Welcome to the Cannibal Halfling Weekend Update! Start your weekend with a chunk of RPG news from the past week. We have the week’s top sellers, industry news stories, and discussions from elsewhere online.
DriveThruRPG Top Sellers for 7/2/2022
- Traveller: Robot Handbook
- EZD6 Core Rulebook
- Scion Second Edition: Demigod
- WFRP: Winds of Magic
Top News Stories
Alice Is Missing film in development at Paramount: The silent roleplaying game by Spenser Starke, which sees the players using text messages to tell the story of a group of friends attempting to find the eponymous Alice before it is too late, is getting the movie treatment. Starke is writing the script with Becca Gleason, “a writer and consulting producer on Amazon’s just-released YA series The Summer I Turned Pretty.”
Alice Is Missing snagged the gold medal for Best Game, Best Rules, and Product of the Year at the ‘21 ENNIE Awards, and it’s very exciting to see it get a movie deal as well. It will be interesting to see how closely, if at all, the script captures the experience of the roleplaying game. Staying silent the entire film seems unlikely, but in the game no two of the player characters are ever in the same location – will that isolation continue? How about that timer and soundtrack?
DriveThruRPG/OBS Updates Publisher Conduct Guidelines, Then Clarifies: Earlier in the week OBS updated their Publisher Content Guidelines, promptly causing a bit of fervor on their Discord and across the wider game design community. On Thursday OBS released a letter from their President Steve Wieck to try and clarify a number of things.
The short version is that the only truly new material relates to treatment of OBS staff, social media behavior, and hostile marketing. While talk of monitoring social media behavior throws up a very reasonable red flag, what the updated Guidelines on their own lacked was context. Wieck’s letter tries to provide that, and some of it we’re actually familiar with – when we reported on a reproductive rights bundle, well, let’s just say we got a few notifications from FirstName BunchANumbers and friends.
Quite a bit of the fervor, however, was about parts of the Guidelines that have existed for years, such as publishers not being able to review others’ products, or a restriction on what links a publisher can include in a product page. Wieck tries to set the record straight there as well.
Look, by no means should DTRPG/OBS be above criticism. CHG has a decent relationship with them, being an Affiliate and being one of the permitted external links, but even we’ve butted heads with OBS a few times over the years. One point raised during all of this was a concern over whether or not community copies, a staple of accessibility over on itch.io, might run afoul of the pricing clause of the guidelines. OBS’s Guidelines just weren’t clear enough on that front, and it was good to see them called on it and then see them respond. For the other long-standing clauses though, well, as boring as it is the lesson may be to be read up on the terms of service before an update draws your attention to them. If for no other reason than, if you think they’re garbage, you’ll know sooner.
ZineQuest 2023 Moves Back to February: In the promotional material for ZineQuest 2022, still a month out at this writing, Kickstarter has announced that in 2023 it will move ZineQuest back to February. It’s not clear why this announcement was made at this time, given that ZineQuest 2022 hasn’t even started yet, but the speculation ranges all over. If one thing can be said for sure, it’s that whatever synergy with GenCon that was used to justify the move to August in the first place has likely not transpired. To stick their foot in their mouth just a bit further, Kickstarter’s (to be fair likely automated) ZineQuest project filter has caught a few projects that were originally released under the SideQuest and Zine Month banners, which considering the two events were specifically supposed to be alternatives to ZineQuest, is not a good look.
Charity Bundles for Reproductive Rights Reassembling: In light of the events going on in the United States, several game designers are assembling a bundle on itch.io. Caro Asercion, known for ‘i’m sorry did you say street magic’ and Everest Pipkin, known for ‘World Ending Game’, are organizing the bundle and actively seeking submissions. Proceeds will go to the National Network for Abortion Funds’ Collective Power Fund. The bundle will go live for buyers tomorrow, but submissions are open to game designers until July 6th. If you’re interested in donating directly, there is also an available list of abortion funds by state.
Discussion of the Week
Any reasonably well put-together game can become intuitive if it’s the game you want to play: Indie RPG Twitter found a reason to bag on GURPS this week when a blogger called it fundamentally simple, a viewpoint many on the indie side couldn’t wrap their heads around (admittedly one which wouldn’t make sense unless you’ve played a fair amount of GURPS). In the linked thread, Rob Donoghue, co-founder of Evil Hat Productions, discusses complexity in games, and how easily the human brain can get past it provided motivation. It is arguably the core principle of RPG popularity: rules complexity doesn’t matter if the game being presented is the one you want to play.
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