Game ideas are cheap. This must be true because I have a few of them, and they didn’t cost me anything, save for, you know, a life time of personal experience and endless hours spent watching TV and movies. My memory is not what it used to be, so it seems a good idea to write these ideas down while I have them.
… is the magical forest location of my first card game, mentioned in my last couple of posts, and inhabited by Sprites, Nymphs and Gnomes. But I think this simple card game will be the first of three games that will take place in this ‘world’. I want to know more about what life is like in this place, so I am making notes for an exploration and resource collection type game. Developing from the panorama building mechanic in Scenic, there will be 9 interconnecting map tiles that will make the game board an endless loop of some type. The players will be one of the 3 races of being, each with its own advantages and disadvantages, and they will collect food, building materials and, ultimately, Naiads.
What’s a Naiad you ask? (Beside the Greek mythology reference, obviously.) It’s the wingless, water breathing, immature form of a dragonfly. It’s also a naming convention I’m going to procure for the animals that the Sprites, Nymphs and Gnomes of Verdant Grove collect, and breed together, a la Dragonvale.
The third game in Verdant Grove will be a worker placement game, where you build and oversee the running of a wildlife park. Stocked with the basic Naiads that you can find in the exploration game, you will build enclosures, grow food for the Naiads, and ultimately breed them together to collect the various hybrids. Whilst all three games will be stand alone, you can also adjusting set-up of this third game according to how players ended the second game, if you wanted to play a campaign.
Dead Like Me
In this tremendous TV Show that I heartily recommend, Ellen Muth plays Georgia “George” Lass, an eighteen year old who becomes a grim reaper after she dies in the pilot episode. (Yes, it’s a dark comedy.) Each morning she, and her fellow reapers, are given a list of souls to collect from people scheduled to die that day in their local area (Seattle, Washington). She has to collect these souls, whilst “living” an ordinary life, working a job, to pay her bills … and anyway, just watch the show. I don’t know much about the specifics of what this game might entail, but a game of grim reapers collecting souls sounds like a good basis for a tabletop game.
Time Travel Games
Time travel is a rich source of material for science fiction, and it is the perfect way of highlighting a set-up and a pay-off by literally allowing you to see how different actions can change outcomes. Back to the Future is the perfect example of this, when Marty comes home to his new and improved family. There are basically two great sci-fi tropes that I am working on adapting into a tabletop format.
Fix the Future by altering the Past
The 12 Monkeys TV Show has woven a very rich tapestry over its 3 seasons, revolving around trying to save the human race by preventing a virus from wiping out most of humanity. There are quite a few threads that interconnect, as the lead characters jump through the decades to try and pin point exactly what happened, and how they can stop it. Travelers is another good TV show where people return from the future to our present day, with missions to prevent Armageddon. (Not some world apocalypse, you understand, they just don’t want the Bruce Willis movie to be made. I kid. It’s on Netflix. Check it out.)
These shows, and movies like The Terminator, have me thinking about a tabletop game where players work in two teams; players in the past trying to prevent a tragedy, and players in the future, trying to steer the past players in the right direction. The main workings of the game would revolve around a separation between the two sets of information, so that as the players in the past do things, it affects the future in a way they cannot see or predict. Players in the future then have to see if the past players have completed the mission, or else have to guide them with new directions.
When you make a list of your favourite episodes of a Sci-Fi or fantasy show, you inevitably include the episode with the time loop. And who wasn’t entertained watching Tom Cruise endlessly get killed in Edge of Tomorrow (Live. Die. Repeat.)? As there are any number of tabletop games that end when your character is killed, how about we reset the game at that point and continue, with you learning from your mistakes, and getting a second (third/fourth/fifth/etc) chance to complete your mission.
Tragedy Looper is a game of that ilk, where one of the players is the villain, and the protagonists are trying to figure out the crime and stop it. I am trying to design a fully cooperative game where the players are working against an AI Villain. I’d also be hammering home the repetition, by resetting “the deck”, so that the loop starts with the same card being played over and over.
These ideas are a long way off, but I am excited to develop them further. Feel free to comment with any thoughts or ideas.