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Burned down

I’m totally lost with my ideas.  If you have any ideas on how to get  back on track, please help me out here. The Secret Society lacks something really important and I can’t figure out what do with it. Maybe I really should just abandon it and try out something else.

I was wondering what kind of a game I want to write. I have some ideas, but none of them quite fit the contest. Modern day shamans, timetravel and virtual reality/cyberspace hackers.

I’ll start with listing the ideas that taste good to me:

Intrigue
– scheming/plotting vs fascinating/interesting, I could go either way

Star
– constellations, zodiac, star as a symbol, astronomy

Three Player Award
three players and one GM or three player game with no GM
competitive or non-competitive play, not quite sure

Year 2001 Award
– modern age, new millennium, end of the world, beginning of a new age, terrorism

So, if I put these together I have:

Intriquing constellations, a game of modern astronomy for three players

Great.

I might fuse this and the shamans together for something epic. Not sure if it’s a epic win or epic fail though. Let’s hope for the best.

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Categories: Crying Wolfman, Game Chef
  1. pseudonymusbosch
    September 2, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    Oooh, I hadn’t even considered 2001 as an alternate history where the turning of the millennium actually did Something Big. That’s a good idea.

    • Antti Lax
      September 2, 2009 at 3:47 pm

      Thanks, I’ve always liked the idea of “alternate reality” in which something big happened in our recent history. That was one of the things that inspired me in the 2001 award. I strongly think I’ll be sticking to that.

      • chefjb
        September 3, 2009 at 2:59 am

        I second that it’s cool. Besides just being interesting for its own sake (especially being a millenium rollover), it keeps it modern while giving the players a ton of freedom to change anything in the real world. I think in a lot of modern games there’s a tendency to keep it small and local, or at least off on the sidelines because affecting history seems off-limits.

  2. September 2, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    Couple of questions that might help you (or not):

    What kind of a game would you want to play, right now? Does that (yet non-existing) game have anything in common with your assorted ideas? Could you do some kind of fusion of them, keeping stuff from both?

    Another thing would be to think about what kind of play do you want to encourage. As far as I can see you have done much processing on the theme and milieu, but little on the interaction around the table or mechanics. Maybe something emerges from that side that could help you with the stuff you are burnt out with.

    • Antti Lax
      September 2, 2009 at 4:08 pm

      “What kind of a game would you want to play, right now?”

      Something set in our present day, with a twist: World of Darkness has been a huge inspiration on me for many years. I just wish that I didn’t try to remake it though.

      “Does that (yet non-existing) game have anything in common with your assorted ideas? Could you do some kind of fusion of them, keeping stuff from both?”

      The milieu is something very common, as I’ve recently had ideas for games in that setting. I was thinking of fusing some of my old ideas with the ingredients and new ideas, but I feel that it wouldn’t work.

      “Another thing would be to think about what kind of play do you want to encourage. As far as I can see you have done much processing on the theme and milieu, but little on the interaction around the table or mechanics.”

      Well, that’s actually the reason why I felt disorientated. I had this nice setting for a game, but not a game for the setting. I also tend to work on the setting first, and with that done, I can focus fully on the mechanics.

      Thanks for the questions, they helped me collect my thoughts a bit. I might stick to my original plan after all.

  3. shouyousei
    September 2, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    One thing that is very important to get an hold on early, is what the characters do in the game and why that is fun to play. When I get stuck I tent to ask myself question like: “What kind of story is told with this game, and how do the characters fit into that?” and “What are the conflicts the characters are going to face in the game?”

    If you want a three player game in a alternative 2001 where things has gone wrong, I think you should ask yourself: Why are these three character important for the state of thing, and what can they do to change the situation.

    – Anders

    • chefjb
      September 3, 2009 at 3:04 am

      I strongly agree with Anders. Usually when I get in trouble it’s when I’m forgetting to focus on what makes it fun at the table.

      Building on Ander’s question about why these three characters are important right now, I think it’s useful to ask basically the same question from a different perspective: How is the world off-balance and ripe for change? Put the characters right there in that point.

      Right now I really like the idea of a modern game where the player characters can change the world–emphasis on player characters. I’d say encourage things that cause world to spin off in directions different than our own world. I think it would be a fun alternative to the more subdued World of Darkness “in the shadows” thing. (Mind you, I like the WoD setting, but permission to blow the world up or fix it would also be fun).

      -John B.

  4. emilycare
    September 2, 2009 at 10:15 pm

    The alternative 2001 sounds great to me. Also, using the players’ star signs to determine things about the characters and maybe plot sounds incredibly catchy and inspiring for play.

    • Antti Lax
      September 2, 2009 at 11:45 pm

      Thanks, I think so too. I was actually inspired by The Mountain Witch, as it had the Chinese horoscope do the same. And as I mentioned earlier, alternative realities have always been my thing 🙂

  5. C. Edwards
    September 4, 2009 at 5:46 am

    I’m pretty fond of the setting and premise you’ve worked up so far as well. My advice is to take the core play issues (what the players do at the table) that interest you and the core setting/premise element that interests you and to drive at them hard.

    One thing I’ve noticed a lot of in Game Chef is a tendancy to get too far into creating setting and other color elements before stopping to figure out how you might actually play. Once you’ve got a bunch of fiction worked out it can be daunting to try and encompass all of it with system. If you start by aiming at the core gameplay you want and the core fiction you want much of your design may unfold for you from base principles.

    • Antti Lax
      September 4, 2009 at 7:52 am

      Thanks. My initial stress was actually that the setting would be bland and “done already”. But after good feedback and careful consideration, I have gathered my thoughts and am willing to continue the game.

      You are right on the fiction vs system problem. It was quite difficult to think of a system when I wasn’t completely sure what I wanted my characters to do. If I had developed a system first (like the Mission system I’m working on currently), I might had been on track since the beginning.

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