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My attempt at designing a board game


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#1 Jason Panella

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Posted 11 April 2011 - 04:08 PM

For whatever crazy reason, I've decided to give board game design a try. You may ask, "Aren't there plenty of good board games out there?" Absolutely, more than I'll ever play. I still want to give this a shot: a narrative-driven game that captures the feel of film noir and hardboiled detective novels.

I've been making lists the past few days: noir archetypes, common hardboiled tropes and themes, and so on. Then I'll start working on how I'll implement these ideas and items into the game. I think my first hurdle will be figuring out how to get a narrative structure into the mix. I don't want to make it totally randomized, but I also don't want to have set scenarios, since that well will run dry with a few plays. I like the idea of having every player-controlled character come with a variety of backstory, and have it somehow tie into the game's "goal." How this will work, I don't know.

Pray that I don't go insane over this.

#2 M. Leary

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Posted 11 April 2011 - 04:15 PM

Godspeed. Production on my Post-Apocalyptic Little House RPG is going well, but I can identify with your apprehension. Even titling can be an existential crisis in itself. I am currently leaning towards: Little Reactor on The Prairie: The Wrath of the Calico King (LRP - Campaign #1)

#3 Cunningham

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 10:40 AM

For whatever crazy reason, I've decided to give board game design a try. You may ask, "Aren't there plenty of good board games out there?" Absolutely, more than I'll ever play. I still want to give this a shot: a narrative-driven game that captures the feel of film noir and hardboiled detective novels.

I've been making lists the past few days: noir archetypes, common hardboiled tropes and themes, and so on. Then I'll start working on how I'll implement these ideas and items into the game. I think my first hurdle will be figuring out how to get a narrative structure into the mix. I don't want to make it totally randomized, but I also don't want to have set scenarios, since that well will run dry with a few plays. I like the idea of having every player-controlled character come with a variety of backstory, and have it somehow tie into the game's "goal." How this will work, I don't know.

Pray that I don't go insane over this.

You can use something like this (maybe simplified) to come up with randomized story outlines...

http://computersherp...lling-203548951

#4 Jason Panella

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 02:06 PM

You can use something like this (maybe simplified) to come up with randomized story outlines...

http://computersherp...lling-203548951


That thing is insanely cool, Cunningham. Thanks for the link!

Making it too random (madlibs style) would make a game a tad impersonal, but on the other end I realize that I don't want to game to have a gamemaster figure controlling the narrative. I'd make an actual RPG if I wanted that. So I'm thinking...maybe I can make some sort of story "web" or card-based system where players control where the plot is going. As in, by "day three" (third turn) of the game, the story progresses in a certain direction based on how or what the players did in the two preceding turns. (If player 2 put enough "evidence" or whatnot in a certain pile, he could make the story go the way he wanted, though I'd make some restrictions so it wouldn't be TOO open-ended.)