Posts Tagged ‘daisho’

I’ve been buckling down and doing a lot of writing, and in between juggling a lot of ideas (some old, some new), I hadn’t really popped in to discuss what’s going on. So here’s what’s going on!

  • As I rewrite Corona, it occurs to me that I might want to not release it ahead of some of the other spin-off games I have in mind for it: rather, it might be served to put the weird hybrid-style game out after the IP has had a chance to get some traction in other forms. What those other forms are remains nebulous, but I think there may be a good game set among the nomads on the causeways, outside the reach of the autarchies and subject to their own interesting cultural dynamics. (Out there, there’s much less shell-hopping, so people are more attached to their bodies of origin, moreso when you consider that they’re subject to time dilation for so much of their existence that a nomad who looks young might be much older than they appear. Also, despite the perception by autarchy dwellers that nomads are bumpkins, they’re likely to be quite cosmopolitan, since they come into contact with so many distinct ‘bubble cultures’ in their travels.)
  • I’m planning a rather significant Delve supplement in the mega-dungeon vein, while being aware that the underlying premise of the mega-dungeon kind of flies in the face of what Delve is about. 🙂 My intention is to provide an example of what the Delve equivalent of a mega-dungeon would look like, as well as framework rules for how to devise your own.
  • I think the mini-games I did in October will be released as pay-what-you-want when I have them cleaned up and suitable for showing.
  • Ghosts of Atlantis hasn’t come out of its fallow period yet. I think I may cannibalize an idea or two from it for another idea that’s burgeoning – ironically, a revisit of the idea behind Daisho, from which I took a mechanical idea or two for Atlantis in the first place.
  • The horror game is out for playtesting, and I’m waiting to hear back. (And, as the sages tell us, the waiting is the hardest part.)

So that’s what’s up, apart from one or two things that are so sketchy at this point that they’re not even worth blogging about yet. Stay tuned.

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Walking The Long Path

One of the early lessons in game design when I started doing it for publication rather than as a pastime, and a lesson that stuck deep in my mental mud, was what Fred Hicks of Evil Hat Productions refers to as “remixology”, which is another way of putting the aphorism attributed to Pablo Picasso: “Good artists borrow, great artists steal.”

Now, of course, one doesn’t simply just steal an item and leave it readily identifiable as stolen, and it’s not very fulfilling to just put out someone else’s game as your own, so you steal pieces. In this case, for the card game I’m currently referring to as Daisho, I’m adapting* the travel mechanic from the Lord of the Rings card game, whereby the players move their protagonist group along a trail of nine cards representing sites in Middle-Earth, and which become more and more treacherous as the journey progresses towards its end goal. In Daisho, each ronin will walk a Path of cards, with all Paths leading towards the central point where the final showdown occurs.

In LOTR, though, each player picked out a specific stack of site cards and played them in sequence to form a single track on which all of the players were walking – the ultimate shape of this track was thus a conglomeration of all of the players’ site deck, and part of the strategy was in making sure you got to lay your locations in the appropriate spot instead of allowing your opponents to dictate the sites that appeared, as each site had effects on the encounter parameters (making specific enemies stronger, for instance).

I like that, but I also want this to be a fairly streamlined process for players; my experience with the LOTR system was that it wasn’t always easy for a new player to have control over the site path. Also, there’s a thematic strength to each ronin in Daisho having to walk their own lonely Path toward destiny, so instead of a central series of events that all players share, each player in Daisho will deal out their Path leading toward the central stronghold.

Another tweak I want to make is stolen from a different card game: the Vs. System (Marvel/DC) by Upper Deck, which allowed players to play any card as a potential resource (unlike in Magic, where the resource cards are a specific sort, and if you don’t get them, you don’t get to do things). Instead of making a specific Path stack, players deal out a certain number of cards from their deck face down to serve as the Path. The reward for overcoming the hazards that lurk along that Path is to pick those cards up and add them to hand once each enemy or obstacle is overcome.

Oh, and because I do want there to be a possibility of direct player-to-player confrontation, a few cards will open up the possibility of side-stepping onto another ronin’s Path. This also makes the strategy of what to include in a deck much more nuanced, since the choice card you’re hoping to use for your own strategy may be picked up as a Path card by an opponent and used against you!

* That’s a good word for it, right?

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Akira Kurosawa’s The Road Warrior?

That’s the short pitch for a new game idea I’ve started developing, anyway. It’s pretty awesome as a pitch, but it does what most good pitches do, which is a little bit of a bait-and-switch ploy: the real idea isn’t quite the one described in the pitch, but the pitch gets you to stick around to hear more detail.

We start with the picture a ronin wandering a post-apocalyptic wasteland, then zoom out. It’s not post-apocalyptic NOW, but post-apocalyptic 1600: right as the Edo period is taking off in Japan, and in the heart of the Ming Dynasty on the mainland in China. Something has happened to the world – fully half of the globe, from the Black Sea at the easternmost edge to New Zealand at its westernmost, covering the Western Hemisphere, has been practically destroyed with few to no survivors, and the rest of the earth is a nightmare realm.

Our ronin’s sandals tread the blackened earth and foul water of this hell, and occasionally cross paths with other wandering warriors. What goal do these warriors seek? It’s hard to say. They all seem to be fixated on a distant, looming stronghold, perhaps a tower or castle’s ramparts, where it’s said an overlord of the darkness holds sway. Is the ronin going there to challenge the fell daimyo in hopes of lifting the curse? Will they instead offer their sword’s service to the emperors of shadow, thinking that any master is better than none? Do they hope they fall in combat along the way, freeing them from their wretched existence? The ronin does not answer, but simply walks on toward the next duel.

I’m envisioning this as a card game, but it can go one of two ways: initially, I imagined a direct player-versus-player dueling game, but I can see the appeal of having a multi-player competitive quest to follow a path of events, questing closer to the end goal while simultaneously throwing obstacles onto the paths of one’s rivals to prevent them from beating you to the climactic encounter.

More to come as I develop this.

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