Everlasting, Neverending Game Night

chop wood, carry water, do one thing at a time

Published 3 months ago • 2 min read

Hi Reader,

Welcome. Please, come in. Have some tea. I've got chamomile and Earl Grey.

It's full-on spring now. The crocuses are coming up, but I'm not picking them—they just need to grow.

This week, I’m in a heads-down, plugging-away mindset. I got good feedback from Lyla (aka Jar of Eyes), the dev editor for Defy the Gods. It's the kind of feedback to make you almost wish you hadn't already put out a public beta. (Which you can play right now.) It makes you want to make it better.

I need to keep at it. My ADHD would rather flit from one big idea to another. But if I focus on little things, it keeps me grounded. Like when I used to go running, keeping my eyes on just the ten feet in front of me.

Turns out, focus is how people get things done.

Or so I'm told.

It takes longer than I expect. It's easy to feel like I don't have enough time for everything, or even anything important. But if I chip away on every front with a constant, low-key rhythm, eventually, I'll do amazing things.

I don't know. I'll let you know when I get there. 😅

My friend W recently characterized his ADHD this way: "Starting projects is fun! They're new and full of promise. I get a dopamine hit from starting them. Continuing projects and finishing them is a slog. I'm over the new idea by that point, and I miss the dopamine. So I start a new project."

(Or words to that effect.)

I hadn't thought of it quite that way before. When you're planning a big project, it's hard to see it the way you'll see it after working on it for umpteen months, just a few months before you finish. Or need to finish, or want to.

I recently set aside time to paint some miniatures, so I could play a wargame with my dear friend P.

I've never gotten into this part of the gaming hobby before. It's patient, painstaking work.

You wash the models, file down their flash seams, prime them, paint a base coat, paint shadows and highlights, fix all your messes, varnish them, and cover the bases with terrain. You do most of it with tiny brushes, looking through a magnifying glass. It's a lot.

Eventually, it becomes meditative. But you can't rush it. You have to put in the hours.

At the end, you have these little guys to show for it. Combined with your friends' contributions—more little guys, and the elaborate environment they move through—you make an amazing experience. It happens the same way you tell a the story in an RPG, but it's visible and tangible. And unlike RPGs, you have artifacts to show for the experience afterward.

Like Lyla's feedback, and W's ADHD description, the miniatures shed a light on game design for me. After the glow wears off, after the big ideas hold no more mystery, there's nothing but how well it plays for others, and whatever the game needs to play better.

Or so I hope.

Here's to patient work.


P.S. "Umpteen" should tell you how good I am at estimating project lengths.

P.P.S. You can get the rules and links for Defy the Gods right here. I'll update it soon and let you know.

Everlasting, Neverending Game Night

by Chris Sellers, they/them

🌈🚀 Reliable wonder engine. I make narrative role-playing games that imagine a weirder, queerer, more connected world.

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