What is the Connexions RPG – Part 1

This is the first in a series talking about the Connexions RPG.

Since this is the first post, I decided to start at the beginning – how it came about. About ten years ago a friend of mine Tim and I were taking a road trip down to the Texas Renaissance Festival or an SCA event in Houston (it has been a while – my memory isn’t what it once was) and we spent a lot of that time discussing a mutual passion – role playing games. We had both played a wide variety of games, so as you could expect, we talked a lot about what we loved about specific games and how the different games compared.

You can probably guess that it was a very short leap from talking about those games to saying “if I was writing a game I would…” and I began writing down ideas, most of them very rough outlines, of what I would do in my game system. Being a pack rat regarding RPG stuff, those notes may even be in one of my boxes around here.

Here are the highlights:

  1. Sometimes it is fun throwing fistfuls of dice, other times all that rolling and counting gets in the way. Some games excel in their simplicity, while others shine because of elegant complexity.
  2. We love options, but that can overwhelm players. New players to a game, even if experienced in other systems can get lost in all the choices.
  3. As soon as a game leaves the publishers, there is going to be a house rule for something. In many ways, it stops being the creators’ game, and becomes the players’ game at that moment.
  4. It is the community that makes the game, which is especially true in the digital age.

Tim and I were mostly mechanics/rules guys, so I enlisted another of my friends, David, to help with the story side. He was a great resource for both thinking about settings and the characters that would inhabit them.

The scribbled notes were changed to an outline. That outline was fleshed out into a couple of chapters. Those chapters were thrown into PageMaker along with some art. That file was printed, and I sent it around to my friends for comment. During that time I did some work on Tribe 8 which allowed me to see behind the curtain designing, writing and play testing RPGs.

Then my life changed in myriad ways. The end result was Connexions would go on the shelf, in a simple purple binder. Years later, I had been playing a lot of D&D with a couple of groups and got in a conversation about RPGs, mostly about what I liked and didn’t like about various games. Several of them had never played anything else, and was surprised how different some other games were.

Then I said, “I was working on a game way back when. The way that worked in it was…”

They said, “sounds interesting, you ever finish it? I’d try it. Sounds like it would work for this idea I had.”

“No,” I replied, “but I may just pick it up again…”

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