National Game Design Month is about making and playing games. In 2011 during the month of November I want You to create and play your own boardgame, RPG, flash computer game, choose-your-own-adventure book, wargame, cardgame or other destracting novelty. The rules are simple – create, write and play (at least once) a game during the month.
There are no restrictions on what kind of game you create; how “big”, “long” or “hard” it is; or how long you must spend creating it. If you want to bang out an RPG in 24-hours, go right ahead; if you want to spend 3 weeks putting together an electronic game, do it! Here are what constitute the “rules” of NaGa DeMon;
Create the game in November. It can be based on ideas, notes and other resources, but the putting together of the game should occur during the month.
Finish the game in November. Complete the game! A complete game should have everything required to play – no hand-waving (“Oh, I’ll make those cards later”) allowed! In the case of an RPG this means rules for character generation, resolving conflict, experience, and setting. Boardgames will need the actual board, pawns, cards and/or other objects gathered or created. Wargames will require rules for all the pertinent action and probably a couple of army / force lists (and you will obviously need some armies to battle with when it comes time to play the game!).
Play the game in November. It doesn’t matter whether you play your game in the garage with your mates, on line with a stranger, with your Nan over a cup of tea, or by yourself in the attic – just play it at least once!
Talk about your experience. Either during November or after, talk about what you did; share the game with others; blog about the process; tell everyone how awesome you did or how epic your failure was. What’s the point of creating your own game if you don’t tell everyone about it!
I hope you participate in this activity. Let me know what you think of the concept and whether you are going to give it a go.
You “win” NaGa DeMon if you do the above 4 things. There are no judges, panels or secret ballots. Follow the four easy steps and win! Complete this epic (4-step) quest and prove yourself a game design DeMon! What do you win? Besides the satisfaction of a job well-done, the respect of your peers and the admiration of those less awesome than yourself? Nothing. The point is to actually buckle down and make that game that you know you want to play and share. You do that and you win!
Why “NaGa DeMon”? The name and whole concept is inspired by National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). That is where the ridiculous acronm came from. Naga’s are a mythical creature from eastern culture, variously described as some kind of multi-headed serpent. Most gamers will be familiar with the Dungeons & Dragons naga, a snake-like aberration with a human head. Nagas have nothing to do with creating games.
Can I do both NaGa DeMon and NaNoWriMo? Why, yes you can! NaNoWriMo lets you be a “NaNo Rebel” and do something other than write a novel. You can find out more about NaNo Rebels here.
What does my game have to be about? It doesn’t have to be about any specific idea, topic or theme. You are totally welcome to make an RPG about Ninja Monkeys fighting Space Rabbits; or a choose-your-own-adventure where you play a flea trying to escape the circus. Do whatever you think to COOL.
I really need some starting point or theme for this to work, can you help? This isn’t one of those game design competitions where you have to include specific elements, but if you are one of those folk that likes or needs a prompt, okay. This is totally NOT necessary, but if you are in need of inspiration or limitation here it is: include the idea of snakes, demons or naga in your game. If that still isn’t specific enough, then try this: Create a game about snakes that fight demons to save the world.
Can I use a pre-existing game or rules set? The idea is to create your own game, but if you want to base your work on something from the public domain, the OGL or other open-source, nobody is going to stop you. Just make sure you are creating something, not copying it, and remember that your finished game must contain everything required to play (so you shouldn’t be directing players to “see Book So-And-So”).
Do I have to make my game look professional? No, the only requirement is that your game is complete and playable. If it’s dot-points on a piece of notepaper, that is cool. If you want to go all out and get into some groovy layout, with illustrations or pictures, fancy headings and an index, that is also cool!
How do I prove I “won”? We’re working on the honesty system here. There is no vetting process or other requirement for you to prove you completed NaGa DeMon. Of course, I would encourage you to share your creation with others, or at the very least talk about the processes you went through. These two things are likely more than enough to clarify whether you actually completed NaGa DeMon. If you don’t complete it and claim you did, you’re just cheating yourself anyway.
Who owns my game? You do. It’s your creation, so its yours. If you used public domain, OGL, open source or creative commons material for your game then there might be some requirements or limitations on what you can do with your work, but generally things you create are yours. Participating in NaGa DeMon does not change that!
Do I have to show or post my game? No. It would be great if you shared your creation with others, but that is up to you.
Here are some banners and buttons you can use to indicate that you are participating in NaGa DeMon 2011.
Right click and “save as…” for each.