Moving Into Phase Three
Phase one of my little game was simply to write a game and try it out amongst some friends. I started last summer and completed phase one by the end of the year. It was slow going, partly due to my day job, but mostly because I wanted to take my time to get the groundwork laid.
Phase two started when I revised the game a bit and playtested a bunch more. That involved mostly me playtesting with friends and people at local conventions. But it also involved putting the game into the hands of a bunch of people around the country who had never played the game before. Feedback was garnered and a pretty hefty revision was in the works.
With the completion of Version 3 of the player’s guide, which I’ve officially named the Employee Handbook, I’m moving into phase three. It’s time to playtest this bad boy in a more complete form, complete with character generation and advancement rules, revised base rules, a few additional rules add-ons, and so forth.
This is, to me, a crucial time for the game, even more so than the previous year. I have a solidly designed game (I hope) and it’s time to put it through its paces in more complete terms. I don’t have the luxury of having a couple of local conventions coming up to use as target dates for things I need to do, so I’m setting an actual schedule. The timeline might change a bit, but the following is what I’m shooting for.
• By September 30th – Plan out a four-session mini-campaign of Murders & Acquisitions. Find playtesters for this mini-campaign. This involves outlining four adventures with an overarching story that hits on all the elements of M&A as well as generating stat blocks for all the adversaries involved along with generic stat blocks for a variety of other types of NPCs.
• By October 31st – Run the mini-campaign and garner feedback from my playtesters. As I do this, I’ll adjust some things and fully flesh out the adventure write-ups for future playtests around the country.
• November-December – Send these adventures along with all other game material to 6-10 game groups around the country. I’ll need to find groups that can actually commit themselves to running the full mini-campaign. While others are playtesting, I’ll run the occasional playtest, develop the Supervisor’s Manual further, and generate more world setting information.
• January – Collect feedback from my national playtesters and revise the game again. This should put me on track to playtesting the game further at SecretsCon in mid-March and AndoCon in the summer.
There are some other minor points to be included in the above, but they’re malleable, so I’m not ready to nail down a timeline for them just yet.
I’ve spent the past few months flying by the seat of my pants with M&A development. It’s time to buckle down and commit. Schedules need to be important if I’m going to keep this thing moving.
The Employee Manual
I debated whether I would post the full Employee Manual this month but have opted against that for the time being. In the near future, I expect I’ll put the entire Employee Manual up here for all to see.
That said, I want to put up some of the Employee Manual for your perusal. I’ve opted to include the first half of the book, which includes the game overview, a bunch of story, world, and tone info, the complete breakdown of the character sheet and all it entails, and the character creation and advancement rules.
I’m also including a completed character sheet for reference.
M&A Employee Manual
M&A Character Sheet
I’ve stated in past blog posts that I kind of lost sight of what the game was really about while wrangling rules and writing playtest adventures. I hope that I’ve remedied this, both in the story/world/tone areas as well as in how these things affect the rules proper.