My New Year’s resolution

I’ve been on a shopping spree since last year, getting second hand synths and equipment. And I then put it all into a corner, ready to be used but not actually played with all that much. I have been too busy with my other hobby, game design and hosting potluck conventions. But today I sat down and completed my New Year’s resolution: To use some of the stuff I already have and record something that uses at least three “instruments”.



It’s nothing fancy, just doodling on the keyboard, the important thing is that I actually sat down and recorded anything at all.

The three instruments

  • Roland SH-201, used to play the windy sounding stuff in the background. Mostly done by a slow arpeggiator playing a filtered noise generator patch.
  • KORG Electribe EM-1, used for the faint heart beat sound in the background.
  • Roland JV-1080, the factory patch LetterFrmPat (User 103) was used both for the lead and the slow stuff in the background.

I named the file after the patch, Letter.

Name the game, and get your own name into the game – competition

Anders from Nordnordost likes The Cadet Game, however he does not like the actual name ‘The Cadet Game’. Therefore I have made him judge and jury in the Name the game, and get your own name into the game-competition in order to find a name more to his liking. The competition has been running over on Story Games for a few days, but there is still plenty of time to get in on the action.


The contestants are invited to suggest better names for the game, formerly known as ‘The Cadet Game’. Submit your entry, or entries, a maximum of three entries per contestant, either as replies to this blog post, or in the StoryGames thread if you’re a member on those boards.

Start your response(s) with the phrase “I think the game formerly known as The Cadet Game should be called:” Then follow with your suggestion.

I get the rights to the winning name for use in the game.

Deadline for submissions is midnight on March 31 2011 Swedish time. The winner(s) will be announced here on my blog April 30 2011, at the latest.

The rules of the contest are subject to change without warning. The judge and jury’s decisions can not be contested.

The best five (5) entries, as decided by judge and jury Anders. Win a PDF of the final game, emailed to them once it is done.

From of these five entries Anders and I will select the winner who will get to see his or her name used in the game as the name of an example player, PC or NPC of his or her choice, together with some minor control of the personality/role of that person in the game (I’ll discuss it with the winner, I’m sure we’ll work out something cool.) – Previous post about The Cadet Game.

The Cadet Game – Arrival

My dear Eberhardt,

I hope this letter finds you in good health. It is with great joy that I write to tell you that your dear brother has distinguished himself at the Front. He has also betrothed a girl from a good family. I hope you find as much happiness in this as your Father and I do.

Work hard with your studies at the Academy so that you may taste success in your life too. I have complete faith in you. Your Father sends his regards.

Your loving mother

This weekend I did a playtest of my new game The Cadet Game. It’s a low prep and GM less RPG that lets the players tell exciting stories about youths at fantastic boarding schools.

The Cadet Game - prototype of the game board from actual play.

The Cadet Game - prototype of the game board from actual play.

I have been working on this game for a while, and did a round of playtests a few years ago. But I put it aside as I ran the Game Design workshop/challenge on in 2009 and wrote While the World Ends. Now I have picked up everything where I left and tweaked the rules to make it easier, faster and to incorporate ideas I have gotten in the last few years.

The playtest showed me that I’m on the right track, this is still a very fun game. In the three hours of play we did we built Grimwards, a Prussian 19th century academy for officer sorcerers destined for the Kaiser’s army, and we followed five boys during their first two years at the school.

We saw Eberhardt bullying the other cadets, Maximilian revealed his affinity for healing magic when a friend was in dire need and Sigmund’s battle of wills with the one eyed teacher of magical history Herr Braun touched our hearts. Eberhardt, Sigmund and Voldermars were involved in a constant struggle for the top position in the pecking order in the Himmelsfeuer dormitory. And we learned of Franz-Josef’s internal strife when he was confronted with his memories of that fatal and fiery first display of magical talent.

There is still some work left to do with the game before I can head into proofreading, editing and layout and all the other tasks that result in an actual product in player hands. But the general mechanics are in place and much of the first draft of the game text is written. And while I tweak the game balance and polish the details the brilliant Daniele Poma draws the awesome art that will be used in the game.

Illustration by Daniele Poma for The Cadet Game

Illustration by Daniele Poma for The Cadet Game

I’ll post updates here on the blog as my work progresses. The next major event will be playtests in the Indie Gaming Lounge at GothCon XXXV.

DIY potluck minicon

I love playing RPGs at conventions.

It’s the whole experience – first looking forward to the event, meeting everyone, making new friends and finally – playing in well prepared and focused games, where everyone is as eager to play and feel as excited as I do.

Playing at a con is nothing like playing with a long standing group where everyone knows everyone very well and everyone has been playing together for ages. Expect the unexpected.

However, in my parts of the country the conventions are few and far between, and going to conventions further away is costly both in time and money.

I was pondering these problems when it struck me – I should host my very own minicon at home, and invite gaming friends, both those from my current groups and those from groups I had played with in the past. And everyone should bring a game they wanted to run. A potluck minicon of sort.

Three potluck minicons later
I have now hosted and arranged three potluck minicons, the first for a mere six participants, the last had 16 players and eleven scheduled events. And it has been a blast, hanging out with friends (and some friends of friends) and lots of that intense gaming I usually only see at conventions. I have run games, played in games, play tested games on new people – everything in the comfort of my own home.

If you think it sounds like a fun project and want to try it yourself, here is some advice on how to do it, or at least how I did it.

Google doc spreadsheet
The Google doc spreadsheet is awesome, I could not have done without it. Just share the document with everyone that has accepted your invitation. Collect the offered events in the spreadsheet. Make a list of the participants in the spreadsheet. Do sign up for games in the spreadsheet. The spreadsheet is your friend.

Planning the minicon in a Google doc spreadsheet

Planning the minicon in a Google doc spreadsheet

Gather lots and lots of events
Let everyone who is coming offer to run a game or two. List the events in the spreadsheet. In the end you might have too many events, but that is better than having too few.

Ask participants who live nearby if they want to host games
I live in a small apartment, and only have one really good space to play, but we have spread out to the homes of other players who live nearby, and that way we got enough places that we could play three different games in parallel at times.

Have everyone sign up for slots first
First make an empty schedule with slots (we used 4 hour slots, but I think 5 hour will be better, so that is what we’ll use next time). Then let everyone mark which slots they’ll be able to attend. Then open sign up for individual games.

Make the schedule
When making the schedule compare the list list of games that people want to play in with the slots that they can make it to, and then do your best to make sure that everyone gets into as many of the games they requested as possible. Doing this manually is certainly feasible for this small scale of things. I’m sure that there is some neat software or clever algorithm for doing this, but I have done it by scheduling the games in order of popularity. While also making sure that everyone gets to play in at least one of their requested games. Since the goal of the whole minicon is to play games I have made it my first priority to schedule everyone into something every slot. By keeping that priority you can get more games going by filling up ‘unpopular’ events with players that already have played in one of their requested games, making even more players happy.

Anders from Nordnordost runs a game of Panty Explosion using his demo kit with pre-gen characters

Anders from Nordnordost runs a game of Panty Explosion using his demo kit with pre-gen characters

Now invite your friends and make your own cool events, then tell me about them. I’d love to read about how you did it and what you played.

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