An experiment of sorts

So, the other day, I found myself at the local Wal-Mart, where back-to-school sales were in full swing. Yeah, I know that it’s July, but we homeschool anyways, so I’m out of sync with the regular school calendar. All I know is that office supplies were on sale!

I really geek out about office supplies and posterboard. There’s this hovering presence of possibility around all that paper. Like, I should do something with all of it.

I managed to escape having only bought some pens, mechanical pencils, index cards, and three composition notebooks. I want to talk about those composition notebooks. The rest makes sense if you’re a roleplayer. I mean, just add dice and you can play just about any game on the market. Sure, I’d be curious to see a Burning Empires character written up on index cards, too, but it could be done.

But those notebooks….

I have various spiral notebooks floating around. They contain my scratch paper. When I need paper, that’s where I go. They have also contained design notes for games that I’m working on. Invariably, the notebook gets lost or raided for scratch paper. So, I’m going to try working with these composition notebooks. Each draft game I’m working on will get a notebook. (Yes, do the math….) Then, when I have an idea, I’ll scrawl it in the notebook. This way, I’m actually using manual means (instead of Google Docs or the like) to capture my thoughts, and it will serve as a consolidated design diary of sorts.

Also, I’ll be able to put the title on the front cover. That’ll help give some focus to the use of the book, I think.

At least, that’s the theory. I’ll let you know how it goes.


5 responses to “An experiment of sorts

  • Anna

    I tried that, and I wound up losing the books, or using them for other stuff, or just not using them. Google Docs works better for me, weirdly. But hey, to each their own.

  • Seth Ben-Ezra

    Yeah. That’s the problem I had with using spiral-bound notebooks. I’m hoping that these will have enough “weight” that I won’t do that.

    Or, maybe I’m just trying to justify having bought some nifty notebooks. That’s also a distinct possibility. 😀

  • James Brown

    I do my best writing at a keyboard, but my best thinking away from it. What I tend to do is print off a draft of the rules, and throw it in a clipboard. That clipboard then becomes the ‘home’ of that game, and gets playtest characters thrown in it, collects scribbles and scraps, and eventually gets compiled into the next draft, which gets printed out [and so on, and so on].


  • Tim Koppang

    Hurray notebooks! I filled up two with design notes for Mars Colony. When I got the itch to write on the computer instead of the notebook, I knew it was time to stop pondering and start making the game more concrete. When each of the two previous versions of the game crashed, I knew it was time to return to the notebooks.

    Advice: don’t treat the notebooks like they’re sacred (you’ll end up not using them). Just write. Do stick them in your bag and carry them with you so that they’re handy.

  • Seth Ben-Ezra


    Thanks for the advice! Right now, yeah, those notebooks live in my bag for easy scribbling access. I hadn’t thought about the “computer itch”, but I’ll have to watch for it. That process feels like it’ll work out well for me.


    Yeah, I do my best writing at a keyboard, too, but I’m trying to work on that. Maybe it’s my latent Luddite or something. 🙂

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