The trouble with NaNoWriMo is simply that it takes a lot of time. Although most of you know me as an RPG commentator, I have been a writer, broadly, for most of my life, both personal and professional. I enjoy writing fiction, but it’s difficult to write long-form fiction and keep up the pace long enough to produce a full story. The 2000 word articles hosted here at Cannibal Halfling Gaming are, if not easy, at least easier than a 50,000+ word novel.
This year I decided to do NaNoWriMo to give my fiction writing a kick in the pants. In 2019 I picked up a rewrite of a novel I had written a decade before, right after college, and decided to give it an honest go. I got close, though the pandemic seriously disrupted my writing habits. In 2021, amidst a whole host of life challenges and transitions, the writing ground to a halt. So here, in November of 2022, I decided to challenge myself to do NaNoWriMo in order to get back into the habit of writing and build up my self-discipline enough to also finish my in-progress novel. So far, so good: yesterday was the midpoint of NaNoWriMo and I have successfully hit the 25,000 word halfway mark.
Of course, the main way I did this was by letting my articles and article backlog fall by the wayside. I actually should be able to write an article a week for every other week in November, but today I came up short. I haven’t always provided explanations when I miss a week, but this is an explanation I’m actually a bit proud of, even if it means no article this week.
In exchange, I’m providing a trip down memory lane. I started reviewing RPGs prior to this site existing, and it was that practice that led me to believe that I should ask Seamus to come aboard when he told all of us in his gaming group that the Mad Adventurers’ Society was winding down and he planned on starting a follow-on site. I posted my first article around 3 days after Seamus’s Mad Adventurers archive went live on cannibalhalflinggaming.com, and the rest, as they say, is history.
But here’s some pre-history. These reviews are hosted at my personal blog, which is still occasionally updated. I stand by these reviews from an editorial perspective, though just like the earlier articles here they lack the polish that I gained from writing 100,000 words a year, every year, for six years.
Fate: the inherent appeal of narrative games: Fate was an early surprise for me as I began to expand my gaming palette; I both played and ran Fate in 2014 and knew I wanted to do more. In 2016 I believe I was playing in a campaign of Interface Zero using the playtest rules of Interface Zero: Fate Edition, which inspired this article. Reading it again, I’m amused at where the discourse was back in 2016…or maybe just how I hadn’t been poisoned by it yet.
I’ve got the whole (Apocalypse) world, in my hands…: I first ran Apocalypse World in 2016 and it blew my mind. While this article isn’t a full review, it was written at a time where I was still trying to articulate why the game was so different and why I liked it so much. The content of this post won’t be new to most people familiar with PbtA, but I wrote it out of excitement, and it helps me remember why my gaming experiences flew wide open starting around 2016.
The Sprawl: My first attempt to really review a game in a comprehensive way. If you read the comments, you’ll see that even in this early attempt I got in trouble for pre-supposing reader knowledge, something that continues to be an issue when reviewing indie games. I did however do a good read into the mechanical intentionality of The Sprawl, something that to this day is the hallmark of good PbtA.
Cyberspace: Cyberspace is a cyberpunk game based on Rolemaster, and even though this is an early, fairly rough review of mine, I think it does a pretty good job of providing an overview of the game and what to expect. I still have yet to run Cyberspace, but it’s on my shelf and I’m waiting for my chance.
Interface Zero Fate Edition: This review was written merely two weeks before the start of Cannibal Halfling, and it’s starting to show some degree of competency in doing a close read of a game that takes into account the broader hobby around it. This version of Interface Zero owes a lot to both its Savage World predecessor as well as the Fate ecosystem, and as a result this may have been one of the first indications I was reading enough games to be a decent reviewer.
I know this isn’t what you all have come to expect of me, and I don’t think I’ll be doing many filler posts (other than the inevitable holiday special). Thank you all for your understanding, and may your dice roll fair this week.
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