Story Games Talk: The Linkage

Hello! Thanks for following up on my InterestingPDX story gaming talk. I hope I did not completely confuse people.

The specific games I mention in the talk, plus a lot of other good ones, are available from Portland retailer Guardian Games. You can also buy them online – here are Grey Ranks, Polaris, Dogs in the Vineyard, Primetime Adventures, and Shooting the Moon.

If you try one of these games but have some trouble, first, don’t give up – this medium is in its infancy, and even if it weren’t, it might just be impossible for games that literally leave a lot to the imagination to ever explain themselves perfectly in book form. It may take some conversation.

Second, all of these games’ authors put contact info and discussion-forum addresses in their texts. Don’t hesitate to email the authors or visit their forums and ask questions or just describe how your game went. On the forums, you might catch more feedback than you want, from a variety of viewpoints, but you’ll probably also hear from the designer. A little talking stuff through can really help.

If all else fails – or if it doesn’t! – you can talk to me.


Probably the most nerd-famous story game out there is My Life With Master. It didn’t fit into the talk, but definitely check it out.

A thing I almost just wanted to spend most of my talk telling people how to do is this – minimal, uncompromising, awesome. A bit hard to use, though.


[4/10/09] So, the talk went great! Thanks to everyone who attended. Early feedback suggests one thing I should make clear: these games are generally published and sold as books, not as boxes of cards or anything more commonly associated with games. That’s starting to change, but it’s the case for now. So, don’t be shocked when you order one and a little trade paperback is what shows up.

[4/21/09] A friend reminds me to tell you about Gin, Television, and the Cognitive Surplus, a relevant talk from last year by Clay Shirky.