AquaVertigo Publishing

Breaking Down the Remainders

Photo: “Funnel Sketch,” David MK.

Use whatever metaphor works for you. In my head, I see a layered funnel where I go down each level to answer questions / make decisions. In this structure there is less content I need to think about all at once and that helps me tackle the moving pieces. In review, we started with 55 games and then got down to 15. Here are the contenders:

  • 1 Belonging Outside Belonging + PbtA: Legends of the Realm
  • 2 Descended from the Queen: Time & Tempus, For the Panel (earlier mislabeled as For the Con)
  • 1 Dresden Files Accelerated: Armageddon Accelerated (note: I am considering doing a translation to FitD for this game as well if there is interest)
  • 1 Firebrands: Flames of the Rebellion
  • 4 Other System: Along the Road, Dark Well, Love & Rockets, Vigilance
  • 1 Psi*Run: NightMirror
  • 1 Paragon: Eye of the Magi
  • 1 Powered by the Apocalypse: Starfall Hard Zone
  • 3 Primed by Cortex: Aethernity, Found, Space Station Omega

Different Perspective through Priorities

Starting again from a sense of time, I want to break down the list further. We will take the 15 surviving games from the list and then determine what their current situation is, what needs to happen, and how challenging it may be. I quickly pulled a chart together with a key at the bottom as a starting point. If you do something like this you may have different criteria that works best for your work style.

Chart: “Prioritizing Game Design Work,” David MK.

What This Means

My gut check of the results feels okay and that means priorities in the 1-7 range seem to me as the easiest to make progress on. Here are the games with their priority scores:

  1. Legends of the Realm [6]
  2. Time & Tempus [5]
  3. For the Panel [7]
  4. Love & Rockets [4]
  5. Eye of the Magi [5]
  6. Starfall Hard Zone [4]

I will then figure out which of these six games I can take care of with simple tasks or at least determine what I need to do to move things along and that helps me feel less overwhelmed and create a sense of confidence before I even begin the work. Also, I’m giving myself permission to adjust the work as needed because I realize that this is guesswork and that some things will take more time to complete. (Note: I’m not in a process that is time-sensitive, such as working with a printer or distributor, which I’ve dealt with as part of my design profession.)

I’ve chosen to use Trello and Toggl for project and time management to figure out the separate steps for these six games. For playtests I need to schedule and solicit participation, and then prepare character keepers ahead of time. For most everything else I need to have the time and energy to focus on each. I’ll try to email people with questions and other quick tasks between the larger focused work. Then I’ll need to post and update tasks in Trello and Toggl.

Reordered Work by Priority

  1. Love & Rockets [4]
  2. Starfall Hard Zone [4]
  3. Eye of the Magi [5]
  4. Time & Tempus [5]
  5. Legends of the Realm [6]
  6. For the Panel [7]

Image: “Mockup of design from For the Panel,” David MK.

6. For the Panel: Reviewing this list again, starting with the outlier first. I have a theory that For the Panel may not take much effort but may involve waiting to hear back from people for feedback and this could drag on for a while slowing down the creation of a usable printed prototype. My plan is to find a way to use a digital stop-gap version for as long as possible. I will need to identify and contact a handful of convention guest manager types in the gaming industry to get feedback and then follow up with interviews. I’m not interested in finalizing the look yet, just the value proposition – does it help those who would be in a situation where access to prompts would be useful? I will need to network and build my list and that’s something I can do in the background while working on some other designs.

1. Love & Rockets: Contacting the co-op where the game was last in development seems the most logical. From there it’s a matter of locating the correct person to determine what the status of the game may be regarding the license the co-op has.

2. Starfall Hard Zone: Scheduling the campaign play would be where I’d start, followed by reviewing the character keeper for updates in preparation to run the game. I would have an interest in recording the sessions for actual play development.

3. Eye of the Magi, 4. Time & Tempus, and 5. Legends of the Realm: All three of these games need some kind of content creation or revision and then playtesting as time permits so I will want to return to each between the work on the other games.

If this list seems correct I would enter what I need to in Trello for tasks and in Toggl for time tracking and update both as needed.

Next Steps

Actually do the work and keep track of it for reference. Real life and other things will always play a role in the workflow but being prepared will help you feel better and be ready for when you can return to your creative pursuits.


Let me know what you think. Was this helpful or insightful?


DMK, the founder of AquaVertigo, is a creatively curious artist, author, designer, educator, entrepreneur, and organizer based in the Midwest, USA.

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