The podcast above is an interview with GnomeWorks creator Eric Brown. Read on as you listen to get a little more context for those unfamiliar with table-top gaming.
Check out this new product for pen-and-paper roleplaying games. It may be made of wood, but that’s actually a sign of its innovative, long-term approach to design and entertainment.
Sometimes it’s good to go analog.
As a nerd of the card-carrying variety, I love it when people remind us that not all technologies use rare-earth materials and an electronic charge. Especially when it comes to one of my all-time favorite pastimes: Role-playing games, or RPGs for short.
That’s right, role playing. Pen-and-paper role playing, to be precise. I’ve been an avid pen-and-paper gamer since I was 13, and I have years of knowledge about Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) to prove it.
Rather than boast about my RPG creds, though, I want to talk about a new product that I’ve seen haunting the halls of Kickstarter. It’s called GnomeWorks, and I think it’s pretty amazing.Pen-and-paper RPGs can get messy. #disorganized #papereverywhereClick To Tweet
Why use Something like GnomeWorks?
You may be asking yourself what a blog that stays on the bleeding edge of tech has to do with something so low-tech as RPGs are.
Well, if you’ve ever played an RPG, you know that there are multitudes of game enhancing tools of the trade, all of which are some kind of innovation in their own right. For the uninitiated, let me start by explaining this: Pen-and-paper gaming can be extremely messy and disorganized.
Let’s just use D&D as an example, since it’s easily the most recognizable game in the genre.
Imagine you are playing D&D for the first time.
You pick a class, make a character on paper, and vow to never forget to bring it to the game. Or, you leave it with the GM or DM (Game master or Dungeon master–the person who administers the game) and force them to be the responsible one. Whatever works.
By this time, you already have a few sheets of paper to represent your character. However, no matter what class you picked there are tons of bells and whistles for you to remember. Especially if you are a magic user.
To compensate, you have as many notes that you keep with your character to remind you what they can do.
And since nothing is really static, you end up having to erase those notes and rewrite them as you level up, or take damage, or go blind. Yeah, I went incurably blind in a game once.
Anything can happen, after all.
After a while, your character sheet dies the death of a thousand erased and re-written notes. The only option you have at that point is to make a new one.
What if someone just designed a quality, highly-reusable set of materials for table-top RPGs? That’s where GnomeWorks comes in.
How GnomeWorks Comes to the Rescue
The market for RPGs is pretty extensive, so it’s natural that people would want to innovate and cash in on the demand. On the digital end, you have companies like Lone Wolf Development and Syrinscape. These companies make digital character sheets and sound effects, respectively, for GMs.RPG tools are very marketable, thanks to Kickstarter. #thankskickstarterClick To Tweet
But for those who love the feel of something real, there are companies like GnomeWorks. GnomeWorks makes wooden tools that are portable, stylish, and above all, extremely useful for gamers.
Keeping Your Tabletop Clean with GnomeWorks
Let’s go back to my earlier example of overused character sheets.
With all of the marks and erasures that you have to make during the course of a game, it’s impossible to keep your character sheet clean.
Plus, if you are a magic user, you have sheets upon sheets of paper to record all of your spells. This, of course, includes notes that help you keep up with how much magic you have left in the day.
With GnomeWorks’ Hit Point Tracker and Spell Tracker, however, you don’t have to make a single mark on your character sheet during the game. The trackers look like simple tablets cut out of fine wood, with small numbered pegs to keep count.
You wouldn’t think that such a thing is a big tech innovation when it comes to D&D, but it is. For people like me, with bad handwriting and equally bad organizational skills, this makes playing a complicated character far more accessible.
GnomeWorks also has a dice container and a dice rolling box, so you’ll never lose track of your lucky dice.
All of this is amazing stuff, and while it doesn’t sound like a new idea, I just haven’t seen anything like it. We can thank Kickstarter for enabling the company, as well as many others like it.
Could GnomeWorks Work for Other Games?
My favorite part of the GnomeWorks package is that it is more versatile than perhaps intended. It would work for many RPGs, but that’s not all. For instance, if you play a ton of tabletop wargames (a totally different animal from D&D), GnomeWorks is still quite useful.
When you have armies of miniatures that all have different levels of hit points, you have to be able to keep track of it all somehow. I really, really want the hit point tracker for this reason: it would be perfect for the task.
At the end of the day, GnomeWorks is an add-on to your RPG package. It assumes that you already have a table, books, and character sheets. Miniatures are optional, but they can make everything so much more fun.
If you’re new to role-playing games or are old hat like me, GnomeWorks can help give you the organization that you crave, or don’t already have. That’s an innovation that can draw new players into the hobby, or keep old players from leaving it.
What’s innovative here and what we at Edgy Labs have clued in on is that these are products that leverage existing technologies to create a new solution for table-top gaming entertainment. The GnomeWorks set is durable, beautiful, and will last you a long time.