10 Lessons Learned from Road to Amber

So, a while back I helped create a MUSH[1] called Road to Amber. It’s still going, and you can read more about it on the wiki, but I’ve since bowed out of my role in it due to the time constraints of changing jobs and giving birth to my first kid. I’m pretty proud of what we accomplished, and I think there were a number of ideas in RTA that are going to see use in other games down the line. However, there were also a lot of lessons I learned from what worked and what didn’t work. I’ve been meaning to write them down for a while, and this seems like the venue.

Top Ten Lessons of Road to Amber
1. Everyone Wants to Control the Network
2. Focus was a Win
3. Complexity Should Emerge from Play, not Setting
4. When Rushed, Prune, Don’t Seed
5. Watch What People Use
6. People Lie Without Even Knowing It
7. Ownership is Powerful, but Stagnates Over Time
8. Nobody Reads Anything Longer than an Elevator Pitch
9. It is Easier to Ignore Direction than to Find It.
10. Finish 100%, Show 25%

Bonus rule 0: Work With a Ninja.

Vague enough? This is a bit of a teaser, I admit, but I’m laying these out here so I can start getting into them over the next couple of days.

Edit: And here they are…

Link to Lessons 1-5
Link to Lessons 6-10+1
Unexpected Extra Lesson

1 – A MUSH is an online game played in a text environment – think of it like the old infocom games, except other people are also walking around in it, and play centers around talking and interacting with those people. This type of game has been around for about two decades now, and RTA is far from the first Amber-based MUSH. Amber gives itself well to the flexibility of the medium.

Structurally, it has a lot in common with LARPing, so some of the lessons can migrate back and forth between the two.

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