The Diegetic Games Blog

  • Story Synth One-Hour Game Jam

    Aug 1, 2021

    Yesterday I hosted the Story Synth One-Hour game jam and it was a lot of fun!

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  • Æthelred's Academy for Aspiring Heroes

    Jul 16, 2021

    I’m excited to share a new game that my brother Greg Lubin and I just released: Æethelred’s Acadmey for Aspiring Heroes

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  • Story Synth: Generator Format

    Jul 10, 2021

    The Generator format for Story Synth is now live and it looks great!

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  • Preview: Story Synth Generator

    Jun 28, 2021

    Here’s a quick preview of an upcoming Story Synth format called Generator.

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  • Plot Guides for Storytelling Games

    Jun 15, 2021

    Last week I released my first “plot guide” – Save the Galaxy, a supplement for Galactic 2e. This post will explore the design space of plot guides and why I’d love to see more of them.

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  • New Plot Guide: Save the Galaxy for Galactic 2e

    Jun 9, 2021

    I’ve just released a plot guide for Galactic 2e called Save the Galaxy!

    The guide walks you through your session from character creation to the final epilogue and helps you tell fast paced, tightly plotted, single-session adventures.

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  • Hacking Belonging Outside Belonging to have plot scaffolding

    May 17, 2021

    I love the direction that Dream Askew took dice-less, GM-less RPGs. The distributed setting playbooks are evocative and the token economy does a good job of encouraging players to put their characters in tough situations. That said – I’ve found myself wanting much more structure around narrative arcs and this holds true for the the broader Belonging Outside Belonging (BoB) family of games; they’re great at steering decisions in the moment but there’s scant scaffolding to help with overarching story.

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  • Jewish Inspirations for Worldbuilding and Adventuring

    May 3, 2021

    Last year I got to contribute to a great anthology of Jewish tabletop games called Doikayt – I highly recommend you check it out!

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  • Premise SRD and Artifact variant

    Apr 24, 2021

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  • Decks + Prompts (PDF Version)

    Apr 19, 2021

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  • Decks of Prompts

    Apr 12, 2021

    Decks of prompts are one of my favorite design elements in storytelling games. They are incredibly versatile in how they can be combined and deployed to shape storytelling experiences. The following is an incomplete list of ways you can use decks in your game design.

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  • Quest Log Noodling

    Apr 5, 2021

    The last six months I’ve been pretty engrossed in Story Synth design. I’ve had a lot of fun with it so far and will continue adding new features and making new games with, but I’m starting to think about some off-platform games, too.

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  • New Game: Clash at Ikara

    Feb 28, 2021

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  • One Year Anniversary of Publishing Premise

    Feb 12, 2021

    Roughly a year ago I published Premise: Setting, Character, Plot which you can now buy via I did very little promotion of it back then and didn’t write about it on this blog (blame the pandemic) so here’s a bit about the game and how it can be used.

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  • Preview: Clash at Ikara

    Feb 6, 2021

    I have an early draft of a new game to share. It’s tentatively titled ‘Clash at Ikara’ and it’s inspired by Seven Samurai. Over the course of the game, players will tell the story of a group of heroes defending a community against a bandit attack.

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  • 2020 Diegetic Games Recap

    Jan 13, 2021

    Despite the mess that was 2020, I was fairly productive on the game design front. I published a total of 8 games as well as an online game design platform! Here’s a quick overview of the year’s releases and activities.

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  • "Dawn of the Monster Invasion" my Golden Cobra 2020 submission

    Sep 21, 2020

    I’m excited to share my latest game, written for Golden Cobra: Dawn of the Monster Invasion. In it you tell a silly monster movie spoof through six short speeches. 3-6 players, playable over video chat, no prep.

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  • Using Figma for Card Game Prototyping

    Mar 4, 2020

    This is a guide for using Figma and Google Sheets to rapidly prototype card games. It includes links to the tools, an overview of the key steps, and links to templates. Credit to Raph D’Amico for discovering this workflow and teaching it to me!

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  • Gaming Like It's 1924

    Jan 1, 2020

    For the second year in a row, new works are entering the public domain and so we’re holding another game jam. Media published in 1924 are now free to use and remix without permission. We’re excited to see what you create!

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  • 2019 Diegetic Games Recap

    Dec 26, 2019

    2019 went by super quickly! This was a very busy year for me and games, but most of it was through my consulting firm Leveraged Play. Also – spending a chunk of the year traveling (including 3 months in Japan) made it a little harder to playtest and iterate on my consumer games.

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  • Dungeon Court at Roguelike Celebration

    Dec 25, 2019

    For this year’s Roguelike Celebration, Raph D’Amico and I designed and ran Dungeon Court – a silly game about monsters and heroes bringing ridiculous cases before a judge. It went super well and we had a phenomenal set of players and judges.

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  • Thoughts on Growing the Indie Storytelling Game Market

    Oct 28, 2019

    Note: this originally appeared as a thread posted to Twitter, you can reply to it here:

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  • 1923 Game Jam Results

    Feb 24, 2019

    In January, I teamed up with Mike Masnick and Techdirt to run Gaming Like It’s 1923, a game jam around new material that just entered the public domain.

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  • Pattern Libraries

    Feb 4, 2019

    One of the biggest obstacles to being a new designer is not being familiar with the volumes of mechanics that have already been used in games. I’ve been fortunate to have played a ton of games and to have access to friends who have played even more so that when I’m working on a new design I can immediately jot down myriad possible approaches. Most new designers aren’t so lucky.

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  • A Smattering of Game Pitches

    Jan 28, 2019

    I haven’t decided what game I’m going to work on next but here are a few ideas that have popped into my head recently:

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  • Designing at the Frontiers

    Jan 13, 2019

    Recently I’ve been thinking about the frontiers of design in storytelling games. What are the most interesting facets of play to engage with as a designer? Where can we push the medium the most?

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  • Gaming Like It's 1923

    Jan 7, 2019

    2019 is the first year that new works are entering the public domain since 1998. Anything published in 1923 is now free to remix and share. To celebrate, we’ve teamed up with Mike Masnick and Techdirt to host a game jam based on works from 1923.

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  • 2018 Recap

    Dec 30, 2018

    Wow what a year! Two Patreon releases, a Kickstarter funded and fulfilled, several “serious” games that got press coverage and more…

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  • Behind the Magic at Big Bad Con

    Aug 5, 2018

    As work on Behind the Magic continues, I’m excited to share that I’ll be running a variant of it at Big Bad Con this October. Big Bad Con is a phenomenal convention in the Bay Area, full of indie storytelling games. This year it’s October 11-14th.

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  • Depth Jam Results

    Jul 29, 2018

    I spent the last week in Tahoe with some friends and fellow game designers. We designed, playtested, and talked a ton about theory and techniques. It was incredibly productive and I hope we’ll take another trip like it sometime soon.

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  • Depth Jam in Tahoe

    Jul 22, 2018

    Tomorrow, I’m heading up to Tahoe where I’ll be spending the week in a Depth Jam, inspired by this one from 2012. I’m going with a few other game designers and we’ll each be working on our own projects in parallel. A few times per day, we’ll gather together to give each other feedback.

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  • Machine Learning President

    Jul 1, 2018

    It’s been a very strange week: a game I co-designed with Scout AI made national news in the most bizarre way.

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  • Buy a Copy of Honor Bound

    Jun 24, 2018

    Last month, Jason Morningstar and I released Honor Bound to our Patreon and Drip backers. It’s now available for purchase by the general public. Buy the PDF today on!.

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  • 200 Word RPG and Other Updates

    Jun 3, 2018

    The 200 Word RPG contest ended last week and I submitted How (And Why) I Took Over The World. It’s a single player game where you record a series of videos as a supervillain who is journaling their plot to take over the world – heavily inspired by Dr. Horrible and also Banana Chan’s They’re Onto Me.

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  • Spring Design Update, via Patreon

    May 6, 2018

    I have a big update post on my Patreon covering what I’ve been working on. Main topics include:

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  • CIA Collect It All Kickstarter

    Apr 29, 2018

    Diegetic Games has partnered with Techdirt to Kickstart a game! It’s called CIA: Collect It All and the Kickstarter page has tons more details. We fully funded in just two days and are currently near 150% of our goal.

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  • A Detour Into Dueling

    Apr 1, 2018

    Sometimes a game idea or collaboration sneaks out of nowhere to steal all free design time. This happened to me a couple weeks ago when a casual geek out with Jason Morningstar turned into a focused design session followed by some very quick iterations on rules and handouts.

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  • March Update - Behind the Magic and Duetta

    Mar 4, 2018

    It’s been a bit since my last update and I’d love to share some progress on two games drafts, Behind the Magic and Duetta.

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  • Behind the Magic Update

    Jan 28, 2018

    I’ve been working on my fantasy mockumentary Behind the Magic and last weekend it was run at the The Larp Shack International Festival of Larps in North Carolina. This was the first time it ran without me and I am always thrilled to hear about others playing my game!

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  • 2017 Recap

    Jan 7, 2018

    2017 was a very productive year for Diegetic Games! I’ll give a quick overview of my releases, drafts, and conference attendance. Also, launched a Patreon and would love your support in making better games! Further, I started a podcast called Jamming on Games and have released three episodes so far.

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  • Launching on Patreon

    Dec 7, 2017

    I’m excited to announce that I’ve launched a Patreon. Come support me and be a part of my game design process!

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  • Chaos is a Ladder – first test

    Nov 19, 2017

    Today I ran the first test of a new game with the working title Chaos is a Ladder. This two-player game is inspired by Littlefinger from Game of Thrones and has one player take the role of a schemer in a chaotic fantasy kingdom while the other player runs the rest of the world as it reacts to the unfolding schemes. The Littlefinger player will manipulate their way from lowly lord / lady to King or Queen of the realm… or die trying.

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  • Metatopia 2017 Recap

    Nov 6, 2017

    I had a phenomenal time at Metatopia this year! It was so great to catch up with old friends, meet internet friends in person, and discover great new designers.

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  • Heading to Metatopia 2017!

    Oct 29, 2017

    I’m heading to New Jersey this week for Metatopia - the top playtesting conference in the country. I had a phenomenal time last year and am very excited to bring a new game this year.

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  • GIF-Apocalypse – 280 Character Game Jam

    Oct 1, 2017

    This week, Twitter expanded their tweet length to 280 characters and @cartwheel launched a 280 character game jam.

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  • Among the Mortals – Golden Cobra 2017

    Sep 23, 2017

    I’m excited to share my submission for the Golden Cobra 2017: Among the Mortals

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  • Playtest Tracking Template with Airtable

    Aug 13, 2017

    Playtesting is a key part of the game design process - both for your own observations and for gathering user feedback. My friend (and game designer) Nick Punt and I created a template to easily track playtests and feedback. Here is the link to the Playtest Tracking Template; you can duplicate it and customized it to your needs. We built the template using Airtable, a spreadsheet / database combo which is perfect for tracking this type of data.

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  • Golden Cobra 2017

    Aug 6, 2017

    At the start of this week, Golden Cobra announced their 2017 challenge. The challenge is for designers to create short, freeform larps; that is short larps for a small number of participants to play without much prep. I haven’t participated before but there is an awesome team running it and I’m keen to write more larps. I highly encourage you to try it out, it’s a great chance to dabble in larp writing for the first time!

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  • RPG Livestream Experiment with Audience Participation

    Jul 17, 2017

    This weekend a few friends and I ran an experiment in interactive storytelling. We used Twitch to livestream an RPG session and we collaborated with the audience to share the story. It went smoothly and we learned a bunch about interacting with an audience. Big thanks to my collaborator / co-GM Nathan Maton and our players Nick, Harry, and Andrew!

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  • Across the Border - Game Chef 2017

    Jul 11, 2017

    Last week I wrote about my process for Game Chef 2017. The competition ended last night and I’m excited to share my submission: Across the Border.

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  • Game Chef 2017 Brainstorm

    Jun 30, 2017

    Game Chef just announced their 2017 challenge and I’m excited to design something for it! Last year I participated and created Exosolar, which I was pretty happy with.

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  • Good Morning Spaceland

    Jun 4, 2017

    Good Morning Magicland was my submission to the 200 Word RPG Challenge. I’ve since playtested it a few times and it continues to be a fun, ridiculous worldbuilding game.

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  • Second BART Larp Playtest

    May 21, 2017

    Earlier today, Albert Kong and I ran the second playtest of our BART Larp. You can read an earlier post about the larp and first playtest.

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  • Good Morning Magicland

    Apr 19, 2017

    I just submitted Good Morning Magicland to the 200 Word RPG Challenge. I love the constrained creativity of just 200 words of plain text and it allowed me to pump out an idea from my backlog that I wouldn’t have reached for a while. The contest ends this weekend, so there’s still time to submit your own!

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  • First BART Larp Playtest

    Apr 16, 2017

    Yesterday I ran the first playtest of a new larp that takes place on BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit). I’m collaborating with Albert Kong and we’ve been noodling on this game for a few months – it was great to test it out in the wild!

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  • Collaborative Storytelling Examples List

    Mar 20, 2017

    Last week I gave a talk on the future of collaborative storytelling and gave examples from the cutting edge of board games, RPGs, larps, video games, virtual reality, and interactive theater.

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  • Social Engineering Game

    Mar 6, 2017

    I’m in the fun yet frustrating position of having too many game ideas and not enough time! I’m currently working on four different games and I just came up with a new one I’m really excited about. I won’t actually start work on it for a while but here’s the pitch:

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  • Updates: Premise and Make Haste!

    Feb 27, 2017

    I’ve been hard at work on a multiple different games and it’s been a busy couple months outside of game design. This post will provide a quick update on both Premise and Make Haste! – hopefully I’ll be sharing news of other projects soon.

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  • Seeking Advice for Premise

    Jan 18, 2017

    I’d love some advice on getting Premise: Setting, Character, and Plot in front of a larger audience!

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  • Early draft for Make Haste!

    Jan 16, 2017

    Over the past month I’ve been working on a new map-making game, tentatively called Make Haste!

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  • 2016 Recap

    Jan 2, 2017

    2016 was the first year of Diegetic Games and it was incredibly productive! In this post I’ll recap the games I’ve released and the games still in draft form.

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  • Initial draft of Premise Setting

    Aug 21, 2016

    I’ve been working on a series of games inspired by the old game Exquisite Corpse in these games, players will collaborate to create settings, characters, and plots by building on each other’s ideas.

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  • Standalone version of The Idealist

    Aug 14, 2016

    I’ve revisited my collection Condemned to break out The Idealist into its own file. The Idealist is the biggest game in the collection and the only storytelling game - it’s about characters who sacrifice their values in exchange for power. The other two games are crazy competitions where players are running around the city, interacting with local government.

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  • Condemned - three new games!

    Jul 30, 2016

    Another week another game (or three)! I just finished Condemned which is a collection of three games for “The Power Broker” game design competition.

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  • Hackers and Hustlers RPG Launch

    Jul 24, 2016

    I’m excited to announce a final(ish) version of the Hackers and Hustlers RPG!

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  • Learning Resources

    Jun 25, 2016

    I love storytelling games but there aren’t a ton of guides out there for people looking to get into the hobby. I’ve created an overview page that talks about the different types of board / card games, RPGs, and LARPs.

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  • Introducing Diegetic Games

    Jun 25, 2016

    Hi there - I’m Randy Lubin and Diegetic Games is my game design studio. My goal is to empower people to have fun while telling great stories.

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