Latest update: 1st Feb 2023 with news for February and March!
It's a brand new year and there are some exciting competitions and challenges ahead in the World Anvil community! While I don't know for certain what events are in the cards this year, I've got a pretty solid idea of what to expect for 2023 - let's see if I'm right!
Below is a list of all kinds of worldbuilding activities you can take part in all year round, what they are, how to prepare in advance for them, and also examples of what events took place last year and the kind of time frame that could be expected if it's the same this year.
If you want a more in-depth article on this, check out this worldbuilding guide by Qurilion to learn how much is "too much"!
2023 World Anvil Events
Reading challenge - to get inspired for the start of a new year, the reading challenge has already launched! This time we're encouraged to think about our new year's resolutions as well as checking out 10 worldbuilding articles within the community and take notes on what inspiring things you could learn from and try in your own worldbuilding.
World Anvil's Worldbuilding Awards (WAWA) applications open - at the time of posting, you can currently submit your shiniest articles to several categories in the Worldbuilding Awards (formerly Best of World Anvil) - check the page carefully for submission guidelines!
Unannounced Competition - This month-long competiton challenges us to create something based on a specific prompt and article template. The past two years have seen character related worldbuilding prompts, will we see the same this year or will it be something different?
To prepare for the unknown, pick an area of your world that you'd like to develop and expand upon. Gather some brief notes of what you do know and start branching out questions in the directions you'd like to delve deeper into. When the event is revealed, there's always plenty of leeway to adjust the prompt to suit your needs (and World Anvil makes sure their event prompts are genre-agnostic)!
In 2021 The Hero's Journey (character) ran from Sat Jan 9th - Fri Feb 19th.
In 2022 The Bard Challenge (character) ran from Sat Jan 15th - Sat Feb 12th.
For 2023 you should tune in to the World Anvil Twitch stream on Saturday 7th and 14th January, because they always announce and launch them live on stream so you can ask them questions!
WorldEmber Awards Ceremony - the awards ceremony for last year's WorldEmber challenge will be live on World Anvil Twitch stream on 28th January (which is also my birthday, woooo)! Tune in to see the favourites as voted by the community, along with the special category winners. There's always plenty of puns, prizes, raffles, and laughter to go around - it's well worth the watch.
Unannounced Flash Challenge - Flash challenges are (as the name might suggest) much shorter than the month-long competitions that World Anvil hosts throughout the year.
Looking at previous flash challenges, they're never the same article template as the competition that just ended in January BUT they are often connected in some way so that you can expand your worldbuilding continuously throughout the year.
To prepare for a flash challenge, consider an area in your worldbuilding that you've already fleshed a bit, but still has room for more in the form of smaller concepts. Flash challenges have previously been only one or two weeks long, so if you have a lot of other busy things to be doing then that leaves little time to develop a big or complex area of your world!
In 2021 there were three flash challenges back to back:
- Birth Rites (tradition) ran from Feb 10th - Feb 17th
- Death of a Language (language) ran from Feb 17th - Feb 23rd
- Bonus Action Flash Challenge (item) ran from - Feb 24th - Mar 14th.
In 2022 there was just one because as a community we asked for fewer to reduce burnout, so we got A Settlement On The Edge (settlement) and it ran from Sat Feb 12th - Sat Feb 26th.
For 2023 I'd anticipate a flash challenge to be announced in the first couple of weeks in February, but keep an eye on the World Anvil Twitch streams on Saturdays for the latest news!
Unannounced Competition - Last year, World Anvil announced that the community competitions would all have a related theme so that you could continue where you left off and connect your worldbuilding articles together easily - take a look at the challenges from 2022 to see what I mean by this!
I really hope they continue the trend this year but even if they don't it's super easy for you to do if you want to! The worldbuilding prompt for each challenge is always adaptable and you can interpret it in your own way to meet the brief.
To prepare for this one, choose an area of your world that you'd like to expand on and jot down some loose ideas that you could run with once the event is live!
In 2021 it was Peculiar Plants (species) and ran from Sat Mar 6th - Sat Apr 10th.
In 2022 it was The Tavern Challenge (building) and ran from Sat Mar 5th - Sat Mar 26th.
In 2023 it seems like you should tune in to the World Anvil Twitch stream on Saturday 4th March for the reveal!
WorldbuildingCon - a new online convention has been announced by World Anvil which at the time of writing has a countdown timer ticking away to Friday 17th March. Details are likely to be revealed via email update on the WorldbuildingCon website.
This is a different event to the CoW Con run in previous years but it may hold some fun live participation events!
World Anvil's Worldbuilding Awards (WAWA) - formerly the Best of World Anvil, the WAWA celebration stream has been announced for Saturday 18th March!
Adventure April - this is a month long challenge to create an adventure in your world! Some folks make a one-shot adventure with dungeons and encounters, others make mini campaign settings, and some people make choose-your-path adventures (like this one I made last year)! Gaming mechanics not your cup of tea? That's okay, you could write an in-universe adventure that took place or a plot that some shady characters are looking to take action on!
The brief is really open for this event and it's always a creative challenge if you choose to take part. During the start of the year, keep your mind pondering on what kind of adventures could take place in the things you worldbuild for the earlier challenges of the year!
Check the event page for the fine details and wordcount limits though as it can be easy to get carried away with the fun of worldbuilding!
Unannounced Competition - just like for March, I anticipate that World Anvil will once again join all of these competitions together with a connecting theme so that you can easily come up with new worldbuilding ideas based off of what you've made earlier in the year.
As the year progresses, I'd start trying to have a guess at what article template could be next! World Anvil has always avoided doing the same worldbuilding templates back to back in order to keep things interesting, so you can probably cross off a few from the list based on the events from January to April!
In 2021 The Costume Challenge ran from Sat May 1st - Sat Jun 5th.
In 2022 Rivers and Waterways ran from Sun May 1st - Sat May 28th.
In 2023 it seems likely that we could see an event launched on May 1st, but as it's a Monday we might see it on the weekend on the 6th or 7th as World Anvil often launch their competitions live on their Twitch stream.
Worldbuilding Summer Camp prep month - there are two MAJOR worldbuilding events every year on World Anvil: Summer Camp is in July and is a prompt based challenge, and WorldEmber is in December and is a wordcount based challenge.
Because the events are so big and so much fun, we as a community get super excited and prepare some bits in advance so we can enjoy our worldbuilding to the max and not get so stuck on ideas!
This month, World Anvil sets homework each week to help you structure and plan out your worldbuilding, as well as explaining how this mutliple-prompt challenge works (they tweak a few things each year based on our community feedback)!
To get a head start on preparations, take a look at the homework from previous years and think on an area of your world that you'd like to expand in greater detail during July. It could also be a great use of time to practise your drawing and sketch out some characters, creatures, items, or maps for your world!
In 2021 Summer Camp homework was released on June 12th, 19th, and 26th.
In 2022 Summer Camp homework was released on June 3rd, 10th, 17th, and 23rd.
For 2023 I think it's safe to say we can expect our usual Summer Camp homework assignments to be released throughout the month, and tuning into World Anvil's Twitch streams will be the best place to get the info hot off the press.
Worldbuilding Summer Camp - this is a multiple prompt based challenge that lasts all month!
There are usually 31 unique worldbuilding prompts, but World Anvil often reveals them in waves so that it's less overwhelming and more fun as the event progresses! Last year the prompts were released in batches of 8 (and 6 on the last one) and each wave had a common "theme" to the prompts so that they were easier to connect the articles together when worldbuilding.
Last year the prompts were all unveiled on Fridays:
- (1-8) Copper prompts theme: "Expanse" revealed 1st July.
- (9-16) Silver prompts theme: "Leadership" revealed 8th July.
- (17-24) Gold prompts theme: "Discovery" revealed 15th July.
- (25-31) Diamond prompts theme: "Monstrous" revealed 22nd July.
This year July begins on Saturday 1st, so maybe we can expect to see weekly prompt releases throughout the month on a Saturday stream? Who knows!
Stay tuned for in-person meetups, picnics, and worldbuilding hangouts announced in the World Anvil Discord server, on their blog, and in their Twitch streams - alternatively, organize your own local meetup!
In 2021 Summer Camp ran from Thu Jul 1st - Sun Aug 1st.
In 2022 Summer Camp ran from Fri Jul 1st - Sun Jul 31st.
For 2023 I think it's safe to assume we can expect Summer Camp to also launch on Saturday the 1st July as usual.
Reading challenge - You've had the warm up, you've had the worldbuilding exercise, now it's time for your stretches and cool-down! All of this reduces your creative burnout and gives a moment of chill to reflect, recharge, and get inspired.
Similar to January's reading challenge, after Summer Camp you are encouraged to read articles from other worldbuilders in the community and write about what inspiring lessons you can learn from them to use in your own worldbuilding!
You can prepare for this in advance during the previous month! Start bookmarking or making a list of all the inspiring articles that really stood out to you during Summer Camp :D
In 2022 the Reading Challenge ran from 31st July - 31st August.
In 2021 the reading challenge hadn't been introduced yet!
I think it's likely we'll see another reading challenge in 2023!
Flash challenge(s) - much like in January there are usually some small flash challenges to keep your worldbuilding habits going strong!
In 2021 there were two flash challenges: Youth's Day (tradition) released 8th August, and Leisure Time (tradition) released 15th August.
In 2022 there were three flash challenges announced on streams (thanks Amélie for finding the links for me!): Holiday Tradition (tradition), Important Historian (character), and a Game of Simulated Combat (tradition).
Summer Camp Awards Ceremony - tune in to World Anvil's Twitch stream for puns, raffles, and to see the winners of the amazing prizes for each draw!
In 2021 the stream was held on September 18th.
In 2022 the stream was held on August 27th.
For 2023, check the details on the Summer Camp challenge page when it's live!
Unannounced Competition - similar to the other month-long worldbuilding competitions in the year, World Anvil usually reveals the latest event at the beginning of the month during their Twitch livestreams! This could be as early as Friday 1st or Saturday 2nd, or we could see something the following weekend.
Also keep an eye on World Anvil development updates, as newly released features are often included in challenges and competitions - sometimes thematically (like characters or organizations with family trees and bloodlines, or geography and settlement templates with embedded maps).
In 2021 The Shipwright Challenge ran from Sat Sep 4th - Sat Oct 2nd.
In 2022 On the Shoulders of Giants ran from Sat Sep 3rd - Sat Sep 24th.
For 2023 it seems likely to expect an event reveal around the first Saturday of the month (which will be the 2nd)!
Flash Challenge: Spooktober - Despite running for the entire month and having 31 single-word prompts, the minimum requirement for last year's flash challenge was 13 out of 31 completion and they could be in any order and could be worldbuilding, prose, or drawing!
As the prompts are only a single word, you can interpret them in any way that suits your world. To prepare for a challenge like this, just think up an area of your worldbuilding that you want to expand during this challenge!
World Anvil Birthday Stream - World Anvil's birthday is the 25th October 2017, but it's often celebrated on the 31st - an excellent opportunity for dressing up for Halloween and sharing your photos in the Spookiful People channel in World Anvil's Discord server!
Flash Challenge: Mapvember - during this month there's another prompt based challenge with 30 single-word prompts that can be used for worldbuilding inspiration in the form of writing, art, or mapmaking! Last year I twisted the prompt to suit my needs and I created 7 mindmaps instead!
In 2021 Mapvember ran from 1st - 30th Nov with a minimum of 21/30 completion.
In 2022 Mapvember ran from 1st - 30th Nov with a minimum of 7/30 completion.
For 2023 it's safe to assume the timeframe for this challenge will be the same!
WorldEmber prep month - akin to Summer Camp in July, WorldEmber is (arguably) the biggest and BEST worldbuilding challenge of the year! It's a wordcount based challenge so it's super easy to prepare some rough ideas and sketch out some artwork beforehand.
World Anvil sets homework challenges to help you get your worldbuilding ideas ready and to keep your wordcount goals manageable - check out last year's homework for ideas!
WorldEmber - the ultimate worldbuilding challenge of the year and lasting all month - you are challenged to write 10,000 words of new worldbuilding in your world(s)!
You can choose to partake in some competitive spirit and challenge your friends to word sprints, or go at your own pace and dive deep into your world's immersion!
The homework challenges in the previous month can help you to plan for this event, and I've also made a free (or pay what you want) worldbuilding planner in Google Sheets to help you plan out your daily wordcount goals and stay motivated and on track!
There are amazing raffles and prizes to be won, so check out the special categories if you're interested in worldbuilding for shiny things!
Other Worldbuilding Challenges
Worldbuilding Prompts - World Anvil has plenty of writing prompts available to spark your curiosity that you can answer any time you feel like.
If you need even more ideas to expand your world, check out my Google Sheet of 400 Worldbuilding Prompts! It's completely free (or pay what you want) and has all of the prompts sorted into categories that match up with the article templates on World Anvil - there's even checkboxes and progress bars so you can see how many you've completed!
400 Worldbuilding Prompts
Suitable for any worldbuilding project!
Every prompt is genre agnostic so that you can use it for any type of world that you're creating. There's a huge variety of prompts spanning from broad concepts to quirky and complex ideas for you to expand on!
Don't miss the launch!
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Worldbuilding challenges are more fun with friends though, and there's something here for everyone! If you think someone in your circles would enjoy a challenge this year then please share this post with them :D
What event are you looking forward to the most?