MineCraft: MineGuard? MiceCraft?

edited October 2010 in Story Games
Warning: sorry if this post comes out a little scattered. I'm just making this up as I type.

So, Minecraft has taken the internet by storm.

Walking through the cold today, I revisited the idea that had struck me before: a Minecraft RPG, based mainly on the first hours of the game (ie. when you wake up on the shore, with no resources and start building and exploring - not the late game where you're building ziggurats and impossible towers). So, obviously, the first thing that I considered was the system. I started designing something from scratch, but then I thought why not look at existing games.

So, oD&D comes to mind, Apocalypse World, a bunch of other stuff. But I think Mouse Guard really stands out in many ways. The man (or mouse) vs. the vast wild theme, the craft and trade skills, it's all there.

Now, the turn structure should be loosened up a bit. My first impulse is to model the GM turn-Player turn structure on the Day-Night cycle in MineCraft. At night, the monsters come out, during the day you rest and build. There's a small, but not insurmountable problem with that. Nights in MineCraft are largely passive, as you lay down in your shelter, whereas in MG, the GM turn is much more active...but it can work.

Beliefs should probably also be handled a little more liberally than the book suggests. Maybe.

I'd look at my documents where I deconstructed the Recruitment procedure and make it a little more straightforward.
For Resources...I'd have players start out at 0. Foraging the remains of your ship and collecting resources on the island would give you dice at hand, not unlike BW.

Circles...now this can be a problem. My first idea is to make it a sort of Flashback check (influenced by Lost).

Thoughts?

Comments

  • You lay down in your shelter? I don't, I dig for gold, gold I tell you, GOLD!

    I think MG is possibly a bit too abstracted on the resource side to represent that initial 15 minute struggle in Minecraft to build a door and find some coal. There's a French game called Scavengers (in translation) where every bit of kit has to be accounted for and carried, and what's more is a significant bonus to an action. This makes the struggle much harder but more satisfying.
  • Nights are when I hunt for string, ash, feathers and arrows. :)

    I think an RPG based on Minecraft runs the risk of being mostly a board game. Without NPCs and with a focus on countable resources, randomized exploration and specific construction, I don't see much room for the fiction to be important.
  • Hm, you're probably right. But I'm more interested in atmosphere than detailed resource management, although both can be fun.

    I've looked at Scavengers before, but was not excited about it. Maybe I should look again.
  • My first thought was that maybe this would make a better computer game.

    But then I started thinking about what the kinds of things we do as Minecraft players and which of those might be fun in an RPG. And specifically about capturing the essence and atmosphere. And I was thinking Otherkind Dice might handle that nicely. But I suppose an AW hack makes more sense.

    When you do something under fire, ...
    When you try to gather a pile of X, ...
    When you refine a pile of X into Y, ...
    When you craft a tool, ...
    When you try to build a structure -- cooler and more impressive than those that have come before, ...
    When you develop a new crafting recipie, ...
    When you discover a new raw material, ...
    When you attack a zombie, ...
    When you attack a skeleton, ...
    When you attack a creeper, ...
    When you attack a slime, ...
    When you eat food in a safe place, ...
    When your tool breaks, ...
    When you explore -- by boat or on foot, far from home, ...
    When handling lava, ...
    When building something with substantial person-moving capability (roller coaster, waterfall...), ...
    When you try to build something complicated, ...
    When you work with TNT, ...
    When you remain outside as dark falls, ...

    Some of these bits, like developing new recipes and discovering new materials simulate waiting on Notch's Friday updates -- y'know, when he used to do that, and having the game-play expand. And you'd add new custom moves as the game changed too. Want to milk cows or prevent chickens from despawning...custom move.

    And I think that as long as the number of dangerous mobs is so small, they each merit their own move rather than just a Seize by Force kind of thing.

    This is a fun idea.
  • I think the second Penny Arcade comic you linked to really captures the addictive joy of Minecraft, suddenly being the Robinson Crusoe guy with the handmade sword and castle. That, and doing weird stuff like chopping down trees from underneath. It should really be a one player, one GM kind of game with a tight little economy so that resources are constantly getting swapped back and forth between the GM and player.
  • edited October 2010
    A while ago I had the thought that you could do a lot worse than a system which is only the Workspace rules for Savvyheads in Apocalypse World.

    "Hey, I want to build an obsidian throne for my spawn point." (I actually did this. It really takes the sting out of dying, reappearing on something that badass.)

    "Sure, no problem. You're going to need a diamond pick to mine the obsidian, a hell of a long time to do it, oh, and a bucket of water to turn source lava into obsidian. And you'll need to find your exact spawn point, which will involve either dying or building a compass, of course."

    "Diamond pick?"

    "Well, you'll need to find some diamond first. Finding which will take a long time, and involve some risk since you need to hunt deep, and it's only found around lava. And you're going to need a metal pick to mine the stuff."

    "How can I mitigate that risk?"

    "Well, some armor wouldn't hurt since there's monsters down in those caves, and the occasional fall. A fuckton of torches, of course, which will take a fuckton of wood and a fuckton of coal. Taking your time to dig carefully with an eye to accidentally opening new areas rather than all willy-nilly."

    "Coal and wood I got. Armor?"

    "Well, there's multiple types. Metal would take a fuckton of iron, but be best, of course. You'll need a fuckton of iron ore, a furnace, something to smelt it with. You could just use leather, too, which would be a bit simpler, albiet less effective. Spend a while time killing cows next time it's daylight. Remember how to make swords, I assume?"

    My current project is a labyrinth of bookshelves, and let me tell you, I was really feeling the "to do this you must first do this
    factor "Okay, I'm gonna need to find reeds. That's either going to take ages, or I'm going to need to make a boat to explore the shoreline looking for plausible spots. And exploring the sea's gonna risk getting lost for good if I don't make a compass first. Fortunately I'm up to my ears in redstone, although using 4 iron's gonna hurt a little bit. And I should make a new small base by the shoreline to camp out in, as well. Oh, hey, is that iron /just lying there on the ground?/ The gods have smiled upon my quest!"

    And then

    "Okay, time to go to my reed farm for the first paper harvest. OW OW OW WHAT THE HELL Oh, skeletons can shoot while jumping? Okay, make my wall one or two blocks of glass higher, then."

    It's really the things that emerge while you're doing other things that make the game, I think. Like, getting tired of hiking up the mountain that you've built your base into to add all those waterfalls, and building a shaft with a ladder to just pop on up (and a little glass hut around the top in case you come up at nighttime). And then, while digging up, running into a seam of something, mining it out, breaking out to the side of the mountain, and realizing you've made accidental progress on a great spot for an observation deck overlooking your base. And hey, is that coal over there on the side of the cliff wall, right on level with you? Maybe this observation deck could be bigger than originally planned.
Sign In or Register to comment.