I’ve not talked about games or game design for a bit due to the byzantine wording of my work contract. Now that I’m not under that part of the contract, let’s talk. This will be a lot of quick thoughts, with more detailed posts to come on some ideas.
– A game about game design and running a game studio, styled like the oldschool Koei-styled sim games like AeroBiz. Do you hire more artists? More managers? Do you give your lead programmer a raise? Who do you side with in a crucial branding debate?
– Along those lines, what works better? Design by committee, design by democracy, or design by autocracy? I suspect the best answer is a combination of all three.
– To switch gears to a quick aside MMOs and team games in general: what sort of bonus size would be requried to enforce sophisticaed co-operation between random players?
– A game about politics and political campaings: DEMAGOGUE.
– A game like Final Fantasy Tactics, but in real time. (Is this just WarCraft III? Or would it be different?)
– Moving to some more personal experiences, I’m pretty sure I’m over D20 style randomness. I played in a 3.5 game this summer (we started about a month before 4e dropped), and I can’t describe to how frustrating it was to work out this great plan…and then miss twice, or hit and deal 12 damage out of a possible 30. For me, this ruins the combat side of the both as a power fantasy and as a worthy tactical game.
– A game I was introduced to that I really enjoyed was Bohnaza, a game about…farming beans. Yes, really. Under the ridiculous premise, there’s a very clever resource management system and lots of interplayer politicing. “I’ll give you three Wax Beans for that Green Bean”, and so on.
– Munchkin, which I can’t believe I’ve never played until now, had the same sort of thing going on: the best parts of the game are the debates between players, trying to decide who to save, and who to screw over.
-BoomBlox, moving into the digital realm, has a ton of game modes, but the best is ‘Attack’, which, wait for it, leads to the same debate: Let’s both kill green! I think Penny-Arcade summed it up best here.
– And, of course, we played a few round of late-night Mafia, proving once and for all that if I am ever accused of anything, I will be found guilty. Unsurprisingly, Mafia was invented in the Psych department of Moscow State University. Leave it to the Russians to make a party game about paranoia. Oddly enough, almost all of these games can be won with the “shut up and let other people talk” philosophy that works so well in other free-for-all games.