My narrative party game San Tilapian Studies seems to have been well received at the Wellcome Collection last month, which reminded me of how much fun I had both playing and making this game. So I’ve donated a kit as an IF Comp prize, meaning that I’ll customize the items and rules for the winner’s choice of genre, scale to desired party size (it was originally designed for 40, but doesn’t have to be), and assemble all the physical elements.
The other thing I’ve donated is a small piece set in the winner’s game world, whether they want that to be a feelie, a short story, or a piece of cover art within the range of my cover art abilities. (I don’t draw well, so it’s usually photography plus typography.) This would then be the winner’s to do with what they liked: keep private, distribute with their game, whatever.
This is an experiment; I don’t know if it’s likely to appeal. But I’ve always admired comp prizes that had the effect of adding resources for a game, such as translations, sound tracks, and artwork, that the community might enjoy. Marius Müller’s German translations of Sunday Afternoon and Patanoir are particularly awesome, even if I don’t know enough German to comment on their quality. I tossed around the idea of donating commissioned work, finding an artist or maybe a fantasy cartographer who might be hired to create some neat materials around a winner’s game, but there were too many unknowns there: you can’t get a quote on art without having some notion of what the image is going to be, and maps can vary enormously in complexity and challenge. And besides, you want to pick an artist when you’ve got some sense of the style of the thing being illustrated. Trying to plan a commission without knowing what it might be for just seemed like folly, in the end.
There’s a bunch of other neat stuff in the prize pool, including books, games, art, and some cash prizes.
Meanwhile: those who read this blog regularly know that for some years I’ve tried to review every IF Comp game that ran on my system and either a) listed beta testers or b) was choice-based. This year I’m changing that policy, in response to feedback that it’s too discouraging for novice authors, and will only cover games here for which my review is a net positive. I realize that still doesn’t accomplish the effect of actively encouraging new authors as some jams do, and I’m open to ongoing feedback about what would help with that, if it’s within my time and resources to address.
The IF Comp site is still accepting sign-ups from authors, as well as prize donations. The same site will be used to handle judge’s votes.