The Strange Recursion Design Competition!

The Strange Recursion Design Competition!

Late last year, we unveiled a new website: The Recursion Codex. The Recursion Codex is the official site for fan-generated recursions for use in The Strange: you can share recursions you’ve created for your own campaign of The Strange, and tap into the recursions of others for inspiration or use in your own game.

Between the release of The Strange Bestiary, the Kickstarter for the Exclusive Numenera Boxed Set Edition, and a few holidays you may have heard of, we had a lot going on in the last weeks of the year, so we didn’t really get to celebrate the site’s launch in the style we’d prefer. Well, there’s no time like the present—so we’re going to give it a belated kickoff with a recursion design competition!

Here’s the deal: You submit a recursion (or several recursions—as many as you’d like) to the site between now and February 20th. We’ve assembled a panel of esteemed judges (more on our great judges below!), and on February 21st, they’ll start reviewing the submissions. We’ll announce a winner and two runners up on Friday, February 27th!

But wait: What if you’ve already posted an awesome recursion to The Recursion Codex? Don’t worry: You’re in the running! Our judges will consider all eligible recursions posted to the site by February 20th, including those that are already there.


In addition to fame, celebrity, many hurrahs from those of us at MCG, and general satisfaction in a world well designed, here’s what you’re vying for!

  • Winner: Bruce Cordell will adapt your recursion for inclusion in Worlds Numberless and Strange, the forthcoming sourcebook on recursions. (The book is almost completely written, but we’re saving a little space for your great idea!) You’ll get a copy of the book autographed by Bruce and the entire MCG staff, along with a $25 gift certificate for the MCG store. You’ll be credited in the book for the recursion concept, but please note that Bruce will adapt it, so it may be altered and you will not be given a design credit.
  • First runner up: $25 gift certificate for the MCG store
  • Second runner up: $25 gift certificate for the MCG store

The Judges

We live and breathe recursions here in the MCG offices, but we thought it would be cool to bring some outside expertise into this process. The recursion design competition will be judged by three of gaming’s top experts on strange new worlds:

Sean K Reynolds was born in Chula Vista, California. A professional game designer since 1998, he is best known for his work on the Forgotten Realms and Greyhawk D&D settings and the Pathfinder RPG. He’s written for computer games (Baldur’s Gate III, Fallout 3) and trading card games (World of Warcraft, Pirates of the Caribbean, Avatar: The Last Airbender). He lives with his wife and four cats, and spends his time writing four-sentence biographies.

Ed Grabianowski is a freelance writer from Buffalo, NY. He writes for HowStuffWorks and covers games, science, and weird history for io9. His Patronus is Jimmy Page piloting a starship shaped like a Les Paul.

Russ Morrissey is a some-time game designer, full-time reporter, and occasional Time Lord. He also judges RPG contests from time to time, for which he charges an exorbitant fee.  Some of the previous information is not true. Russ lives in England, where it mainly rains, in a secret lair from which he runs the roleplaying game website EN World.

The Official Rules

Your recursion must be posted to The Recursion Codex by midnight PST on Friday, February 20th, 2015. If you edit your recursion, the version that appeared on the site at midnight PST on Friday, February 20th, 2015 is the version that will be judged for this competition.

You may submit as many recursions as you like. They should all be awesome.

Subject to the restrictions below, all recursions submitted by the deadline above, including those posted before the announcement of this competition, will be included in the judging and eligible to win.

Submitted recursions must, of course, be compliant with the rules and setting of The Strange, as presented in The Strange corebook. They must also be fully compliant with the Terms of Use for The Recursion Codex.

Judging will be based on the following criteria:

  • Completeness: Does the recursion have everything needed for a gamer to use it in his or her campaign?
  • Presentation: Is the recursion well written and enjoyable to read?
  • Creativity: Is the recursion original and compelling? Do you want to use it in your game?
  • Playability: Will the recursion work in most The Strange campaigns, and is it compliant with the recursion guidelines given in The Strange corebook?

Monte Cook Games, employees of Monte Cook Games, and those employees’ immediate family members, are not eligible to take part in the competition. Any recursions submitted by these entities will not be considered by the judges.

Entrants must have an email address that is valid on Earth and associated with the account by which the entrant logs into The Recursion Codex. Entries submitted from other recursions will only be considered if the entrant can be contacted via email on Earth.

The decisions of the judges is final. Monte Cook Games retains the right to disqualify any entry, for any reason, at its sole discretion.

Winners will be announced on our around Friday, February 27th.

Best of luck–we can’t wait to see what you come up with!

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