October 12, 2008

Open Game Table: The 2008 Anthology of Roleplaying Game Blogs

I would like to propose a new publication for the RPG community - "Open Game Table: The 2008 Anthology of Roleplaying Game Blogs".

I'm not a publisher, but Lulu can take care of that. I'm not a designer, but I'm sure I can get people to help. I'm not a editor, but putting together something like this would give me that experience. I am a, however, passionate about gaming, and the RPG blogging network is one of the better online communities with which I've had the pleasure of interacting. Now, before I explain what the heck "Open Game Table" would be, allow me to provide you with some background.

Professionally speaking, I'm a scientist. I also have a (much less updated) blog I maintain that is work related (workingthebench.com). My science blog is a bit older than this one, but my interest in updating it daily is fairly low (?). In the time I've been into science blogging, I've discovered that the community of science bloggers has done a couple of things very well: 1) science blogging carnivals are a regular occurrence and cover a wide range of topics; and 2) there is an annual science blog anthology about the best of science blogging that is published each year. The grass roots passion science bloggers have for their subject area is, in all honesty, infective. My involvement with the sciblog community is whole reason why I maintain four blogs right now, with The Core Mechanic the one I enjoy writing the most. There a number of parrallels between the RPG blogging community and that of the science blogging community: 1) passion for the subject area; 2) many topics for active 'discussion' or outright debate; and 3) a constant stream of creative ideas from many talented people. I could even argue that there are similarities between the RPG Bloggers Network and the multimillion dollar ScienceBlogs.com network (not including the money of course).

The third part above is what I'm concerned about. Yes, concerned. There's an idea out there that internet is a collective stream of consciousness and that information is effectively lost in that stream due to the inherent decentralization of it. Basically, as more and more information gets online - it becomes increasingly hard to find it. Google helps, of course, but there is something else that helps: active aggregation of information. Technorati helps to aggregate, as does the Blog Catalog or any number of other generic services that are on the net (StumbleUpon, Digg, etc). These services aim to make it easier to find blog posts that 'matter' and are inline with whatever your interest is. There's a more grass roots solution to this problem though - and that is for the sources of information (the blogs in this case) to form collectives and focus their communities. For RPG blogs, the RPG Blog Carnival is an example of this sort of activity. The RPG Bloggers Network is another example.

But even still, information gets lost in the stream.

The science blogging community has done many things to aggregate its information, but in 2006 they took one more step towards aggregation. One very forward thinking blogger decided to create an annual anthology of science blogs and created, "The Open Laboratory: The Best Writing on Science Blogs 2006". It was a huge success, and they received literally hundreds of submissions. 218 were chosen as a semi-finalists and fifty were accepted . The final blog posts were wrapped up into published book, and sold at Lulu.com as either a PDF or a printed book. The anthology was so successful that they repeated it in 2007 and the competition was even more fierce - 53 posts made it into the 2007 anthology. Currently, the organizers of the anthology are in the process of producing the 2008 anthology.

Why does this matter at all?

Well... for me, the very of notion of being a blogger myself can be attributed to the 2006 edition of The Open Laboratory. I was standing in a bookstore, and there it was sitting on the self. I picked it up and was dumbfounded. Here was a collection of articles (posts) written by people with names like "Drug Monkey" or "Bioephemera". A collection of writings that instantly resonated with me. I bought a copy, and even two years later I still occasionally open it up to read something again. And from what I can tell, the presence of the blogging anthology in bookstores (and at conferences) drew a number of new people to the science blogging community who never had blogged before. I was not alone.

I propose that we create an anthology of RPG blogging entitled "Open Game Table: The 2008 Anthology of Roleplaying Game Blogs". This will give many people the opportunity to really hone their writing, editing, and design skills and get published. The anthology itself could also bring a whole new flood of new people to the community - thereby expanding our base, while focusing our core. It will also bring attention to many (many!) of the hidden gems that are out there in the RPG blogging community.

Now, I may be too small of a fish to get this properly started, who knows; so I'll need your help.

If you are a blogger who would like to support this effort, then please
  1. post a link back to this article on your own blog. The more eyes I have reading this post the better, because I'll need all the help I can get to pull it off.
  2. leave a comment here and let me know if you are willing to help with any of the following, and what your experience level is.
    1. editing entries, layout and design of the document
    2. judging / reviewing entries
    3. contributing artwork (cover art, internal art, etc)
    4. designing a logo for Open Game Table for contributing/supporting blogs and websites to use on their sites.
    5. submitting articles to the anthology.
My immediate task list for this project is 1) find out who wants to help. 2) figure out the size/scope of the anthology (what is possible realistically to do). and 3) begin accepting and reviewing entries for publication. To get an idea as to the amount of work that is required, and what is involved, please check out the post about how Open Laboratory got started. It's inspiring.

I'm crossing my fingers - but I am really looking forward to seeing this project come to life.

EDIT - and update to this announcement was published here : http://thecoremechanic.blogspot.com/2008/10/open-game-table-clarification-and.html


  1. Hey Jonathan, I'm in. :)

    I'm good with words, and not much else. I'm great at editing the work of others, and I'd love to contribute an article to the anthology. I'll pass this along to the Unnatural20 team members here and see if any of them would be interested in helping out, but no promises; I keep them pretty busy already. ;)

  2. I'm intrigued and would be willing to help out if this gets off the ground.

    I can judge/review/edit/submit things. In a pinch, I can help out with layout and design.

  3. I would love to help. Just let me know what I can do. I'd be more than willing to do any graphic design you need, though I'm not much of artist outside of graphic design. I can also write any articles you need on any subject.

  4. I think this is an incredible idea.

  5. Interesting idea! I'll try to post/link on this during the week.

  6. minor correction holmes....no actual DrugMonkey posts in the anthologies yet. Interesting translation of the idea though

  7. As loathe as I am to make any sort of commitment to a new project, I think this is a great idea. I'm most of the way through my Master's Degree in Publications Design, so I can help out with a few things along those lines. Also promotion on the network, and all those good things.

  8. An inspiring idea. I would be willing to help anyway I could. Editing, judging, or art. Though I don't know what kind of credentials you would be looking for.

  9. I should have added I'd also be interested in whipping up or selecting something from my site to submit.

    (Oh, and I'll have a post scheduled to go Tuesday on this).

  10. I'm in, and I'll have a link to it as soon as I can come up with something. I might be able to help with the editing, as well; I was trained by a professional freelancer.

  11. Hey again, Jonathan. I forgot to mention that my experience level is... intermediate? I have a degree in professional communications with a focus on creative and technical writing, and about three years of experience writing and editing for software, film production, and local magazines.

  12. I wouldn't mind helping out with such a project, time permitting, although my artistic skills are not so much lacking as nonexistent.

  13. Just wanted to say that this sounds like a really cool idea!

  14. Hey all! WOHOO! thanks for all your supporting comments! There are a number of issues to work out, of course, which include (but are not limited to) intellectual property rights (IP), d20 license / GSL, artwork, format (as in size), cost for materials, price point (cheap), etc etc. I have no doubt all these things can be worked out, and I'm really looking forward to working with all of you! Watch this thread for more updates...

  15. I just featured your post on the RPGBlogger's network.

    I'll also provide a post... Keep us posted.

  16. I'm in too. I have experience editing, so I'll volunteer for that. I'll also volunteer for judging and will also submit some articles.

  17. Hey everyone! Just a quick update... in order to focus our discussion about this project a bit more, I've created a google groups that I would ask you all to join. Please visit the OPEN GAME TABLE google group and sign up.

    I also want to encourage everyone who has left a comment here to submit at least two blog posts to the Anthology for review: 1 of your own posts and 1 post by another blogger that you enjoyed reading and consider a "must read" for gamers.

    The submission for the Anthology is here: The submission for the Anthology is here: http://rpganthology.wufoo.com/forms/open-game-table-2008/

    You can submit as many posts as you want, the more the better at this point since we have only received two entries thus far.

    Again.. thank you for your support! This is going to be a hellalot of fun to put together and a great experience for many of us who are complete publishing n00bs (me). I'm looking forward to moving this project forward!

  18. Copy/pasted from RPG Bloggers google group for coverage:

    ...Of course, the author will
    have to consent to have the post published before the Anthology is
    released. Let me be clear

    -- no published post from any blog will be published without the
    blogger's consent --

    Last night I surfed around and posted comments on several blogs where
    I really loved the post and told them that I submitted their post for
    _consideration_. In the future, I will be more clear and let people
    know that their work will not be published unless they consent. I am
    merely following the same format that the crew at Open Laboratory
    followed while assembling the Science Blog Anthology. Blog readers
    submit their favorite blog post - the blogger who authored it is then
    asked for permission - and if it passes review, it was published. It
    becomes a logistics problem if we first have to ask the bloggers
    themselves to release their material before it is nominated for
    inclusion into the Anthology.

    i hope this clears up some things. Also, on my main page I'll have a "clarifications" post about Open Game Table so that some of these issues can be addressed.

  19. I like it. I will throw my hat in, when this has got a little more meat hanging from these bones.

    Until then, I will be watching with interest...

  20. Hey all! This is just a quick reminder that there is less than 1 week left for NOMINATIONS to the Anthology! So, if you haven't already done so - please nominate a post or two from your favorite RPG blog for inclusion in the Anthology as soon as possible!

    Here are some useful links -



    By filling out any one of the above forms you also have the option to be included in a random drawing for a free copy of the book once it is published.

    As a final note: if you are an RPG blogger who would like to support this project, then please do so by posting about it on your own blog.

    Thank you!

  21. Hey Great post. Really a very nice piece of information. Newbies like me get a good idea about this... I'm going to comment now... I think i did it. Thank you..


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