***EDIT*** Liftoff, the better game, is HERE NoFap was founded in 2011 by Alexander Rhodes, partially in attempt to "gameify" quitting PMO. This was accomplished rather simplistically by merely counting "clean" days in a row, which we refer to as our "streak." It is now 2023, over a decade from when the concept began. The games and challenges continue to reflect that simple concept. The challenges almost universally present an overlay of a specific fandom or other cultural concept, such as the Matrix, U.S. Politics, Naruto, etm., with varying degrees of applicability in metaphor and in "rewards" as we compile a strong of abstinent days. The two exceptions I have found is "NoFap Duels," which strips the aesthetic of a narrative and simply pits addicts against one another in a contest to see who can maintain a streak longer, and the Harry Potter challenge, which allows participants to choose "houses" and make a team effort to compile clean days. This PvP aspect is interesting, but still maintains that unsophisticated concept; days clean = power, or progress. Many of us laymen have learned what psychologists always did, that addiction is far more complicated than merely abstaining for extended periods of time. Addiction recovery is about identifying and resolving the psychological wounds that cause the addiction in the first place, and constructing robust habits, developing strategies, and reorienting our mindset, to protect ourselves against unhealthy thoughts and behaviors. Clean days are easily quantified, and they are not wholly useless. AA counts clean time and awards chips to the successful, as an example, but equating addiction recovery with simple clean days does not reflect the complexity of this deep psychological problem, nor does it appreciate the stakes involved. Even worse, it makes the early stages of recovery more difficult as it provides an illusion that a single reset, or "relapse" as we nearly always incorrectly refer to them, completely erases all progress. At bare minimum, we need to track percentage of days clean, and/or times we PMO, to break the misconception that it's okay to binge after a minor slip. I know the lie is easy to see from a rational perspective, but addiction is not rational. Addiction takes advantage of any half-baked loophole to protect itself; any addict committed to recovery knows this on a profound, intimate level. We need better tools, a better game to more accurately reflect addiction, and better milestones to accurately depict what needs to be done in order to defeat it. Game design is harder than first appears. The mechanics need to be simple, so they are easy to learn and manage, but complex enough to maintain interest, and allow for differences in strategy. It needs to do this while remaining entertaining. The challenges are different for us, as we have the added requirement to design a game with direct, accurate correlation to real world milestones, and entertainment necessarily takes a back seat to practicality. I think the stakes are felt by most addicts, we don't need to trick them to keep them engaged. But the need for an elegant solution, sitting in a sweet spot between simplicity and complexity, is still required. If we make it too complex, too "fiddly," as board gamers sometimes refer to dense game mechanics, there will be too steep of a learning curve and it will be too difficult for the game moderator to maintain. However, we need a game that accurately incentivizes behaviors that lead to addiction recovery, and that will be difficult, especially as there is still not a consensus, even among professionals, on exactly what those behaviors are, and the contribution each individual behavior has toward overall recovery. That said, nearly anything is better than what we have currently. If I could use board games as an example, strictly counting days is a rough equivalent to "Chutes and Ladders" or "Candy Land." Fun enough as a small kid when counting and identifying colors are a challenge, but around eight years old you see that winning is totally randomized. We know addiction recovery is not randomized, but might as well be if counting days is your only strategy. "Monopoly" is a better game. That one gives you opportunities to make decisions, and influence the outcome. However, it is notoriously complicated and not fun, as it was never designed to be fun, but to expose the inherent unfairness of Capitalism. It's still random. Addiction recovery is not. "Settlers of Catan" is better than "Monopoly," as the rules are simpler and is less (but still) reliant on dice, but what we really need is something more along the lines of the newer, lesser known but infinitely better games like "Wingspan," "Galaxy Trucker," "Quarriors," or "Pandemic," cooperative games, and/or engine builders that incentivize constructing a sophisticated strategy toward addiction recovery into our real world lifestyles, one that we as addicts have more control over, and provides no excuses on "bad dice rolls" or "unavoidable triggers" in real life. My first thought was to construct an RPG, perhaps with a Sword and Sorcery motif similar to D&D. It could allow addicts/players to correlate good behaviors and strategies for addiction recovery, such as reflective journaling, exercising, good dietary and sleeping practices, with studying spells, weapons training, and... good dietary and sleeping practices. Identifying a trigger could be equated with learning what a troll or goblin is, and establishing a strategy for avoiding those triggers as learning how to step around the goblin nest or the troll cave. Surviving an encounter with an unavoidable trigger without PMO as surviving combat without dying; "You are alive, but you were cut and wounded. Consider taking time to rest, and be extra vigilant about those encounters over the next couple of days. But you do get XP, huzzah." The problem with this idea is, like any TTRPG, it's intensely fiddly. You can't play without a GM, for instance, which would mean your personalized game would need a personalized coach or Accountability Partner, and like a TTRPG, the quality in recovery experience would be too reliant on the quality of that AP. It also requires accurate reporting on behalf of the addict, and that can lead to inaccuracies as addicts are, shall we say, not in the best position to reliably self-report. Gaining self-awareness is one of those skills that need to be developed. It needs to be a skill that is incentivized to learn, if possible, not a built-in requirement to play the game in the first place. If anyone else has better ideas, you have my undivided attention. Am I even on the right track? Old guard residents, @Roady , @EagleRising , @IGY , @Jefe Rojo , @JoeinUSA , @Bob_the_Rebuilder , and you challenge enthusiasts, @Thadeus Tuffington , @Red_John , @HiddenWarrior , @RiseToGreatness , @Marcus Aurelius , @LLOYYD , @RogueLeader , what do you think about building a better game?