Preparing for Paris: Interview with the Creator

There are many phenomenal tabletop roleplaying game kickstarters occurring presently, as can be seen in the latest Kickstarter Wonk article, but one that particularly stood out to me was one that centered around a very specific and intriguing concept.

Preparing For Paris is a game where you play discontinued Olympic Sports, personified as high school students, training to become once more an Olympic Sport. They will also do, as teenagers in high school are likely to do, all the humdrum of adolescence that comes with it. 

I sat down with PfP’s creator, Logan, to discuss his new (and fully funded) game.

  1. What got you into designing TableTop RPGs?

“It was certainly a surprise I’ll say that! I first got wind of tabletop games when a few screencaps of a famous actual play show came across my dashboard on tumblr. People were raving about it saying how awesome such-and-such a thing was, and I was sitting there like ‘it’s just people sitting at a table, am I missing something??’ So I checked it out.

I watched a single episode and was immediately hooked. I binged that series like nothing I’d ever binged before. Tabletop games showed me something I’d never seen before; the magic of improvised play. There’s nothing like creating a unique story with your friends. The things you explore, the places you go, you can’t predict it. It’s beautiful.

Anyway, shortly after I started watching, I knew I had to play. Then I knew I had to started GMing. And soon after that, I wanted to continue that journey of creating stories, so I started writing my own tabletop games.

I want to give players the tools to create their own stories. And now 18 months later, here I am!”

  1. What inspired and drove the particular idea of Preparing For Paris?

“Preparing for Paris was originally written for a game design competition run by NinjaHELL! Productions and Okashicon. Every contestant had a few criteria to abide by, and then each individual writer or team got a theme. Originally I got ‘horror’ but I’m not a horror fan and felt I couldn’t do it justice. So I took my chances with the mystery box, which ended up being sports! That theme plus the various other criteria lead to the idea of ‘personified discontinued Olympic sports at high school’. Truly something I wouldn’t have come up with on my own, so I’m grateful for that competition. And grateful that the judges saw fit to award Preparing for Paris third place!”

  1. P4P seems to take inspiration from some sports fiction/media. Any in particular it hews close to?

“P4P has the sports as characters, but it’s more about their experience of high school and the drama of it all I saw happen in American TV shows and movies. High School Musical was a touchstone for sure.”

  1. How did you come up with the innovative mechanics of combining PBTA and Firebrands for the system?

  1. Did you encounter any challenges-both in design and kickstarter?

“In design I think my main challenge was creating an end state. How do we end the four years of high school together in a satisfying way? I had a Graduation mini game but ending it like that felt a bit sudden. I’m thankful that I was able to playtest quite a bit and one player suggested a Prom minigame, which was just perfect. Prom doesn’t exist in Australia, but I’ve seen movies and TV shows and the like that portray it. And by all accounts it’s the perfect way for players to end the game on their own terms, wrap up loose ends, have any final scenes they wanted, and then move onto Graduation.

As for Kickstarter, there’s a lot more to it that I thought! Creating an eye-grabbing cover image, deciding how much info to include, what order to put that info into. So many things I hadn’t considered! I’m also thankful that I have friends experienced in running campaigns like this, and Steve Dee of TinStar Games has been mentoring me the past few months and he gave a lot of great advice too. He has first hand experience running a successful kickstarter campaign for his game ‘Relics: A Game of Angels’. Between him and my friends I had plenty of eyes on my Kickstarter page before it went live to really refine the content.”

  1. What part of the system are you particularly proud of?

“I’m really proud of the Throw a Party and Prom minigames. These make the best use of the Firebrands Framework influence I think. The questions posed in these games have led to some hilarious, intimate and very memorable scenes.”

  1. Anything you’d like to mention that I forgot to ask?

“I’ll give you an update while I’m here! As of this moment (1:38pm on Saturday 8th August, GMT+10), the Kickstarter is at $1,448! That’s just $52 from the second stretch goal, and nearly 200% funded!! The second stretch goal will allow me to tip Maria, the layout artist, not only to help her personally, but hopefully also to encourage higher pay rates in the indie tabletop sphere.

Thank you for the interview, it’s been great to talk about my experience!

You can find Preparing For Paris in the embedded link here. You may find the kickstarter of the project to keep up with updates here.

Thanks so much to Logan for providing this awesome interview and insight into his project.

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