Somebody Wins, Nobody Loses

The thrift store has been a good source for some unusual kids games. Today the granddaughters and I played a cooperative storytelling game, one of their favorites, and an all-out snowball fight card game.

One thing I’m teaching the girls is that at Grandpa’s house somebody wins, but nobody loses.

I mean, think about it. In real-life sports, the focus is on celebrating a win. There’s gold, silver, and bronze, but no humiliating last-place ceremony.

Even head-to-head events like football are about high score, and if the other team is interviewed, it’s all about analyzing events, not about rubbing their noses in failure.

At Grandpa’s house somebody wins, but nobody loses. Well, actually everybody wins, because we had a good time together!

Structure Without Walls

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash
Hobby gaming started as an old white guys club. Thankfully it is evolving, though far too slowly.

You know from these posts the effort I make to evolve personally from my native Midwestern white cis heterosexual male and middle-aged perspective.

Game publishing is part of that personal effort. Equality and inclusiveness aren’t just buzzwords; they’re standards.

I can’t speak for people of other backgrounds. What I can do is strive for game design that gives a structure for play without imposing boundaries. And strive to write in a way that’s inviting.

I’m a paradoxically proud and humble guy. Proud of my games. Humbled at the honor of their having some place at gamers’ tables. Energized by stories of players’ adventures. Hoping to hear more of them from a wider range of people. If that’s you, please let me know. Thanks. ❤

Introducing the Bookmark Player’s Handbookmark!

A new bookmark has joined the Bookmark HP RPG fold!

The Bookmark Player’s Handbookmark gives guidelines and examples for using Attributes and Boons, plus a Trait system for experience in campaign play.

(Yes, it turns out this tiny little RPG even supports campaign play. I’ve been part of a two-person cyberpunk campaign, using a solo oracle, since last September!)

It’s currently available in PDF form on the DriveThruRPG Lester Smith Games page. I’ve ordered physical bookmarks from VistaPrint for sale here on my website. In the works is a printed card version for DriveThruRPG.

BNHP reports from Gary Con have been enthusiastic, and I’m mulling ways to have the game demoed at other conventions. From my experience, convention evens leave players extremely enthusiastic about this and the D6xD6 RPG, largely because they can create a character from scratch within minutes and master the rules during play, pretty much within the first scene.

That, and walk away with their new character on a card or bookmark, instead of the usual pre-designed PC on an 8½ x 11" page.

If you’re interested in running either game at a convention or game store near you, message me here, on Facebook, or on Twitter, so we can work out some rewards. Thanks!


[An old poem, retitled and slightly revised for clarity.]

If the sun were a bowling ball,
It’s been said,
the earth would be a peppercorn
somewhere down the hill
across the street.

If the earth were a bowling ball,
but I’ve read
that its face is even smoother,
ocean deeps and mountain heights
signifying nothing.

Why then should I cross an ocean
and climb a mountain,
to tell the sun
my fascination with your face?

Better just to take you bowling
and smile to see
as the pins fall.