This is what I mean by my warmups for 24-Hour Comics Day making less sense than Zap Comix #24hcd


This little doodle might be accessible to you if you’ve been following
along with my efforts to combine the fourth dimension with the Glass
Bead Game in my interactive fiction in progress, Symbol Chess. On the
other hand, if even what I just said doesn’t make sense to you,
perhaps not.

The rules say you can’t prepare for the event directly
( The whole work must be created at
the event. And so for the last day or so I’ve been decreasingly
confident I can spin out a plotline or something like one for 24 pages
in 24 hours this weekend. But just now I’ve been letting myself range
freely in my imagination over the space of possibilities, and I’m
feeling a bit more certain I can find some form or genre I can sustain
for a whole comic, without resorting to a wretched “coffeeshop
autobiography” (you know what I mean, right?).

Wish me luck. If I’m stuck, or way ahead, I may blog from the event.

Twelve-Minute Comics presents… (of #24HCD interest)

In preparation for 24-Hour Comics Day
( ), on the advice of people who’ve been
there, I attempted to draw a single page of comics tonight as fast as
I could, which turned out to be 12 minutes. Since you’re supposed to
draw 24 pages in 24 hours, I feel more confident now.

Sure, it’s a little stream-of-consciousness, but a lot of 24-Hour
Comics end up that way. What can you do in one page anyway? I have
some inklings of plotlines for my 24-pager.

Tools used:

* Half a letter-sized page from my catch (all-purpose notebook that
goes everywhere with me) — don’t try to decipher my notes from the
other side!
* Four-color Bic ballpoint pen
* Ubuntu netbook
* Wikipedia
* Oblique Strategies:
* Not a thought in my head when I started

What do you think? Does it bode well? It made my wife Marty laugh, so I’m inclined to think it has some entertainment value. I detect a Crumb influence myself, which surprises me.

The gamer as mentat

“Playing strategic tabletop games requires that individuals think like
a computer. It requires that players follow a set of relatively
uncomplicated rules with a few (relatively circumscribed) decision
points for which players have voluminous data…

These parallels suggest that players of boardgames are engaged in
computational thinking, without ever touching a computer. I therefore
posit that strategic tabletop games are a productive way for humans to
learn the basic elements of computational thinking—that tabletop games
can be computational-thinking training machines…

I would suggest that the spread of the modern strategic boardgame in
the US became possible only after the spread of broadband access and
computer use. All material technology for these games has existed for
upwards of two hundred years at a relatively low cost; it is the form
of cognition that was not immediately available. These games only
became fun to Americans when they became better prepared to “think
like computers,” if only at a surface level.”

–Matthew Berland, “The Study of Tabletop Games: Understanding
Strategic Boardgames as Computational-Thinking Training Machines” in
_Tabletop: Analog Game Design_, Greg Costikyan and Drew Davidson et
al., 2011

Mindhacker news

1. We’ve known for a week or two that Mindhacker will be translated
into Korean, as Mind Performance Hacks was.

2. The first review of Mindhacker has appeared, on a site called The Lucid Blog.

This piece also showed up as a five-star reader review on Mindhacker’s
Amazon page.

That’s all for now.

24-Hour Comics Day in Seattle! (in Lakewood!) #24hcd

Today I visited one of the only Seattle-area venues for 24-Hour Comics
Day 2011 ( Comic
Book Ink ( It’s actually in Lakewood,
which is south of Tacoma.

I’m happy to report it’s a big, clean, brightly-lit store. It has
about eight giant tables, which is great, because last year they had
about a dozen attendees for 24HCD, and it was only the first year in
their new location, thus they expect more this year, or so I was told
by Alex, the extremely friendly staff member on hand.

They do have wifi, so bring your laptop if you need reference
material. I am told there is also a bar in the same plaza if you need
some liquid inspiration at 1 AM on the day.

Lakewood has a reputation for being scary, but the plaza itself could
hardly have been more boring and suburban when I visited it. There is
a big wig shop with a giant WIGS sign, so I guess there’s that, and
it’s a good landmark.

While I was there, I bought copies of the inch-and-a-half-thick Too
Much Coffee Man Omnibus (because too much is never enough) and Star
Trek: Expeditions, the recent cooperative game by Reiner Knizia, based
on the 2009 movie. Support your local comics shop!

Sad truths about (some) gamers

“Just as digital game players have problems divorcing an understanding
of mechanics from the visuals to which they are exposed, a Eurogamer’s
judgment of a title may be as much informed by its production values
as its actual gameplay.”

— Greg Costikyan, “Boardgame Aesthetics”, Tabletop: Analog Game Design, 2011.

See also “The Unboxed Games Manifesto”, Mindhacker,