Master Plan - Index
"My friend Ryan has strange ideas."
- Paul Tevis, Have Games, Will Travel
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Back in December 2005, I set some goals for the next year. One of these is to create my own column about gaming -- role-playing games, card games, board games, etc. -- and release an article once a month, consistently, throughout the year. Following the old adage, "write what you know," I'm going to write about coming up with new game ideas and new ways to look at games -- essentially, taking games and messing with them to make something new, fresh, unique, and worthwhile. That's what Master Plan is about.

I welcome your questions and comments. Please feel free to write to me at: MasterPlan@hmfy.com.
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January 2007: Dwarf Tossing in D&D (Part 1)

Ryan starts the new year off by lamenting about being unable to throw people around in his D&D game and resolving to do something about that. He dives into unhealthy amounts of algebra and works on rules for doing so. Part one involves converting some elements from GURPS, particularly the numbers involved with throwing things, into something usable for D&D.

November 2006: Ryan's Horror Game Rethought

After surviving a game design seminar with Luke Crane, Jared Sorensen & John Wick at GenCon SoCal, Ryan came back with a bit of wisdom and a lot of thinking to do. Those thoughts became the focus for what Damned Anonymous is really about.

October 2006: Introducing Ryan's Horror Game

Ryan takes a first step in open game design for his personal horror game idea, currently titled "Damned Anonymous". In this initial installment, he talks about what he means by "personal horror" and introduces the concept by talking about the elements he wants to build the game around.

September 2006: Supercharged Powers for Truth & Justice

After talking briefly about the effects of missing a Master Plan earlier this year, he presents an idea for Truth & Justice that he wrote up for his own campaign. One of his players responds with some criticism of this idea, which he talks about as well. He wraps it up by telling you to buy Spirit of the Century.

August 2006: Master Plan's Self-Evalution I

With six issues of Master Plan done and after some interesting conversations at GenCon, Ryan talks about the column itself -- what seems to work, what does, and what he plans for the future. He puts all his cards on the table when he mentions several ideas he has for upcoming installments.

July 2006: Creating a Children's Game (Part 2)

Ryan finishes up his children's game idea with the rules and printable components for his astronomy-themed game, "Stargazers". He then adds some commentary on why he chose certain rules and some of the feedback he received during playtesting.

June 2006: Adding Gimmes for God's Watchdogs

Still wanting to get some more playtesting for his children's game idea, Ryan puts that on hold and talks about his recent experience with Dogs in the Vineyard. He talks about how, while it's a wonderful and interesting game, it does lack one element that he likes as a GM. This month, he works on adding that element in.

May 2006: Creating a Children's Game (Part 1)

This month, Ryan switches gears, moving from talking about RPGs and rule changes & additions to board games and creating one from scratch. Armed with a couple ideas planted in his head, he embarks on a quest to create a board game for his friends and their kids.

April 2006: Healing Potion Assumptions and Messing With Them

Ryan explores the thought process behind coming up with new ideas. He draws from his experiences withdrawing from caffeine to create a campaign subplot and rules for Dungeons & Dragons, while commenting on how he came up with these ideas and rules in the process.

March 2006: Codifying Advanced Social Interaction (Part 2)

After apologizing for missing last month and responding to feedback, Ryan recaps the ideas from the last issue and touches on the concept of documenting goals and requirements for a new set of rules. Then he actually creates some rules for resolving social conflict in GURPS, and talks about how the end result matched up with his initial goals and requirements.

January 2006: Codifying Advanced Social Interaction (Part 1)

Role-playing games have evolved to a point where we can not only play Cowboys & Indians without arguing about whether we've been shot, but we even know how much we've been damaged and the physical consequences involved. However, we're still using primitive rules for figuring out if the Cowboys have successfully conned the Indians out of their land.

Special thanks to: Michael Daugherty, Bob Portnell, Paul Tevis, Jerry Tidwell, Kathleen Lemmons, my gaming groups, the wacky cast on PyraMOO, and everyone else who is patient enough to listen to me ramble on.