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Showing posts from August, 2009

Game Mechani(sm) of the Week #34: Narrative Sharing

The GM sets the scene and tells the story, the players simply enact the actions of their characters within that story.
That's the way traditional gaming is played out.
You go to a convention, and you pay money for a GM to weave a story for you. It's almost like paying to gpo and see a movie, axcept that you can manipulate the story toward one of a few defined conclusions that the GM has prepared.
You play around a table with friends, one takes on the responsibility of setting up the stories, while everyone else creates caharacters to take part in those stories. Sometimes the group has an adversarial relationship with their GM, working to subvert the stories; other times it's cooperative.
But games need not always be like this.
I've alluded to cooperative storytelling in quite a few of my posts, but checking back through the weekly game mechani(sm)s I don't think I've actually brought up the notion as a specific topic. It's something that has really helped to def…

Game Mechani(sm) of the Week #33: Real Time

I sat here for a while trying to think of some interesting mechanisms I'd encountered during games.

It's not that I've run out of ideas, I guess it's more a case of Writer's Block.

I've finalized the first part of Quincunx and now that it's time to renew regular endeavpurs I look at a blank screen and wonder what to start typing. I'm sure there are hundreds of mechanisms I haven't remotely touched on, but for the moment I'm going to concentrate on the first thing that has come to mind...

...playing in real time.

I hate roleplaying combat....at least in most games I hate it.

Sitting at a table, rolling a die (or dice) to see if you hit, rolling another die (or dice) to see if you actually do damage. Some games complicate this further by referencing tables, or adding in extra die rolls for armour absorption, critical hit locations and effects, or other stuff to make the hit "
more realistic".

Bah humbug!

You might expect Live Action Role Playing…

Quincunx Alpha now available

I've been letting things slide a bit on the Blog over the last couple of weeks, but fear not...I haven't been idly frittering away my time.

Instead I've been honing the Rajah Spiny Rat rules set into something that more closely resembles the final product I had in mind.

(Maybe I've been frittering away a bit of my time....but mostly it's been writing, crafting, 3d rendering and compiling. Much to the annoyance of my ever-suffering wife.)

So without any further rant, I give you...

Quincunx Alpha

Tell me what you think.

(Even if you think it's crap).

Other Designers

It'a good to se that other designers seem to go through soime of the same issues that I face in design.
See this from Ryan Macklin's Blog

Roleplaying is of the Devil

I grew up in a strong Christian household, my dad worked for the Anglican church for many years...especially during my formative years when I was in school. Our family had many friends who were church-going families, our regular social outlet was sundays at Church, friday nights at Bible study and I was encouraged to go to the church youth group when I was in my mid-teens.
For several years I even attended Christian schools.
When Bible study nights were being held at the house of a friend's family, I was introduced to the Palladium game "TMNT and Other Strangeness", I was in my mid-teens at the time. It was roleplaying, but it wasn't that satanic game "Dungeons and Dragons", so my friends parents had allowed it into the house. There was even a saturday morning cartoon about these strange mutant animals and their adventures, so we could just tell our parents that we were playing make believe in the cartoon world.
Our parents thought that it was a bit immature, …

Game Mechani(sm) of the Week #32: Rubik's Cube

Last night, while thinking about Lego dice, I hit upon a concept that really got me thinking.
Rubik's Cube

The sides of the Lego dice are interchangeable, allowing dice that can be modified on the fly (even during the middle of a game if necessary). There's heaps of potential there, but what about other cubic forms that have an inherently changeable structure.
Most people with a vague familiarity with western popular culture or toys from the last 25 years will have a knowledge of the coloured cube with the rotating sides.
But how could it apply as a mechanism in a roleplaying game?
The same might have been said about a Jenga tower before someone conceived of using it's inherent tension as a metaphor for fear within the narrative.
The symbolism of a Rubik's cube could be transferred between the narrative of the in game evenets and the mechanisms of the real world quite easily.
The first idea to come to mind is a structured universe reflected by a completely solved cube, while …

Game Mechani(sm) of the Week #31: Lego Dice

http://games.lego.com/en-GB/kids/default.aspx
So much potential, so little time.
I was introduced to these through a thread on Story Games.
It was interesting that the concept appeared not long after my Brisbane iGod comrade, Andrew Smith was telling me about playing rudimentary wargaming with lego and dice (I think it was with his nephew). It's the kind of concept that Lego is really doing well lately, tapping into the zeitgeist and giving us the toys we want.
But I'm really interested in the potential that comes from dice where you can adjust the faces modularly, mid-game.
The first thing that came to mind was the dice used in the Alkemy miniatures game. That game uses a variety of coloured dice each with different facing scores depending on their colour, and different dice are used depending on the degrees of damage suffered by the warriors.
But modular lego dice offer even more potential, faces can be modified on the fly based on temporary bonuses. Effects can be applied for di…

Game Mechani(sm) of the Week #30: Yes, and...

A second post relating to "A Penny for my Thoughts", I must have really enjoyed it.
One of the more interesting mechanisms in the game is the idea that people can ask questions which have to be answered with the expression "Yes, and..."
It makes for some really interesting situations when you have to agree with loaded questions, then find a way to work them into the unfolding narrative.
Scene Unfolds: I'm walking down the street...
Question 1: Do you see someone you know?
Yes, and...it turns out to be an old friend of mine.
Question 2: Was it someone who broke your heart when they had an affair on you?
Yes, and it was that very incident that stopped me from being a friend with her.
Question 3: Do you want to kill her?
Yes, and I have thought about it for a long time.
A simple scene turns into something very emotionally charged, especially when the players are really wishing to push the envelope with each other. No matter how positively the questioned player tries to tak…

Therapy Sessions from the Orphic Institute

I shared my first therapy session using the guidelines provided by the Orphic Institute on saturday night. I proved to have some very strong reasons for my incarceration in a psychiatric institution, but It was a lot of fun...
...well actually it was a new game by Evil Hat productions (written by Paul Tevis) called "A penny for my thoughts". A game where everyone starts as an amnesiac, and through the help of their therapy partners they discover a little about their former life.
I really enjoyed it, and I've spent the last couple of days desperately trying to think of a way to incorporate some of it's concepts into a regular game.
I considered a number of options but today I came up with an elegant and appropriate solution.
Joss Whedon's "The Doll House".
Someone pointed out recently on a forum that the roleplaying game of Joss's other intellectual properties "Serenity" and "Buffy" were typically generic systems. Serenity comes with…