Friday, March 5, 2010

Game-Fu 8: Initial Thoughts

So the ingredients have now been posted for this more recent Game-Fu contest, and I'm already inspired by some vague ideas. As before, there's a list of System Constraints (mechanics, more or less) and a Genre Blender (pick two and puree), plus a couple that are new, as far as I know: a MacGuffin, or a PC's raison d'etre in the game, and a collection of Miscellanea, only one of which really appeals to me. And unlike last time... no image requirement. Fine with me. I lost a few points for not using my images creatively enough with Leftovers (even though the judge in question acknowledged that the images were meant to be inspirational only, and their layout within the document wasn't supposed to figure into the score -- not that I'm bitter).

It looks like regardless of what I end up doing, there are a few ingredients that I'll definitely use. One of the System Constraints is a dice mechanic I suggested -- a roll-and-keep dice pool, where the un-kept dice are mechanically significant -- so that's in, and one of the Miscellanea is a character sheet that's simple enough to fit on one or both sides of an index card, so that's in, too. That means I only need three more ingredients. But one of those has to be the Genre Blender, so really, it's only two ingredients. Another System Constraint that's, essentially, "no XP," so that's another easy one to throw into the mix, and yet another that's a karma system in which a character's actions come back to bite/kiss their ass somewhere down the line. So, potentially, I'm done with picking ingredients. That was easy.

However, there are some other character-generation ingredients that still interest me: round-robin chargen, "colors as a meaningful requirement for character," and chargen as a series of multiple-choice questions. Not all of those easily fit every genre, though, so I'm not 100% on them. (The karma thing doesn't fit every genre, either, but it fits enough that I think I can safely assume I'll use it.)

As for the core of this whole process, the Genre Blender, here are my initial thoughts:
  • A Goonies-style adventure game where the PCs are all kids (junior high, tops) tackling challenges and mysteries unknown to or far from adult authority. (Pulp Adventure/Modern Occult)
  • Another game with child PCs, but this time it's about kids who have each come into possession of a seemingly mundane object that's actually a displaced artifact of some kind from the fairy world. The kids have all struck a deal with the fairies: They can keep and use their whatsits if they help the fairies track down the remaining missing artifacts, all of which appear to be ordinary objects in our world. This one could make neat use of the index-card character sheet: the "real world" version of the character is on one side, and the Fairy World version's on the other. (Fairy Tale/Modern Occult)
  • Two words: fairy spies. (Espionage/Fairy Tale)


  1. If you want an example of chargen as multiple choice questions, go back and check out the old Ultimas (IV was the first one that did it I think).

    You were presented with a series of 2 tarot cards and a story to go with it. Based upon what you picked, it gave you a starting point.

    Might be of some use.

    "I expect you to DIE, Mr. Toot!" (Priceless)

  2. Oh, if yer gonna use colors, maybe go total movie-fan and do a fae "Resevoir Dogs"! ;)