A Typical Day at Monte Cook Games

If you work a “regular” job in an office, have you ever wondered what it’s like to work from a home office? Here’s what it’s like for me.

For most of my working life, I went in to my place of employment. I’ve worked as a maintenance assistant, as a stock person and cashier, as a lab technician, as a research associate, and as a game designer. Showing up in-person was required, either because the job couldn’t be done otherwise, or because that was the custom.

office desk

Of course, being a game designer doesn’t require that the job be done at any particular location. If you’ve got something to write with, you can design a roleplaying game (RPG) anywhere. Which is why, even during my years writing RPGs for TSR, Inc. (an early publisher of D&D) and later, Wizards of the Coast (which also published D&D while I was there), I was often allowed to work from home one day a week. The other days, I still came into the office for meetings and interaction with my fellow employees.

Now, that’s turned on its head. I usually only physically see my fellow MCGers once or twice a week for meetings and games. The rest of the time, I’m situated in my home office, and we interact via text, email, video conferencing, and carrier pterodactyl.

  • 7 a.m. Typically, I rise around 7-ish, sometimes with a kiss from my girlfriend as she leaves for her job at an environmental consulting firm (which requires she be on-site, of course). Three pets fed, coffee and a serving of almonds, pistachios, and walnuts (my usual breakfast) in hand, I sit down at my desk. I review email, news from around the internet, and messages from my co-workers. This typically takes at least an hour. Sometimes longer. Some days I also have a few other minor tasks that I need to accomplish, like dropping off a kid at the bus stop.
  • 9 a.m. By around 9 a.m., I’ve gotten most of the information from the previous day processed, interacted with at least two or three people on the MCG team and traded some chatter with people on the Twitter and my girlfriend on chat. I’m ready to dive in. Today, for instance, my work was this blog piece. Other days, it’s my primary project, like Gods of the Fall or Into the Outside. I set myself a number of pages to finish each day, and if I can get those pages done, then I know I’m on track for the project as a whole.
  • 11 a.m.  If it’s a meeting day, we’ll gather some or all the MCG staff under one video conferencing roof, usually no earlier than 11 a.m. Some days, the Creative Team will gather so we can be together, in person. Meetings are important to keep folks who are not working physically next to each other connected on a day-to-day basis. In-person creative meetings usually take the rest of the day and could include both product brainstorming and playtesting.
  • 12 P.M. If it’s not a meeting day, I usually take my lunch around noon, which I make in my kitchen. This is also a good time to take the pit bull Tesla for a walk.
  • 1 p.m. MOAR coffee. Continue to work on writing all the things. I wonder what would happen if a savior from Gods of the Fall met a nano from Numenera?
  • 2 p.m. Have I gotten two pages written yet? Dear god, I hope so. Maybe even three!
  • 4 p.m. Almost there! On a good day, I AM done with the page count I’ve set myself to accomplish that day at 4 p.m., at which point it’s time for me to exercise. On a less productive day, it’s 5 or 6 p.m.
  • 6 p.m. At this point, if I’m working on a side project, like a novel, I’ll nip out to the local library and spend about an hour there. I leave my home office because, damn, sometimes you just need a change of scenery, and changing the scene is good if you’re changing the project.
  • 8 p.m. It’s wine o’clock! Tonight, we’ll uncork a reasonably priced cabernet. Work is done, time for relaxation and play.

Bruce at desk

Bruce Cordell
Bruce Cordell

Bruce Cordell has written well over 100 roleplaying game products, including titles for four different editions of Dungeons & Dragons. He’s also penned nearly a dozen novels. Major credits at Monte Cook Games, where Bruce is a Senior Designer, include The Strange, the Ninth World Bestiary, and Strange Revelations, among many others.