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Master Plan

Updated 2 days ago

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Games
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Master Plan is a podcast on the subject of game design and the art of ideas, particularly for role playing, card and board games. Hosted by freelance writer Ryan Macklin, the podcast comes out at least once a month. You can expect interviews with game designers -- both professional and amateur -- as well as advice and news about game design.

Read more

Master Plan is a podcast on the subject of game design and the art of ideas, particularly for role playing, card and board games. Hosted by freelance writer Ryan Macklin, the podcast comes out at least once a month. You can expect interviews with game designers -- both professional and amateur -- as well as advice and news about game design.

iTunes Ratings

10 Ratings
Average Ratings
9
1
0
0
0

too bad there's not more

By CajunNate - Mar 28 2012
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Good show, just wish it was still going

More!

By hwak1976 - May 01 2007
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Let's see these more often!

iTunes Ratings

10 Ratings
Average Ratings
9
1
0
0
0

too bad there's not more

By CajunNate - Mar 28 2012
Read more
Good show, just wish it was still going

More!

By hwak1976 - May 01 2007
Read more
Let's see these more often!
Cover image of Master Plan

Master Plan

Updated 2 days ago

Read more

Master Plan is a podcast on the subject of game design and the art of ideas, particularly for role playing, card and board games. Hosted by freelance writer Ryan Macklin, the podcast comes out at least once a month. You can expect interviews with game designers -- both professional and amateur -- as well as advice and news about game design.

Rank #1: Master Plan #40: Luke Crane on Advancement, Failure & Reward Cycles

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On this year-end episode of Master Plan, Ryan publishes an interview he did with Luke Crane back at GenCon. They talk (or as much as one can talk when it's 8am & ones voice is completely shot) about thoughts on building advancements systems in games. Luke shares his thoughts on the subject with his building of Burning Wheel, and they drift to related topics like Failure & Reward Cycles. Luke, frankly, has a lot of interesting stuff to say, provided you don't mind the profanity & poor audio quality.

Also, it's the second anniversary of Master Plan. It's been two good years. Here's to a third.

Luke Crane:
Running time: 27:25 / File size: 18.9M

Discuss this episode on the forums: http://www.hmfy.com/masterplan/forum/comments.php?DiscussionID=43

Dec 10 2008

27mins

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Rank #2: Master Plan #20: Scene Framing and Pacing Mechanics with Luke Crane

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On this anniversary episode of Master Plan, Ryan puts out an interview with Luke Crane he did at GenCon earlier in the year. They talk about the scene framing and pacing mechanics (or Disposition mechanics) in Burning Empires, partly sparked because Ryan didn't completely understand them when he and his group played it. Luke goes into detail about how he came up with various design goals and elements in that part of Burning Empires and also gives some insight in how to play the game.

Warning: There's a lot of profanity in this episode, and due to technical problems the interview has some severe audio degradations from 21:16 to 28:48.

Luke Crane:Other Mentions:Running time: 30:09 / File size: 20.7MB

Discuss this episode on the forums: http://www.hmfy.com/masterplan/forum/comments.php?DiscussionID=23

Dec 10 2007

30mins

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Rank #3: Master Plan Audio #3: Designer's Block

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While both struggling with problems lately writing and designing and helping a friend who is going through the same thing, Ryan decides to talk about writer's block & designer's block.  He goes into what being blocked has been for him and the various ways he's dealt with it.

Mentions:

Running time: 19 minutes, 21 seconds

- Ryan

Jan 09 2007

19mins

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Rank #4: Master Plan #15: Leonard Balsera on the FATE Fractal

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Ryan sits down with Leonard Balsera of Evil Hat Productions and talks about a design concept central to the FATE -- the system used by Spirit of the Century and the upcoming Dresden Files RPG -- called the Fractal. They talk about this concept that treats elements larger and smaller than characters, like planets & possessions, the same way as characters are treated mechanically. Leonard also gives us a bit of an update on the Dresden Files RPG.

FATE & The Fractal:Jason Morningstar's Sight & Sound Game Design Challenge:Other Games Mentioned:My blog entry where I ask for any questions about the card production for Know Thyself: http://macklinr.livejournal.com/561019.html

Running time: 27:48 / File size: 19.7 MB

Discuss this episode on the forums: http://www.hmfy.com/masterplan/forum/comments.php?DiscussionID=18

Sep 14 2007

27mins

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Rank #5: Master Plan #4: Questioning Mechanics

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Ryan talks about the questions he's come up with to help guide him when designing game mechanics.  He talked about the current problem he's having with his game and offers an idea to folks still trying to get their mechanics ideas off the ground.Games mentioned:Design Watch:

Other mentions:

Running time: 11 minutes, 24 seconds

- Ryan

Feb 19 2007

11mins

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Rank #6: Master Plan #44: Ryan's Rules of Playtesting

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Still in the post-Dreamation afterglow, Ryan responds to a question asked by friend of the show Remi Treuer, where he asks to hear more about Ryan's playtest process in light of seeing it in action at Dreamation. What he comes up with is something he calls his "Rules of Playtesting" -- things he calls "Rules" because he has to constantly, consciously remember to apply them rather than things that come easy.

The five rules he mentions: The Rule of Consideration, The Rule of Conceit, The Rule of Frontloading, The Rule of the Drawing Board, and The Rule of Keeping My Mouth Shut.

Afterward, Ryan gives you some Sponsor Quote action, with an anectode that will at most amuse five people. Good times.

Remi Treuer:
This episode is sponsored by RPGNow.com.

Running time: 24:21 / File size: 16.8M

Discuss this episode on the forums: http://masterplanpodcast.net/forum/comments.php?DiscussionID=47

Mar 01 2009

24mins

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Rank #7: Master Plan #36: Understanding Play Styles

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On this solo episode, Ryan talks about this thing he calls "Play Style" -- with respect to design, that's how people are interacting together in a particular medium. This idea comes primarily from a conversation he's had with Daniel Solis regarding his game in development, Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple. Ryan talks about the different things people get out of a game that's akin to rehearsing a play versus one that is more akin to telling stories around a campfire. He also shares a pet theory (which means it's probably wrong) about why more roleplaying games take the former approach even though the latter is an older method of storytelling. Finally, Jerry "J-Nasty" Grayson provides us with yet another sponsor quote, forming what might be the first sponsor quote narrative on Master Plan.

Games Mentioned:Other Mentions:Running time: 22:17 / File size: 15.4 MB

Discuss this episode on the forums: http://www.hmfy.com/masterplan/forum/comments.php?DiscussionID=39

Sep 01 2008

22mins

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Rank #8: Master Plan #37: Have Master, Will Plan 2 with Ken Hite

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On a very late, very tired Sunday evening of GenCon, Paul Tevis & Ryan Macklin sit down with the ever-present Ken Hite to talk about the hobby, culture, GenCon, and all that good stuff.

  • [02:24] The banter has just begun
  • [04:29] Ken gives a brief on the vibe coming into & at GenCon 2008
  • [07:30] Talking about the Forge Diaspora, retailer numbers & casual gamer acceptance
  • [09:40] Throwing yourself into GenCon
  • [12:09] Ken's pinnacle moments, the ENnies & Where the Deep One's Are
  • [13:40] Ryan's pinnacle moments, playtesting
  • [15:45] Welcoming Ken to the extended IPR family
  • [16:03] Paul's pinnacle moments, Star Wars PTA
  • [16:50] Seeing people at GenCon & being inspired
  • [18:29] Paul is back in his wheelhouse
  • [20:02] Paul asks Ken the traditional "What'd you see?"
  • [20:23] Ken comments on the Mongoose Traveller
  • [21:04] ...and on It's Complicated
  • [22:37] Gamers and the Olympics
  • [25:15] Ken comments on Hot War
  • [26:12] ...and Sweet Agatha
  • [26:47] Tobias Wrigstad, Jeepform & American Jeepform: Under My Skin & A Flower For Mara
  • [27:44] Vincent Baker's In a Wicked Age... and Poison'd
  • [28:33] Ken on Don't Lose Your Mind
  • [28:50] Ryan on meeting Benjamin Baugh
  • [29:20] Ken on Qin
  • [30:18] The Atlantean Age for HERO
  • [30:51] Beating Sturgeon's Law
  • [31:30] Catalyst, Shadowrun & Classic Battletech
  • [32:50] Ryan on How to Host a Dungeon
  • [35:05] Ryan & Paul on This Just In...From GenCon!,Ken on the podcasting medium
  • [36:35] Ryan on The Continuum
  • [37:18] Ken further on podcasting as a medium, and on what to look for in RPGs, and the values of books that we might not play
  • [38:36] Hi, Jerry.
  • [40:20] Your gracious hosts ask the guest about his recent Tour de Lovecraft
  • [42:15] The trend of non-fiction gaming books
  • [47:21] Now, we're done
Links:

Running time: 48:02 / File size: 33.8M

Discuss this episode on the forums: http://www.hmfy.com/masterplan/forum/comments.php?DiscussionID=40

Oct 10 2008

48mins

Play

Rank #9: Master Plan #7: Interview with Evil Hat Productions, Shield Bracelet Woes

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Rob Donoghue and Fred Hicks come on the show to talk about an issue they're dealing with while working on the Dresden Files RPG -- working with the shield bracelet and how to mesh mechanical modeling and the feel from the fiction. They get pretty into it about what they're dealing with. Then Ryan talks about Chad Underkoffler's latest project, Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies, and talks about some listener email and his upcoming book.

Evil Hat Productions:(Incidentally, I really like Evil Hat's new website look. Kudos, from one web developer to another.)

Design Watch:Blantant Plugs:Other Mentions:Running time: 23 minutes, 41 seconds / File size: 21.6 MB

Comment on the episode

Apr 20 2007

23mins

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Rank #10: Master Plan #6: Interview with Christian Griffen

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Ryan interviews Christian Griffen of Berengad Games about his new book, Beast Hunters. They talk about why the game was created, touch on how the game works, then go a bit into how Christian and his wife created it together and some elements that evolved from the original draft. Later, Ryan talk obsessively about Game Chef.

Beast Hunters

Beast Hunters is currently offering a pre-order deal until March 25th, 2007. For more information on the offer, go to:
http://www.berengad.com/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=18&Itemid=31

You can find more information about Beast Hunters, including links to reviews, at:
http://www.berengad.com/

Game Chef

To find out more about Game Chef, you can go to:
http://www.game-chef.com/

Or for some specific links:
The rules of Game Chef: http://www.game-chef.com/rules.shtml
Information on the ingredients: http://www.game-chef.com/workshop/comments.php?DiscussionID=40
Group Epsilon/Barnstormers: http://www.game-chef.com/workshop/?CategoryID=5
You can find my various posts for "Enlightenment" there.

Check it out!

Running time: 22 minutes, 59 seconds / File size: 21.0 MB

- Ryan

Mar 21 2007

22mins

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Rank #11: Master Plan #29: Designing from Other Games 2, John Wick

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After the beach sabbatical that was Have Master, Will Plan #1, Ryan goes back to his series of designers talking about their experiences working with other games. This week, he talks with John Wick about his now-in-preorder game, Houses of the Blooded. Along with talking about where various parts of the game were inspired, John drops a bit of insight into some other games and shares some stories where he's collaborated with and contributed to other designers. Then Ryan talks briefly about the part he really thinks is cool, which is what John's doing with the Limited Edition of Houses of the Blooded, particularly the Graphics Pack.

John Wick & Houses of the Blooded:Running time: 29:29 / File size: 20.3 MB

Discuss this episode on the forums: http://www.hmfy.com/masterplan/forum/comments.php?DiscussionID=32

May 08 2008

29mins

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Rank #12: Master Plan #22: Daniel Solis, Part 1 on Layout Questions

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For his first podcast of 2008, Ryan talks with Daniel Solis, layout designers for such games as Lacuna, Reign, Wilderness of Mirrors and the upcoming Houses of the Blooded. As part one of their interview, they talk about questions a designer should be able to answer or keep in mind when talking to someone about doing layout for their game. Daniel goes into his list of Hard, Firm and Soft Questions, and goes into detail as to how the answers to those questions helps help layout a project.

Daniel Solis' website

Projects Daniel has worked on:Other mentions:Running time: 28:35 / File size: 19.6 MB

Discuss this episode on the forums: http://www.hmfy.com/masterplan/forum/comments.php?DiscussionID=25

Jan 18 2008

28mins

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Rank #13: Master Plan #62: Stephen Hood & Will Hindmarch on Storium

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Ryan sits down with Stephen Hood and Will Hindmarch or Protagonist Labs to talk about the new online roleplaying experience known as Storium. On this live episode, they talk about Storium's origins and design, issues that came up in playtesting, the differences between developing for an upgradable platform versus a static book, and more. If you aren't a part of the beta yet and would like to be, check out Storium's Kickstarter campaign.

Ryan also mentions that he'll be shifting toward more live format shows than pre-recorded, as an experiment and to speed up production.

Links:

You can also check out this episode on YouTube.

52:28 / 25.8M

- Ryan

May 05 2014

52mins

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Rank #14: Master Plan #31: Designing from Other Games 3, Robin Laws on Mutant City Blues

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Ryan talks with gaming luminary Robin Laws about his upcoming game, Mutant City Blues. Mutant City Blues is the latest GUMSHOE game, this one not focused on the horror genre but on police procedurals & super-powers. They talk about designing this game from the original GUMSHOE framework, what was changed to make the game focused on the new premise, and overall the experiences of making this game. Throughout the show, Robin also talks a bit about moments in GUMSHOE's design in general.

Robin Laws & GUMSHOE:Other mentions:Running time: 30:34 / File size: 21.1 MB

Discuss this episode on the forums: http://www.hmfy.com/masterplan/forum/comments.php?DiscussionID=34

Jun 13 2008

30mins

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Rank #15: Master Plan #18: Emergent Play

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Ryan returns from nearly a month off to talk about a topic he's very passionate about: Emergent Play (or Emergent Behavior in Play). That is play that emerges from the people engaging and interactive with the text, but isn't a direct result of the instructions of the text. He goes into some examples to illustrate the idea from different vantage points: the board game Diplomacy, Call of Cthulhu, Paul Tevis' A Penny For My Thoughts, his own Know Thyself, and Beast Hunters. While he only scratched the surface, he looks forward to returning to this topic again.

Mentions:Running time: 24:58 / File size: 17.1 MB

Discuss this episode on the forums: http://www.hmfy.com/masterplan/forum/comments.php?DiscussionID=21

Nov 10 2007

24mins

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Rank #16: Master Plan #27: Designing from Other Games 1, Willow Palecek

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Master Plan #27: Designing from Other Games 1, Willow Palecek

Ryan kicks off this new series on designers discussing their experiences designing from other games by talking to new publisher Willow Palecek. She's recently published Awesome Adventures, her derivative of Evil Hat's FATE system. They talk for a bit about why she started with FATE, the reasons behind some of her design choices, and what sort of issues she's faces in playtesting those choices. After that, Ryan mentions a couple other podcasts where you can hear him talk and April's Sponsor Quote.

Willow Palecek & Awesome Adventures:Places where Ryan won't shut up:Other mentions:Running time: 27:00 / File size: 18.6 MB

Discuss this episode on the forums: http://www.hmfy.com/masterplan/forum/comments.php?DiscussionID=30

Apr 18 2008

27mins

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Rank #17: Master Plan #28: Have Master, Will Plan 1, part 2

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Have Master, Will Plan #1 with Paul Tevis, part 2

  • 0:34 This episode is the second part of a conversation between Ryan Macklin and Paul Tevis at the second Nerdly Beach Party. Pick up the first half over on Have Games, Will Travel.
  • 1:19 If you like this show, check out RPGPodcasts.com.
  • 1:28 Ryan and Paul talk about Project Cowbell, their attempt to recapture their convention gaming roots, and how that play style differs from what they've been doing recently.
  • 8:10 - Sprigboarding off the idea of making clear what parts of a design are important, Paul and Ryan talk about how they address the issue of modular design in A Penny For My Thoughts.
  • 17:08 - Finally coming around to the original premise for this episode, Paul and Ryan talk about how publication is not the end-point, what they mean by development, and their collaboration style.
  • 29:31 - And that's it from the Nerdly Beach Party 2. A big thanks to Albert, Nancy, and Josh for organizing it!
Running time: 30:50 / File size: 21.2 MB

Discuss this episode on the forums: http://www.hmfy.com/masterplan/forum/comments.php?DiscussionID=31

Apr 25 2008

30mins

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Rank #18: Master Plan #47: Tangibility in Mechanics

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After an unintended hiatus, Ryan's back with an episode about something near and dear to his heart -- thinking about the tangible qualities that mechanics have. He talks about how people should be looking at what their mechanics are causing players to do with their hands, because it's in that space where some people are better able to connect with the game. After giving an overview of the idea, he discusses four games and how they use this idea in their mechanical design.

Games Mentioned:
This episode is sponsored by RPGNow.com.

Running time: 26:40 / File size: 18.4M

Discuss this episode on the forums

May 13 2009

26mins

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Rank #19: Master Plan #26: Jennifer Rodgers on Working With Artists

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Ryan talks with Jennifer Rodgers, artist & colorist, about what a game designer should expect to know and should expect to find out in talking with an artist such as herself. They get a bit in-depth about her specific process, and she talks about some of the things she's learned over her time working with clients. Afterward, Ryan mentions BoardGamePodcasts.com, follows up on some comments made about episode 25, and thanks his awesome listeners for supporting him, criticizing him and in general being there to listen.

Jennifer Rodgers:Other mentions:Running time: 29:25 / File size: 20.2 MB

Discuss this episode on the forums: http://www.hmfy.com/masterplan/forum/comments.php?DiscussionID=29

Mar 28 2008

29mins

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Rank #20: Master Plan #46: Designing Epic-Scale Games with Josh Roby Part 2, and Power of Names

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On this episode, we continue the discussion with Josh Roby about making epic-scale games, with the third of three points: respect, from the point of view of a game respecting its own epic conceit and NPCs respecting epic-scale PCs. Josh also gives an interesting answer to Ryan asking about how his previous master plan is coming along. Afterward, Ryan talks about "the power of names" -- exploring an idea that the names we give terms in our games have a dramatic impact to how well they're understood, illustrated by two counter-examples he's recently come across in other games and one in Mythender.

Josh Roby:
Other mentions:
This episode is sponsored by RPGNow.com.

Running time: 21:44 / File size: 15.0M

Discuss this episode on the forums

Mar 26 2009

21mins

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