Transneptune Games

warm games, cold nights

From Humble Beginnings

The first step of creation is to go from nothing to something.

Hello! My name is John LeBoeuf-Little and I’m working with Kit and Austin under the auspices of Transneptune Games. I thought I’d kick off this blog with a post about my background and what we’ve been cooking up here in the labs. I’m sure the others are going to chime in shortly in kind.

I’ve been gaming since I was in middle school, having pleaded my way into my infinitely cooler sister’s Dungeons and Dragons game. Later on I moved onto the World of Darkness, including assisting with the Rice Mind’s Eye Theater LARP with a very good friend of mine who started the game in his back-yard. I’m a bit of a game snob and recently have been enamored of all things indie. Which is somewhat how I got roped into helping design In a Dragon-Guarded Land.

Dragon got its inspiration when Austin, Kit, and I talked over a series of nights about Exalted. While it was generally agreed that the setting was quite compelling, we feel that the mechanics are so terribly mangled that they get in the way of telling a good story. We tossed out a number of ideas for re-writing the mechanics using our newfangled notions derived from such hits as My Life with Master, Dogs in the Vineyard, and Dread. (This is not a terribly homogeneous list, but all three are highly narrative-centric games and worthy of homage.) At the same time, we’d all been discussing RPG-theory, including Baker’s excellent cloud-box model and the parallel idea of fictional positioning. Dragon is our attempt to create an indie game that captures the essence of epic storytelling using almost entirely rightward-pointing arrows: mechanics which only come into play as a result of some narrative change. It’s been a blast watching it evolve.

Now that Dragon is in external playtest, we’re trying to spin up two more games. One is Do Not Go Gentle—a zombie game where the ending is pre-determined—and Et in Arcadia Ego—a game set in regency England with faeries. Both are very different from each other, and from Dragon. That seems to be how things go around here: one of us gets a random craving or idea, and we all dive in on how to turn that idea into something beautiful. So far the process has been wonderfully productive. I’m lucky to have fallen in with such creative and smart people.

Anyway, February is Thing-A-Day and this year I’m going to try to have a majority of my things be game related. In addition to posting the results to the main blog, I’ll be capturing my thoughts on mechanics, process, gaming, and play here for the entertainment of all who stop by. If things go well, you may even see some very small games reach completion during this month. If you see anything compelling, feel free to leave a comment!