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All Quiet on the Western Front

May 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Despite the vague reference to the novel of the same name, the title is also a reference to the state of the current Game Chef competition.

Game Chef 2009 started in last September, and it had four deadlines: 7 days, 14 days, 30 days and one year. The three first deadlines have passed long ago and everyone seems to have forgotten the whole competition already. Which is a shame, because the Game Chef website doesn’t even list the games finished for the 30 days deadline.

My Game Chef entry, The Knights of the Lily, has not had any progress after it’s beta version either. I haven’t actually even thought about it in a past few months, but that might prove to be actually a good thing. When I get back to writing, I might have some new ideas and a better vision on what I want the game to accomplish.

Like many of my fellow ‘Chefs, I’ve decided that I’ll continue blogging despite the hiatus on the Game Chef competition.  I think I’ll mostly ramble about game design but maybe also about something completely different.

Beta version finished!

October 5, 2009 1 comment

It’s been a whole month already and the game is almost complete. After another round of playtest I figured that the Setting for the game might need some work. But the game mechanics worked fine, although I did a few changes compared to the second draft.

  • A full new layout with columns and A5 sized pages
  • Academics-skill was replaced with more useful Investigation-skill
  • Some more information about the Branches, the Order and the game in general

The beta version can be found here and the character sheet can be found here.

Any comments are more than welcome.

Second Draft

September 14, 2009 Leave a comment

The second week went incredibly fast, mostly because my studies actually began. But I found time to playtest the first draft and made some changes:

  • Stress-mechanic which serves as a penalty for failing tasks
  • A minor tweak in the amount of skills
  • An improved character sheet and slightly adjusted layout on the main book

The second draft can be found here and the character sheet 2.0 can be found here.

Any comments are more than welcome.

Ideas for the next version

September 13, 2009 Leave a comment

We did one playtest and the game ran smoothly. Character creation had a few difficulties, but nothing major. I might need to give the characters a few skillpoints more and emphasize the zodiac signs a bit.

The Mission we played was the one I wrote on the first draft. The players had fun planning how they were going to capture the politician and get him out of the hotel. The only problems we had were:

  • If the character has a skill of zero to begin with, would he fail automatically or try it with just one die and a DV of 6?
  • What happens if you don’t succeed?  Originally I had visioned that the skills get penalties (similar to Dust Devils) and when a skill reaches zero, the character needs to abort the Mission.
  • How do contested rolls work? For example, if a character wants to hide and a NPC character wants to find him, how does it work?

So I started thinking about these questions. I think I’ll give the character more skill points, and in an unlikely situation that they need to use a skill they don’t have, they can roll a single die against DV 6.

Another new idea I had was Stress points. After an unsuccessful skill test, the characters Stress raises by one point. For the duration of the Mission, the character suffers a one die penalty in all his skill tests. As soon as the character gains his third Stress point, he must abandon the Mission.

Contested skill tests aren’t such a huge problem, it just needs to be written to the book. If the contest is an Obstacle, then it is used against the Obstacles DV. In any other case, the Overseer determines the difficulty value necessary. A good guideline is that DV 4 is somewhat easy task.

The setting worked fine, but it needs a little bit more details. I might make some adjustments on it, but I’ll focus mainly on getting the mechanics working.

Thought before the Playtest

September 10, 2009 Leave a comment

Tomorrow we’re going to playtest the Knights and see how it’ll work. Few things I might need to focus on:

  • Balance of the Branches
    • each Branch has a different skill specializations and abilities, they need to be balanced
  • Talent-mechanism
    • too many or too little Talents, are they too powerful?
  • Amount of skillpoints
    • are there enough skillpoints, and are they divided well?
  • Missions
    • are the Objectives clear enough and are the Obstacles difficult enough?

I decided to write up a new Mission for the playtest. I’m thinking of having about 5 different Missions for the complete game. Any ideas on those are more than helpful.

First draft complete!

September 7, 2009 Leave a comment

After a long week, the first draft is finally complete. The game is now called “The Knights of the Lily – A Game of Secrecy and Noble Intentions”. Or TKOTL for short 🙂

Here is a link for the game, and here is a link for the character sheet v.1

Comments are more than welcome. I’ll playtest this next week and post a second draft.