Sunday, January 12, 2014

Clash Playtest 1-11-2014

Yesterday I playtested my in-progress tabletop roleplaying "story game," Clash. Clash is a game about exploring big conflicts from a small perspective. You fight, you argue, and you look at the moments that change the world. It's a GM-less, team-based game with a table you roll against to have "The World" act against the players.

Clash has been a big challenge for me. It was put together in a single day and then fiddled with and messed with for about a year before I got the courage to playtest it. I've had near-zero luck getting playtesters outside my group to play, but I've finally got my group into it. I have a lot of emotional investment in it, as it's my first solo game, so playtesting was really a tough subject to broach with my group.

Anyway, we finally started playtesting, and this is session 2. We had 4 players and the session was about 3 hours.

The setting is Chicago during the height of prohibition, where one team is playing the Mob and the other team is the Untouchables. We have a pretty nice mix of characters, including a young rookie on one side and the son of the woman mob boss on the other. We've fiddled with history a bit in part to allow for some women characters, such as my Untouchable, Penelope Wilson, who is a woman fighting against the Mob and against the discrimination within her own organization.

We had a shoot out, an arrest, threatening notes left on doorsteps, and generally a great time. My biggest goal with Clash is for it to be fun, so that was good to see. Players enjoying themselves, cracking jokes when the time is appropriate (and sometimes inappropriate), getting into the gritty parts of conflict - that part of the game is happening.

The mechanics work. Right now I'm fiddling with some numbers to make it run more smoothly, but it seems to be going pretty much right. I don't think I'll have many more changes, honestly, because most of it is rewording or fiddly bits. I haven't made any big alterations so far, and it seems to be working well. I'm going to keep playtesting for a bit, but more than anything I want to get the game in other people's hands to see if they run into problems.

The biggest change (addition, really) this time around was to write in rules about how to handle multiple actor conflicts. It was just simply adding some wording and I think the rules I wrote in work great for the narrative and mechanical purposes.

Overall I think the playtest went really well. I'm hoping to do a crunch and play some more but I don't know how much success I will have there. I just want to play more!