Hi all, and welcome to the Toonaria Campaign Setting! Toonaria is the backdrop of many stories I’ve written, but even more importantly, it is the backdrop of a large number of board and card games I’ve developed over the years, and is the official setting of the Epic Destinies Roleplaying Game currently under construction.
Ahem . . . okay, I’m assuming you’ve done that, so let’s forge ahead. I know I said I would give some examples of what characters can do in the setting today, but I think it would be best to tackle that next week. I think it would be interesting and certainly chronological to give some backstory first. Hope you don’t mind. I’ll be sure to give examples next week!
When I first sat down to create Toonaria, it was for the purpose of fleshing out the backgrounds for my board game designs (I love to play games with rich backstories). At the time, I was working on a game called Minotaur Madness. it featured 28 monsters (you formed teams and then selected one of 5 objectives and went head to head on a mountaintop that included hilly terrain, a tower, river, bridges and more. I think the original 3D mold I made weighed around 30 pounds.
My second version of the board was far lighter and prettier. My third was prettier still, but was flat, not 3 dimensional.) I’ve always been a real workhorse, designing like a mad man. Just wish I’d have pursued publishing and sorted out how to do it sooner (and I wish Kickstarter had been around back then!) On second thought, perhaps Kickstarter’s absence was for the best. Lacking money allowed me to mature as a writer/game designer/artist.
I still love those games and feel they hold up well even after all these years. Even so, I’ll give the best of them a critical eye, revamp them and polish them till they shine. Then I’ll take them through many playtesting phases, polish them some more until they’re ready to roll and the time is right. I’ve already started revamping one of my favorites, and it is exceeding all my expectations. Can’t wait to share the best with you!)
Backing up a bit again, I made a partial map of Toonaria and began writing short stories about the creatures in Minotaur Madness and about the great mountain top where the board game took place, as well as about the surrounding kingdoms. I didn’t know I’d keep going, but I think I was enjoying myself too much.
My next game design, Where The Grimmits Live, added a couple new stories and expanded the realm a little further. it is one of my favorite games, and will be the first (under the name Freeze Or Burn) that I will publish, likely. After that, I immediately began designing Color Confusion and blew the doors off the realms, expanding Toonaria considerably with a bunch of new creatures and a hard-hitting storyline. That’s when I knew that I had an epic realm, one that I could not stop thinking and writing about!
Yet, simultaneously, I was also designing the vast Cosmoverse and the Cosmothea Blended-Genre Roleplaying Game. As I was doing a ton of roleplaying in those days (when you’re young, you have time to burn), my focus shifted to the Cosmoverse. I kept writing about Toonaria here and there, and kept making game after game set in Toonaria, but the bulk of my time was invested in the Cosmoverse. That was in part because I wasn’t sure how to get board and card games on the market, and was broke.
I submitted Minotaur Madness (which was played on a 3 dimensional board and was therefore costly to make) to TSR around 1982 (they were the original publishers of Dungeons & Dragons). They liked it enough to go a few rounds with me for about a year and a half over possible publication. It was a really big game, included loads of art and stories. They kept requesting changes (mostly to the board), and tried to get the cost down. They were hurting really bad financially at the time, and weren’t prepared for a costly gamble. Ultimately, we parted ways.
I’m sure the game was rough around the edges. Thankfully, I’ve learned a few things about game design and finances over the years. With your help and Kickstarter, hopefully we’ll see some cool games hit your shelves in the days ahead!
I’ll be revisiting and revamping the very best of the two dozen plus games I’ve made over the past nearly 4 decades as I find time and money. You’ll likely see Freeze Or Burn on Kickstarter once it’s ready to roll.)
There’s more to tell, but this post has grown very long (sorry!)
Oh, and that lil fella above is called a Roboto, it is just one of many creatures you will be able to run in Epic Destinies when that rpg is ready. The roboto may appear harmless, but there’s a lot going on under the hood and it has a rich backstory as well. As with all of the core creatures you can run, it will come with a load of cool talent options.
I’ll be back next week to provide those adventure examples I promised. Like the blog if you do, and be sure to let me know your thoughts. Have you designed a game? I’d love to hear from you! Have a great week, friends. Cheers!