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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 158 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [Boulevard] Moving between the Issues  (Read 2141 times)
joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« on: August 20, 2006, 06:06:50 PM »

So, Iíve got this game Iím working on. Itís called Boulevard, and itís pretty fucking cool.

Itís about these nihilistic, pretentious, lowlife, poverty-line, naÔve, alternative kids.
These kids are like 18-25ish, living on their own for the first time.
They think they are capable of taking care of themselves now, but they arenít.

These kids have fallen through the societal cracks. They rejected the system, and the system rejected them too.

They have all these punky, edgy causes that they dedicate their lives to.
Causes like freedom of speech, anarchy, feminism, and communism.
Causes they donít really understand, deep down.

This is an outline of what characters do:
-abuse their bodies with drugs, alcohol, fighting and risk-taking.
-go off on long, ideological rants about their causes.
-Step on each othersí toes, while trying to band together.
-Define, re-define, and again re-define their causes, and different social movements. (ďNow itís the 90ís, and punk means THIS.Ē)
-Rawk against the system.

So, part of what the characters do is go on long ideological rants, basically.
Depending on the character, this could manifest as a rant, a monologue, a speech, something said over a megaphone at a rally, something read at a coffeehouse open mic, spoken word, etc.

Thereís this board. And as the player/character ďrantsĒ (or however that manifests) they move a little cardboard cutout along this board.
The board is a typical board-gamey board. But it links and webs the characterís Causes together. So maybe itís two moves to get from Modernism to Feminism. And Communism is a link away from Propaganda. Something like that.

As players/characters rant, they gain movement across the board. Somehow, moving across this board will open up new Causes, will re-define how Causes affect each other, and/or similar stuff.

Somehow, by moving your character over or away from (not sure which) certain Causes, you can entirely de-value them. This means that if you de-value Feminism, you might totally fuck over a character.

Enter cap guns. Every player (player, not character) has a gun. With a single cap in it. You spin the barrel, so that you have a Russian Roulette-with-a-cap-gun setup.

When your Causes get stomped all over by a character, you gain Anger tokens. If you decide, ďOkay, this is retarded Ė I canít allow your character to move across the board like that, because it completely fucks my character over,Ē then you can cash in those Anger tokens to pull the trigger of the cap gun.

1 token = 1 trigger pull.

You pull the trigger and the cap goes offÖ you just killed that characterís Cause/Ideal. And you subsequently ended their rant. Good job Ė now they no longer are traipsing all over your hopes and dreams.

So, yeah.
Thatís part of the game.

What I still donít know:
-how does the board work?
-does the board come with all the causes written on it?
-are the causes written in as they get explored? Or as characters move across empty circles or something?

Basically, I can envision the player ranting, the players scooping Anger Tokens as the little figure moves across the board. I can envision the cap guns getting pulled out when something gets to be too much for a player/character.

I just canít envision how the board actually works yet.
Iím throwing this out there:

-When I paint this picture of the game, what do you envision for this board?
-how do you envision movement across it, opening new avenues, devaluing and valuing Causes?

If youíd like to do up a mock sketch of a board, thatíd be awesomeness.
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Andrew Morris
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« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2006, 06:15:33 PM »

I haven't fully digested everything yet, but the first thing that pops to mind is that Propaganda could easily connect to just about any cause. So when I was picturing the board, I saw Propaganda as the hub of a circle with a bunch of other causes around it.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2006, 08:17:32 PM »

Hi everyone,

Joe unveiled this idea among a lunch group at GenCon ... present were Paul, Danielle, Tony, Jasper, and me. Five jaws dropped in unison.

Jasper: "... you're going to make a game with, potentially, neo-Nazi punk characters, and you're going to package it with guns?"

Joe has some serious nads. I can't imagine the board either. Then again, I'm also still opening and closing my mouth in speechless awe, so I guess that's why.

Joe, based on your description, it looks like some of our suggestions were helpful. That was an amazing lunch conversation, in which no less than four alpha game designs got a serious hard-theory hard-practice kicking.

Best, Ron
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joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2006, 08:22:02 PM »

Awesome thought, Andrew.
Yeah, it does take time to digest - especially because it's such an abstract, conceptual thing right now.
I realize I'm asking people to undertake a major creative exercise for me.

Your post sparked an idea - maybe there are both Causes and Methods.
Methods are how you achieve your goals.
And the Causes are connected via Methods - Propoganda being one?

Otherwise, a central hub with spokes might be very cool.
I'd only been picturing interconnected webs so far, so the whole hub/spoke/wheel idea is pretty cool, yo.
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joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2006, 06:51:23 AM »

Quote
I can't imagine the board either. Then again, I'm also still opening and closing my mouth in speechless awe, so I guess that's why.

Joe, based on your description, it looks like some of our suggestions were helpful.

Ron, the suggestions that I took away from that lunch were:
-moving in a way that devalues someone's Cause gets them Anger.
-Anger an be spent to pull the trigger of the cap gun.
-If the cap goes off, the IDEAL/CAUSE is killed.

That lunch was definitely a lot of help. I do remember though that we kept talking of "moving 3 spaces", etc, as if the board  was a standard tiled one. I'm not so hot on that idea.

I'm sort of envisioning:
a.) A hub/spoke model, like Andrew suggested.
b.) A inner ring of Methods, which links to an outer ring of Causes.
c.) A compex spiderweb.
d.) Something like Final Fantasy 10's Sphere grid (or whatever it was).
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marknau
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Posts: 35


« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2006, 08:57:55 AM »

My first thought is for the board to be modular, so that you could move causes "down the ladder" or physically separate them somehow.

It feels like I need a little more frame. What do you see the endgame being? What is it that the players are striving for here?
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joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2006, 10:36:19 AM »

More frame coming right up! I just didn't want to info dump at the start of the thread.

The characters are striving to stay edgy, keep refusing to work with the system - keep being punk.

The players are striving to balance resources - so that if their Cause is killed off, they have enough resources to build up a new Cause... If they are lacking in Anger, they have... whatever.

Ex.
Mikey starts with a Cause of Punk. He has some Methods too - arson, pamphletting, yelling, and drinking.
He uses these Methods to re-enforce what Punk means to him, in his own life.

His "Rant" is when he grabs a megaphone and starts blaring his beliefs at a subway station.
As he does this, he moves his character through the web/board. Certain things he says stimulate movement through the board:
-Let's say he's one unit of movement away from Feminism. Bringing Feminism down a notch allows him to move through it. Movement is good - it gains you resources.
-If he is one unit of movement away from an empty square, introducing a new Ideal/Cause allows him to fill that square in, and move into it.
-If he calls out an Enemy (the government, Coca-Cola Company, IBM, Communism, Emo kids, etc) then he either gets movement or resources.

His ranting moves him next to the Cause "Veganism". If he wants to move onto that square, he's gotta bring Veganism down a notch. His rant continues: "...it is facist and a fucking hypocracy to try and control what people wear, what people EAT, what people say..."
When he moves across the Cause Veganism, it gets devalued. somehow. I don't have any concrete idea how.

Tommy has the Cause of Veganism, and he's sunk a lot into it. Devaluement would be a bitch for him.
So he spends 3 Anger Tokens to fire his gun 3 times.
The cap goes off on the third trigger pull.
Thus, Mikey's Cause of "Punk" is killed - he loses faith, interest, or he undergoes a change of perspective or situation.
Whatever it is... Mikey is no longer a punk.
He gains the trait "Post-Punk" and gets to define what that means, unless someone else already has.

His turn was cut short - he doesn't get to tread on Veganism and his turn ends.
He now has to build up a new Cause, unless he also had other causes to fall back on.


That's context.
I'm not sure if the board is pre-defined, or if Causes are added as you go along.
For that matter, I'm not sure if the Causes are pre-defined either?
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David Artman
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« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2006, 10:53:13 AM »

Very cool: you might have found the "RP Strategy Game" grail, here.

First, I like the notion that Methods and Causes are separate. Further, I think it could be cool to be able to "close off" the use of a particular Method for a particular Cause, perhaps by the use of a fourth Major Mechanic. That would be worth significantly more Anger tokens, to the player whose Cause can not longer use the Method.

As for the board: forget using a board. Use cards.

You could begin with a "standard" arrangement--wheel, grid, whatever--and as the game progresses, players can easily rearrange the cards to show relative strengths, connections, and so forth. If you need more of a "web" of relations, perhaps you could introduce a simple color-coding or color tokens: I can use any Method I have a blue token on, and my Cause (and allied Causes?!) also have my blue tokens on them. Perhaps card "sets" use a color scheme motif to show the "starting" alliances or relationships?

For further inspiration, I would suggest you check out Illuminati, as it is a strategy game that is about the "other end" of your hypothetical situational continuum: the secret puppet masters of the world, who manipulate the more "mundane" forces of Communism and Weirds and Corporations. But it is SQUARELY a strategy game--money tokens make its world go 'round--and your use of rants/role playing to trigger game effects is--again--coming at it from exactly the other direction. But in terms of flavor, you could be an expansion product. (I mean that as a High Compliment, by the way: Illuminati is one of the Great Old Ones of gaming, IMHO!)
David
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Josh Roby
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« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2006, 12:50:14 PM »

Joe, if "moving across" a cause gains you resources and takes them away from others who are invested in that cause, maybe play starts with a stack of tokens on each cause, and moving across the cause nets you a token from the stack (which you could then put onto your own causes, maybe).

If the board displays causes, maybe you could make methods into cards, and each method allows you to move on the board in a certain way.  So like, "Pampleteering" allows you to move to any adjacent square -- it's versatile but of limited range -- while "Arson" allows you to move in one direction all the way across the board -- it's powerful but unscalable, front page news.

If you combined those two, you'd try to figure out how to incorporate your methods in such a sequence to compose your rant, in which you move across the board and collect as many tokens as possible.  So you use Pampleteering to jig one space left, then Arson to sweep across the board, collecting three tokens, and then use Pirate Radio to jump two spaces over to grab a fourth token.

Also, it seems to me that "punk" is the core of the game, not one cause.  Everybody is a punk -- they're just trying to define what "punk" means.  And whoever "wins" the game defines it as whatever it was that they were invested in.

Lastly, the board should be customized with each use, with different causes spaced and related differently.
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joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2006, 02:54:15 PM »

Quote
Also, it seems to me that "punk" is the core of the game, not one cause.  Everybody is a punk -- they're just trying to define what "punk" means.  And whoever "wins" the game defines it as whatever it was that they were invested in.

Expand that original statement to be "Also, it seems to me that fringe life is the core of the game, not one cause."
This is a game of punks... and drug dealers... and neo-nazi skinheads. and bohemian coffeehouse poets... and emo scene kids.
Inspiration Sources:
-Fight Club
-Reqiuem for a Dream
-SLC Punk!

Quote
If the board displays causes, maybe you could make methods into cards, and each method allows you to move on the board in a certain way.  So like, "Pampleteering" allows you to move to any adjacent square -- it's versatile but of limited range -- while "Arson" allows you to move in one direction all the way across the board -- it's powerful but unscalable, front page news.

If you combined those two, you'd try to figure out how to incorporate your methods in such a sequence to compose your rant, in which you move across the board and collect as many tokens as possible.  So you use Pampleteering to jig one space left, then Arson to sweep across the board, collecting three tokens, and then use Pirate Radio to jump two spaces over to grab a fourth token.

That's hot shit.
I'm totally going to use that.

Consider this thread CLOSED please.
You totally re-developed how he game plays - the board is central to all play now, not ranting.
I'll repost in a day or two.
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