Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Game Design Brunch 1-19-14

We had a game design brunch on Sunday. This time it was just four of us, thanks to the plague hitting Pittsburgh and taking out multiple members, plus people being busy due to work, etc. I missed people but it was still good to get together and do the business we needed to do.

First up was Clash. I'm taking Clash to Dreamation in February (OMG NERVOUS), which is exciting and challenging all at once! Problem is, I'm terrible at pitching games and explaining what they're about. Cue me bothering my Game Design Brunchers for phrases, keywords, and the like about Clash.

(the following is not verbatim)

Marc said: It's a game where you give up what you want in order to get what you need.

Rachel said: It's a game about relationships and how strained they can be.

Everyone agreed that it really is a game about conflict and that I should zoom in on that, and the sacrifice aspect. I also asked for a few examples of stories that could be told with Clash. Number one, as usual, is Romeo & Juliet. I wish I knew more about the play! Others included our current game-in-progress (the Untouchables vs. the Mob), as well as high school rivalries (which can get surprisingly messy), and John says Eastern Europe during WWII. I know nothing about WWII so I'm not helpful there, but it seems rich for the taking.

Finally, for Clash, I had some thinky time about how the game requires specific things, based on comments at the table. John, Marc, and Rachel said that they noticed that they needed to have time interacting with each other, so it's hard to do people on distant battlefields, you need people forced together in space. One of the best examples of this in media I can think of is North & South, which I saw multiple times as a kid. I'm sure it's epically problematic, but I <3 Patrick Swayze and was a big fan. The big thing about the miniseries is that the characters are literally at war with each other but still find themselves in the same places - family gatherings, business meetings, etc. That's the kind of thing I'm looking at for Clash. Take tons of bad blood and problems, shake 'em up, and put everyone into one place. Bam. Done.

With this in mind, I added a new mechanic to the game. Locations are now like, a thing! And there are mechanical bonuses based on your location, plus some narrative stuff with locations. I'm pretty excited about that.

Up next, we discussed Tabletop Blockbuster and the possibility for going back to positive and negative traits. So far, all of our players have liked the idea, we just need to playtest it now. I think it will work out just fine.

Finally, we did some work with Marc's Legends of Bardic Distortion game, which he needs to be writing more about. We helped out putting together some new talents for the Kensei tier of talents, and it sounds like we also figured out some stuff that he'd been sitting on. Cool beans.

It was pretty damn productive! I love these brunches.