It wasn’t long after I first joined the Twitch community, that I discovered the platform was an excellent place for writers and worldbuilders to connect. As someone whose primary goal is to complete and publish a visual novel, following certain Twitch channels has helped me stay motivated, and also have given me an exciting opportunity to share my own progress.
I stumbled upon the Game of Tomes event last November, and decided to participate as a mercenary. My experience in joining this event and its sister event, Tourney of Tales was a very positive and enlightening one. It was the breakthrough I needed to realise that Twitch was a great way for me to engage with an active, online writer community, and to receive essential feedback of my work.
What is Game of Tomes?
Essentially, it is a writing competition broken down into teams of writers, which are called Houses. Each House has a different theme, such as House Meles, whose theme is about being stubborn, committed to their work and writing themselves into plot holes, or House Lapin, whose theme is that their members are wonderfully creative but can be intimidated by larger tasks and may accidentally over-socialise instead of getting their words done!
Participants may choose the House they may relate to the most or prefer. During Game of Tomes, participants may not change their House, unless the terrifying horde has reached them! Each week, it is calculated which House has scored the least points. The losing House falls victim to the Undead Horde, where 50% of its members will join the team, and 50% of the remaining members will ‘flee’ to a House of their House Leader’s choosing. Game of Tomes is about whittling down the Houses until there is one left, and seeing if their score is higher than the score of the writers in the Undead Horde.
To earn points for your House, you simply join a participating Game of Tomes stream on Twitch, and with a couple of clicks you can submit how many words you have written during that stream. There are no prizes, but fame and glory for the winning House. I found the event to be surprisingly competitive and addicting, even though I wasn’t supporting a particular House. I decided to go for another role during the event, as a mercenary.
Striking as a mercenary
To be the most honest, my initial reasoning to become a mercenary was due to my indecisiveness,
which is also a similar story on how my visual novel ended up with 7 playable characters. I wasn’t yet too familiar with the writers in the Game of Tomes community, and couldn’t decide which House to join.
Through the role of the mercenary, I was able to get to know the community very well, as I sold my words to Houses for donations to good causes, promises and good cause promotions. I was allowed to choose which causes I wanted to promote, although the organisers preferred writing themed charities, as this was a writing contest after all.
I decided that I would sell my words in three different ways, each on a first come first served basis, which means that the first person to buy the words I had written so far during that sprint, would be the one who would receive them for their House. I wanted everyone to have an opportunity to buy words from me, and I did not want the pressure of people trying to succeed each other.
The first way someone could buy my words was through a small donation to my Ko-Fi or directly to a charity I was supporting. All funds to my Ko-Fi went 70% to the animals I was fundraising for, 15% to World Literacy Foundation and 15% to Room to Read, with the exception of some donators requesting a donation to a specific charity or animal.
At the time I was a mercenary in Game of Tomes, I lived in China and I was very active in the local animal welfare groups. The funds to the animals directly helped Sasha the dog receive his much needed eye surgery, and the kittens were able to survive their ordeal and find new homes.
The Ko-Fi raised $54 American dollars, and further donations directly to World Literacy Foundation raised the total amount of donations raised to $74.
I was shocked, yet incredibly grateful to those who wished to donate to these causes. I didn’t expect to raise as much money as I did!
There were two other methods for participants who wished to buy my words but maybe could not or did not wish to donate real monetary funds.
The second method of buying my words was through making a promise. In the spirit of Game of Tomes and Tourney of Tales, which trusts that you are genuinely writing the words you submit to your House, I would trust that those who made the promises genuinely would mean it.
|I promise that if I were to get a rabbit, I will never leave it in a hutch||3|
|I promise to make sure that all the eggs that I eat are produced free-range.||1|
|I promise to learn how to finger-spell the alphabet in my local sign language.||3|
|I promise to learn more about dyslexia.||4|
|I promise to learn more about ADHD.||4|
|I promise to learn more about Autism||1|
|I promise to do something caring for the next homeless person I meet.||3|
The third method and final to buy my words was through advertising a good cause on an active social media page.
The good causes I suggested one could share on their social media were:
National Deaf Children’s Society – A charity I was once worked closely with, who genuinely put children first and encouraged children to be able to choose and practice their preferred communication methods.
The Children’s Literacy Charity – A UK based charity striving for better literacy among children.
World Literacy Foundation – A worldwide charity striving for better literacy among children around the world.
Room to Read – A worldwide charity with programs to improve literacy rates in the poorest areas of the world.
I made a lot of valuable connections in the Game of Tomes event and was grateful to be a mercenary. At the time, I didn’t realise that my experience through Tourney of Tales would be much different!
The Tourney of Tales
The Tourney of Tales works in a similar fashion to Game of Tomes, but there is no Undead Horde to worry about. A few days before the event started I got the go ahead to lead a new Minor House, House Ocelot!
House Ocelot is a pirate-steampunk themed House that is based on a port called Port Tempest, and a ship called The Ocelot.
“House Ocelot are creatures of contradiction. As cats who enjoy water, they often do exactly the opposite of what people expect. They prefer to write alone and at night, and are prone to experiment in their writing. They tend to wander drastically off-course from their original destination, whether in their travels or in their plotlines.”Written by the organisers for the House Ocelot page
Minor Houses team up with a bigger house and add their word counts together. House Ocelot teamed up with House Tiki. Prominent House Ocelot member blackflamingo777 suggested that our alliance was made due to the lime cocktails that House Tiki offered, that would help prevent scurvy among our crew!
I enjoyed streaming Tourney of Tales alongside the many of other participating streamers, and the creative lore and worldbuilding that went along side the event was very entertaining. I was happy I got to get involved and help with the subtitling for a couple of videos.
My only regret is that I was very busy unexpectedly with moving house, that I wasn’t as active as I wanted to be. I would very much like to participate in the next Tourney of Tales in July.
House Ocelot gathered far more members than I anticipated, and I was very proud of our achievements. I would like to run House Ocelot again with the goal that next time, we will focus more on our House lore and continue to build upon our positive and friendly spirit!
For more information about Game of Tomes or Tourney of Tales, take a look at the quick start guides from the official Twitter.
Until next time, sail on!