Your Best Game Ever!

Created by Monte Cook Games

Get an insider’s look at everything that isn’t part of the game rules—building chemistry in your gaming group, making a character you will love and remember forever, running engaging and exciting games your players will always look forward to, creating thrilling adventures, finding all the right ideas, hosting memorable game nights…and loads more! If you play or run roleplaying games, Your Best Game Ever is for you. Inside this gorgeous hardcover book, suitable for your coffee table or your gaming table, you will find great advice and specific suggestions you can incorporate into every game to enhance your RPG experience at the table and away from it. But that’s not everything we’re offering. We’ve also funded a new version of the Cypher System Rulebook, which lets you use the award-winning game engine from Numenera to run any campaign you like. And we’re making several genre books as well: The Stars Are Fire, Stay Alive!, Godforsaken, and We Are All Mad Here. Each of these books incorporates the best advice and techniques from Your Best Game Ever.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Callisto 6 from Geek & Sundry!
5 months ago – Mon, Aug 06, 2018 at 12:17:50 AM

Thanks to you, we have unlocked Stay Alive!, a horror-themed sourcebook and setting, and last week we unlocked The Stars Are Fire, a science-fiction-themed book. Things are moving fast and there’s still more to come! But speaking of science fiction and the Cypher System, Geek & Sundry just announced that their live play web series, Shield of Tomorrow, is ending and a new show, Callisto 6, is taking its place

The show will have the same cast and the same GM (Eric Campbell, who also happens to also be one of the consulting experts on Your Best Game Ever). However, it will utilize a brand new cyberpunk/sci-fi/superhero setting built by Eric Campbell and Sam de Leve for the Cypher System. Monte’s been consulting with them to help pull things together and we’re really excited about the show. You can bet we’ll be there watching and we think all Cypher System fans should check it out. If Shield of Tomorrow is any indication, this will be a great show, with a fun cast and a great GM.

Existing Shield of Tomorrow and Callisto 6 fans might consider getting their hands on the Cypher System Rulebook to see how the game works, and run games of your own. The I Want It Now! level gets you the rules as soon as the campaign closes to dive right in. And it gets you the new rulebook when that releases, as well as a copy of Your Best Game Ever, of course.

However, since Callisto 6 is a sci-fi setting, fans will want to get The Stars Are Fire as well, and the best value there would be the I Want It All and I Want It Now! backer level, which gets you the rules when the Kickstarter closes, the new rulebook, Your Best Game Ever and Your Best Game Ever Deluxe, The Stars Are Fire, Stay Alive!, and very likely a lot more, as there’s still a lot of this campaign left to unlock new books and other cool stuff.

Stay tuned tomorrow for an update from Bruce R. Cordell that gives more details about The Stars are Fire!

Stay Alive! is Alive!
5 months ago – Sun, Aug 05, 2018 at 06:22:43 PM

We can all stay alive now! We’ve unlocked the latest goal, and it’s a horror-themed book—yeah, you guessed it by now—titled Stay Alive! This 160-page intense hardcover book will cover running and playing a horror game. It will provide rules and stats for zombies, vampires, tentacled horrors, elder gods, insanity, fear, and much more. It will also include an entire campaign setting built using the guidelines in Your Best Game Ever. Ever wanted to really instill some fear into your friends (in a good way)? This book will be for you. The lead designer will be Sean K Reynolds.

This book will be added for free to the I Want it All! pledge level and above, and is available as an add-on. And if you’re a horror game superfan you might want to take a look at the Early Playtest Access add-on or the I Want It All and I Want My Say! to get to see it early and even provide feedback.

And can I take a moment to point you at the I Want it All! pledge level? Because at this point, this backer level is a really good deal—and look how much of the campaign is left. It’s just going to get better and better from here. Every book, every upgrade, everything else we unlock in this campaign (and we have some cool surprises in mind)… you will get it all.

So what’s next, you ask? We thought we’d go in a different direction. Remember those Best Game Ever videos linked in the last update? We’d love to do more. But they take a lot of time to prepare and film. If we reach $190,000, we’ll pledge to do them regularly every two weeks (barring holidays and whatnot). What’s more, each installment will come with a pdf of an outline, key points, and show notes that you’ll all get for free. The whole thing will be free to all of you.

Thank you for your support. Hope you’re next game is your best game ever!

~Monte (and the whole MCG crew)

Upgrade to Your Best Game Ever Unlocked!
6 months ago – Thu, Aug 02, 2018 at 12:48:27 AM

Every version of Your Best Game Ever, both deluxe and standard, PDF and print, just got even better! Bigger, more beautiful, and funnier! 

And gaming pals, we have a great goal in mind next. But I’m not going to tell you what it is. What? Am I a jerk? Well, yes, probably. But instead, I’m just going to show you a mock-up of the cover art. It’s gorgeous, and you can guess what it might be. (And if you’re guessing it’s a whole new book, you’re on the right track.)

How can you find out what this is? Unlock it! We have to reach $175,000 to do so. We’ll have to keep sharing the details of this campaign far and wide to get there. Maybe even stop by a few game-related discussion forums or reddits? I bet there’s a Facebook group or fifty that would be interested to hear about this campaign. And if we do manage to unlock this goal we will… well, you’ll see…


Deluxe Version of Your Best Game Ever Unlocked!
6 months ago – Tue, Jul 31, 2018 at 10:31:26 PM

Yes! Now we get to have a gorgeous leatherbound version of Your Best Game Ever. It’s going to be amazing! We are going to make this a book that every roleplayer will shelve proudly next to their favorite game, no matter what that game may be. Like a badge of honor, it will complement your collection and show the world that you love RPGs.

As we mentioned before, this is added FREE to every backer level at I Want it All! and above! You can also add it on for $80. Or, if you're backing at a level that gets you just the regular version, you can upgrade to the deluxe for an additional $35. 

Best yet–if we hit the stretch goal to upgrade Your Best Game Ever with more pages, more art, and comics, that will be for both versions (in print and PDF). 

As a reminder, the next stretch goal makes Your Best Game Ever

• Bigger! More pages with more advice, suggestions, and material. Your Best Game ever will grow to 224 pages.

• More beautiful! We’ll add some beautiful new art to go along with the text—have we mentioned that we want this to be a book so gorgeous you’ll be proud to display it prominently?

• Funnier! We’ll gather together some great cartoonists including John Kovalic (Dork Tower), Vickie Lee (Dungeons and Doggos), Aviv Or (Up to Four Players), Brian Patterson (d20 Monkey), Len Peralta (Geek-a-Week), Alina Pete (Weregeek), and Stan! (Bolt and Quiver)  and we’ll have them create some game-themed cartoons to bring extra fun and levity to the book. 

We're getting close to this goal of $150,000! Let's get there so we share what else we'd like to make. Spread the word! 

~Monte (and the whole MCG team)

A Deeper Look at Your Best Game Ever, Part 2
6 months ago – Mon, Jul 30, 2018 at 11:08:34 PM

So, last time, we took a look at a specific issue that Your Best Game Ever will cover and showed the general approach the book will take. This time, we’ll look at another:  

Playing games online.

This is a fantastic opportunity that’s really only come to the fore in the last decade or so. It used to be that if your best gaming friends moved across the country, the game was over. But not anymore. Using a variety of methods, from Skype to Roll20 to a number of others, if everyone in the game has a webcam and a mic, you can all be sitting around the same virtual table even though you’re miles apart.

But while the technology’s not too challenging, running and playing the game can be. If you’re used to sitting in the same room with your friends, you’ll likely encounter what I’m going to call the invisible barrier between you all. You’re not in the same physical space, so a distraction for one person (a TV on in the next room, for example) isn’t a distraction for everyone else. Player attention wanders in a way that it might not if you were in the same locale—you’re all (by definition) sitting in front of a computer, and so you check email. Or social media. The technology gives the illusion of proximity, but there’s still a psychological distance between you all. The issue really comes down to communication and engagement. 

The invisible barrier’s not insurmountable. You just need a few guidelines to help get around it. And the first one is recognizing that it’s there. And recognizing that it’s going to affect different players differently. The person in the later time zone sitting in the dark starts to get sleepy. The person who’s more prone to distraction finds more opportunity to let their mind wander. Players who otherwise would be attentive if they were sitting among their friends just find that they cannot sit alone in a room doing nothing while someone else takes their turn; they start checking Instagram. Or playing a game on their phone.

The second guideline is to use visuals to stimulate interest and engagement. Many apps allow for screen sharing, or even have a built-in way to show an image or a map to help immerse everyone in the game. In some ways, this is an advantage to online gaming, particularly if you’re using an app that can actually show everyone the same map, indicate character positions on that map, and so on. And visuals aren’t just the GM’s responsibility. Players can find artwork that represents their character, or their favorite item, or the little town where they’re from.

Ironically, online gaming might be the time to break out some physical props—specifically, those that can be held up to the webcam for everyone to see. The bad guy just inflicted 7 points of damage on one of the PCs? The GM can hold up a playing card with a 7 on it. The player can then hold up their own card with a 7. Or maybe they hold up a 3, because that’s how many hit points they have left. This works for initiative and other mechanics as well.

Another way to deal with the invisible barrier is to turn up the volume on player agency. It’s always everyone’s responsibility to keep up the energy level in a game, and to help contribute to the story and make things interesting for everyone else. Players should take more upon themselves in an online game. One way to do that is for the group to agree that the players have more agency over the narrative and the world. Everyone’s going to pay extra attention—despite the barrier—if they can make suggestions to what’s going on around them. To facilitate this, the GM can call upon the players for contributions even—or perhaps particularly—when it’s not their turn. “Keith, what does the guard say when Sarah’s character approaches?” “Richard, what are the bystanders in the back doing?” This increases engagement. (This kind of thing isn’t everyone’s play style, of course, but it might be something to try. It’s something we’ll discuss for all games in further depth—and regardless of what your preference is, understanding where player agency over the narrative and the setting begins and ends is something the whole group should be comfortable with.)

These suggestions address engagement, but the other problem that occurs in online gaming is communication. Unlike at a table, online you can really only have one conversation at a time because if more than one person is speaking, you won’t hear any of them. Everyone on your screen has the same emphasis, while at a table, it’s likely there’s more focus on the GM (and certainly on the people you happen to be seated near).

Again, use technology rather fight against it. A player can text or direct message another player or the GM. The GM can give personal, pertinent information to just one player in the same way. Just don’t spend so much time typing that no one’s actually talking to each other. The GM has an advantage, though, as they can have messages of this sort already typed into a document and ready to quickly paste into a chat window.

This is only the start of what will be an entire chapter in Your Best Game Ever, but as I said before, I just want to give you an idea of the kind of material will be in this book, and why everyone who plays roleplaying games will want it on their shelf. This isn’t a book that advocates a certain play style. Instead, it embraces them all. If you’re a kick-down-the-door-and-kill-the-orc player, great! If you’re a deep, immersive storyteller, that’s great too. Either way, though, I want to really examine all the options and see if there aren’t some suggestions that can make your next game your best game ever.

In Part 3, I’ll cover one more topic—character arcs that can give your characters both depth and the impetus to set their own goals.