Thursday, February 22, 2024

Introducing Minimus Ludus to the World (also, 500th post!)

Hello, friends and neighbors. I hope the year is treating you fine so far! As it happens, I got busy again and managed to get another little game. This time, another first with my little publishing endeavor, a game not written and designed by me, but by my good friend Mark van Vlack. I did editing and layout, eddy Punk added a couple of scenarios ... but I'm getting ahead of myself. Lets talk about it!

Get it on OBS!

A game, written by a friend

Mark is a well seasoned game designer. He's doing it for years now. Decades, even. And it shows whenever he tackles a new project or revises one of his numerous old games, which seems to happen every other month. Thing is, he doesn't really have any interest in getting them published "properly". The odd pdf or PoD here and there, but all very much the "I needed to have this in some form for my own table, so I might as well share it"-kind of approach.

I love talking games with this guy. Always insightful and seeing something I might have missed in my designs. I think it is fair to say that we inspired each other for several ideas that made their ways into our games here and there. It is that healthy and productive exchange you'd always like to have with your peers.

Anyway, I've been dabbling with this publishing thingy for some time now, and we've talked a couple of times about me publishing some of his. We did come close once, when I edited and layouted his role-playing game Phase Abandon. It is a game you can get for free on OBS right now, if you are interested to find out how this guy ticks. PA is anotehr great game of his I can only recommend. Saw lots of play-testing, too!

Which leads to another thing: his friends love his games. Check out his discord, if you don't believe me.

Anyway, he's a good egg and I'm happy to call him a friend. 

Minimus Ludus - All the Worlds, Pocket-Sized!

As for the publishing gig, just the other day he told me that he wrote a very small game for the Bachelor party of one of his friends. The challenge he gave himself was to make it a complete game with no more than 1000 words (I belive ... no more than two pages A5, anyhow). AND HE DID IT!

If you read this blog, you might be aware that I'm not really into lite role-playing games. Or rather, in how they are marketed in our little niche of the hobby. They take shortcuts by assuming an experienced gamemaster, but often don't own up to it, claiming instead it's "how the game was supposed to be played", which is, on the face of it, bullshit. Of course.

But they do have their perks, obviously. For one, they are easily expanded on. Preparation, if you know what you are doing, is easy as fuck. Just a couple of pages to read, ready to go soon after. For big groups, or for people with no huge amount of time to play, right on the money. IF the GM knows what he's doing and all you want to do is small one-shots or very short campaigns.

I saw over the years a couple of games I actually admired for their short and concise approach to role-playing games, Macchiato Monsters being one of them, for instance. There is an art to writing a short rpg that actually works.

Minimus Ludus is such a game, in my opinion.

I'll tell you why, too: The role of the dice in this game is minimal, but not insignificant. It is not so much about how high your roll is (although that factors in, too), but instead about what you can summon as aid to your roll that makes the game click. Those elements you may summon are all narrative in nature, but convey bonuses if applied.

That means, if you play to the elements of the story and setting you are playing in, it does the two-punch of making the setting come alive AND results in a better result. There's also a meta-currency element to it where GM and players can trade story elements.

I really like that (maybe for obvious reasons?). So characters come, for instance, with a weakness and the GM can exploit that, but it costs the GM as well to o so, the benefit for the player being, that they get a Token they can burn later for a benefit ... 

Behold the character sheet!
Another aspect I like is how it is conceptualized to be expanded on by the setting you use it for. There is a very abstract but highly functioning core that is easily altered to fit all kinds of settings. There's even a meta story how all those worlds (or "Pockets", how he calls it) connect.

The game came with five settings already written by Mark. When we agreed that this will be the first game of his published under my label, Eddy Punk added three takes of his to the fold.

That's EIGHT SETTINGS out of the gate before you even have to come up with your own (for which the game actually also provides guidelines!). I don't have to tell you: that's a lot of gaming right there, even if you are not into ALL the scenarios.

That's not Star Wars. Not at all.

Lets get lost on an island!
Anyway. We talked about it and agreed, I did editing and layout, and now you can buy Mark and me a coffee by purchasing this on the OBS flavor of your choice.

In return you will get a fun little game that does a lot of heavy lifting with a very light engine. Something you can take for a spin when there's not enough time to play something a bit more complex.

I really like it and I'm happy to have this game as part of my portfolio. And I hope you guys will check it out!

It will bring you some joy, I'm sure of it.

What else is new?

With Minimus Ludus out of the gate, the next big project is the pdf for ORWELL ... It needs a couple of small mistakes taken care of as well as bookmarks and hyperlinks, but then the pdf will be ready for public consumption. The PoD gets a little facelift as well, while we are at it.

While that's happening, I'll keep on writing Angry Little Aliens VERSUS King Arthur. That turned out to be a fun project and it's very well doable in the couple of months ... so I'm confident that it will see the light of day soon!

Other than that? I rediscovered my love for all the small publications out there and want to spend more time with reading what piled up on my desk ... digitally and PoD both. We'll see how far I'll get with that, but if I do so, I will talk about it here on the blog.

Beyond that ... who knows. There's a little game I plan to write for Halloween this year. That has a very high chance of happening. And there is at least one supplement for ORWELL I can see myself tackling this year, most of all because I love the premise of it (read about it here, if you haven't already).

More on that soon, I guess.
And then there's also the big projects like Brawlers! and be67 that should see some work done this year. I had high hopes to get be67 done in 2024. It's possible, but I wouldn't hold my breath ... On the other hand, the stuff I want to do with be67 doesn't allow for much more delay. It is piling up here and at some point I have to get things done to start new things.

Also: Lost Songs of the Nibelungs will get some love this year. I already reactivated the old group of play-testers, now I have to sit down and see where that game's at. It would be rad as hell to have that fully conceptualized until the end of the year. I have an idea or two that will be talked about here on the blog as well this year.

So there is, if I may say so, lots to look forward to here on the blog and as far as publications go. I'll keep pushing, because what else is there to do?

If you have any ideas what else should happen here on the blog, or even if you are interested in the status of any of th odd things I've talked about here on the last couple of years, feel free to drop a comment! No one ever does, recently.

Other then that, I'd like to close this post with a little mantra I've learned about a couple of weeks ago, Ho'oponopono (a great article about it can be found here). It really had a positive impact on my life, and I feel we all need something like this right now (or always, actually), so here you go:

I'm sorry!

Please forgive me.

Thank you.

I love you ...