I’m putting the finishing touches to the text of the 6d6 Core rule set at the moment and in between I’m tweaking next week’s posts about our product releases. And, of course, I’m writing this. The reason for this lack of focus is nerves and anxiety about the next few weeks.
Giving Birth to an Elephant
I’ve been working on the 6d6 RPG for over eighteen months. It has filled my life, night and day, to the point where I dream about little white cards and game mechanics. But during this time, the game has been protected. The play-testing and development work has been kept within in a small group of trusted friends. Even the countless demonstrations sessions have been run by myself or a member of the play-test groups, offering the 6d6 RPG some protection.
But in the next few weeks, all that changes. The game will be out there for anyone to buy and download. Will they understand the rules? Will they get the idea of the game? Will the like it or will it be trashed by the trolls on the forums?
The 6d6 project is deliberately ambitious. Not content with just releasing a radically different type of RPG, we are also releasing the 6d6 Online Tools. A publishing platform that powers the creation of 6d6 products and a space for members to create and share adventures and other RPG material. Oh, and everything is under the Creative Commons (CC-BY-SA) license.
In short we have a radical new product with a new approach to publishing and of building a community around the product. Many of these ideas are not new to 6d6 but we are the first to mix them up into this particularly recipe. The downside to this ambitious approach is that it requires a bigger leaper of faith and there is a much bigger fall if it goes wrong.
Fred Hicks wrote an interesting piece today on Making A Living in the Game Industry. It is depressing reading but points to why the 6d6 project is so ambitious and different. The current RPG publishing model doesn’t work very well and I see no point in simply doing what everyone else is doing but expecting radically different results.
For the industry to break out of it’s hobbyist mindset and low volume sales it has to innovate, innovate and innovate again.
I firmly believe that role-playing games need to be far more creative about the range of topics they cover and the style of play. They need to expand away from the turn-up-kill-monster-take-treasure approach that 90% of games focus on. Games need to broaden their appeal to different segments of the population – women, people who aren’t white, people who aren’t middle class, casual gamers – by changing the artwork, game styles and the attitudes that dominate the role playing industry.
Hopefully, 6d6 is a step towards this goal and hopefully 6d6 will benefit financially from this approach but nothing is certain. As Fred notes in his article, a lot of ‘successful’ RPG writers have day jobs. There is a limited time I can keep running 6d6 without financial success, so money is a real worry.
Its Not All Doom & Gloom
Whilst there are a lot nerves and genuine worries about the release of the 6d6 RPG, it only takes a moment of reflection to put them in perspective. Through the 6d6 RPG I’ve met many people I’m delighted to call friends. I’ve enjoyed hundreds of hours of game development and gaming with friends and strangers. The enthusiasm people have about the product, the way they can spend an hours talking about their ideas for it, is priceless and is something I never experienced in a day job.
And I’ve scratched that itch. That nagging sensation that I could create a something that I’ve had for 25 years of gaming.
Even if 6d6 crashes and burns, even if my worst nightmares come true, I will not regret this period of my life. I’ve created something I am proud of, something that is as good as I can make it.
I am a gamer and I am living the dream.