A'n'SR -entertainments is making a new edition/version of our roleplaying game -U- the Game of Stories. Part of the very strange debate and changes happening while we were making the game came in the format for releases.
The First Drafts
TheGameCrafter and Their Contest
If you have never been to TheGameCrafter.com, go visit them. They are a print-on-demand game company that takes bits from their shop and your art, and assembles games from them. They then ship them out to anyone, anywhere. They are great for making your game dreams come true. They also hold regular contests to engage their awesome community.
For years, Aaron (the A of A'n'SR) has wanted TheGameCrafter website to host a role-playing game contest with a really long lead time. Well... this year they did it.
The New Format
So, after a few months of marching down this road of a massive core rule book, we now had to simplify. A lot. How could you possibly fit an entire RPG and an adventure into 10,000 words or less? How could you get across a new concept or setting and get people to play in such a short amount of pages? e had no clue, but we were going to do it.
With this new approach in mind, we started brainstorming adventure ideas and Aaron began working on a condensed version of the game. We started with our favorite setting to play in, -U- Angels. Aaron devoted 10 pages of the book to rules on how to create a character, run an adventure, and play the game. The rest of the book was devoted to the adventure which would help introduce the world of Angels to the players.
We are now on the 5th or so draft of the book, including layout. We are under the 10,000 word count, and the game plays really well as written. In fact, we are making a second game & adventure book with a fantasy riff, and if we have time a superheroes in space one. We did learn some things, though, and got some inspirations from this change.
The biggest take-away, though, is that this contest has changed the way we are going to release our new version of -U-. It is a strong, fundamental change, and one that we think will really resonate in the age of shorter tension spans, instant data, and the neo-golden age of board games. At its core is this:
Next time, we'll talk about our first playtest of the new -U- Angels game went.
We are making a new version of our role-playing game, -U- the Game of Stories. In the original version we used a slot-machine like d6 system. This time? Well, it's been a journey.
What to Roll...
The core mechanic of the game is Descriptors. Every character has 7 set Descriptors, called Attributes, and any number of other Descriptors to flesh them out. Next to each Descriptor is a number. That number determines how many dice a player will roll for that character. But what dice are we rolling, and why?
To get what dice to roll, we went through several iterations of this. First we started with D6's mimicking some of the more Fate/FUDGE mechanics with 1s and 2s counting as 1s and 2s, while 6s were counted as -1s. Good, but fiddly. Next, we decided to use ten-sided dice with 3 or so numbers counting as successes. Good, but kind of hard to remember.
Then, Aaron (the A of A'n'SR) ended up having a 20-sided die around for some random reason, and started rolling it for fun. Rolling the die, he decided we should use it. After doing some dice calculations using http://anydice.com/program/576a, we came up with the resolution mechanic for the new game. Roll a d20s equal to the points of all applicable Descriptors. Each 5, 10, 15, or 20 counts as a success. If you roll at least 1 success, your character succeeds. This method has worked great, but we are now playing with rolling six-sided dice with 1s being a success and 6s being rerolls. We'll be playtesting that in April and May, and see which one is more fun.
The Ironic Part
The irony of our search for the perfect dice mechanic however is this: we had a similar option in our book -U- Options: Character Checks all along. Yes... we laughed too. Shows us for not looking at what we had before trying to find something new again.
Next time, we talk about blaming the Game Crafter for 10,000 words.