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:

A Deeper Look at Your Best Game Ever, Part 1
11 months ago – Mon, Jul 30, 2018 at 09:43:05 PM

Every hobby has a go-to guidebook. Definitive and broad in scope, it’s the thing that every seasoned veteran has, and it’s the book that every newcomer is encouraged to get. The one that comes to mind for me is Wonderbook by Jeff Vandameer, a very comprehensive look at writing science fiction and fantasy.

I’ve always felt that roleplaying games needed a book like this. Particularly now. Because the hobby’s been around for 40 years and yet we’re still seeing a wonderful influx of new people.

There have been books about gaming. About gamemastering. About playing. I’ve worked on more than a few myself. What makes Your Best Game Ever different?

It’s a how-to book for all the things that we take for granted, but probably shouldn’t. How do you find a good game group? How does a GM create an adventure suited to the people around their table? What do you do with the problem childish player that’s diminishing everyone’s fun? What are some tips for when you’re hosting the game in your home? What about if you’re playing online?

To give you an idea of what this book offers, let’s take a look at just one of those topics in more depth.

Let’s look at problem players. And in fact, let’s narrow in even more and look at one kind of problem player in specific: the player who’s always trying to run everyone else’s character.

You’ve likely seen it happen. It’s Sarah’s turn and Richard starts suggesting which spell she should cast or where her character should move. Or Keith states his character’s action but Richard interrupts and tells him what he should do instead. This kind of thing happens most often in tactical or action scenes. And it’s often the case that Richard is a more experienced player.

It can even go so far as when Sarah rolls for her action and Richard reads the die and announces the roll before she can. Maybe even having already added her die modifier for her.

Regardless of how it manifests, the situation is likely quite frustrating for Sarah and Keith. But if they say something, Richard just says that he’s trying to be helpful. And maybe in his mind, that’s true.

Like all such issues, this is a table problem, not a GM problem. So many times we rely on the GM to solve or arbitrate or police problems, but unless it directly involves GMing, that’s just not the case. That’s too much responsibility to give to just one person. Besides, in this scenario, the one offering the unsolicited suggestions might actually be the GM.

So Sarah and Keith need to speak up. Not in anger, but in a calm, straightforward matter and to Richard, but probably with the whole group present. “Let me play my character when it’s my turn,” they should say. “I know you want to help, but I won’t get to know how to do this as well as you do if I don’t make my own decisions.”  

But let’s look at it from Richard’s point of view for a moment. He loves the rules, most likely, and he’s showing enthusiasm for the game, even if it’s in an annoying way. He’s not entirely content just playing his own character. Sarah and Keith should agree that if they are stuck, or have rules questions, they’ll ask Richard. It might, in fact, be handy if Sarah can ask Richard to look up a spell description for her while she figures out what to do next. Even the GM can ask Richard to reference rules or do similar tasks that help them and the whole table. Maybe Richard should run the next game the group plays.

It’s worth one last note that this is not always a rules matter. Sometimes, it’s a matter of a character’s role or personality. “Well, you’re the warrior, so you probably just charge in,” Sarah might say to Keith. Or, “Your character’s dad was killed by a killer robot, so you hate this android.” It’s good to have developed a character who is so established, consistent, and believable that others can predict their actions, but actually deciding actions for you based on that knowledge is no different than telling you which mechanical option to use. It’s usually even more easily solved too.

Players who do this do so for two reasons: they are attempting to reinforce stereotypes and cliches (“you’re the mage, so you should stand in the back”) or are only showing their appreciation for a well-played character. The first can be countered with “I’m playing a different kind of character than what you’d expect.” The response to the second can be “Thanks, I’m glad you like my character, but let me narrate their actions—I might just surprise you.” In both cases, the response is intriguing, and most players will want to watch what happens so that they can know more.

Your Best Game Ever is going to deal with topics like this and a lot more. This isn’t an excerpt from the book (it’s still in development) but it gives you an idea of a philosophical approach. In part 2 of this article, I’m going to pick a very different topic to explore with depth: playing a tabletop game online.


P.S. Please take a moment to retweet about the Kickstarter or share the news on your favorite gaming forum or Discord. I just know there are so many people out there who want Your Best Game Ever but don't know about it yet!

P. P.S. Did you see our "outtake reel"? We have almost as much fun making Kickstarter videos as we do making books!

The Stars are Fire Unlocked!
11 months ago – Mon, Jul 30, 2018 at 09:42:41 PM

Wow! That was fast! We had a huge stretch goal right out of the gate, and you helped us hit it on day 2. Thank you. 

That means a whole new book is coming your way: The Stars are Fire will be a reality. All kinds of science fictiony goodness await! This will be a 160-page hardcover book with Bruce R. Cordell as the lead designer. We can’t wait to see it (and those with the Early Playtest Access add-on or the I Want It All and I Want My Say! will get to see it early too).

If you’re new to Kickstarter, you might be wondering, “How do I select an add-on?” It’s easy. Select the Manage Your Pledge button on the right-hand side of the Kickstarter page for this campaign and increase your pledge for the amount listed for the add-on. For example, if you want The Stars are Fire, add +$45 to your pledge. It’s that easy. After the campaign closes, we’ll be using a service called Backerkit to collect your information, and at that time you can specify the add-on that you’ve already paid for, so that’s when you’ll tell us to send you a copy of The Stars are Fire when it’s ready.

So what’s next, you ask? 

Let’s make every version of Your Best Game Ever, in both PDF and print, even better! How can we do that? How about:

• Bigger! More pages with more advice, suggestions, and material. Your Best Game Ever will grow to 224 pages.
• More art! 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? 
• Plus, we had a fun idea to take this to the next level: Cartoons! 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)
Stan! (Bolt and Quiver)

...and have them create some game-themed cartoons to bring extra fun and levity to the book. We gamers love to laugh at ourselves, and we love game-related jokes that only we really “get,” so this will be a fun celebration of our fantastic, imaginative hobby.

We’ll unlock this upgrade to Your Best Game Ever if we reach $150,000. That means that if you’re already getting that book in any format, this stretch goal just makes what you get better. And you didn’t have to do anything! Well, except that we can’t reach that goal without you. Please continue to share the link to this Kickstarter campaign with every gamer you know. And even those you don’t know.

No roleplayer should be without this book on their shelf next to their favorite game!

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

~Monte (and the whole MCG crew)

Funded! Thank you!
11 months ago – Mon, Jul 30, 2018 at 09:40:59 PM

Thanks to all of you, Your Best Game Ever and the new Cypher System Rulebook will be a reality. We are excited to get to work on these books.

But we’re just getting started! Are you ready for your first stretch goal? We certainly are! To start to really expand on both the Cypher System and helping you make your best game ever, we want to get even more specific in a genre that’s near and dear to all our hearts.

This book is called The Stars are Fire, and we are really excited about it. The Stars are Fire will be 160-pages of sci-fi goodness that covers running and playing in science fiction games. It will provide rules and stats for aliens, robots, starships, high-tech gear, otherworldly hazards, and much more. It will also include an entire campaign setting built using the guidelines in Your Best Game Ever.

We’ll unlock this book if the campaign reaches $115,000. Yeah, we know that's big. We've done a lot of Kickstarters and the lesson we've learned is that you really like stretch goals with big, meaty additions to the campaign. But, that of course, means that the gaps between the goals have to be big too. So, yes, we're going big. That's because we've got something amazing to stretch toward. And we think you can make it happen.

The Stars are Fire will be added for free to the I Want It All! backer level and above, and will also be available as an add-on. Help spread the word so we can reach this goal!

Our Consulting Experts

We just added John Rogers as our last-minute consulting expert! The really cool thing about that is, with one exception (due to an existing contract), everyone that we invited to consult on this book enthusiastically agreed to do it. We are thrilled to have such a talented and diverse group of people ensuring that Your Best Game Ever approaches all of its topics from the widest possible perspective. Each consulting expert will review and provide feedback over the entire book, and then will provide their own section of personal tips for having your best game ever.

Our list of Consulting Experts (Check the main Kickstarter page for links to their work!)
Eric Campbell
Matt Colville
Luke Crane
Stacy Dellorfano
Tanya DePass
Ajit George
Jennell Jaquays
Eloy Lasanta
Tom Lommel
Matthew Mercer
Susan J. Morris
Alina Pete
John Rogers
Monica Valentinelli

Want more Your Best Game Ever advice? Check out these videos:

Don’t Randomize Fun

Finding a Game Group That’s Right For You

Also, at 5 PM Pacific Time, the MCG team will be streaming a live game of Numenera on our Twitch channel. We hope you’ll join us for some Ninth World gaming goodness.

Thank you again for your support!

~Monte (and the whole MCG team)