Resolution through a series of board games?

edited July 2011 in Story Games
So I have been working on a game of and on for while, mostly off since I can not decide what the base resolution mechanic should be, I read too many good games.
So then recently I started my little experiment. I started what was advertised as a pure action fantasy game as a chance to test out some ideas.

The way I have chosen to run this game has lead me to decide what "My game" will be. And yes, you can feel free to call me crazy for trying this. The basic concept came from me thinking one day during a "Murdery Mystery" scenario years ago that, "Wouldn't it be cool to tie a some sort of mini-game like Clue into the mechanics to resolve the myster?" So I did, and it was awesome! Other ideas in my "CEO's Unleashed!" game (yes, I ran a game about corporate take overs, yes ninjas were involved) I thought what about using the game Acquire to resolve this? We used a Catan board layed across my world map to track a campaign that was about settling a new world. You get the idea.

Hopefully you get the idea. All of this done with simple stuff I had lying around the game room (Dice, Jenga pieces, various boardgames, tokens, etc). The idea is simple...well, actually it is not. Ok, the idea is interesting, the games will be simple, and involve only the minimalist amount of props to pull off. All of it will be tied to one cohesive stat block for a character, and will modify each game in what a player gets, and the boardgames will be cut down to their most basic elements. But, wouldn't it be cool to essentially break out "Formula D" the next time you have a chase scene your RPG?

I don't know, but it has worked amazing well for me at my table when I have done this over the years. I think it is a great idea for a role playing game. I don't know? You can call me ignorant now.


  • I think that's a fantastic idea if used sparingly. I can't see a core resolution mechanic tied to multiple boardgames. I think Dread is about as boardgamey as you can go for a core mechanic.

    Breaking out Formula De for a chase is an awesome idea. But I couldn't do that every session.

    I think a board game fading into the background to use to resolve a greater struggle would be amazing. Something like Twilight Struggle or Axis and Allies going on between phases (like Burning Empires) to resolve who is winning the war while we play the scenes with a different resolution system.
  • I agree with agony - its a pretty neat idea and would work pretty well in a variety of situations, but I think you need to be wary of the time that you're spending in the 'board game' and of course, the setup time for those aspects of the game.
  • I love the way you can map narrative outcomes and decisions in more abstract games.

    In Spione the formal card rules force you to take decisions and make sacrifices to advance your agenda.
    In Otherkind/Ghostecho, you also have to make decisions to fit some numerical results.
    In a Wicked Age advantage dice mechanics push towards negotiating fictional outcomes.

    Any more examples?
  • This has really got me going, but it will be a serious project, and require a massive amount of play testing.
    To answer a few questions I have already got from people.
    *No the board game will not be required. The games will be greatly stripped down versions of them, and all boards/cards would come as part of it. The only materials that you would likely need to play is dice, tokens, maybe a few minis, and a few other things that most every "Gaming" house has like a chess set, and a poker deck. .
    *As far as time to resolve the game, I am planning on essentially one turn of however long the normal board game would take.
    *There will of course be a basic die conflict resolution mechanic in place.
    *I currently plan a sort of scene economy that would essentially limit the number of times that a "Full Conflict" could be used in a session. Shooting for no more than 1-2 depending upon how much of the economy is spent.
    *The idea is that your characters stats will carry over and have an effect in each of the mini games.

    Some more mini-game -> board game examples.

    Kingsburg - Roll your skill dice for the round to purchase your spot. But instead of wood and stone, you can purchase things like "But, she loves me" or "Only if she bears the other mans child"
    Chess - I could name could come up with hundred ways to use that one. Roll dice to add pieces to a board, move pieces, determine what you start with, make extra moves, make special moves, etc.
    Forbidden Island - Yep, that is quest in and of its self. Roll dice to determine how many cards are drawn, take special actions, etc.
  • I am currently working on a chess hack for Amaranthine so I will agree that it could certainly help provide some good solid resolution systems.
  • I did something similar in Star Empire. Every resolution mechanic was its own minigame. Many of them connected, so the engineer could boost the superweapon on the starfighter and so forth. It was also intended that there would be a quick player learning curve, so that both player and character skill would improve. The mechanics weren't task resolution, they were whole-big-space-battle resolution, so you probably only played them once or twice per session.
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