An Introduction to “Upping Your Game”

Why write about tabletop gaming?

You might be wondering: Jacob, you’re a writer trying to promote his craft, so why write about games? The answer to that is actually pretty simple: I write about them because they inspire me.

I used to write a lot of critical content. I have written reviews for movies, books and video-games professionally. But that isn’t what I want to work on here. The goal for my gaming series, “Upping your Game”, is to explore ways to tell better stories in games and the lessons a writer can learn from them.

When I play games (tabletop or otherwise), I can’t help but analyse them. It’s a sad habit I picked up in school and an inevitable outcome of consuming media now. Much like reading a book, watching a movie, or enjoying a great painting, I like to break down why games work and learn from them. Good game design is just another form of storytelling and you can learn from it, even if you don’t work in that medium.

Tabletop gaming is a great example of this because a lot of the storytelling is collaborative. A good game system provides a framework to inspire players to create and express themselves. While this is most evident in role-playing games, it can also be seen in card games, war games, and even board games.

As this series progresses, I hope to deal with some really strange topics. I want to create interesting meta-games and writing opportunities in well known games, but I also want to highlight some hidden gems that I find really get the creative juices flowing. But for our first article I’m going to start simple: we’re going to turn RPG character creation into a writing prompt. Stay tuned.

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