Genisis of a Game

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Generations is a game created as an entry into the 2014 Game Chef competition. The theme of that year was "There is no book". The ingredients to select from were "Absorb", "Wild", "Glitter" and "Sickle". I applied the theme more than once within this work. First is the fact that it exists as a wiki. This means it requires no book and no extra items such as dice, cards, or other tools to play. For some, it might help to have pencil and paper. That isn't required though, as characters details are kept on the wiki. I've also applied theme to the character race speeches that lead into the story you are about to create.

While only two ingredients play a central role in the game, there turned out to be a place for each ingredient. The two that are central are Wild and Sickle. Both appear as 'decks', but also represent the contrast of the game itself. The wild is that which is beyond our control. Natural events that shape our world or the essence of the wild places themselves. We can struggle against them or accept them and what they bring.

The Sickle is a tool, used for harvest. It represents the basic need to draw in food and the use of intellect to overcome the limitations of the wild. It represents innovation and creativity being used to move a species forward.

Absorb and glitter take their place in the dice mechanic and character development respectively.

Where to begin:

In the first iteration of this design, I failed to include any guide for how to begin. I assumed, falsely, that in the absence of directions others would read entries from left to right as they appeared. Turns out that I am the oddball. No surprise there. Still, it was a major problem in the competition and most of the reviewers found issues with it.

This left me with several problems. Do I restructure the entire wiki? That is a pretty daunting task. At the time I entered this site into the competition, I was not working. I spent as many as 12 hours a day for over a week piecing it together. I get around 1 hour a day right now for my writing. Pretty tough sell to spend that much time on something I see no funding from. Sad as it may be, I can't live off of my writing yet. Spending the better part of 3 months of my writing time on a wiki may not be the best use of my time to get there.

Okay, so without restructuring the whole site, how could I fix this issue? The solution, for now, has been to create a simple bit of context. Each section, starting with Setting and working right, gives information needed for the next section. It is best, to read from top to bottom unless you are trying to draw up a specific reference.


Some credit must be given for the inspiration of this idea.

  • My initial ideas originated from the Fiasco game design, though it may only be seen in a more limited fashion in the finished work.
  • The Geodyssey series by Piers Anthony. I read the first three books years ago before the two newest were added and the notion of how characters develop and how the story grows slowly across geography and time were heavily influenced by his work.
  • The Forge Forum. I first set a digital foot in the site around 2007, but gained a lot of knowledge there. It is where I came up with my first game design and how I first learned of this competition. Ron Edwards has since moved on and the site is no longer active, but it remains a powerful influence on who I am as a game designer.
  • Competition participants and reviewers who oversaw the work. They were Dana Fried, Jack Stephenson-Carr, Manu Saxena, and Paul Lyons
  • The majority of game icons were created by Lorc, though the icon used for the mammal race was designed by Delapouite. All were created and made available under CC BY 3.0 and can be found on
  • Any other artwork that appears is my own.

Version Notes

This has been my first venture into wiki and I have had precious little time to work around bugs that I have found. Because of this, there was not time to include every feature I intended. While at the time of judging, the game is playable, it lacks the following aspects that will be added after the competition has concluded (assuming that the code can be made to function properly in some cases). Please bear in mind that these were desired features, but were not vital for full gameplay.

  • Fix the built in translator option. - Unable to fix
  • Audio clips of everything found in the text. - Proved impractical
  • Custom artwork for the races and a number of cards. - Pending
  • Additional races. - Pending
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