ANOTHER EDIT: I am going to walk away from the computer soon and will not be able to monitor this conversation. I don’t want a brawl starting in my digital living room, so in the next half-hour or so, I will put the comments setting so that I can screen all comments. When I get back home tonight I will put the comments on up (unless there is some total asshattery).
EDIT: See The Ashcan Front for more info…
I have seen some ashcan nausea and backlashy thoughts on some blogs and such around the internet and it is mildly honking me off.
A few years ago some games came out of the indie RPG community that weren’t quite baked yet, hadn’t been playtested to the fullest and people complained. After the complaining died down, Paul and Matt gave a stage of game design that had been going by a bit under the radar at the Forge and they named it, explained it and fully supported it.
Rather than just complaining, they did something about it.
To me, an ashcan is a game that has been playtested. The game designer can assure you that it is a fun night of gaming and not a car wreck 8-car-pile-up disaster but there’s some kind of design issues that is bugging them and they would love some gamer to gamer help on the matter. The games are lovingly created, no-frills, low-production affairs that are sold fairly close to cost.
And buying them is buying in to the development of the game. It is saying, “I give a shit about this game and want to take part with my friends.”
If the game doesn’t light your fire, if you don’t want to go home and play it and then talk to the game designer about what went right and what went wrong and address their concerns, don’t. But poo-pooing the process, a solution to a very real problem that spat out some shite games, doesn’t make any sense to me.