Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Worldwide Collaborative Game

World Without Oil is a game/collective think tank. It depicts a world when the oil starts to truly run and a global oil shortage has begun. The rules are simple: Image yourself in this world and then tell the community how it has affected you. You can do this through blog, video, forum, photos, or even ... missions. Yes missions. I can't really explain them, you just have to see them for yourself.

This is the most amazing example of Story Now that I think I have ever witnessed. I am so jealous.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

How Game Design is like Haiku

I realized last night that game design is like Haiku. So this is one of those statements of the obvious, but constraint makes you more creative.

I am currently working on a cannonball run style driving game. I decided to use cards for one of the fortune mechanics. As such I needed 4 categories. My original 4 categories were:
Drive, Navigation, Mechanical, and Face (as in ATeam). But those were confusing.

So then I decided I need 4 categories that would match their respective suit. This is when my creativity kicked in and all of a sudden the entire game seemed to fall into place:

Drive - Diamonds / Speed - Spades / Carousing - Clubs / Hijinks - Hearts

Man I love this stuff.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Now we need an RPG Summary Site

I have been ranting about needing reference sheets for some time now, but in the context of RPGs. I see that someone is already doing it for board games and so far, they are really nice.

I will be attempting to use these sheets in the near future, but already I am very excited. Now we just need a site that is dedicated to doing rules summary sheets for RPGs.

Hmmm. I am doing a website redesign right now.

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Monday, May 07, 2007

Friday Playtest Forum #1

Last week we kicked off a little experiment, our Friday afternoon play test forum. A lot of us have games that need playtesting, but we have no more evening time available.

I wasn't sure that anyone would show up on a weekday afternoon, but we had an excellent turnout. Sam showed up early and we tried out a tactical war game that he and Trey have been working on. Phil and Trey showed up a little later and we started to try out Eric Boyd's Committee for the Exploration of Mysteries.

The Committee blends a lot of elements from successful story focused independent games, and I have to say that so far the blending is excellently done. In The Committee, all the players are pulp-era explorers just returned from an expedition who sit down in the halls of the Committee to recount their adventures and compete for acclaim. The game requires each player to have a "festive beverage" at hand, and includes rules to take advantage of this fact.

One thing about The Committee that I thought wouldn't go down so well is it's use of ritualistic phrasing to begin certain phases of the game. For example, there's a special toast ("to learning, travel, and adventure") to kick of the adventure. When a character cannot overcome a hazard on the journey, they say "I'm embarrassed to say that for a time we were uncertain how to proceed." Despite my worries, the players were soon speaking in accent, proposing toasts, and getting right into the action.

The Committee also has an interesting twist in timed narration. When a character struggles to overcome a hazard, they have 3 minutes to complete their narration. We didn't institute this rule because everyone was still trying to get the hang of the game. Next week, we'll complete our play test using the timer. The conflict resolution system is very smooth and rapid, so there's the potential for this to work quite well, but I definitely want to see it in action.

I may write a proper AP of this after we play again. So far, this game feel extremely polished and while it's not quite ready for publication, I think it's probably a better produt that a lot of games that are now for sale.


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Brass Goggles: Steampunk blog

...and while I'm posting links to other blogs with inspirational ideas, I should also link to Brass Goggles, dedicated to "the lighter side of Steampunk" according to their subtitle. The blog itself often features handcrafted steampunk-style creations, but also links to other steampunk-styled art - books, films, games, images, anything to do with steampunk.

We haven't done any steampunk-style gaming yet - the closest we've come is our pulp-era "Tales from the Aether" series, which is a related but different genre - but I'm sure if we decide to use a steampunk setting for a future game, we'll be able to find a lot of good reference material through this blog.

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Paleo-Future: Y2K Postcards (ca. 1900)

Through The Morning News today I found a link to the blog Paleo-Future: A Look into the Future that Never Was. Looks like a good source for pulp/retro-style sci-fi ideas for games. The particular post linked to in the title above has some promotional postcards from around 1900, made by a German chocolatier, that purport to depict life in the year 2000. The posts are labelled by decade, so you can browse for posts about views of the future from, say, the 1920s. Also, popular topics such as cities of the future, flying cars, robots, and the year 2000 are linked in the sidebar as well.