05 June, 2016

Game Chef Thoughts (Part 2)

There has been a wildly successful series of massive live action games run in Sydney (and recently Melbourne) over the past few years. This series of games is referred to as Zed-Town, and I know some of the organisers. The first games saw around 100 players, the most recent game in May 2016 saw 630. It is a ticketed event and sold out in minutes.

The general premise of the game is a six hour zombie apocalypse scenario. "Survivors" are armed with NERF guns, Zombies hit by NERF guns are stunned before they may continue on their way. When someone is "bitten" by a zombie, they no longer have access to their NERF gun, but head to a make-up station, and get turned into a zombie. I've really wanted to get along to one of these games, but just haven't had the chance. I've played in the venues where some of these events are held, even engaging in LARP events with 400 odd players, and given that I know the organisers and venues, I have a good idea of how these types of events unfold.

The question is how I'd tie these concepts into a Game Chef entry.

Technology would be easy...and something interesting to play with as an asymmetric game mechanism. Give one side NERF guns and call them "Colonials", give the other side foam weapons and call them "Natives". Sunlight can come into the game easily by running the game from midnight to dawn, have a pillar or sacred place of power and when certain point becomes illuminated by the sun, the game concludes. Alarm can be used as a technological device, perhaps setting a time limit that a location must be held by a specific group before special benefits occur (resetting the count if the group falls and another group sets up camp). Sketch and Dance are a bit harder to integrate tightly into the design, but in Game Chef I like designs that make use of all the elements to push the envelope a bit.

I want to have the "Natives" engage in dance to perform rituals that will bring back members of their people. I want the have the "Colonials" sketch the land as the explore it, gaining bonuses when they successfully map out a territory...but not only that, I want the "Colonials" to dance in regimented formations or "pseudo-Catholic ritual" to earn the favour of their bloodthirsty god, and I want the "Natives" to draw sketches of the colonial town, or leave markings for one another through chalk on the pavement.

I want there to be factions in the game, on both sides. Hardcore warriors, diplomatic peacemakers, crafters, and clerics/mystics. Maybe apply the game a theme akin to Warhammer 40K, where the "Colonials" are tech oriented marines working to purge the galaxy of xenomorphs and heresy, while the "Natives" are settlers who turned their back on high technology because industrialisation was destroying their planet's ecosystem. Within each faction might be factions of chaos worshippers who gain strength from the carnage, but similarly each side has hidden factions with other agendas. It all basically ties into ideas I've recently had regarding LARP.

This sort of game needs to be fast, it needs rules that don't break the immersion. It needs everyone to be able to understand what is happening easily with minimal confusion, because playing a wide game with more than a few dozen people means that GMs can be few and far between.

It could be an interesting idea to pursue, but I'll keep my mind open for other ideas that might come up.
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