This month marks one year of monthly blogging, and one year with my games up on itch.io. With that, I do believe it’s time for a year-in-review.
What did I publish in the last year?
Everything published was the result of a game jam. Game jams have been helpful for me for two reasons. They usually have set criteria to work towards, and they have a time limit. Both of which are conditions that help me to finish things. So what did I finish?
The Cardastra Series, October 2019 – April 2020. A game jam entry for Business Card Jam. After completing one adventure for the jam, I was particularly inspired. The game ended up becoming a set of four sci-fi micro-adventures that use a rock-paper-scissors style of communication between players. I envisioned it as an RPG that you might play in short bursts, maybe in a line-up at a convention. 2020 had other ideas. Regardless, I quite liked this one. Probably something I’d return to, or maybe create an anthology with some expanded content.
Welcome to Candy Mountain, May 2020. Submitted to the Troika! Pamphlet Adventure Jam. I still don’t really know what Troika! is, and I have yet to actually play it, but the jam showed up when I had a good stretch of free time to put something together. There were a lot of creative entries, to be sure.
Last Eclipse, September 2020. Branching away from RPGs for a bit, my submission for Turn Based Tactics Jam. I recently did a full blog write-up on this one, so I won’t add too much here. This was an idea I had rattling around in my head for quite a while, so it was nice to finally get it out into the wild.
Stats, Stats, Stats
Some graphs and numbers, if you’re interested in that kind of thing. I won’t get too deep here, since stats tend to get boring. Though personally I can’t stop looking at my itch.io dashboard. 500 downloads for year one would’ve been a nice round number, but I’m happy to settle for 450-ish.
I rarely promote my work, so I assume most people stumble upon my stuff. Nearly half of them seem to download something, which is totally sweet of them. The Cardastra games probably skew things a bit, since I include two downloads. One for the wallet-sized game, and one that will print a full-sized page to help with accessibility. People tend to grab both.
Here’s a visual of activity over the past year, showing overall views and downloads for everything on my itch.io page.
What didn’t I publish?
If you’ve been following along over the last year, you’ll know that I abandon more projects than I finish. Most of these will probably never be fully completed, let alone published, but sometimes it’s interesting to look back on what I spent my time on. Here’s a list of working titles.
Lycanthropy in a Taxi is an RPG/party-game hybrid that I tend to be inspired to work on every Halloween. Maybe this year? Probably not.
Altar of the Iron Worm, an RPG setting that I started on back in November 2019. It’s sitting at 10 pages of copy and could probably use 10 pages more. That said, I think maybe I’m finding the concept too “classic” at the moment and would need to get back into that mindset before I start on it again. Back burnered for now.
The Smile Between Us, an RPG… thing. An end-of-the-world scenario that uses a dice pool mechanic where dice are teeth. I didn’t get very far on this one, but the weirdness of the concept was briefly motivating.
Monster Mother, a single-player RPG, card based. A bit of choose-your-own-adventure. You’re the ancient mother of a monster horde, sending your brood out to explore an island and bring back necessities for survival. I really want to finish this one, but it’s one of those “I want to add everything” type of games, so probably too big to keep my interest.
The Halls of Gorn, was going to be my entry for a bookmark jam, but I just couldn’t get it to work before the jam ended. Basically a micro-dungeon generator where the bookmark is a long hallway with several doors.
Lucrative Night Job. I did a short write-up on this recently. Probably the one I’m most interested in continuing at the moment, but we’ll see how long that lasts.
I’ve maintained a fair bit of momentum (by my standards) by keeping projects small, but I still want to eventually make something with a page count that flirts with double-digits. As you can see, I’ve got a few existing ideas to choose from, but I’m just as likely to get distracted by something new. Winter holidays are coming up and I tend to be a lot more productive when I have a long stretch of time to dedicate to a project, so we’ll see what happens towards the end of the year.
Up until now I’ve set all my games as Pay What You Want (aka: basically free). Though a few kind souls have chipped in a few bucks, which I am very grateful for (thank you!). Over the next year, I think I’ll experiment with set prices for the things I publish, and I also want to look into community copies on itch.io to see how that works.
As for blogging, I set out to write something monthly for a full year, just to get into the habit. So… made it! Not sure if I’ll keep going or if I’ll shift to posting more on social media. I suspect making the shift is the better course of action if I want to get my work out there.
To close this off, a huge thanks to everyone who has downloaded and played my games over the last year! I’ve enjoyed every bit of feedback I’ve received, and it’s pretty exciting to know that my work has provided at least a few of you with some enjoyment during these troubled times.