New Year, New Game is Gnome Stew's annual challenge to tabletop RPG game masters everywhere: Run a new game this year.


After launching New Year, New Game in 2012 and running it twice, in 2012 and 2013, I’ve decided to close it down. There will not be a NYNG event in 2014.

Around the start of this year I stepped back and took a look at everything I had on my plate, and in considering NYNG I realized that it didn’t offer much in the way of a return on my time investment. I don’t mean that to diminish the contributions anyone made to NYNG, as the game ideas and blog posts written for NYNG were the best part of it, just that it doesn’t make sense for me to keep doing all the administrative stuff I had to do to run it.

I will archive the NYNG entries and links somewhere, most likely on Gnome Stew. I’m still working that part out.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to NYNG, including readers, GMs, sponsors, and bloggers.

In its place, I’m launching something new this month — similar in some ways, different in others, and a leaner, tighter concept overall. From an administrative standpoint, the workload is deliberately light. I believe it has a lot of potential, and I hope you like it!

In hibernation until December 2013

With the second annual New Year, New Game challenge over, and all 20 new game ideas and 12 blog posts about new games archived, it’s time to shut off the lights for another 10-11 months.

The site won’t go anywhere, of course. It exists as a hub for the idea of NYNG, and to provide inspiration to GMs in search of new game ideas. But I’ll be working on other stuff — Gnome Stew, Engine Publishing, making my way through the 100-book Appendix N reading list, and, of course, gaming my ass off.

Here’s to new games, games in general, and a good 2013. See you in December. –Martin Ralya

The winners of the second annual NYNG challenge!

There were 20 entries in the second annual New Year, New Game challenge. That’s a big drop from the first year’s 57, but there were still some excellent ideas (that followed the rules!) in the mix.

Our two winners offered up wildly different ideas joined by a common thread: They sound like really cool games to play in. Without further ado, the winners are…

Second Prize

In second place is Gnome Stew reader Cloudyone, whose “Abandoned Heroes” pitch went like this:

冷落罗汉 (The Abandoned Heroes)

It’s been quiet for three days now, but your food is running out. From what you can see from your hiding place the streets are deserted–well, except for the occasional flicker of movement off in the distance. Plumes of smoke still rise from burning industrial facilities. Most of the tall buildings looming over the city are burned out shells, pockmarked from weapons fire and the claws of huge nightmare creatures. The last you heard before the communications went down was that everyone in your part of the city was to head to the main rail station for evacuation. The military had held off the cultist horde for a couple days but it wasn’t enough. Besides, all kinds of weirdness started breaking out in places all over the city even before the main force broke through. There’s not much chance of evacuation at the station now, but it’s the best place to link up with other survivors so you’ll have someone to watch your back.

For this game the players are those few survivors of the Rapine Storm cultist horde in Chongqing in China who cautiously emerged from their hiding places and met up at the ruined train station. The city will still have roaming bands of cultists, weird Cthulhoid zombies, and other horrors wandering the city. All communications are out and they have no idea where any “safe zones” might be.

Ever since I got CthulhuTech I’ve been mulling over what sort of game I want to run in the setting. I love the combination of Cthulhu mythos, mecha, sci-fi, multiple invasions of Earth, cultists, conspiracies, and dang! The setting has loads of cool stuff but it’s sort of several games rolled into one–and you can’t run all of them simultanously. The main challenge for me will be getting the horror tone right. I’ve never run an out-and-out horror game before and worry that it will end up more tactical than terrifying.

Cloudyone will be taking home a copy of all three of Gnome Stew’s books in digital format and a $30 DriveThruRPG gift certificate. Congrats, Cloudyone!

Grand Prize

The grand prize for the 2013 NYNG challenge goes to ldraconus, whose winning pitch starts off innocuously enough…

Imagine a SteamPunk/Fantasy game:

Magic is weak and being driven out by science and the power of steam! Most magical creatures have fled over the fabled sea to the mystic isles. Only Minotaurs (Taurin) and the Snakes (actually Utah Raptors with feathers) remain in large numbers. The Empire is still recovering from a War with the Snakes to the south, a war that was won by the invention if the airship.

Now cross it with Battlestar Galactica in mid-campaign as the Snakes create artificial warriors to fight the next war for them … and then lose control over them. The Empire, and some Snakes, are forced to follow the elves across the sea in giant airships or face annihilation.

This game begs to be run in a Universal System of some sort. I’m going to use the Hero System (6th edition) but GURPS, or d20 Modern, Savage Worlds, or Fate would work equally well. It has to be a universal system to handle all of the mixtures I want to throw in, weak magic, technology, and all of the trappings.

I’m excited about running this game as it combine all three of my favorite things (SteamPunk, Fantasy and Science Fiction) in one game is a great framework, and it is the first great story arc I’ve ever started a campaign with. I already know how this campaign should play out!

The challenges facing me are getting buy-in from the players, and making sure all of the events in the campaign follow logically from player actions in the campaign. I don’t want to spring the idea of automatons without giving clues, and it would be best if the players were somehow responsible for the Snakes losing control of them! Giant airships need to be introduced logically, and everything managed without railroading the players.

But what a glorious challenge and game this will be!

Congratulations on your win, ldraconus! You’ll be receiving a copy of each of Gnome Stew’s books in print and digital formats, as well as a $60 DriveThruRPG gift certificate.

Don’t forget to check out our NYNG 2013 blog carnival wrap-up, which features a host of excellent blog posts about new games. And with that, the second annual NYNG challenge comes to an end. My thanks to everyone who participated, and I hope both participants and onlookers enjoyed the challenge, the game ideas, and the blog posts.

The 2013 NYNG blog carnival roundup

The second annual NYNG challenge has ended, which means we have a bevy of blog posts about running new games to share with you!

We had 12 posts this year, and a wide range of topics under the new game umbrella were covered. Thank you to all of the bloggers who wrote a post for this carnival, and I hope we’ll see you all again in 2014.

Blog Posts about Running New Games

You’ll find inspiration, tips, and clever ideas in these dozen posts:

Babil Kulesi

In Yeni Yıl, Yeni Oyunculuk (rough English version), Turkish blog Babil Kulesi looks at responsibilities and roles at the gaming table, and managing to work both Robin Laws’ Hillfolk and Marsellus Wallace into the same post.

The Black Campbell

RPG Blog Carnival: New Year, New Game is about losing one’s gaming group, finding a new one, and trying new things.

The DM from Outremer

In Gnome Stew New Year, New Game (NYNG) Carnival 2013 , The DM from Outremer blogs about what became the second place winner in the contest side of NYNG 2013, his “Abandoned Heroes” game pitch.

Eric’s Gaming Pulse

Eric wrote not one but two posts for this carnival, Do Encounters, about swapping Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple for D&D Encounters, and A Penny for My Thoughts: 11th Hour Memories, which is about exploring memories in the RPG A Penny for My Thoughts.

Harbinger of Doom

New Games in the New Year is a detailed look at campaign history and adventuring companies, and a useful framework to consider when starting your own new campaign.


New game cubed! is about moving to a new city, making new friends, and introducing them to new games — which is pretty damned fantastic.

Hit on Crit

In Building a Story Driven World, you’ll learn about how to use Story World Cards to craft campaigns and one-shots alike. This feels like a Gnome Stew article, which is neat!

The Iron Taven

New Year, New Game 2013 is The Iron Tavern’s look back at NYNG 2012 and look ahead at NYNG 2013 and the new games on the horizon this year.

Tabletop Diversions

Another Attempt at a Social RPG Game is about using USR to run post-apocalyptic science-fantasy, pulling bits and pieces from other sources.

UK Roleplayers

New Year, Old Game is a great example of why “new game” needn’t mean new game: a look at returning to old games with new eyes.

Violent Media

In Perspective, Violent Media sums up NYNG in one sentence: “NEW GAMES YIELD NEW EXPERIENCES YIELD NEW PERSPECTIVES.” Well said!

I hope you enjoyed these articles, and NYNG 2013, and here’s to new games!

NYNG 2013 is over!

The 2013 New Year, New Game challenge is now officially over. Twenty-four GMs entered their game ideas in the contest, and 11 bloggers submitted a total of 12 posts for the blog carnival.

I’ll be putting together the carnival roundup post shortly, and the gnomes of Gnome Stew are currently reading and evaluating all challenge entries to determine the winners of the contest. Stay tuned!

The final post in our 2013 blog carnival

Just in the nick of time, Aaron from Hiirivartiosto-EN has submitted New game cubed! for the 2013 NYNG blog carnival. Thanks, Aaron!

A post from Turkey for our 2013 blog carnival

In what might be our last NYNG 2013 blog carnival post — as tomorrow is the final day of this year’s NYNG challenge — Turkish blog Babil Kulesi has posted Yeni Yıl, Yeni Oyunculuk.

Assuming this link works, here’s the Google Translate version of the post in English.

Two new posts in our blog carnival

Today brings the 9th and 10th posts in our NYNG 2013 blog carnival:

Thanks, Danjou’s Hand and Dave McAlister!

New day, new post in our blog carnival

Eric Paquette, who previously wrote Do Encounters for our 2013 blog carnival, has written a second blog post:

Thanks again, Eric!

Three new NYNG blog posts

Three more bloggers have thrown their hats into the ring for the 2013 NYNG blog carnival:

Thanks, Edward, Jeffrey, and Brandes!