Last month I got on my soapbox about prep, specifically talking about how it does not matter how long your prep is, and I thought I would stay on the topic and talk about how I prep a game today. This article will be a snapshot of my prep process because this is a GM skill that constantly...
Two Page Prep
Today, my prep is basically two pages, or one-page front and back, if you are getting really technical. That is not a constraint, but rather where I wind up. That prep is good for 4-8 hours of play, depending on how hard I am driving the game. I don’t have a single format, allowing the prep to fit the structure of what I am playing, but I do have elements that are always present. When I run a game for the first time, I usually spend a bit of time figuring out the template for my prep, which involves incorporating the important elements I need with the overall structure of the game. For instance: In my prep for Blades in the Dark, the middle portion of my prep is sectioned into Freeplay, The Job, and Downtime, to reflect the three major phases of the game.
As with any good project - the time put in is essential. In fact, before a game is even programmed, I'm thinking - as this article suggests - that hours are put into thinking up every scene. Anyway, this is - of course, the same thing as you'd see in making a novel, writing a screenplay, you name it.
Anyway, who has attempted to make a game? How much time did you put into thinking about it? I mean, myself, I haven't made a game - but I'm doing online musical project - and it requires a lot of thinking ahead of time, though, I haven't really measured - how much I've done!