Kobold Quarterly was kind enough to offer us a chapter from ‘The Kobold Guide to Game Design Volume II: How to Pitch, Playtest, and Publish’ by Wolfgang Baur, but I was given the choice between two chapters and decided to leave it to the best decision maker and rolled a d20. Coincidentally it came up a 20, and so I went with the “high” option which I was very happy to see was titled “The Magic Bullet for Publication”. The entire ‘Kobold Guide to Game Design’ is a twelve chapter PDF adding up to about 50 pages of what looks to be excellent advice and good old homegrown wisdom.
I personally met Wolfgang at GenCon last year, though it was overshadowed by my being right next to his arch-nemesis the Chatty DM but I’ll be the first to admit he had little reason to know who I am and to be honest I didn’t quite know who he was either. That was a mistake on my part, because it turns out he’s an excellent writer for one simple reason: he writes in a personal style. His words simultaneously carry the kindness of an personally invested tutor with the weight of knowledge that can only be gained through years of sweat, pain, and experience.
It’s easy to figure out what chapter 9 is about from the title, getting published, and this is something that I think is near and dear to many of our hearts. As gamers, nearly all of us at one point or another mutter the phrase, “I could have done this better”. The fantastic element about this chapter is that it is geared specifically towards would-be tabletop game designers/writers, and it names specific publications you could (and should) send your pitches to. Wolfgang doesn’t simply throw out the overused (even by me personally) simple truism of “write more”, instead he gives specific and direct encouragement to do exactly that but avoids blatantly coming out and saying it. The advice he gives is simple, so simple that it is easily overlooked or not even considered by many new writers, but can make the difference that gets you noticed such as taking the time to actually read the publication that your sending your pitch to beforehand.
There aren’t many gamers that I know who don’t dream of being published one day, which to me says that this is one of the most important chapters in the Kobold Guide to Game Design. That said, Wolfgang’s style of writing alone has me eager to read the rest of the material!
You can find out more about the Guide at the Kobold Quarterly site, and also see reviews of the other chapters by fellow bloggers below!