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Spotlight: ROLL AGAIN

The call for submissions for our latest books, the Hipflask Series, is open until 25th October 2021. These are unusual titles, even by Sidekick standards, so we’ve put together a series of short posts, one for each of the four books, breaking down the ideas and influences behind the book and what we’re looking for from you. Today it’s the turn of our Puckish playbook, full of rules and misrule…

Book cover for Roll Again, showing a dice rolling along a game board path that turns into a snake.

What’s the big idea?

“Not only does God play dice, but… he sometimes throws them where they cannot be seen.”
– Stephen Hawking

Games are not just pastimes or diversions. They allow to us to bat about ideas, meet and overcome resistance, come together with others (or find new ways of being with ourselves), and create new works as by-products of our play.

Games and poetry cross over in these goals, and this book gathers together new games with creative, poetic elements, in a jostling, joyful compendium for rainy days, holidays – all days, really.

Who and what gave us the idea for this book?

Instructive, or didactic, poetry has been around for centuries. Ovid’s Ars Amatoria, Sei Shonagon’s The Pillow Book, Max Ehrmann’s Desiderata and even Mary Schmich’s ‘Wear Sunscreen’ speech (later set to music by Baz Luhrmann) all offer guidance on how to progress. This book gathers similarly instructive work, but instead of life, we want to know how to play games. Your games.

What are we looking for in submissions?

Send us the rules or explanations to your own invented games – up to three per individual submission. No game is too simple. They should be at least theoretically playable by readers, and as accessible as possible (i.e. not requiring expensive or exclusive equipment or staging). They can be reimagined versions of existing games, physical or mental, tabletop or outdoor, but the submission should consist mainly of a description of how the game is played.

You can include diagrams for illustrative purposes, but bear in mind that the book will be printed in black and white, and please take into account the page dimensions (see template in call). We’re looking for pieces not longer than 600 words for prose/prose-like text, 50 lines for verse, or three pages (again, check the template for the page dimensions).

What are we not looking for?

Brand names, fleeting trends and adult content. We want the Hipflasks to be as enjoyable 20 years from now as they are today, and we want to take them to as large an audience as possible.

Where to look for inspiration?

• Adam Dixon’s Gamepoems are a great place to start. Find simple ways of slipping poetry into your daily wanders.

•Sidekick’s own interactive Headbooks series includes puzzle and play pages linked to the poetry in the books.

Holly Gramazio has created a treasury of digital and analog games. Among her many projects is a website with accompanying book called New Rules, exploring modes of play during the pandemic.

House: Some Instructions by Grace Paley is a ladder or staircase of a poem, ushering us into the emotions of the house in question and guiding us in its care.

How to Make Stew in the Pinacate Desert by Gary Snyder takes the form of a recipe, seasoned and peppered with environmental details.

Any further questions?

Check the call for submissions in case your answer lies there. If not, email contact[at] or find us on Twitter @SidekickBooks.

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