I’m alive! And I’ve got good news | Sono vivo! E ho buone notizie

ENGLISH (Italiano più in basso)

Just a quick post to let everybody know that I’m alive and well! The blog’s not really up-to-date, but I’m working on the development of Ninety Minutes. I’ve done a lot of internal and blind playtesting, and I’m happy to announce that the game seems solid enough to put out the Beta test version.

I still have to write a good chunk of it, but I’m feeling good about it. The issues I had are mostly gone, and I just have to figure out how to better explain a few procedures.

Anyway, everything’s going forward.

…and, to prove that I’m not lying, here’s the French 1.3 version! Rejoice!

ITALIANO

Solo una breve nota per comunicare a tutti che sono vivo e sto bene! Il blog non è molto aggiornato, ma sto lavorando allo sviluppo di Novanta minuti. Ho svolto un sacco di playtesting, sia interno che esterno, e sono felice di annunciare che il gioco mi sembra solido a sufficienza per passare alla fase di Beta-testing.

Devo ancora scriverne una buona parte, ma sono piuttosto soddisfatto. Ho risolto praticamente tutti i dubbi che avevo, e adesso devo solamente trovare il modo di spiegare meglio alcune procedure.

Ad ogni modo, tutto sta andando avanti.

…e, come prova della mia sincerità, ecco il link alla traduzione francese della versione 1.3! Allegria!

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Ninety Minutes – Playtest Draft 1.3

ENGLISH (italiano sotto)

So! It’s been a while since I’ve last updated this blog. Well, that doesn’t mean I stood idly looking at my ceiling (though it’s a nice, white ceiling, I have to admit. It’s full of wrinkles, and there’s a huge spider in a cornerer that eats all those pesky mosquitoes… Well, sorry, I was digressing).

In all of these weeks, I’ve playtested Ninety Minutes, I’ve heard actual plays of external playtests and I’ve chatted a lot with a lot of fantastic people. All of this brought me to rewrite part of the text, to give the game a bit more structure and to explain some of the procedures that were clear in my head, buy didn’t get to be written in the book (it was their fault, not mine, I swear!)

Anyway, in the link bar you can find the new playtest draft, version 1.3.

The main differences with the previous one (1.02) are these:

- the memory triggers are 3 per player, not 4 (thanks, Meg!)
– the son must be at least 10 years old during each memory
– before the first memory, the Son gets to describe a few specific details
– the procedures for Time have been clarified and expanded
– the text has been revised here and there
– some typos have been crashed

Some of these rules need more playtesting, and all the text will be overthrown and completely rewritten, but I feel like the main core it’s all there already, and the game proved to be working in actual play. So, here it is, now.

As always, if you play it, I’ll be happy to know how it went!

—–
ITALIANO

Allora! Ne è passata dall’ultima volta che ho aggiornato il blog, eh… Be’, questo non significa che me ne sia rimasto con le mani in mano a guardare il soffitto (anche se è un bel soffitto bianco, devo ammettere. È pieno di crepette, e c’è un ragno gigantesco in un angolo che si mangia tutte quelle fastidiose zanzare… Scusate, sto divagando).

In tutte queste settimane, ho playtestato Novanta minuti, ho sentito resoconti di playtest indipendenti e chiacchierato con un sacco di persone fantastiche. Tutto questo mi ha portato a riscrivere parte del testo, a dare al gioco un po’ più di struttura e a spiegare alcune delle procedure che erano chiare nella mia testa, ma che in qualche modo non erano finite nel libro (è colpa loro, non mia! Giuro!)

Ad ogni modo, nella sezione dei link ho inserito la nuova versione di playtest, la 1.3.

Le differenze principali rispetto alla precedente (la 1.02) sono queste:

- gli spunti di memoria sono 3 per giocatore, non 4 (grazie, Meg!)
– il figlio deve avere almeno 10 anni all’interno di ogni ricordo
– prima del primo ricordo, il Figlio deve descrivere alcuni dettagli specifici
– le procedure per il Tempo sono state chiarite ed espanse
– il testo è stato ritoccato qua e là
– alcuni typo sono stati corretti

Alcune di queste regole hanno bisogno di essere ulteriormente playtestate, e il testo andrà decisamente riscritto da capo, ma credo che il grosso del gioco sia già tutto dentro, e si è dimostrato funzionare sufficientemente bene, per ora. Ed eccolo quindi qui.

Come al solito, se lo provate fatemi sapere come sia andata!

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Testo italiano in .epub

ITALIANO

Una decina di giorni fa sono stato a EtrusCon, una convention italiana di giochi di ruolo e da tavolo che si svolge due volte all’anno (a febbraio e a luglio, di solito) a Montecatini Terme.

Il sabato sera si è svolto un playtest di Novanta minuti molto bello e utile. Il gioco sembra essere piaicuto sia ai giocatori che agli spettatori, che al termine della partita hanno avuto tutti parole gentili e incoraggianti di grande apprezzamento. Inoltre sono saltati fuori alcuni suggerimenti parecchio sensati, che sto pensando di integrare nel gioco. Ho poi verificato che, come aveva notato subito Iacopo Frigerio di Coyote Press, il giocatore nel ruolo del Tempo ha bisogno di procedure un poco più chiare su cui fare affidamento, e nei prossimi playtest mi concentrerò su questa parte (il resto del gioco, a parte un paio di minimi aggiustamenti, sembra per il momento essere sufficientemente solido).

Fra le altre cose, comunque (ed è questo il motivo per cui sto scrivendo qui), Daniele Lostia, uno degli autori di Piombo!, mi ha chiesto se fosse disponibile un formato più comodo per un lettore ebook. Finora no, non c’era; ho quindi convertito il testo in .epub, e adesso è possibile trovarlo nella sezione link qui a fianco (scusami per il ritardo, Daniele!).

Il testo è il medesimo del .pdf di playtest, senza alcuna variazione. La conversione di formato non è particolarmente raffinata, ma il mio lettore la visualizza senza problemi; se dovesse dare qualche grosso problema, segnalatemelo, vedrò come rimediare.

Per ora ho convertito solo il testo italiano, perché è quello su cui mi sto concentrando maggiormente; in futuro forse convertirò anche quello in Inglese, magari dopo l’uscita di un’ulteriore versione di playtest aggiornata, ma per il momento vorrei evitare di mettere in campo troppi testi che potrebbero cambiare rapidamente.

Bene, anche per oggi è tutto. Come sempre, se doveste provare il gioco contattatemi pure per qualsiasi chiarimento, e fatemi sapere come sia andata!

A presto!

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Other italian projects

I’ve added a link section on the right, “Other italian projects”; in there you can find links to other projects from italian designers.

They’re not the only italian worthy projects, obviously, nor the only ones I know; I put there games that:

- I know (well, duh)

- I like or find interesting

- Have their own website/blog to link to

- Are available in English

Not all the games I link to are finished yet–some are still under playtest or in editing phase, but I’ll link to them anyway if I think they are interesting.

The first three projects/games I’d like to point out are:

Burning Opera, by Giacomo Vicenzi, a game in which a group of actors trapped in a burning theatre decide to re-enact their last plays. It was a finalis in the 2012 edition of the “Game Chef”.

“The Chiseled Gear”, the game design venture of the fabulous italian illustrator Tazio “Suna” Bettin, and particularly his game Beyond the Mirror, a Blade Runner inspired story-game about the discovery of one’s self and the meaning of humanity. I think it’s currently in layout phase, and I can’t wait to see it finished.

Last but not least, “Parti di Testa”, the website of italian designer, player, larper, organizer, promoter, theorist and all-around rpg enthusiast Raffaele “Rafu” Manzo. Among other things, I’d like to point out his game I Reietti di Eden (Cast Down from Eden), an urban-fantasy game about promethean angels and their mortal allies. It’s good. It’s not finished yet. I hope Rafu will finish it sometimes in the near future, because I really want to play it again.

So, these are the first projects/games that popped into my mind. As I’ve said, there are a lot of other good games and designers, in Italy (just to put down a couple of heavy names: Iacopo Frigerio, author of RavenDeath,  and Davide Losito, author of Elar. And let’s add a couple of fresh names too: Lavinia Fantini, author of Figli del Sole, and Daniele Di Rubbo, author of Ultimo viene il coyote), but they don’t have a unified website/blog for their development projects and/or their projects are not available in English, at the moment, so I can’t link to something both concrete and useful.

Anyway, check out the link bar from time to time, ’cause I’ll add links to it every time I’ll discover something new that I like from the italian rpg scene!

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Updates: English revised draft, next article

ENGLISH

Just a really quick update: thanks to the awesome Meguey Baker of Night Sky Games, the English draft has been updated. The game’s procedures are exactly the same as before, but the text’s clarity has been improved, in hope that now there are much less confusing sentences. You can find the new version in the link section on the right.

Then, a little update about the blog. At the moment, I’m trying to manage to find the time to write an article about the differences I perceive between rpgs and psychological therapy sessions. Someone wrote that Novanta minuti seems like a psychological game and, though that’s surely true in some respects, I want to remark that it is not therapy, and that I’m not a therapist.

Most of all, Novanta minuti is not a depressing game. It may be touching or difficult to face for someone, but it’s not written to be depressing, not at all. I can’t tell more than this without probably ruining part of the enjoyment of the game (and the usefulness of playtests), but rest assured that I’m pretty solid on what I’ve said.

Ah, playtests! I have a few in schedule, and some friends are about to try the game by themselves. If you try the game too, let me know how it went! And obviously, if you need anything, just contact me, here or at my email address.

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Novanta minuti in Polacco! || Ninety Minutes in Polish!

ITALIANO (English translation below)

Il 16 giugno è il “Free RPG Day”, che in Polonia viene chiamato “Dzień Darmowych Gier Fabularnych”. Per questa occasione, il sito polacco grynarracyjne.pl, lo stesso che il mese scorso mi ha intervistato a proposito di Novanta minuti, mi ha chiesto il permesso di pubblicare una traduzione in Polacco del testo del gioco.

Il gioco non è ancora pronto, ha bisogno di essere playtestato e rifinito; detto questo, visto che la versione di playtest è già disponibile gratuitamente in Italiano e in Inglese, aggiungere un’ulteriore traduzione non può che farmi piacere.

Inoltre, le persone che hanno lavorato al file si sono veramente messe d’impegno, e ne è uscito un manualetto molto, molto carino.

Quindi, sono felice di presentare 90 minut, traduzione in Polacco di Novanta minuti!

-

ENGLISH

June 16th is the “Free RPG Day”, that in Poland is called “Dzień Darmowych Gier Fabularnych”. For this occasion, polish website grynarracyjne.pl, the same websites that last month published my interview about the game, asked me permission to translate and publish the polish translation of Ninety Minutes.

The game itself is not finished yet, it needs playtesting and polishing; anyway, given that the playtest draft is already available for free in Italian and English, adding another translation can only make me happy.

Plus, the people who worked on the file assembled a really beautiful manual.

So, I’m happy to present 90 minut, Polish translation of Ninety Minutes!

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Interview on grynarracyjne.pl

ENGLISH

A little after “Game Chef”‘s results were published, I’ve been contacted by the Polish website grynarracyjne.pl, which asked me if they could interview me. Obviously I answered yes, and today the article about the inteview, titled “Fiction Does Matter”, came out (in Polish).

For all those people who, like me, don’t understand Polish, I’m publishing the English version of the interview.

Question - Could you write a few sentences about yourself, the game and the “Game Chef” competition?

Answer - Well, I’m not sure there’s much interesting to say about me. I’m Italian, I’m twentysix, I’m currently studying webdesign and literature and in the meantime working here and there to finish university. Pretty boring, uh?

Also, I think I know the most part of the Italian story-gamers, and I’ve met some of the international stars too.

Ninety Minutes is my first attempt at a game; I’ve entered the “Game Chef” because this year a few people in Italy offered to organize an italian section of the contest, and then translated the entries that got to the finals. I’ve seen a lot of interesting ideas in this year’s edition, and I’m happy of having been part of it.

Q - Why did you choose such a difficult subject?

A - Well, I didn’t actually choose it. This year’s theme was published a little before the ingredients, and when I saw that it was “last chance”, I immediately thought of a last chance that could happen in real life, like the last goodbye to a dear person.

I didn’t think it would have been a really original idea, but then, looking at the other games on the develompment forums, I noticed that most of them focused upon other kinds of “last chances”, like the last chance to save the Earth, or to play a specific game, or to tell a story – so I decided to give it a try.

Q - What was your biggest problem?

A - Uhm, I don’t know. The game actually flowed pretty smoothly from my mind to the pen; it’s not so long, and it came to me almost in a single block, and I had in mind the main mechanics since the start.

I think that the time and words contraints helped me a lot to focus on what was necessary and what not, and how to present the game in the most effective way I was capable of.

Q - Are you going to keep working on the game?

A - Yes, I think I will. There’s this kind of curse for the winners of past “Game Chef” editions, and it is that the winner game is usually abandoned or not finished, while other games that didn’t win became huge successes, and great overall games (I’m thinking about Polaris, The Mountain Witch or The Play’s the Thing, for example).

So, I’ll try to break the curse and finish the game. I don’t know wheter I’ll then publish it, or in which form, but I definitely want to complete it.

Q - What does victory mean for you? How would you sum the “Game Chef” competition?

A - Well, I was happy, because I liked the idea behind the game, and it’s always nice when someone appreciate what you create – especially when, in this field, you’re judged by people like Mike Holmes an Jonathan Walton.

Apart from that, however, the “Game Chef” is a friendly contest, and its focus isn’t on winning, but on reading and reviewing games by fellow players, and I think that’s the most engaging part of all.

Plus, this year’s edition featured also a massive italian partecipation (15 games in Italian, plus 2 in English!), and I’m excited to be part of this rising wave of story-game design in Italy!

Q - Maybe you have some advice for novice game designers?

A - Seeing that I’m a novice myself, actually I’m not sure I have any kind of wisdom pills to distribute…

The first thing that comes to my mind, because I noticed it as a problem in almost every game I reviewd, is a pretty technical one: fiction matters.

When I play a roleplaying game, the thing I’m most excited about is seeing how what I do as a character reflects in the world we players are immagining, and also how the world expands into the mechanics of the game. If I can perceive that my actions have an impact on the imagined world, and that the changed world has an impact on the mechanics, I can engage at a deeper level with the fiction, and I think that that is the moment in which the real magic is created.

So, in brief, I think that it is important, in a game, to strictly correlate the game’s mechanics and the fiction that we imagine. If you need a great example of this, you should check out Apocalypse World, by Vincent Baker.

Then, the second thing I can suggest is this: play. Play a lot, and have a lot of fun.

If you want to design a game, all the Big Models and Threefold Models and FUNnel Models and Jeepform Thruts in the world can’t match the impact of a single, amusing, intense game session. If you really want to learn how to express yourself by designing a game, start by giving yourself a treat, and play a lot and have a good time playing.

That may seem rethorical, but that’s what happened to me: I played a lot, had fun and a lot of intense sessions, and then all the theory concepts came more easily to me, because I could relate them to what I had already sperimented, and they seemed generally clear.

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