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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: RM for GM-Less: Game of dominoes snaking through areas of narration.  (Read 2712 times)
BigElvis
Member

Posts: 48


« on: October 14, 2007, 09:02:02 AM »

I have an idea for a resolution mechanic to support a game about machismo: Playing dominoes (I realise there are different rules for playing dominoes, i hope that if you read the post you will have an idea of what I mean).

I imagine 4 players in 2 teams playing a team domino game.

All bones are distributed as normally. Who puts out the first bone is randomly determined. After the first bone has been positioned, the two teams lay out a number of event cards (standard playing cards for instance) around (at a min distance of perhaps 2 bones) the first bone. Each representing something that the other team does not want to happen to its characters, for instance the death of a character.

The players play the game of dominoes as usual except that they are always able to change the direction of the snake; they can either let it continue straight or turn left or right.They can attach bones at either end of the snake.

This way they can direct the snake towards the events that they wish to happen, narrating as they go along and the story comes closer to reaching the different events. When a bone is put down that touches an event card, the event happens (and is narrated).

This is my idea in the rough. The choices that the players make as to what events they want to avoid happening should make the game about what you are willing to sacrifice to reach other event cards that you do want to be realised.

What do you think?

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Lars
Christoph Boeckle
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Posts: 455

Geneva, Switzerland


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« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2007, 02:11:13 PM »

Hi Lars

I'm quite interested in rpgs with a big board-game component, so I'd like to know more about your idea.

What kind of characters would we be playing? In what sort of situation? What type of evolution could a player strive for?

Could you perhaps make up a short fictive game situation which would show what happens when a bone touches a card? A paragraph where we could read what the players are doing would be enough I'd say.
Also, what does a player do when he lays down a bone that doesn't touch an event card?
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Regards,
Christoph
Vulpinoid
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Posts: 803

Kitsune Trickster


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« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2007, 02:47:09 PM »

That's the kind of innovative idea I joined this forum to see.

It sounds like a good start to a very interesting game.

V
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A.K.A. Michael Wenman
Vulpinoid Studios The Eighth Sea now available for as a pdf for $1.
Simon C
Member

Posts: 495


« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2007, 05:15:21 PM »

That's a cool idea.  Dominoes are something I haven't thought about in a while.

I like how putting really intense events on the table can really up the tension in the scene, even if that event never comes to pass.

Here's the problem as I see it.  The game would seem to work really well at narrating tension between two different outcomes, say, for exaple, you getting shot or me getting shot.  However, mechanically, it seems like the most likely result is neither of us getting shot.  While you or I might be quite happy about that, from a story point of view, it feels kinda weak.  How does your game make sure that something does end up happening? 
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Vulpinoid
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Posts: 803

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« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2007, 07:25:43 PM »

You could also expand this concept by having two rings of event cards.

The inner ring determining a complication in the story, while the outer ring determines a climax.



Once one of the cards in the inner ring is touched, remove the remainder of the cards. The twist for this storyline has been achieved.

Then the game progresses towards the climax.

Just an idea...

V
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A.K.A. Michael Wenman
Vulpinoid Studios The Eighth Sea now available for as a pdf for $1.
Vulpinoid
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Kitsune Trickster


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« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2007, 07:30:40 PM »

That didn't work, here's the image I was going for...



V
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A.K.A. Michael Wenman
Vulpinoid Studios The Eighth Sea now available for as a pdf for $1.
Callan S.
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Posts: 3588


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« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2007, 11:25:24 PM »

Hi BigElvis/Lars,

That's a pretty nifty mechanic, seems like good handling, nice visual reinforcement and perhaps even an extra marketing gimmic that'll help sell/propagate the game. Bravo! Smiley

Quote
Each representing something that the other team does not want to happen to its characters, for instance the death of a character.
In terms of this, I think you don't quite want it this way - it's all negatives, or nothing happens. That's a bit of a bummer, since you either stay the same or come out worse. Perhaps each card could have something negative for the other team, and something positive for the current team? That way someone gets some suger! Smiley
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Philosopher Gamer
<meaning></meaning>
Mikael
Member

Posts: 206


« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2007, 06:11:24 AM »

Highly interesting!

How is this about machismo? Does the theme affect this mechanic in any way?

My first impression was that the cards would not be placed in a circle, but rather placed to surround both ends of the snake, and there would be rounds where you alternate between placing cards and playing dominoes. Placing the cards would need some pretty hard rules as well, but this way the landscape could continue to evolve as the story progresses. Some rules for removing cards would probably be needed, as well as rules for recording and determining what to keep between sessions, if the game lends itself to multiple sessions of play.
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Falc
Member

Posts: 80


« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2007, 06:31:56 AM »

The idea sounds very nifty and new.

However, the first thing that struck me was how you want to use this for a game about machismo.

Dominoes? Machismo? Those two don't really click together in my mind. While I'll agree that there are many ways to play dominoes, I'd say that the best known ones share a certain tactical aspect. Tactics mean caution, thinking ahead, trying to be smarter than your opponent.

Which seems quite opposite of machismo, which to me speaks of recklessness, physical (or social) dominance, etc.

So, players would need to continuously swap between two mindsets, one for the dominoes game, one for the machismo narration. It is my opinion that this would hamper your game and make it less fun for the players.

Although, you know, now that I think about it... It would sort of fit for a spy game. James Bond is macho enough and there's always evil plots and subplots going... So I guess it all depends on what exactly you meant by "a game about mahcismo". Care to enlighten us?
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BigElvis
Member

Posts: 48


« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2007, 12:57:18 AM »

Thanks to all for your warm reception of the idea so far.

I have not really had enough time to think about the game so far, so I don't have an example of play yet, also it has been a bit harder to write one (or solidify the rules) than I thought, and I am thus still not sure whether the mechanic is very good or not. Hopefully In a weeks time I can write one. As for your other thoughts/suggestions:

-Callan S
I wrote this reply to you as the last one in this post. Yours is a good idea. I am not sure if I will end up doing that or include positive cards.

I am worried that if every card is a double card, narration, when you approach the different cards, becomes too complex. This is a worry for me in general with the design when too many cards hit the table. But I am leaning towards positive and negative cards and more of them on the table, rather than fewer double cards, because otherwise Simon C's worry might become more valid.

-Falc

To me machismo (and other honorsystems) and domino have a masculine factor in common. Plus for me both machismo and domino have a latino factor in common. I could elaborate that I imagine the action taking place in a dusty latin western setting a la this movie I one saw with a script by Garcia Marquez (but with a different angle on machismo than his film). I don't think switching between mindsets is going to be a problem because when I play chess or dominoes or whatever with my friends, everytime we make a move there is two minutes of trash-talking. In this game the trash-talking is substituted with narration. But I am not really sure, maybe there is more validity to your reservation than I can see right now.

If I was to make one that focused on the tactical side, I think I would have the game take place in ancient china, as this is where domino is from orginally. It could be spying, warfare or similar, but should include some emotions as well.

I imagine the players teams representing a family each. This family would have 2 - 3 main characters, and the event cards would focus on these in a way that no event card ever directly dealt with more than one main character - but an event card could also be the burning down of the other familys ranch, the event card just can not kill more than one of the main characters.

I am not sure about allowing positive cards yet - example a wedding between a main character and the love of his/her life - the problem being that more pacifist players might just aim for accomplishing their own positive goals, leaving the other family alone. Maybe having a rule, that you need to hurt the other team before you can reach a positive goal, would be enough to get the blood running.

I also have another idea where players are not in teams. Instead one player would represent one family, the other player another family but the two others would represent 'reconciliation' and 'blood'.


-Simon C

I don't think not reaching the cards is going to be a problem. I still need to get things such as initial distance between bones and cards right, distance between cards, number of cards put on the table from the beginning and permitted number of cards with the same or very similar events on them. Card and bone dimensions are also important.
I can't seem to find any rules for what a standard domino bone or card size is.
I will right now assume that if a bone touches the exact middle of a card, it is possible for a bone to be laid next to it (turning left or right) that goes off the edge of the card (and thus has the possibility of touching another card). This means that you can not reach a card without the other team (or yourself) being able to reach a card in one tile.

I was thinking that each player could, every other turn, put down a new event card, and that this card could be put anywhere on the table as long as it doesn't touch a bone or another card. This should make snaking around in the middle impossible/meaningless. And remember you have to put down a bone if you can, so if you are bound to hit something sooner or later, why not work for it being something you prefer.

Positive event cards could also get the story flowing.

I am thinking that if you put down a double, you would be able to take a card on the table and put it (maybe duplicate it so the original stays in its position) under another card. Now both things happen if a bone touches the stack.

-V

I think I would actually prefer the table looking more messy than your image does (when I hopefully post an example of play I will include an image)

I think your idea might be good for another kind of game that just uses a somewhat similar mechanic. In that case I would have the complication cards closer (reachable by second tile) and more rings of complication and climax cards after the first one. I am not sure how you see the connection between the complication cards and the climax cards - when a certain complication card is narrated I guess it would limit the available climax cards - this could make the lying out of the cards very complex as opposed to simplifying it.

I am worried that complication cards and climax cards will make the narration too complex. I hope that players narration will include complications anyway - but in a way that is not mechanically binding in the same way that a complication card would be. But this is something I will think about while writing the example of play.


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Lars
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