — for whom I worked on Clockwords back in the day, and who has produced several other board and computer games — is doing a deck-building word game called Paperback. It looks like a terrifying collision of Scrabble and Dominion.
Coin Opera 2 is a book of poems about computer games, poems that emulate formal features of computer games. There is even a two-player poem. (I have no idea what that looks like in practice: chorus vs chorus leader? But it’s intriguing.)
Skullduggery is a twist on storytelling RPGs of the kind I sometimes talk about here, only (a) competitive and (b) oriented towards villainy. (Actually, some storytelling RPGs are already oriented towards villainy or at least petty crime, but usually not to quite the same degree…)
Now in its final hours, the Boss Fight Books series takes on classic video games one at a time. I’m especially pleased to see that Anna Anthropy is writing for this series.
Kickstarter politics comments after the jump.
I realize that Kickstarter’s recent apology about how they handled a controversial project has left a lot of people still unsatisfied with them. I am still going back and forth myself about what I think of their handling of the issue, so I sat on some of these announcements for a while.
Ultimately I decided that these projects were kicked off before that particular news broke and that their creators should ideally not be penalized for inadvertent association with those events. Whether I blog about or contribute to Kickstarter projects in the future is something I am still thinking about.
I really don’t want to encourage things like the project in question, but I really do want to see more independently funded projects, and have more ways to fund people who are doing cool things — especially people who are writing amazing games and releasing them but are still not able to pay their rent — and I see both of those as issues with an ethical component. I am concerned about the ability of poorer creators to work and be heard, and about supplementing the commercial entertainment industries with outsider art that speaks to other types of experience. I want more ways to support activities — from writing niche games to advocacy to education and mentoring — that aren’t always paid much (or at all) in the current economy, but that I consider very important. And I want to do all that in a way that doesn’t involve creepy patronage models, or the people with spare cash getting to tell the people without spare cash what to write.
KS is nothing like a complete solution to these problems, I realize, and there are various options even within its domain. indiegogo and gofundme also exist, and in the course of this conversation, someone suggested Gittip to me as a way to fund creators you like without having a specific project in mind, and Flattr as a way to respond to things already-created that you like. Edited to add: also Patreon, somewhat similar to Gittip but payments are tied to artist releases rather than simply on a weekly schedule.
Nonetheless I think the problem is sufficiently complex that it’s good to maximize our available strategies for addressing it, and I hate to see the leader in the crowd-funding field render itself ethically dubious, while I also understand that it must be stressful and confusing to face a rapid decision about pulling the plug on a high-profile, highly funded project when making the wrong call might even open them to legal action.
So I suppose my own takeaway from all this is essentially “we’ll see” — we’ll see whether future behavior bears out the substance of their apology — and for the time being my own call in this case was not to refuse support to creators who had no part in that decision and had no way of knowing this might happen.