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13 Chapters in 13 Weeks. Or. Where Richard talks about Colonial Gothic Revised in Depth.

May 15, 2009

How’s that for a title?

With work on Colonial Gothic Revised done, and now in layout, I can talk about the game. First let me say I find it hard to talk about my games. Why? I hate self promotion.

I have always been this way. It might be a psychological thing, but when it comes to talking about things I have done, or worked on, I feel as if I am being arrogant. It might be due to my childhood, but I learned early on that talking about myself was not the right thing to do. Still, as I got older, I have learned to shed the baggage of my youth, and learn that sometime talking about things I’ve done is a good thing.

Man, how’s that for a heavy opening? 😉

Anyway, Colonial Gothic Revised is a game that has been with me for a long time. I wrote in the way too long prologue found in the first edition (which btw is not in Revised) that this game saw many versions. One version that I did not talk about is the one that James and I were going to write for Goodman GamesCthulhu 1776. That version did not see the light of day, but the work we did back in early 2003 is what I went back to for Colonial Gothic Revised (more on that later).

When forming Rogue Games back in 2006, Colonial Gothic was going to be the first game we released. We did. Many liked it, but many did not. No big deal, because in life you will never have 100% like or dislike in anything. To be honest with you, I was never happy with the Rulebook and that was due to it having some deficiencies. I worked to to correct these with Secrets, but the more I looked at the Rulebook, the more I was not happy. Why? It was not complete. A lot was left out, a lot was cut out, and a lot was missing. It was then that I realized I need to do something, start over.

Well, not start over, but revise the game.

As many who have read the blog know, it was a decision that I did not come to lightly. I really hate revisions and making people buy the same game twice. That is why when I pulled the trigger I decided to do a few things:

  1. Add to the game, and make the Rulebook complete.
  2. Clean up a lot the inconsistencies
  3. Add in a wealth of material that should have been there from the start.
  4. Make what is new available for those who do not want to switch.

So those four points guided me, and everything I have done with the game.

Before I talk about each chapter, let me address one of the big changes right up front, the rules.

12° is a game mechanic that James and I truly enjoy. It is the perfect rule set for the type of games we like to run, and is a good balance between rules lite and rules heavy. The original version of Colonial Gothic was the first flavor of 12° and worked very well. When designing Thousand Suns, 12° under went a change. The change was one that really clicked with me. In many ways, what Thousand Suns did was force 12° to grow up. In working on the other games we have in development, it was this version of 12° that James and I have moved to, and because of this, I decided very early on that Colonial Gothic Revised would move to it as well. There is a consistency here, and though 12° is tweaked to fit the setting of Colonial Gothic, it is still the same easy to understand and easy to grasp system.

So with the rules changed and modified, the real work started for me – revising the whole game. The revision, judging from those who took part in the playtests, read the game, and have seen the final version pre-layout, feel that the revision works and the game is better. In the end, the gamer will have to decide.

Before I start the next post covering Chapter 1, one more thing needs to be mentioned – fiction.

I was very lucky at last year’s GenCon Indy to meet the writer Jennifer Brozek. She was walking past the booth, and Colonial Gothic’s covers caught her eye. We struck up a conversation, and quickly decided we wanted to work together. The first thing she did was write three short stories for Colonial Gothic Revised which will be found in the book. These stories set the tone, and help get across the feeling of the game. I hate game fiction as a whole, but I will be honest with you, I love these stories. They strike the perfect tone and really help set the table for the game.

Ok, this is longer than I like, so next entry will talk about Chapter 1.

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