Booking Josh as a Speaker or Convention Guest

Josh T. Jordan is a game designer, high school ESL teacher, and game scholar (focusing on corpus linguistics, gender, and narrative theory.) He enjoys speaking about the intersections between game design, roleplaying, education, language learning, and narrative. To book Josh as a speaker or guest at your convention, email gingergoatpress@gmail.com. Josh has experience at both fan and academic conventions and has spoken in front of audiences large and small.

Josh is happy to travel to your event. His appearance fees are cheap but must exceed travel costs from Texas and lodging expense at your event.

Call for John Silence Adventure Pitches

Ginger Goat Press is currently accepting adventure pitches for our forthcoming rpg, John Silence, in which psychic American detectives of color search for invisible monsters from other planes! Find the demo by clicking on the title image below.

If you are interested in pitching an adventure for the game after you’ve skimmed the demo, please email gingergoatpress@gmail.com a one or two paragraph pitch for an adventure by Friday June 29th. The adventure should center on a psychic person of color in the 20th century USA, finding and banishing monsters from other planes. You are encouraged to get specific about your characters’ cultures and identity. You can be vague about their psychic powers.

 

Our game editor Aura Belle and I plan to accept at least 5 pitches as stretch goals for our forthcoming Kickstarter. Accepted writers will write 1500-4000 word adventures if we reach their stretch goal. You won’t need to write the adventure until after the Kickstarter. It would be due in October at the earliest. Accepted writers will be paid $.10/word upon completion of a revised draft that incorporates editorial feedback.

Call for Actual Play Streamers or Reviewers

Ginger Goat Press has a new game in development, and we are looking for podcasters, Twitch streamers, and Youtube vloggers to play the promo version of the game in May.

John Silence is a hybrid book, containing an original RPG and an anthology of short stories and poems in a shared universe. The John Silence universe focuses on 20th century people of color who are psychic detectives, saving Earth from planar creatures invisible to most humans. If this sounds like a game that you would like livestream actual play or review, email gingergoatpress@gmail.com.

Currently involved in the project are publisher Josh T. Jordan, game editor Caitlynn Belle, poetry and story editor Lev Mirov, and layout artist Thomas Novosel. Stay tuned for announcements about our May Kickstarter and our open call for poems and short fiction in summer 2018. If you would like to join the design team for John Silence, you can apply here.

The game is inspired by the mechanics of traditional dungeon crawls and various OSR games. However, attacks and combat have been replaced with rhetoric and conversation. You are not rolling to kill the monster. You’re rolling to convince or befriend them.

Again, email gingergoatpress@gmail.com with your questions about the game or to be added to our list of actual play livestreamers and reviewers. People on this list will receive a promo version of the game in May.

Podcasters, Twitch streamers, Youtube vloggers, and reviewers are all encouraged to contact us. To learn more about the universe of John Silence, check out the Notebook of John Silence, PI zine series available from Thomas Novosel Press. This universe is also loosely inspired by Algernon Blackwood’s 1908 novel, John Silence, Physician Extraordinary.

Imposters Kickstarter Analysis

Although it’s not directly a plug for our Kickstarter, since you might not even see this post until after the fundraiser ends, I want to share some numbers from The Imposters and compare them to Ginger Goat’s previous Kickstarter campaigns. My purpose in sharing this information is to help answer questions that other game designers have about fundraising for their games.

On the one hand, I’m excited the Kickstarter is going well. On the other hand, I want to give you an opportunity to pick my brain by emailing gingergoatpress@gmail.com about what it’s like to run a Kickstarter or about specific issues that worry you about running your own.

With 22 hours left in the fundraising campaign, we have 370 backers and we’ve raised $6,745. Those numbers will change in the last day, but they are close enough to the final numbers that we can look at them.

How do they compare to our previous four Kickstarters?

We have almost twice the number of backers for this campaign as we do for our previous campaigns. I attribute this to a number of factors, including the quality of our Kickstarter video, the number of game journalists who have written about the game, and the social media influence of my fellow contributors to this book. Because we have a sharp looking Kickstarter page, and because we’ve had better word of mouth advertising for this campaign, we’ve convinced more backers to join us. As you might expect, that means we’ve raised more money, too.

We have raised about twice what we raised in our other campaigns. Though Dangers Untold is an outlier. It raised an unusual amount of money per backer because we had a handful of high level backers who were really committed to unlocking some the extra setting materials. In other words, we had more people willing to pay for high tier backer levels in Dangers Untold. I attribute this to Shoshana Kessock’s committed fanbase. Her fans are big fans.

Now that you’ve seen the basic data, what questions can I answer for you? Have you considered crowdfunding your games, and if so, what can I do to encourage or inform you? Shoot me questions at gingergoatpress@gmail.com

 

Coming Soon: The Imposters

The Imposters is getting tantalizingly close to done. We plan to Kickstart it in early April. The Imposters is an anthology of seven conspiracy-themed games by seven different authors, including three #GoldenCobra winners, a Golden Cobra honorable mention, a #200WordRPG winner, and the former Global Coordinator of Game Chef. Despite our apparent successes, all seven designers admit that we struggle with Imposter Syndrome,* the self-perception that we aren’t “real” designers who deserve to hang with the “professionals.”


If you can sympathize with our struggles, or you struggle with Imposter Syndrome yourself, or you have been harrassed and othered by folks in the gaming community, we encourage you to join our conspiracy and check out the +Kickstarter next month. We’re proud of what we’ve made together. These games are awesome. They range from an X-Files inspired mystery set at a funeral to a spy vs. spy meetup to a full-on, cryptographic psychogeography larp. If you follow any of us on social media, there’s at least one game in here that you will love.

See you in April.

Josh T. Jordan and his fellow Imposters

  • Alex Carlson
  • Banana Chan
  • James Mullen
  • Jay Sylvano
  • Jeremy Morgan
  • Nick Wedig
  • timothy hutchings
  • Todd Crapper

*Also spelled Impostor Syndrome. They’re both correct. And I will fight you on that if you need me to.

The Notebook of John Silence, PI Vol 1.5

Thomas Novosel and I put out an illustrated weird detective zine called The
Notebook of John Silence, PI
. I write. He does art and layout. It’s a fun creative project based on the Algernon Blackwood stories about Dr. John Silence, the psychic physician. Our John Silence is his great-grandson, a private investigator who specializes in crimes psychical and cosmic.

Today, Volume 1.5 is now available. This is a free mini-issue, a foldable pocket zine featuring a trancelarp illustrated by Thomas and designed by me. We even playtested it! You probably won’t poke your eye out playing the game. It is a solo game designed to mimic one of the rituals that John Silence uses to solve his weird cases.

You can buy Volume 1: Daydreams on Thomas’ website. This full issue contains fiction, art, and poetry that will prepare you for the forthcoming Volume 2, tentatively subtitled “Whereabouts,” which features a one-act play.

{{Blanks}} & [[Spaces]]

{{Blanks}} & [[Spaces]]

(A hack of John Harper’s Lasers & Feelings)

I am a big fan of John’s little two-page game Lasers & Feelings. I think it is especially good for hacking to fit with different adventure game styles and settings. So I’ve created this fill-in-the-blank version to encourage other people to create their own versions. This game, {{Blanks}} & [[Spaces]], like the original Lasers & Feelings is released under a CC BY-NC-SA license.

You are _________. Your mission is to explore _________, deal with _________, and defend _________ against _________. Your boss _________ has been overcome by _________, leaving you to fend for yourselves while your boss _________.

 

Players: Create Characters

  1. Choose a style for your character: _________, _________, _________, _________, _________, _________, or _________.
  2. Choose a role for your character: _________, _________, _________, _________, _________, _________, or _________.
  3. Choose your number, from 2 to 5. A high number means you are better at {{_________}} (described here _________.) A low number means you’re better at [[_________]] (described here _________.)
  4. Give your character a cool _________ adventure name. Like _________ or something.

Clothing and Equipment: _________, _________, _________, or _________.

Player goal: Get your character involved in crazy _________  genre adventures and try to make the best of them.

Character goal: Choose one or create your own: _________, _________, _________, _________, _________, _________, or _________.

 

Players: Create the _________ Location

As a group, pick Two Strengths for _________ Location: _________, _________, _________, _________, _________, _________, or _________.

Also, pick One Problem: _________ (described here _________,) _________ (described here _________,) _________ (described here _________,) or _________ (described here _________.)

 

Rolling the Dice

When you do something risky, roll 1d6 to find out how it goes. Roll +1d if you’re prepared and +1d if you’re an expert. (The GM tells you how many dice to rol, based on your character and the situation.) Roll your dice and compare each die result to your number.

If you’re using {{_________}}  (described here __________,) you want to roll under your number

If you’re using [[_________]]  (described here __________,) you want to roll over your number.

0 If none of your dice succeed, it goes wrong. The GM says how things get worse somehow.

1 If one die succeeds, it you barely manage it. The GM inflicts a complication, harm, or cost.

2 If two dice succeed, you do it well. Good job!

3 If three dice succeed, you get a critical success! The GM tells you some extra effect you get.

! If you roll your number exactly, you have {{Blank}} [[Spaces]]! You get a special insight into what’s going on. Ask the GM a question and they’ll answer you honestly. Some good questions:

What are they really feeling? Who’s behind this? How could I get them to do what I want? What should I be on the lookout for? What’s the best way to do this thing? What’s really going on here?

You can change your action if you want to, then roll again.

Helping: If you want to help someone else who’s rolling, say how you try to help and make a roll. If you succeed, give them +1d.

 

GM: Create a _________ Adventure

Roll or choose on the tables below.

A Threat

1. 4.
2. 5.
3. 6.

Wants to

1. 4.
2. 5.
3. 6.

The

1. 4.
2. 5.
3. 6.

Which will

1. 4.
2. 5.
3. 6.

 

GM: Run the Game

Play to find out how they defeat the threat. Introduce the threat by showing evidence of its recent badness. Before a threat does something to the characters, show signs that it’s about to happen, then ask what they do.

Call for a roll when the situation is uncertain. Don’t pre-plan outcomes. Let the chips fall where they may. Use failures to push the action forward. The situation always changes after a roll, for good or ill.

Ask questions and build on the answers.

7 Ways to Reuse Abandoned Games

7 Ways to Reuse Abandoned Games

What do you do with abandoned tabletop games? Think of card, board, or roleplaying games that you own that you no longer play. Maybe the rules don’t interest you anymore. Maybe they interest you, but you no longer have someone to play with. They are missing pieces. They are too expensive. For whatever reason, you have abandoned the games you used to play. But is there a way you can still use them?
Let’s talk about a few ways to repurpose those games so that you can still get some use out of them, or at least have fun with their components. Now, I don’t know what kinds of games you have lying around, so I’ve decided to phrase these ideas as questions. We’re relying on your creativity to figure out how they apply to your specific situation.

1. Physical Components: Can you use the art, cards or board pieces in another game? Maybe the art would make a good inspiration for another rpg. The board pieces could be replacements for another game.

2. Rules Hack: Can you change the rules to skip the part of the game that doesn’t work for  you? There’s no game police telling you that you have to play a whole game of Monopoly. You can skip to the end, if you like.

3. Spiritual Sequel: Can you write your own game that uses this game as inspiration? Our hobby has a long tradition of fantasy heartbreakers, that are essentially someone’s attempt to use D&D as inspiration for a new game. Though not all of these are great, some of them are. Can you make a “heartbreaker” based off of a card or board game you abandoned?

4. Swap: Can you trade this game away to one of your friends for another game? This may feel like cheating. You aren’t hacking the game. You are literally reusing it by giving it to someone who wants to play it. In return, they probably have a game that you’ve never tried that they are willing to give you.

5. Update: Are there alternate rules for this game available on the Internet? Playing with revised or updated rules may help renew your passion for the game. Are there errata that have been breaking the game? Nerfing those can make a world of difference.

6. Doing It Wrong: The French poet Paul Valery wrote “That which has always been accepted by everyone, everywhere, is almost certain to be false.” What can you do to break this game, to use it incorrectly, or to play it backwards? How can you make a new game by using the old game wrong?

7. Steps: What section of the original gameplay was the most fun? What did you love to do in the game? How can you borrow just that part of the gameplay and do it in a different game?

Here are seven ways to squeeze a little more fun out of tabletop games you’ve abandoned. But I’m sure there are more methods. What other ways can you think of to reuse, repurpose, or recycle tabletop games that you used to love? Send your tips or examples to gingergoatpress@gmail.com

(This post originally appeared on my Ginger Goat blog April 2016.)

Run! Fire!

Run! Fire!

Here is a free, 3-player card game about a wildfire in ranch country.

Run! Fire!

A card game for 3 players. 15-20 minutes.
In this game, you play three ranchers trying to escape a huge grass fire. Will you help put the fire out? Will you panic and run? Who will survive?

Setup

3 players
Deal each player 3 each of Fire and Run. (Use red cards for Fire and black cards for Run)
Make a central deck of 2 Fire and 2 Run
Each player starts with 10 coins

Play

Every player plays one card of their choice face down into a pile in the center. The tallest player is dealer this round. The dealer draws one card from the central deck, shows it to all the players, and puts it face down in the pile. Each player then bets.

To bet, play a card from your hand face up in front of you. Put at least one coin on that card. (If you play a face up Fire card, you are trying to fight the fire. The more coins you place on it, the more committed you are to extinguishing the fire. If you place a face up Run card, you are trying to save yourself by escaping the fire. Betting represents your decision whether to help extinguish the fire or run and try to save yourself.)

After each player bets, the dealer shuffles the pile of face down cards. He plays one card in the middle of the table face up. He then places the rest of the cards on the top of the central deck. If this card matches the face up card a player has bet, that player is a winner this round. Everyone else loses. The winners split all the coins that have been bet. If the coins cannot be split evenly, give the extras to the dealer, even if the dealer lost this round. Place the face up card that you bet with back in your hand.

The player to the tallest player’s left is the new dealer. Players play another card of their choice face down in the middle of the table. The dealer takes one card from the top of the central deck, shows it face up to all the players, then shuffles it facedown into the facedown pile. Then everyone bets. (If you have coins left, you must bet at least one during each round.) Then the dealer plays one card from the facedown pile face up. Players who match that card with their bet card win. Split the coins among the winners, then place the card you bet with back in your hand.

The position of dealer then rotates one more time, so each player has had the chance to deal once. Play another round just like before.

Scoring

Now, each player shows their remaining cards face up, and everyone calculates their score. Any player with more than 10 points lives. That means you escape the fire and win the game.

Run!

Look at all the players’ cards. If more than half are Run cards, the ranchers were not able to work together and put out the fire. (Those who lived are the folks who ran away. Those who died are those who tried to extinguish the fire.) Run cards are worth 2 points. Fire cards are worth 0 points. Coins are worth 1 point.

Fire!

Look at all the players’ cards. If more than half are Fire cards, the ranchers were able to put out the fire. (Those who lived worked together bravely to extinguish the fire. Those who died were the ranchers who panicked, made a wrong turn, and got caught by the fire.) Run cards are worth 0 point. Fire Cards are worth 2 points. Coins are worth 1 point.

(This game was originally posted on the Ginger Goat blog in April 2016.)