THE QUICK: Tell us about how tabletop gaming has kept you well through the pandemic, and get a chance to receive a Ryuutama RPG hardback rulebook.

BACKGROUND: The last few years have been painful all around for everyone. The Pandemic shook up the world, and changed how everything from global logistics to community-building and participation operate. We’re more separated and isolated than ever, and learning to deal with how to navigate forward in this “new normal”.

On our end, the challenges of the Pandemic hit us hard as well; among other things, we’ve had to push the release of the Ryuutama supplement to 2023. We’re recovering, and just recently recognized the strong role that tabletop gaming with friends and family has had on our mental, spiritual, and communal recovery.

The Ryuutama core rulebook (hardcopy) is currently being reprinted for release in early 2023. Until then, we have a few copies left on our shelves that we want to share with the gaming community. To that end, we decided to host a holiday contest. Instead of a scenario design contest for Ryuutama (as we’ve done in the past), we decided to open it up to an essay contest for all Ryuutama fans and tabletop gamers. Tabletop gaming has helped us regain our footing the past year, and we want to see how it’s helped others as well. That will be the topic of the essay: How tabletop gaming has kept you well through the Pandemic.

In Ryuutama parlance, this is a very “Blue Ryuujin” feeling contest, focused on the elements associated with that Ryuujin: Hearth, friends, family, and healing.

THE PRIZE: The top three essayists will receive a hardback copy of Ryuutama, shipped around the beginning of the new year. We will ship anywhere in the world.

RULES: Write or narrate a short essay with a theme of “How tabletop gaming has kept you well through the Pandemic”.

* Deadline is 2022.12.26 at 11:59:00, your time zone. We will judge over the following week and announce winners before/on 2022.12.31.

* Submit essays in text in Word or RTF format, or link (if you are taking a different approach), to the email address “kotohi.ennui@gmail.com”. In the subject line of the email, write “RYUUTAMA ESSAY CONTEST:” (followed by any additional text you wish. Just start the subject line with the above so we don’t miss it)

* If you prefer to be known by a pseudonym/handle (for when we announce participants/winners/etc) rather than your real name, please include that clearly in your submission somewhere.

* While we love all languages and cultures, we only have the capacity this time to collect essays in the English language.

* There is no set length to the essay. We will not judge based on length.

* While the contest is centered on Ryuutama (as a prize), we are not specifically looking for stories about how the Ryuutama RPG – or other KOTODAMA HEAVY INDUSTRIES releases – helped you. We want to hear about your gaming experience (and what games, friends, family, etc helped you), but we will not judge higher or give weight to essays that contain Ryuutama or other KOTODAMA-published RPGs!

* This is a very subjective contest, so it’s hard to state the criteria on which they will be judged. We want your stories. We want you to be heard. We want everyone to continue to heal. We want to celebrate this activity called Tabletop Role-Playing, and recognize its positive impact on the world. We want to understand you. We want to be moved. Hopefully that is enough to work with.

* “Essay” is subjective here. Classically it means a text document; but feel free to play with that concept, especially if you have strengths in art, video, audio, or other formats. We will not judge higher/lower for following the classic text essay format, or using another creative outlet. We just want to allow many canvasses for expressing yourselves.

* We will reserve the right to publish parts (or the whole) of your essay with the community, in the spirit of sharing (we’ll use your pseudonym for this if you prefer). Our idea is to maybe later collect the essays, or significant parts of them, into a free collection to be shared with others. To be clear, we have no intention of making any money off of your work for this contest; just to share the love of the hobby.

Thanks to everyone, and have a wonderful holiday season.