A (Re-)Newed Obsession with RPGs


As of late I’ve been doing a bit less writing than I’m used to. This doesn’t mean I’m throwing in the towel, it’s just that suddenly I’ve gotten bit by a new bug: game designing. For those that know me, I grew up with D&D, playing extensively through high school to the point when things like working, playing sports, and girls were of little interest to me. Recently, I’ve been making lots of card games for my students. One game involves picking “Quests” from a board and getting “Silver” (one yen pieces) in return. Students also get level ups and can earn candy at the end of the game. It sounds weird to be doing such activities in a university class, but they seem to enjoy it. At the same time, it’s created this monster of sorts. I can’t stop making games now. And the main game I spent a load of time on, “Fabulous Fantasy,” has expanded even more. I’ve since made Grammar Goblins (a word grouping memory game) and Synonym Wizards. Besides those, I have half a dozen other mini-games brewing in my head.

In many ways I hope it’s making my students more interested in topics that aren’t as interesting to them. On the other hand, I’m also scratching a creative itch and fulfilling something I’ve needed myself: a creative outlet in the workplace. It’s awesome to spend a lot of time creating something and see it come together well. Same with writing. When I write a story that clicks with someone, it obviously pleases me. If I can just be creative in some aspect, I’m happy. I’m content.

So of course this doesn’t mean I’m quitting writing to be a game designer, but it does mean I’m not going to put all my eggs in one basket. If I like doing something, like making games, then I may sacrifice once precious writing time to do that. If I want to make a small comic, I’ll do that. If I want to try some other creative outlet, I will.

Which is to say, I don’t see myself as solely a writer anymore. I’m a creative. And creatives create, no matter what it is. Therefore, I’ll ride this “game train” to the tracks run out. In the meantime, I’ll keep tinkering away at stories.

Don’t fret. Splatter Elf isn’t going anywhere. But Fabulous Fantasy might always join it.


  1. I love making games. I go through periods were I design tons of games, but I’ve come to a point in my life where I’m always second-guessing if I’m using time effectively. I’m making these games and I’m having fun but then I think “Can I use this somehow? Will I ever actually play it with someone? Will it make my life or my family’s life better? Can I make money off it?” which reminds me of all the things I could be doing that positively answers multiple questions on that list, and so the games fall by the wayside.

    The fact that you can make games and use them in in your day job is fabulous. It makes me super jealous.

    1. I think doing anything creative just makes me happy these days. I can focus on it as much as I can and figure out ways to make it adaptable to my life. Splatter Elf helped me deal with my mental block of releasing any of my fiction for sale, while making games for school has made me realize that my teaching doesn’t always have to be so dry if I spend the time to make it more interesting. I’ve developed these games not only for myself, but to figure out new ways to engage my students so that they connect with the material more.

      1. I feel the same way. My webcomic is fun, but really, it’s a means to create and get feedback. Now the next step is to create a fun thing I can sell. A card game with great art and a simple system is in the works.

        Glad to hear you’re having fun with game design!

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