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It's a common myth that the only people who ever need to create systems are those looking to publish a tabletop roleplaying game. Designing systems may seem like a complex and difficult task, but when broken down into smaller parts, it's fairly manageable. Once you've designed a few, quick systems you'll find yourself building systems for nearly every idea you've got laying around.
The System Design Boot Camp is an interactive workshop designed to give you a framework with which to design a system as well as other people with whom to brainstorm and create with. By the end of the session, you should walk away with a Minimum Viable System, ready to playtest at any time. From there, you can make changes and add additional functioning layers to create any game that you want.
What's a Minimum Viable System?
Minimum Viable System is taken from the term Minimum Viable Product popularized by startups from the book The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. It's a term broadly used to describe a product that works at it's minimum possible level. For many startups, this may mean manually doing tasks they hope to automate in the future like picking out grocery lists for families on a budget or sending text messages to app users looking for a reminder. For your system, this means you'll have the basics ready to test with: Attributes, Skills, Abilities, a Conflict System, and Character Generation.
The workshop comes with a document of mechanics compiled by workshop organizer Stacy Dellorfano. Flip through to get ideas while you're working on your project or come back to it later when you're ready to refine what you have. The document also contains pros and cons of some common mechanics, an outline of the workshop, and an appendix of game design resources available online to help flesh out your system.
Brainstorm with a team of others to come up with the theme, then all the stats necessary to make your fledgling system work. Your teams will be given some guidance at the beginning of each section, then a timed period to work on the section before we share our results with each other (or in the case of internet-based workshops, the audience).
I run the workshop wherever I can throughout the year. I run both women's only and mixed-gender workshops, though at face-to-face events such as Gen Con, I'm more likely to be found running the women's only version. I'm more likely to have mixed-gender groups in one of my online sessions available via Google Hangouts. Check out our event calendar for upcoming sessions.
I'm more than happy to answer any questions! Just drop me a line below, and I'll get back to you ASAP.