New Game Prototype

This game will be a storytelling card game with mild RPG elements. A group of 2-6 players will slowly make their way through a shared deck of cards in order to tell the story of how their character will cure a family curse.

Game objective: to cure a family cure. Cooperation, empathy, community.

Individual Objective: To use your own individual cure method.

Cards:

Hand Cards. Hand management, play cards in sequences of 3s to create a scene. A scene is used by players to overcome a plot point placed on the board randomly. This is their obstacle that they must roll dice to overcome.

POSSIBLE ITERATION: Event Cards. Challenge, obstacles and progression measurement for players. These must be resolves by players (each player uses hand cards and dice to resolve the card, cannot progress in the story until they have). The Event cards provide consistent conflict and overarching plot points. The Event cards will use plot structure to propel players and the story forward. To resolve an event players must use their hand cards to form a scene that uses the plot point. Players resolve the event card using the dice roll information at the bottom of the scene cards.

There will be an inciting incident, rising action, climax and falling action each represented by one randomly drawn card. These events are designed to provide structure to the scenes that players will craft using their hand cards. Event cards will provide exposition, obstacles or challenge that centre around the MacGuffin of the plot (the curse). The purpose of the curse is to centre the story and drive the plot, but it serves no true purpose.

The actual text will be minimal to continue to give players as much freedom and creativity as possible. An example of how this would all work in play is:

  • The player draws an Event card, which reads: “The curse consumes a distant cousin, and as a result your family discards a precious item to save them.” One player must discard a hand card that has an item on it, then the round continues as normal.
  • However not all Event cards will have specific instructions, some may just be images of obstacles. For instance: a flood. At this point players must use their scene cards as normal, but incorporate the flood as either a part of the goal, conflict or resolution. For example: “George is caught in a flood from a nearby river that has burst its banks, he decides to swim (goal card) to safety. But he struggles because the heavens have opened and rain (conflict card) pours down making the water currents too strong. (Assuming the player rolls a favourable outcome) George swims bravely (resolution card), refusing to give up, and manages to reach dry land and drag himself to safety.
  • The curse enters a state of hibernation for 2 turns, meaning it cannot take or deal any damage.

 

Cure/Health Board: a board used to mark how much collective health players have, and how far the curse has progressed. The players must eradicate the curse from the board in order to play their “cure” card and win as a group, but as an individual too.

Answers the proposal because:

Players play as one character, with whom they will hopefully develop empathy for and want to take care of. They will be emotionally affected (intellectually – the way we are when we watch movies) by the turmoil of their character. The game will then take the players through various states of emotion using these characters and through player action. The game will affect the relationship through the event cards, which take the place of a GM. These cards will dictate the big turning points of the plot, and players must use their hand cards to overcome these obstacles. The players will alter their own relationships by playing hand cards. These cards are equally favourable and unfavourable, with each presenting a dilemma. There will be a positive outcome for each sequence, but it will change depending on the die role. Relying on chance will remove blame from any negative outcome of a roll (hopefully), but still have an strong emotional impact.

 

 

Resources in games  

An important part of this game will be its internal economy. This includes the resources of the game, in this case the resources are the players health and the curse points, as well as the players hand cards. “Resources refer to any concept that can be measured numerically.” [Game mechanics].

All of the resources in this game will be intangible resources due to the fact they have no physical properties in the game world. The resources do not occupy physical space, and are purely numerical representations that change during play.

Entities are specific quantities of a resource, or the thin that is used to store them. In this game the entity will be the hand cards, and the board used to measure how much health/curse the players have.

 

Now we know what the components of the games internal economy are, we need to know what functions exist to affect those resources. Sources are used to create new resources based on a secondary fact, for example time. The dice and hand cards are sources of resources, the information on the card will dictate what rolls of the dice generates either the health resource or the curse resource. To balance the game from having too much resource stored in an entity there needs to be a Drain on those resources, otherwise the players will just accumulate health points with only mild changes to curse points. This is because the cards will be designed to offer players the best chance possible to get a favourable roll. This is to prevent frustration in players, because the game is reliant on chance there needs to be an equalizer to stop people from being upset if they loose. Or alternately, it will stop players from winning the game too quickly or easily. By having both the chance to gain health or curse on each card this acts as a drain, because both resources occupy the same entity. Because of this if the board fills with curse points, the players can gain no more health points. Keeping the internal economy simple, and easy to understand, I’m hoping it wont take players long to learn how to play and therefore they will begin to experience Easy Fun faster. From easy fun will come curiosity and most importantly, role playing. If the game is overly complex it takes time for people to come to terms with it which means they focus on playing the game well rather than relaxing and narrating the adventures of their good friend.

The internal economy will focus on positive feedback

How will it work?

Win Condition: Once players have removed all curse tokens from the board, and have no cards left in their hand they can play their Cure card. The player who does this wins the game, but everyone wins as the game is cooperative.

Event Cards

                Dealt each turn.

                Hand Cards

                Modular in nature, so they slot together to form scenes. Three different types,

  • This is the cards that decides what the purpose of the play is. Mechanically its purpose is to provide players with a starting point for the story scene they are about to tell. In storytelling terms they will be images of items, places, weather etc to allow players to choose their own goal. There will be a list of examples provided for the nervous role-player. For example: the card could have a picture of a tree on it. This means players must use a tree in their narration to indicate their goal for the scene/play. In storytelling the goal is an action, location.
  • This is the card that determines what difficulties a player faces when trying to reach their goal. Mechanically it tells the player what rolls they need to get for which outcome, listed as A/B outcomes with varying odds of success. Storytelling ways the player must use the image on the card to narrate how the image is stopping the player from achieving their goal. These cards would be people, weather,
  • This card uses the Conflict cards dice roll, and informs the player what their role has accomplished for the team. However mechanically this will only ever be 4 things: Remove health, gain health, remove curse or gain curse. Storywise players must narrate how they overcome the conflict, or not, based on the outcome from the dice roll. Emotion or social.

                Curse Board

The curse board is used to measure the familys health, and the curses progression. Numbered from 1-21, the players’ health starts at 1 and fills the board in ascending numerical order. The curse starts on number 21 and fills the board in descending numerical order. Once the curse reaches 1, the players have lost the game. However if players manage to remove all curse tokens from the board, then the player who removed the last one can play their Cure card and beat the game. Below the black rectangle with red, white and grey circles represents the player and curse health. The red circles are player health, grey curse. Based on dice rolls depends if the grey occupies more circles, or red.

curse_prototype.jpg

                Dice

Decides the outcome of each hand played by each player.

 

Hand Cards in Detail

 

Below is a prototype image to demonstrate how the hand cards will look and work.

test_cards.png

Goal               

Object Location Weather Character Emotion Social Action
Weapon Hills Hot Age Happy talk Movement
potion River Rain Races Sad Argue Offensive
Jewlery/clothing village snow gender Angry Romance Defensive

 

                

Conflict

Dice Roll      
A outcome High Medium Low
B outcome Low Medium High

               

 

Resolution 

The resolution of a scene is dictated by the outcome of the Conflict roll. Based on whatever outcome the player gets will dictate which of the following a player can do:

  • Increase curse
  • Decrease curse
  • Increase health
  • Decrease health

 

The Plan

Currently the core game works well, people do present some emotional investment by controlling the journey their character experiences whilst trying to collectively cure a family curse. However players aren’t experiencing empathy with their character, as expected, so my focus from here is to focus on making one player respond emotionally to one character.

To do this I am going to use partially pre-designed characters and partially character creation. Players will choose from a stack of character cards that posess an image of a character. This way the roleplaying will be encouraged from the beginning because players will most likely choose a character that is similar to them, or similar to their ideal self. However the characters will only posess:

Image, Name, Flaw and cure method. From this information players will be asked to create the characters traits, occupation and backstory. To keep the process of creating these characters quick and effective I will create tokens or cards that players choose from to fill in this information.

Each of these things will be then separated into types to encourage opposing values to keep things interesting. Nobody wants a perfect character with a perfect life, people identify with characters struggles and flaws because this is what makes them real to people. These types will be positive or negative.

 

 

Backstory Flaw Cure Method Traits(Positive) Traits(Negaitve) Occupation
Orphaned Addict Potion Friendly Abrasive Hunter
Rich Anxious Self sacrifice Humble Aloof Merchant
Poor Childish Love Happy Angry Soldier
Spoilt Dishonest Spell Brave Coward Farmer
Siblings Fickle Sacrifice Optimist Cynical Adventurer
Lone parent Flirt Let the curse play its course Honorable/Loyal Disloyal Hermit
Nuclear family Gullible Kill the person who cursed you Selfless Selfish Magician
Chronic condition Reckless Magic item Wise Forgetful Slave

 

The Outcome

The same problem, the players don’t really empathise with their character. The game is fun, it needs refining, but ultimately players don’t care about their in-game character. They care about the storytelling and the outcome of the game (i.e. did they cure the family curse).

I have booked a meeting with my specialist tutor to seek advice.

Bibliography

 

Pinterest. (2018). Writing Tips, Inspiration and More. [online] Available at: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/553661347919971161/ [Accessed 17 Jan. 2018].

Bergland, C. (2016). The Neuroscience of Empathizing With Another Person’s Pain. [online] Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201606/the-neuroscience-empathizing-another-persons-pain [Accessed 24 Jan. 2018].

Heider, F. Simmel, M. (1944). Fritz Heider & Marianne Simmel: An Experimental Study of Apparent Behavior. [online] Available at: https://www.all-about-psychology.com/fritz-heider.html [Accessed 24 Jan. 2018].

 

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