The Playtest is dead, long live the Playtest.

So the playtest hasn't worked out the way I had hoped, and it's largely my own fault. If anyone actually playtested the documents I put out, I haven't gotten any reports. 

There are a couple of reasons for this that come down to my own mistakes. 

  1. The first document was a bit hard for people to understand. I perhaps didn't write it effectively. This is the version of the game I ran for my players in the crash test, and it was closer to modelling the Kabbalistic concepts than the next one was. It at least intrigued people, and there was a lot of discussion about this version. 
  2. In an effort to make the game more accessible, I dumbed it down. This took a lot of time (too long), as it was like taking a car apart and building a motorcycle from the parts. I didn't communicate well during this time, as I kept thinking it was "just a few more days" until it would be ready. 

In version 2, I changed things that I wasn't really happy changing in the interest of making the game more easily communicated, like changing the mechanical resolution-based Powers like "Counter" (each of which could serve as a core mechanic for a game), into what amounted to combat stances, like "Challenge". The perceived benefit of this on my part was that these stances became ways to model Burdens or liabilities; for example, when you have a Challenge as a factor, you have a handicap, as opposed to the Challenge Move, which amounts to an attack.

Version 2 was easily understood but didn't result in any real discussion. On another site, however, someone in the playtest thanked me for distilling the game, so it was read. This was heartening, but lack of further feedback or playtest reports soured me even more on this version. This is my own fault, of course- I'm not blaming anyone. It's my job to fire the readers and players up, and I didn't do that. 

Having my document be read and understood are good things, but without people playing or even caring about the game, it will never gain an audience. This is actually fine with me, but only if I myself am happy with the game.  In the months since version 2, there has been no activity on the Slack group, to the point that I'd have to start a new playtest if I wanted to have one. The response has been a big "Meh", including from myself. 

So, I'm developing the next version based on the original playtest version. Some Keys have changed as my understanding of the system and Kabbalah has advanced, but the core principles will be similar- the intro to the game will have multiple resolution systems in it, for use in various types of situations. Any of these will be useful as a core resolution system in a Tribute Spin that you make, and all of them might have uses in a raw version of the game, depending on the circumstances in play. In practice, it's not as overwhelming as it sounds. Things like armor or other ablative meters are generalized to the point that they can serve as a way to resolve a conflict, just as they are in other games; the difference in Tribute is that you can make this kind of thing into a core resolution mechanic, rather than a situational one, if you like.  

I'll try to do better to make the next version comprehensible, taking lessons I've learned from version 2. I'm exploring ways to simplify the toolkit aspects of the system as well, and avoiding overemphasis on the game's Kabbalistic roots that may lead to information overload. I'll put almost all of that stuff in an appendix, or separate document for the interested. If it makes sense when I have the revised rules written, I might make the whole game one document divided into sections for Aleph, Mem, and Tav. Whatever makes sense, and no promises as to the system's final form. 

I'm doing a private playtest, and plan to do a soft launch, or "open playtest" with my latest version. You'll be seeing that soon, on a geological scale, at least- it will most certainly be the next thing I do to update this site. I will likely adjust the Tribute Pitch page accordingly beforehand to be ready for putting the PDFs up for download.

I can give no firm deadline on this, but will go wide with promotion when I'm happy with it. I'm hoping for some time early in the New Year.  Historically, deadlines and Tribute development haven't been friends. Nearly 14 years fo work attests to that. 

Please remember, though, that Yetzriah Games is not a company, so expectations of promptness and "customer service" don't really apply. It's my personal site with potential for more at a later date. Thanks for understanding, and hopefully, good things will come out of this arrangement between those of you reading, and me. This comes with a caveat, however; the more feedback from people wanting the game I see, the more likely I am to put a fire under myself, while the converse is also true. Otherwise, it will happen on my own time. 

If you're still interested in Tribute, check in once in a while. I will be doing private playtesting, as mentioned, and if you want to see the current documents when they're ready, use the site's contact form and I'll get in touch. Thanks for reading. 

-R. Scott Kennan