Introduction to (Tabletop) Role-playing Game Design
What you'll learn
- Understand the fundamentals of RPG design (which is a subset of game design)
- Recognize that RPG design, especially tabletop, is very unlikely to earn you a living
- Some familiarity with game design is useful, though the course provides a summary
This brief (4.5 hour) course introduces you to RPG design. (No course of this length can pretend to be comprehensive, of course.) The goal is for you to understand the fundamentals of RPG design (which is a subset of game design). For example, what are you really doing when you "design an RPG?" There are at least three parts to that.
The three main sections are an introduction to game design (mainly "Need to Knows"), an introduction to RPG design, and a discussion of the business of RPG design. The primary purpose of the last is to help you understand why RPG design, especially tabletop, is very unlikely to earn you a living.
Who this course is for:
- This course is for inexperienced designers, taking you through "game design" quickly to RPG design and the business of RPG design
Dr. Lewis Pulsipher (Wikipedia: "Lewis Pulsipher"; "Britannia (board game)"; "Archomental" ) is the designer of approaching a dozen commercially published boardgames. His game "Britannia" is described in an Armchair General review "as one of the great titles in the world of games." Britannia was also one of the 100 games highlighted in the book "Hobby Games: the 100 Best". He has over 17,000 classroom hours of teaching experience including teaching video game design and production, and over 20 years of part-time graduate teaching experience.
His book "Game Design: How to Create Video and Tabletop Games, Start to Finish" (McFarland) focuses on practical advice for beginning game designers, about how you actually create and complete game designs. He also contributed to the books "Tabletop: Analog Game Design," "Hobby Games: the 100 Best," "Family Games: the 100 Best." His game design blog has been active since 2004, and he is a contributor and "expert blogger" on Gamasutra, the #1 site for professional video game developers.
His latest published game is the 2021 reissue of Britannia along with a new game, "Duel Britannia" for two players. His Viking adventure game "Sea Kings" was published by Worthington in August 2015, along with Hastings 1066 and Stalingrad Besieged (2021) by the same publisher.
The video game "Lew Pulsipher's Doomstar" on Steam in September 2016.
Lew has a Ph.D. in military and diplomatic history from Duke University, from ancient days when degrees in media, computer networking, or game design did not exist--nor did IBM PCs. In 2012 he was a speaker at the East Coast Game Conference, PrezCon, Origins Game Fair, and World Boardgaming Championships. Long ago he was contributing editor for White Dwarf and Dragon magazines, and publisher of various game fanzines. In 2013 he was an Industry Insider Guest of Honor at GenCon.
Game design blog and teach game design blogs are on blogspot
YouTube channel "Game Design"
former contributing editor, White Dwarf, Dragon, Space Gamer, etc.
former publisher, Supernova, Blood and Iron, Sweep of History, etc.
"Always do right--this will gratify some and astonish the rest." --Mark Twain