Showing posts from June, 2012

Hell on Eight Wheels: Fifteen – Building the Play Experience with Practice Games

After being inspired by the web-show “Tabletop”, I’ve been looking at a few types of game rules to ensure Hell on Eight Wheels is as user friendly as possible. With this in mind, I’ve tracked down a copy of Wyrd Miniature’s Puppet Wars. This game uses a stripped down and modified version of the Malifaux miniatures rules; so it bears some similarities to what I have in mind for Hell on Eight Wheels…things like hands of cards being played to activate figures on the board, simple movement, attacks, etc. The teaching process of the game is interesting, and might be something useful to incorporate into my own game.  It basically leads the players through a sequence of five games, the first using the absolute basic fundamentals of gameplay, while each further iteration adds a step of added complexity until the full version of the rules are utilised. Magic the Gathering did something similar with two player quickstart decks, where two basic decks with a specific card order were

Mechanisms for Board Games

I've been watching Wil Wheaton's  Tabletop . One of the more recent episodes showed a few quick pick-up games; Tsuro, Get Bit and Zombie Dice. Simple games with simple mechanisms, but all sorts of fun. The latter two games have inspired me to develop some fun mechanisms of my own that might be used to good effect by someone. Perhaps a bit like the "Otherkind Dice" hat Vincent Baker designed many years go without a good project to install them into...but which are seeing all sorts of applications in the current indie game scene. Does anyone else have ideas that are fragments? Ideas without a home that they might like to share?

Change of Gears

Finished study for the term, I really want to spend the next few weeks getting Hell on Eight Wheels into a playable state, and maybe run a playtest of the current rules for Walkabout. We'll see how that goes. Hopefully there will be a couple of updates on these projects shortly.

Getting away from Dice

Roleplaying games and Dice. They just seem to go together. Sure there are plenty of games that don't use dice, but they always seem to be on the outer fringes. The first games I encountered without dice were Castle Falkenstein (which used cards), and Amber (which was purely diceless). In both of these games, I enjoyed the notion of game play that didn't revolve around numbers...well sort of. Numbers weren't used to describe characters in Castle Falkenstein, instead you had a series of abilities levels, poor, average, good, excellent, etc. These helped describe you character. If you didn't have the ability noted as an aspect of your character, you defaulted to "average". It didn't even have "attributes" as default numbers to fall back on. Simple enough. Amer did use umber but it used them in a new way. You simply angled yourself in the narrative so that you'd be using your best numbers (or using the values that you thought were you o

The Interface between Story and Game Mechanism

I’ve been thinking about the connections between story development and game mechanisms quite a bit. My Vector Theory of Game design was an attempt to address this issue in a more rational manner than that engaged by the “Big Model” of roleplaying game theory. But it seems to have come up a bit more lately. For example, I just found this thread over on Story Games… Some interesting notions are raised in the initial post and some more come up through the course of the thread. The whole idea is something that has been convoluting and confounding my design process for Walkabout. Especially because I'm going with a token driven system rather than a traditional dice or card based effect. How do I create a system that links the player into the fiction, helping to immerse them into the post apocalyptic scavenging of the setting, while keeping the game fast paced enough to allow a few a
A sad week, or the dawn of a new era. I don't know. A lot of gamers don't know about the Forge ( ), and a lot of those gamers who do know about the Forge have a love/hate relationship with it. Some call it the forum that launched a new industry of independent game design...some call it the graveyard where a thousand fledgling designers brought their ideas, only to be shot down in flames by calls for "actual play" when all they wanted to discuss was their new ideas. Founded by Ron Edwards, with some strong assistance from other folks who've become independent RPG design heavyweights, the Forge had been greatly influential over the last few years, focusing game design in ways that nothing had done previously. It founded terminology that has spread through the gaming world like an infectious disease, sometimes confusingly (like the term "simulationism" which doesn't necessarily mean simulating reality), and so

Exactitudes - A tool, an artform, a social comment

While digging through some other things on the net, I found a website called Exactitudes . It is one artists pictorial representation of societal cross sections. Each work is 12 people who (in their own way), fit a general stereotype for a social group. It shows that stereotypes are a powerful thing, and I instantly thought that it might be a great tool for gaming. The first option would be as a random character portrait generator in a modern day game. Do you have a general stereotype that your character fits? Chose that stereotype and roll a d12 to get an image of your character. The second idea to come to mind might be to limit character to specific people within that stereotype. What stories do we tell within that social group? How do the characters identify themselves as individuals within a common subculture? I'm sure there are plenty more ways that this artists work can be used within the context of role playing, since "role" is such a vital part of his w