Sunday, May 06, 2007

Why Should I Post My Power 19?


For a while it was a really hip thing to post your Power 19 at the Forge or Story Games. Over time, it slightly fell out of favor. Andy discourages people from posting them at SG and the new guys at the Forge are now far removed from the post I made back in 2005. But recently Ralph Maza suggested that we start posting our Power 19’s again, and I couldn’t agree more. There are several good reasons for doing this, but I’ll just give your three.

Reason #1: New designers can learn from the answers of veteran designers. If you are a published game designer and are working on a new game, post your Power 19 on the Forge or on GameCraft. There are so many designers out there who can benefit just from reading the responses you created when meeting the challenges outlined in the Power 19. The questions on character creation, rewards, resolution, and target audience are all key questions IMO that stump newbie designers. Seeing veterans post their solutions to those problems is an education in and of itself. A bank of Power 19’s on the Forge or GameCraft would become like a library for newer designers to go, check out, and learn from.

Reason #2: You might (GASP!) get some useful feedback on something you had never thought of before. I have a feeling that some designers hesitate posting a Power 19 publicly because they are afraid of getting bad or useless advice that will either eat up too much of their time responding to or send them down a path that ruins the game. Phooey! Feedback, even misguided or lackadaisical can be useful to a designer as it help you reinforce and defend your ideas. At worst, the feedback will help you sharpen your edge. And who knows, someone might actually offer something insightful that helps your game way more than a playtesting session would have.

Reason #3: Speaking of playtesting, it is way easier to get outside playtesting if you have talked about your game in public. The Power 19 is an excellent hyping tool for a game. It lets the readers know all about your game, the key components, and what you plan to do with it in the future. If you are looking to get some people invested in your playtesting or ashcan release of your game, then publicly posting a Power 19 on it is a great way to get that ball rolling. Just try it. See what kind of response you get.

Posting your Power 19 is a win-win for everyone. The Forge and GameCraft get more traffic. You get useful feedback and promote interest in your design. Future designers get a resource they would, otherwise, have no contact with. I encourage you, if you’ve gotten to the point in your game where you can answer most of the questions in the Power 19, go for it!




Unknown said...

Troy, I think one of my doubts about the Power 19 is that it's used for hype rather than design. A Power 19 written for hype reads much differently from one written for design.

So I'm dubious about pointing out its usefulness as a hype tool.


Northerain said...

I've found it usefull at least...the questions help with cementing your ideas and adding things you didn't think of before. I'll be post my power 19 for my game "Fallen" on the forge soon.

checking said...

Setting is one of those game elements that trips people up (including me) because it seems like it isn't necessary, just a nice add-on. "This game doesn't need a setting! It's generic!" I think that if that's true, then you don't actually have a game. In fact, what actually happens is that the players create a setting (with or without realizing it) to play this "setting-less" game in. So in fact the game does need a setting - it just doesn't provide one.bohyme