Monday, May 19, 2014

One Page Dungeon Contest

The One Page Dungeon contest has announced the eleven preliminary winners. First I would like to congratulate all those chosen. Regrettably my entry was not among them so it’s back to the drawing board for next year. That said I’m hoping there will be more instruction and clarification for next year’s contest.

Looking at some of the winning entries I’m inclined to call them 3 or 4 page dungeons crammed into one page. If overall content is a factor obviously they have more weight but they are also not aesthetically appealing to the reader at all. We need writing guidelines for the future such as minimum and maximum font size. There should also be a similar standard in regard to word count.

My understanding of the contest origin in 2009 was to create one dungeon level in an edition-less format. Is that still the case? Should we even bother to think outside the box? If the answer to the former is yes I would like to see categories for future contests. Examples would include traditional dungeon crawl, gonzo, side trek, etc. It seems as though the judges in past competitions tried this with winning entries only. I think having categories designed before the contest would help the participants.

Without guidelines and new judges every year the standards potentially change. Next year’s judges may have a completely different idea of what truly constitutes a One Page Dungeon. While I like the idea of pirate waters it just leaves everything to ambiguous for my taste as a participant.

I hope my opinions to not draw the ire of the organizers and judges as their time is completely volunteer and very valued. And most importantly let’s remember the community benefits greatly from all the wonderful material generated by this cool contest. So keep delving and remember the plays the thing!


  1. I agree with you about minimum font size, though I would hope the judges value quality far more than quantity. After all, no matter how much poor writing you cram on a page, it's still poor quality stuff...

    While I'll always have a soft spot for easy-to-grasp, traditional dungeon levels--they're always useful and the best ones should be rewarded--personally I'd advise against putting too many rules on the contest or having preset categories. Part of the charm to me is seeing the creativity that flowers on the page precisely because entries aren't strictly defined. Even if I never make use of some of the wacky stuff that contestants dream up, they do inspire me to think in different ways about the game!

  2. Iron,

    All good points and thanks for the post! I agree with you that to many rules would bog things down. That said I think we need more guidance on what is acceptable and what is considered outlandish. Is the contest still working off its 2009 concepts or have we graduated beyond that?

  3. Read the post linked below written by Dave Bowman (aka Sham), the guy who originally promoted the concept of the one-page dungeon. The whole article is enlightening, but specifically the 11th paragraph ("Perhaps this article...").

  4. "Write an actual, usable adventure on a single page, with a map, and be creative. That was all that was needed to design a good entry"

    Good stuff - I just wonder if that is the foundation still being relied on.