Games Galore is an analogue game design challenge to design a game by the end of every month you are able over the course of a year. This challenge is about endurance and seeking inspiration – not about an intense burst of effort. For this reason meeting this challenge for a given month can mean any of the following (and maybe more):

  • Assembling and posting a design sketch of your game – something complete enough that you can come back to and build on later and clear enough that others can provide you meaningful feedback and encouragement.
  • Writing and making available a complete first draft of your game – something you reasonably expect to be able to be played in a playtest.
  • Writing and making available a revised draft of your game based on playtesting and feedback.

In Games Galore your goal is to complete a game each month, not necessarily to start a new one each month. Certainly you can design a game from design sketch to playtest draft to revised draft over several months. You can complete in December a game you started in January or even years ago.

Each month of Game Galore has a theme, with terms or other seeds which you can use for inspiring new games or the direction you take existing designs. Each of these themes are based on the overarching theme of the Whirlwind – air, spirals, storms, and more. Themes are optional but encouraged and you may use any theme from current or previous months.

The only further requirement in Games Galore are the Design Challenges. These are game design constraints to incorporate into your game. You should use at least one Design Challenge, but you can incorporate as many as you are able. The initial Design Challenges are:

  • Flexible Footprint Challenge – a common criticism of long form games is that they represent a significant social footprint, requiring folks to commit to regularly attending many sessions over months and years with each other. The challenge here is to turn this on its head, being flexible about who attends, how long the sessions can be, and the ways in which players can contribute to the game, all to adapt to changes in player lives and schedules.
  • Returning to the Beginning Challenge – most games involve a transition of story and mechanics from beginning to end. The challenge here is to make this transition cyclic, to have the end of one passage through the game return to its beginning. This cycle is more than episodic, the actual mechanical state and/or fictional situation is both the beginning and the end of playing your game.
  • Indie Extrapolation Challenge – hacking one game to build the foundation of another is an essential part of the Indie community. The challenge here is to take an Indie community game and translate it into something distinctly different, while still retaining some of the essential nature of the original game. For example, you could take a short form game and extrapolate it into a recognizably related game which spans a year or longer.
  • Pure Innovation Challenge – some folks look down on innovation for its own sake, I don’t. The challenge here is to discover or re-discover largely unexplored design territory within your game, while still making sure your game works.

Unlocked Challenges!

  • Linking Games Challenge (New!) – most games are intended to be separate experiences, but sometimes we find ways to enrich them by linking them together. The challenge here is to craft a game which expressly links to another game. This may include playing them in parallel, or having your game encapsulate, prepare for, or culminate another game.
  • Human Touch Challenge – despite many games involving physical proximity to each other, they rarely involve something as simple and powerful as touch. The challenge here is to incorporate some form of direct physical interaction into your game, not as an accent but as a crucial component.
  • Making Music Challenge – music has been largely separate from games, at best appearing as atmosphere or inspiration. The challenge here is to make music an intrinsic part of your game, by having the players making their own music during play.
  • Longest Game Challenge – Campaign length games are pretty uncommon among Indie community games, I’d like to see that change. The challenge here is to design a game meant to be played in regular sessions over the course of one or more years with an Indie community sensibility to it. This means that your game should have a system that matters, and matters in new ways over the course of months and years of play.

More Design Challenges will be unlocked as the year progresses.

Games Galore is a challenge, not a competition. The only one you will be competing against is yourself – which is certainly enough. Hitting each month is not a requirement, just a goal which you can get as close to as you are willing and able.

Presenting Your Game

As a design challenge, Games Galore doesn’t require you to submit your game, but if you’d like to present your work you can comment on the page for that month below.

I will also be keeping an eye out at Story Games and the Story Games Google+ Community for games so you can present them there as well.

December – The Wheel

A wheel rotates, making a journey that begins and ends in the same place time, and time again. A wheel separates the world into sections around a central point, a fulcrum which remains fixed. What will the wheel in your game be? What part of your game will cycle and what part will remain fixed?

Seeds:

  • Turn
  • Road
  • Divide
  • Currency
  • Mirror

November – The Land of Oz

The iconic stories of travel to fantastic and metaphorical lands begin with a whirlwind, an event that upends the world as it is known into a world of wonder and horror. Perhaps, your wonderful world will be Oz, or a wholly different place. But the journey to there and back again is the whirlwind that shapes the experience of your game.

Seeds:

  • Animated
  • Precious
  • Witch
  • Companion
  • Illusion

October – The Four Winds

The four winds, like the directions from which they come, tell the stories of the natural world personified. Each wind or direction suggests a different tone or mood, even a different story. Will your game manifest the clash as these stories mix together? Or will you let the different winds tell their own tales touching, but never quite meeting?

Seeds:

  • Cardinal Directions
  • Synchronicity
  • Journey
  • Whisper
  • Rain

September – Circumlocution

Stories are often ways to say something without being direct. Games too, can communicate a message which is never simply said. Will your game be talking around something important while never speaking it? Or will you the story of your game be about ornate speech, indirection, or political doubletalk?

Seeds:

  • Vote
  • Winding
  • Vocabulary
  • Puzzle
  • Shy

August – Dust and Thunder

Many journeys happen in desolate, yet foreboding places. Where will your characters journey from and what will they seek or escape. How will the dust permeate your game, and will your thunder be the herald of doom or the first signs of life-giving rain?

Seeds:

  • Loss
  • Family
  • Spirits
  • Empty
  • Grit

July – Physical Games

Most games involve physical skill or even just physical action. Games with narratives don’t always involve such activity, beyond rolling dice or acting out a character. But physical action can be mechanically, metaphorically, or emotionally central to your experience of a story. How will you combine the narrative and the physical?

Seeds:

  • Hand
  • Spin
  • Touched
  • Shock
  • Floor

June – Lost In the Blizzard

Snow and wind can trap us in a void where our senses are useless. Bitterly cold blizzards block the journeys of travellers, leaving them isolated from the larger world. So to can more metaphorical blizzards. But when lost in the blizzard you may find things more wonderful and terrible than you once sought. What will the blizzard be for your game, and what will be found within?

Seeds:

  • Silence
  • Ice
  • Distrust
  • Maps
  • Sunlight

May – Frenzy

Whether a frenzy of activity, of passion, of rage or of fear, in the midst nothing is certain and consequences are far from visible. Can your game reflect the pace, the confusion, and the shock when we finally see what is wrought?

Seeds:

  • Red
  • Beat
  • Howl
  • Crash
  • Regret

April – Singing the Refrain

Music is powerful and has a place in many forms of art and culture. Music can be the soundtrack, encoding emotions and memories. Music can be a statement, telling a story or making a point. Music can be a community, coming together to produce something with all of our voices. What will music be in your game?

Seeds:

  • Chorus
  • Rock
  • Blue
  • Forever
  • Scale

March – Hurricane Names

Tropical cyclones are the largest whirlwinds we see on Earth. And yet we name these massive forces of nature like people. Will the storms become people in your game or will the people become storms?

Seeds:

  • Arthur
  • Bertha
  • Cristobal
  • Dolly
  • Edouard
  • Fay
  • Gonzalo
  • Hanna
  • Isaias
  • Josephine
  • Kyle
  • Laura
  • Marco
  • Nana
  • Omar
  • Paulette
  • Rene
  • Sally
  • Teddy
  • Vicky
  • Wilfred

February – Spirals

The spiral of the whirlwind is found in many places, in mathematics, in the way plants and shells grow, in the way water flows, to name a few. Where will it be found in your game?

Seeds:

  • Fractal
  • Golden
  • Death
  • Shell
  • Search

January – The Element of Air

The element of air can be a metaphor for the energy of life, a vast plane of clouds and floating castles, a resource imperiled by air pollution, a representation of intellect or communication, and many more things. What will it be in your game?

Seeds:

  • Breath
  • Blood
  • Eight-sided Dice
  • Yellow
  • Noble Gases

One Response to “Games Galore 2015: Year of the Whirlwind”


  1. […] Games Galore 2015: Year of the Whirlwind […]


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