Oh, Deary Dear
Posted by Nathan P. on January 18, 2006
Warning: softy personally stuff ahead.
So, I’m looking at the schedule for Dreamation. My Saturday Timestream game is at the same time as the Continuum tournament game.
(For those who may not know, Continuum is a time travel game that came out a couple of years ago (2002, maybe?), and it widely regarded as a really, really cool game thats really hard to play. Timestream is, of course, my “cinematic” time travel game.)
Now, Continuum is a fantastic text, both in ambition and in execution. There is so much thought in there, and so much of it is well-realized in terms of mechanical process, that you can’t help but admire it. All of which is, sadly, hitched to a fairly boring/traditional task resolution system, with all the extra combat rules (hit locations!) and bizarre character progression that that implies, not to mention a design philosophy that I find at once fascinating and slightly repugnant (your character can’t gain Span until you, the player, have been playing a continuous campaign for months or, for higher levels, years? Uh…ok dudes). I will say that the Time Combat rules are a completely and absolutely brilliant conflict resolution system, and that if the entire game was based around them, I probably would not have had the drive to write Timestream.
So, as you may be able to see, Continuum was both a huge inspiration for me, and a game that I was very much reacting against with Timestream. Which may explain why going up against it, as it were, is putting big, big butterflies in the ol’ digestin’ hole. I feel like my potential audience totally overlaps with theirs, so thats one problem, but I also feel….I dunno. Small. It’s been out for a while, has some amount of presence (at least in the Indie community, where I’ve seen many a mention), and is bigger in both imaginative and physical scope (i.e. it looks and reads like a “real RPG”). And here I am with my little 6×9 84-page “light” system with no fan base. It’s hard not to feel intimidated.
Which is totally an emotional reaction – rationally, I’m sure that my presence there won’t be a blip on their event’s radar, and that the indie track audience probably isn’t the type to be clamoring for tournament events. Not to mention that, since my event is a continuation of the one the night before, I’ll hopefully (fingers crossed!) get a repeat player or two. But it’s as if I got a serious opportunity to submit a set design for a Broadway show in a professional competition, or something. I’d do it, but I would feel mighty presumptuous going up against the established designers…
So, basically, on top of my general nervousness at going to my first Con ever (!), and meeting all of these awesome designers and gamers (!!), and talking to folks about business-y stuff (!!!), and selling product for the first time (!!!!), and worries about running my first demos of my first games and not having it suck (!!!!!!!), I get to have this niggling back-of-the-mind voice worrying about being dismissed as not good enough to compete with Continuum.
Why yes, I do have a touch of performance anxiety. Why yes, it does make me feel better to throw it out for public consumption.
In any case, it’ll be an interesting car ride.