Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Game Chef: Hmm... Needs More People

Hey, I think I might actually finish this thing. It's essentially done: All the characters have all their bits (with, like, one or two exceptions), the un-playtested rules look solid and fun, I have 12 soap-opera storylines broken down into their three stages of development... it's surprising how far it's come.

But one thing I've noticed is that even with six characters, it feels a little sparsely populated for a soap. These are all primary cast; they need some supporting cast, too. So each character now has three Supporting Cast. One's already filled in, but the other two are left blank for the player to define during play. You don't even have to fill them both in if you don't want to.

I'm not entirely sure what mechanical purpose they'd serve, but I'm inclined to treat them just like Vows, Natures, and Modes. Each starts rated at 1, and etc. Instead of picking one Vow, one Nature, and one Mode, you'd pick one entry from each category. Sometimes that Supporting Cast will be relevant; often they won't.

For example, Dane Prince's initial Supporting Cast is his band, Sea of Troubles (comprised of Simon Catling, Hugh Rebeck, and James Soundpost, three musicians from Romeo and Juliet). When they're helping the situation -- say, if they're trying to impress a producer at a gig -- Dane's player can use them to draw a card. When they're a problem -- say, if he's trying to impress a producer at an industry party, and they're being idiots -- his player can choose to fail the contest in exchange for increasing their rating by one.

Which reminds me: There needs to be a good way to get those ratings down. I'm thinking you can burn points to draw additional cards at a 1:1 ratio. But none of these things (whatever they're called) can be lowered below one. That all seems reasonable. You'll burn them when you're desperate. And then maybe you can regain one point in one of them during a commercial break. Sure, let's do that.

See, this is what my game-design notes look like -- me talking to myself.

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