Dec 192011

Announcing Don’t Hack This Game!

Ryan Macklin and I have worked together on a few mad ideas, but the one we’re going to talk about today may be the maddest of them all! One of Evil Hat’s earliest games, Don’t Rest Your Head, has been out for five years now, and people have been doing all sorts of crazy hacks with it in that time. With its simple engine of exhaustion & madness, it’s inspired a lot of you awesome folks to do crazy-awesome things with it.

That’s the book we want to make, the next chapter in the Don’t Rest Your Head line: Don’t Hack This Game. And because you inspired it, we want you to be a part of it.

Articles We’re Looking For

We are looking for articles on hacking Don’t Rest Your Head’s system (exhaustion, madness, dice pools, responses, questionnaire, etc.), existing setting, new settings & rules supporting them, GM tricks, and so on. Articles may not be based on other intellectual property (so we can’t take your Shadowrun hack, but we could a generic or original cyberpunk-with-magic one).

Each article should be 1000-2000 words long.

Please read my post about hacking the dice pools in DRYH, as that’ll help understand where we see the handles in the game:
(You’re free to post comments if you disagree, by the way! We welcome conversation.)

You may also want to grab the free DRYH adventure, The Bad Man. It contains revised rules (in condensed form) for the game, notably the PvP & helping rules:

Pitching Us Ideas & Deadlines

If you have an article idea, send Ryan Macklin ( the following information:

1. Topic or subject of the article, summarized in 200 words or less
2. Expected length of article (i.e. a ballpark between 1000 and 2000 words)
3. Full name and contact information (e-mail address, etc).
4. A brief background of past game or hobby writing experience or publications, if any

You may submit up to five proposals, although in most cases only one proposal will be accepted. Multiple proposals may be submitted in a single e-mail; in this case, contact info and background info only need to be included once.

The deadline for proposals is Wednesday, January 4th, 2012. If your proposal is accepted, you will be notified within 7 days after the close of the open call window. Once you know if your proposal is accepted, you will have until Wednesday, February 8th, 2012 to submit your completed draft.

We’ll turn that around within four weeks, and if there’s anything we need to have you revise, you’ll get notes from us with expectation of four weeks to turn it around.

Compensation, etc.

Compensation for articles is 5 cents per word, 50% upon acceptance of your completed draft & 50% upon publication. You will also receive a copy of the final product and, of course, credit for your article.

If your article is accepted for publication, you’ll be licensing it to Evil Hat Productions for publication. That means you’ll own your work, but Evil Hat gets to publish it in Don’t Hack This Game first.

After six months, you may publish your article on your blog or wherever, so long as it’s non-commercial (otherwise, you’re using Evil Hat’s IP, Don’t Rest Your Head, without authorization). Naturally, you can contact us about this if that’s an issue.

What “acceptance” means: Your article is not considered accepted until we receive your draft and you have made any revisions we call for. Once we receive that and do a final review, we’ll let you know if it’s accepted and give you a contract for the work.

We are still currently evaluating our publishing options for this product, whether this will be electronic-only or electronic & print.

For More Information

If you have a question, you can either comment on Ryan’s mirror of this blog post, or you can email the anthology’s editor, Ryan Macklin, at

All queries/pitches will be via email if you wish for a response. If you do it over Twitter or Facebook or whatever, Ryan will roll his eyes at yet another writer who can’t follow directions, and ignore it. 🙂

Comments should happen over on Ryan’s blog rather than here:

Apr 042011

Okay, I’m going to take a page from Warren Ellis and dive deep into what-if territory with y’all.

Here’s your Monday Mission.

You are a product/game designer. You have to put together the pitch for a game project entitled MONSTER MANUAL.

And that’s all you’ve been told. It’s on you to invent this thing and make it something folks will buy by the truckload. This might be a compendium of creatures, a guide full of operating instructions for your own personal monster, or a companion piece to “MONSTER AUTOMATIC”.

It’s up to you what kind of game company you’re working for or running, what kind of games you make, how you translate the title of the product, what era of game design you live in, who you are (pretend you’re Jared Sorensen!). It’s all wide open.

Only one submission per commenter, please, and feel free to embellish as much as you care to: graphics, website, an actually playable game, what-have-you.

You’ve got one week.

Mar 232011

This was running around in my head as I coughed myself to sleep last night: what would various geek titles (of TV shows, movies, maybe books) represent if they were used for non-geek subject matter?

So, here’s your midweek mission: pick a few geek titles, and pitch me their ungeeky cousin concepts, here in the comments.

I’ll start with a couple examples (feel free to use the same titles):

Doctor Who – Think “the lone ranger” crossed with “doctors without borders” and a dash of “House” on a feel-good bender. Man loses his medical license for doing the right thing, but still wants to help people, so he travels the globe administering care and solving medical mysteries. Who was that masked surgeon?

The Cape – Clearly “the Cape” in this title is a geographic feature. Think 90210 with a rocky coastline. Old money collides with hard-life fisher families.

My kid needs me back, so that’s as far as I can go right now. Over to you!