The Game Chef competition for 2013 started last weekend. This time, both the theme and the ingredients are pictures instead of words, which is a nice change for a while. The pictures are simple enough to be interpreted in various ways, yet interesting enough to give plenty of ideas. Pictures can also convey ideas that single words simply cannot, which makes them ideal as ingredients. I kinda hope to see something similar in the future.
The pictures must have been also quite effective way to get my creative process going since I almost immediately had a few ideas about the ingredients. After going through my initial ideas and thinking about what kind of a game I want to create this time, I ended up having a one solid idea that I can flesh out more as I progress.
Working title: The Parasite
The Parasite is a game of distrust for 4 to 8 players. The game is about a group of scientists coming back up from the depths of Earth where they were conducting a research. Unfortunately, they discover that someone in their group has been infected with a parasite. They only have a few hours before the rest of the team will pick them up, and they need to decide who to put into quarantine so that the parasite won’t spread any more. The backstory isn’t much, but most of the players probably won’t even care about it.
The game runs as follows:
- Each player is dealt an identity card. One of the players gets an identity of Parasite, others are identified as Safe.
- Make a separate deck with cards with all the cards from 1-10. Each player is then dealt 5 cards and the rest are put away.
- The players start discussing about who to test first. If they can’t come up with a unanimous decision, they need to have a majority of votes.
- Each player chooses one card from their hands and plays it face down in front of the person who is being tested.
- The cards are then shuffled and revealed. If the total sum of red cards is bigger than the sum of black cards, the identity card is revealed. If not, then the card is left as it is.
- If the revealed identity is Parasite, the other players win. If not, the identity is left open for everyone to see.
- The played cards are put aside the player who was being tested. Everyone can check them whenever they want.
- The game continues until the Parasite is found or the players run out of hand cards, in which case the Parasite player wins.
I haven’t tried out the game yet, but I think it works quite well at the moment. Some design questions I am facing at the moment:
- Should there be other identities besides Parasite?
- Should the game have a point system, or is it fun enough to be played as it is?
- Are the game rounds too short?
I have a good feeling about this game, hopefully we’ll be playing it often after it’s done.
This month marked the beginning of the National Game Design Month 2012. Not actually a game design contest per se, but more like an event where people plan, design, create and play games, supported by other people going through the same process. Since there are no rules or guidelines, I decided to go back to my first Game Chef -game Psykhotherapy, and redesign the game to better fit my original vision.
The game is about people who are seeking help for their mental disorders. The characters enter a new form of therapy where they try to help each other to get over their problems by investigating the subconsciousness and trying to find reasons for the problems. During each session, one character is put into a deep, coma-like sleep where the other patients then enter. The Dreamer is the game master of the session, and the others try to understand the Dreamers subconsciousness: The Dark Mind.
Originally Psykhotherapy had a d12 based mechanic where the characters Abilities were used to calculate the difficulty of success. It was a decent mechanism, but I am not certain if it serves the game and the themes well enough. I have recently been thinking about using a more direct approach, giving the players a resource to use for solving problems they cannot solve otherwise.
Being a group therapy-based game, the game needs to be structured as such. Each session starts and ends with a therapy session where the characters discuss about their problems and share information to each other. This information should be relevant to the characters illness and to the eventual visits to the Dark Mind.
To measure their progress, each character is given their own patient sheet to fill out. The sheet functions both as a character sheet and as a tool for preparing the character’s own Dark Mind. The sheet contains a few questions intended to help the player to create interesting and entertaining characters and their backgrounds.
Since the main idea and some of the mechanics are already written, I don’t have to spend that much time working on them. Instead, I am going to refine the idea and mechanics, and also rewrite all the (poorly written) text of the previous version.
I’ll update once again after I have done some progress.
As mentioned in a previous blogpost, I will be reviewing some games as a part of the Game Chef 2012 contest. This is the fourth and last review.
The game is about telling the tales of the creation in the spirit of campfire-stories, using shadow puppets to narrate the story of Coyote and Medicine Man, two figures who are responsible for both the creation and uncreation of the world. Everything is done in a cooperative manner, from character creation to the actual narration. The game resembles more of a play than a game, which is not a bad thing at all.
As mentioned in a previous blogpost, I will be reviewing some games as a part of the Game Chef 2012 contest. This is the third review.
Heist is a mixture of a roleplaying game and a cooperative board game for four players and a GM. It is a game about four crooks trying to break in to a bank vault, using the special talents of the crooks to pull it off. But with a limit of three hours (of real time), the stakes are high.
The game includes a map of the bank, premade characters and a list of NPCs and other obstacles for the players to overcome.
As mentioned in a previous blogpost, I will be reviewing some games as a part of the Game Chef 2012 contest. This is the second review.
Beacon of Hope is a roleplaying game about people chosen to travel through space and time to prove that mankind is ready to move on to the Fourth World, after our world ends in December 2012. The Coyote has sabotaged the Beacon of Hope, and it is up to the player characters to fix the damage and confront Coyote to convince him of the worth of mankind. The game has been written for 3-6 players and a GM, who serves as the narrator for the story and comes up with the ideas about how Coyote has tempered with events of past.
As mentioned in a previous blogpost, I will be reviewing some games as a part of the Game Chef 2012 contest. This is the first review.
Therapy is a text-based roleplaying game for three players, intended to be played in IRC, forums and other text-based media. In fact, the game strongly discourages face to face contact, since the nature of the game involves some secrecy that could be lost with that.
As the title suggests, the game is about therapy sessions between Doctor and Patient. The third player, GM, organizes these sessions and awards points to the players.
Since the game involves some secret elements, such as the nature of the patients condition, this review contains SPOILERS and should not be read if you plan on trying out the game. Unfortunately that also means that you hardly can know what the game is about unless you read it. That being said, the GM has access to all the information on this game.
As a part of the Game Chef 2012 contest, us Chefs are expected to give feedback to each other. Each Chef was given four games to review. I will make a separate post for each of review, but for the sake of referencing, here are the games I was chosen to review, with links to the games and a small introductory blurb:
Submission #27: Therapy by Charles Boucher
A game within a game with shared characters and hidden player identity, or else just a way for three people to mess with a fourth at length.
My review on Therapy.
Submission #29: Beacon of Hope by Shari Corey
Travel through time to undo Coyote’s sabotage and save humanity-But Coyote travels with you-Can you prove yourselves worthy?
My review on Beacon fo Hope.
Submission #32: Heist by Theresa Strike
Synchronize your watches, because the police are on their way and time is running out.
My review on Heist.
Submission #36: Last Chance to Tell the Tale of Coyote and Medicine Man by Bryan Hansel
Tell the story of creation in this story telling parlor game told at the end of the world. Includes a fire ring and shadow puppets.
My review on Last Chance to Tell the Tale of Coyote and Medicine Man.