[This post was sitting here, unpublished, because I was so tired when I got back from PAX that I got taken out by a cold for a week.]

PAX was wonderful. Got to rock some good science fiction at the table, ran into a guy from my college RPG, sold more than I’ve ever sold at a con before.

Christian, AKA Father Fletch, the dude who runs the tabletop area, made us feel very, very welcome. A bunch of us are trying to figure out how to get to PAX Prime in Seattle for August now.

The two panels I was on: How to Use Kickstarter to Fund Your Project with Evan Balster, Andrew Plotkin, Max Temkin, and me (modded by Cindy Au), and How To Get What You Want Out of Your GM with Jack Graham, Luke Crane, and me (modded by Thor Olavsrud) were astonishingly, knee-knockingly well-attended. Hundreds of people. The latter one was at an awkward time: as the con was closing. I’m hoping that doesn’t happen again. It didn’t seem to dramatically affect attendance, but it did shut down a lot of post-seminar discussion that could have led excited people to our booths to see what we were talking about.

Our Indie Bazaar grossed about twice what we made the last time we hit up Gen Con, too, and at a lower cost. We’re still sorting out the money, and if the other publishers want to, I’ll publish the numbers here.

PAX is a wonderful crowd. They’re at the expo because they want to learn about new ways to play. We talked and played with a lot of people who had never played RPGs before and gave a bunch of them very strong first impressions. It’s a beautiful thing when someone’s first time playing an RPG is Apocalypse World, Misspent Youth, or Shock: We get to go straight for the meat of the game and don’t have to worry about explaining that it’s different than they know.

And then there are the experienced D&D players who are looking for other kinds of experiences. They’re eager to see other things, to look in other directions. Those guys are fun, too. I’m particularly excited when it’s someone who loves D&D but wants to add other techniques to their experience. Those people are our people srsly.

So thank you PAX, thank you Father Fletch, and thank you PAXketeers for making it a fantastic weekend.

First Human Contacts Roll In!

Good news! After two weeks of technical issues, the first copies of Human Contact are in! The technical issues persist, unfortunately, so there’s not quite closure, but I have 60 copies now, should have another 200 or so next week, and another 50ish the week after that.

The nature of the technical issue isn’t clear; it’s just one of those thing that happens when printing. But I can say that my printer, 360 Digital, has done a fantastic job of both printing them and keeping me abreast of things that have gone wrong. The measure of a printer, after all, is not that nothing ever goes wrong. Things go wrong. The measure of a printer is in how they communicate and make good when that happens.

I won’t be shipping any books until more are in, but I will have copies at Dreamation, so if you’re one of my backers, please let whoever’s at the Indie Bazaar and I’ll sign and hand you your copy right there.

Human Contact Proof

A very exciting FedEx package just arrived! I have to confirm a couple of things with the press, but it’s looking good to go straight into production this week!

Some Fine Gentlemen Play A Friendly Game

Alex Drummond just sent me this sketch of some fine, respectable gentlemen playing a friendly game of Kodrek. He also sent me some earlier roughs:

Gotta say, I’m pretty excited.

I’m doing preliminary flows of the text of the game into an InDesign file right now. I sure wish style importing was more smarter.

Human Contact draft 2 is Done

I’m excited to say that Human Contact Draft 2 is now up for download on the playtester’s forum!

If you’ve playtested Human Contact before or backed the project at Kickstarter, I’d love to have you in the playtester group! I’ll be looking for feedback on the readability and playability of the text by January 1st, and if you can put together a group — especially a group that can play multiple chapters — before then, I’ll be very, very happy.

Gioconomicon interviews me through Giullina at Lucca


From the beginning of the article:

Joshua A.C. Newman is a real character, committed to the strangest and most diverse things (what relationship do you see between sculpture, the construction of aerial drones, and ancient poetry, to name a few?)

You can read the English translation of the summary article here.

Thanks to Giullina for translating for me. She’s an amazing interpreter, and I had an amazing time at Lucca Comics and Games. I hope I get to go back someday.

One Day Left to Support Human Contact!

The Human Contact Kickstarter has just one day left. Thanks to you 200+ funders (and special thanks to the first hundred, to whom I really owe a debt of gratitude for getting the ball so dramatically rolling), it’s over 300% funded. Human Contact will now go into submarine mode, taking onboard only the project’s backers. I’ve got a whole lot of writing to do and will only be posting abstractly and distractedly as I generate drafts and get sketches from Alex.

If you want to keep up with the project, donate at any of the listed levels and you’ll get project updates as they come, including playable drafts, early sketches, and probably a few extras. I’ll be putting out a call for playtests to backers and, if you want to collide some cultures before March of next year, this is the way to do it.

I also have to get on making those Kodrek boards. I was expecting to have to make two. Instead, I have to make 14. That interest has made me start to think about publishing it as its own thing in the future. Boardgame publishing is hard, but I’ve seen some real successes among my indie peers and I think I can make it happen.

Kickstart Update: Human Contact is funded in its first day!

At 11:57 last night, the Human Contact Kickstart was fully funded at $2400! That’s 15 hours, and it’s still going strong! I woke up this morning to find a larger list of Kodrek boards to make and several more copies of the book to send out. But I also discovered something else: you’ve put Human Contact on the front of the Discover page at Kickstarter, under Most Popular! As of this writing, at 8:00 this morning, Human Contact the sixth most popular project! (I imagine that’s a measure of something like “backings per hour”.) The projects ahead of it on that list are really amazing, and they’ve got great videos, so moving up will be hard, but I’d like to be in sight of that cool iPhone tripod mount and that amazing comic for a good while. And I think maybe we can pass the “I’m Not A Hipster” book that’s ahead of us to take spot #5. To be frank, the number of people wanting to prove that they’re not hipsters is very high, so it could be a fight. Plus, the graphic design is good.

So, OK! Objective #1 achieved! Thank you all! Objective #2 is next: a posting on a major geek blog. I can’t do that — the biggest geek blog I post on is my own — but maybe you can! So far, most of my backers are only one social network hop away (we used to call those “friends” and “relatives”), with a few people over the horizon another step away who got in early because they were excited about something their node-neighbors were excited about. But I’d love it if you could help spread the word further.

$2400 buys the project a shoestring. Help me get it some stout, sea-worthy cable!

Make Human Contact!

The Human Contact Kickstart is live! For the next 30 days, you can donate to the project to make it happen. If you help me reach my goal of $2400, it means I’ll be able to print the game book with the high production values that allow me to realize my vision for the book, and you’ll get a copy of the game.

Human Contact uses a version of the Shock: Social Science Fiction game rules, specifically focused for high-intensity meetings (and clashes) between cultures. It uses Transhumanist ideas and hard science as a backdrop for anthropological science fiction. (If you want to know more, ask in the comments or check out the Human Contact page!)

Every donor past $10 gets prerelease PDFs up through the final, and there are 25 hardcopies of the book at $25 for the first people to donate at that level. At the top donation level, $100 or more, I’ll also hand-make you a Kodrek boardgame set, complete with the ludo/anthropological study about the game! It’s a quick-playing, chess-like game of dirty, backstabbing space combat from a culture created with Human Contact.

Pass the word along to anyone who likes science fiction or roleplaying games! Tweet and post to Facebook with the hashtag #humancontact, and help me make this book real!

Shock: Your Co-Workers

click to embiggen!

Do you want reasons to talk about roleplaying games with your co-workers, but can’t get them to ask you about it? They’ll definitely ask you about this shirt. Inspired by a railway worker’s safety shirt, it’s 100% cotton and made domestically by American Apparel, so be forewarned that sizes run a little gay.

It comes it Caution Orange, just like Shock: does — a color that doesn’t exist in any natural environment; the color of astronauts bailing out of space shuttles and impending cyberpunk industrial disasters. It comes pre-marked with a robot-readable QR code that links to a special goody that will only be visible in October, when the Italian edition of Shock: premiers at Lucca Comics and Games, a convention that puts Gen Con to shame.

Orders are only open until the end of September, so order quick!

Size (remember that they’re a little tight)