Games, Design & Game Design

The Cycle of the Seasons

In Contest, Game Design, Promo, Roleplaying Games on February 5, 2011 at 9:46 am

I’m a big fan of the Ronnies. If you’re not familiar, it’s a game design contest where the challenge is to write a first draft of a game inspired by 2 of 4 given words in 24 hours. Ron Edwards gives detailed and insightful feedback on all of the entries, playtests many of them, and if a game strikes him as being at a certain level of completeness combined with a meaningful use of the two chosen words, he gives you a prize!

I entered one of the first Ronnies back in 2005 (wow), with She’s. It was…overcomplicated, at best.

Now, the new “rolling” model of the Ronnies (where Ron cuts off entries after a week or 9 entries, whichever comes first) has happened right when I shouldn’t be taking time to design non-school-stuff, but I followed the first round avidly. The four words for the February round (Whisper, Morning, Wings and Murder) really struck me, and Ron announced them at the end of the Chicago Snowpocalypse, when I actually had classes cancelled and some free time!

Now, I’ve written a game about Wings and Murder before, so I decided to stay away from that combo, and really from Murder altogether. Of the three remaining combos (Whisper + Wings, Wings + Morning, Morning + Whisper), I did a little idea sketching, and got most excited about the Whisper + Morning combo. For me, it conjured up an idea of two clashing forces, not as fundamental as “good” and “evil” but certainly opposed. I’ve recently been thinking about classic fantasy a lot, and one idea led to another, and oh crap I wrote a game. Anyway, it’s full of secrets, battles, family and monsters. Download the 1 MB PDF here or from 1KM1KT. I look forward to seeing what Ron, and anyone else, have to say!

More info about the game after the cut.

From the intro:


This is a different world. Here, the Witch of the Moon and the Prince of the Sun are locked in eternal, cyclical struggle, each alternately triumphant and embarrassed. Here, the cycles of the day, the seasons and the years are shaped by the relative strengths of the Witch and the Prince. Locked as they are on opposite sides of the celestial cycle, they cannot affect each other directly. Rather, they call upon certain mortal champions as their proxies in their unending conflict.

Those who serve the Witch of the Moon are the Whisperers of the Witch…The Whisperers are quiet, secretive and clandestine.

Those who serve the Prince of the Sun are the Knights of the Morning…The Knights are bold, honorable and public.

This game is a curious blend of old-school adventure and new-school structure. It concerns the perpetual struggle of the Whisperers of the Witch against the Knights of the Morning in their efforts to bring their respective masters to ascendence. … During each Season, the players will take on the roles of the opposition in their efforts to bring about the turn of the season. That is, during the Summer, the players will be a group of Whisperers, and during the Winter, they will be a group of Knights. One player will take on the role of Game Master, referred to as the Witch during the Winter, and the Prince during the Summer. This is important, as the Witch and the Prince are actually governed by different rules by which they try to keep the players from bringing about the turn of the season, and perhaps even bring the characters around to their side…


  1. And, once again, my interest is piqued. When do I get to play this?

    • Maybe we can find some time later in the month? I’d like to wait until after Ronnie’s feedback, at least, and then I’m out of town mid-February.

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