shock: social science fiction

November 24th, 2005

I’m a pretty serious geek. I build electronics (details about the electification of the Whackinstick are coming soon). I head straight for the Preferences menu item as soon as I get a new piece of software and immediately begin a critique of its user interface. I’ve been known to play video games until my eyes have dried up, falled out, a technology for eyeball-replacement has been invented, and my eyeballs have been replaced.

So it should come as no surprise to readers of that I love me some role-playing games.

I’m fussy, though. I can’t stand video games that have time limits, I can’t stand nonstandard electronic components (that is, most of them), and bad software design burns me up. Likewise, I can’t stand bullshit role-playing games.

So, like so many before me, I decided to fix the problem. With the assistance of the extraordinary creative community of The Forge, I released Under the Bed at GenCon Indy, last August. It’s a weird little game for weird roleplayers. It’s been selling much better than anticipated, but it’s a game about child endangerment that uses handfuls of 8-sided dice. Not a mainstream product, even in the fringe world of RPGs.

I’ve got another project that I’m working on, too. Shock: Social Science Fiction is a game about building a world and fiction therein to talk about societal-level issues. It has none of the crap I hate about so many RPGs, and is built around composing worlds and characters as metaphor, just like science fiction has always done.

It will be released in full form in March, but you can download playtest version 0.1.0 and play it with your friends. It’s substantially different from a lot of mainstream games like a lot of stuff gestated on The Forge, so there’s a lot of playtesting to be done.

I’ll announce 0.2.0 when it’s ready, probably in a few weeks.

2 Responses to “shock: social science fiction”

  1. Jeff says:

    I don’t pretend to understand a lot of what you’re doing here, but I respect the hell out of it. Nice work on the PDF — there are many pretty pictures than even I can comprehend.

  2. Joshua says:


    There will be more pictures as the concepts get clearer and I figure out what needs clarifying.