[Co-Design!] Horror-Exploration Minis
14/03/2012 Design Diary 20 Comments
So, in the previous installment, I unpacked a goal of mine. I want to work with you to design a structured-freeform miniatures “war game,” one that sheds all the mechanical crunch (measuring, dice, stats, hard-coded resolution procedures) but maintains the joy of visual/spatial tactics and “army building.” That’s a crazy goal! This is an experiment!
In that first thread, I asked two questions in poll form. The first was whether the game should focus on combat (a staple in miniatures gaming, and an easy starting place) or venture into an exploration of non-combat (something exciting, but potentially more difficult). The second was a follow-up question, asking what the game might be about if not combat. Both questions saw 29 responses, as well as an ensuing discussion of 13 comments. The results are in!
The discussion that ensued revealed a few important design decisions that we’ll have to make together:
- What will the physical components of the game be? What will be used for minis?
- What will the game’s social context be? Will people build their own units, or will there be a single “core player” who designs all the units?
- What will be the players’ relationship to “winning”? Will this be a competitive game or a group endeavor?
I’d like to bookmark those concerns for the moment, with the promise of returning to them shortly. Feel free to discuss them more in the comments, but know that future posts will address them head-on.
For now, I want to talk about what happens in this game. We know that we’re designing a structured-freeform miniatures game that’s not about combat, but is instead about horror-exploration (and possibly scavenging as a secondary theme). But what does that mean?
I think it’s time to answer the big three:
- What is this game about?
- What do the characters do?
- What do the players do?
For my own enthusiasm in this project, I’m hoping that “what do the players do” includes “in between game days, design units/teams to deploy during games (and prepare the minis for these units/teams).”
At this point, we’ve got a broad genre and a broad game-type. What comes next is a discussion session with all of us pitching ideas. Some of these ideas will be incomplete (“it should be about exploring/defending alien planets!”) and some will be much more complete. All are good.
The third post in this [Co-Design!] series will likely be one where we distill the conversation down into 3-5 distinct pitches, and then choose our guiding vision with which to move forward. (And then, social & material contexts? And then, gameplay specifics?)
So, let’s talk about what the setting is, what horror-exploration means, how scavenging might play a role in the game, whether combat has a secondary/tertiary role in this game or none at all, what the characters do, what the players do, what specific game sessions look like (are there missions? are there scenarios?), and all of that. Pitch your ideas in the comments!