Bad Ideas that Seemed Like a Really Cool Idea at the Time

edited June 2012 in The Sandbox
I really like making games, but a lot of stuff I do... well, it doesn't always pan out. The stuff I manage to produce is so-so, but there's a pile of wreckage behind me that just goes to show how much trial and error can go into a project you're passionate about.

But some of my dead ends were funny, too, and I'll bet there's a lot of cool half-baked ideas the "greats" of the story game world may have had.
Or not. But those of us who flop regularly don't mind sharing.

Here's two of mine:
Back before the FORGE even existed, I tried to create a board game based on St. Canard (because I really liked Darkwing Duck.) I drew up a representation of the city and made up some cards and, well, it didn't work. I had tried to make a chase-and-matching game without anything to chase and match or any kind of rewards for the players.

More recently I spent about a month putting together a tabletop RPG that emulated the 8-bit computer RPGs. Oddly enough, it took an 8-year-old to explain to me the obvious reason it wasn't going to fly. (I still thought the bit about having each player having an NPC combat style and stock NPC response along the lines of "They say there's a cave behind the waterfall" for non-PC interactions with other was pretty cool.)

Comments

  • I once tried to re-write D&D using the WoD rules. >_>
  • edited June 2012
    @worldnamer: ah, who didn't!? good old times :-)
  • @ivan Too true. Also, I still laugh over "Narrative Step." :3
  • As long as you follow the golden rule, a confused direction can be molded into a great game.

    The golden rule is: Is this fun when I play it?

    After that, a lot of your designs will show promise, even if it doesn't know what it is doing.
  • A hack of Mouse Guard called "Dwarves with Guns".
  • I started on a game that was based on a story that none of the PCs could ever know. A scientist was trying to send a evil race of hive aliens out of his dimension. Unfortunately he sent them to ours and the dimensional hole he opened emptied right over Manitoba Canada. They just continually pour from the sky there (kinda like an infinite spawn point) at first they would splat from the great fall but eventually they made a massive mound of their bodies and were able to survive the fall. Then they quickly spread out over the northern hemisphere.
  • The Full Throttle RPG, years before someone did it with FUDGE.

    It failed because I was using White Wolf's Street Fighter moves, which didn't always translate into biker gang combat.
  • "Is this an illegal Corley operation?"

    "I prefer to think of it as a renegade Corley operation."
  • A wholly unironic swords-and-sorcery RPG based on the Cerebus comic book series (designed back when I'd only read the issues in which it was a Conan parody, before it turned into misogynistic social commentary, then an earnestly-written new holy book in comic form).
  • I wrote a game called Kitties and Catnip. Realism was king. Detailed combat matrix. Blood points.
  • Speaking of games based on video games, I once tried to make an RPG based on Kid Radd

    I got about halfway through the character generation rules before I realized it was a steaming mess and gave up. The DM had to draw "level" cards before every game you entered, and the party moved through these crazy levels, but there was no rhyme or reason to them. Instead of trying to make a tight rules set that allowed many different kinds of 8-bit adventures, I got hung up on making sure the system could perfectly simulate any type of video game you can think of.
  • Re-writing every Iron Heroes character class to my own exacting preferences w/o consulting my prospective players.
  • edited June 2012
    Trying to design an RPG without having ever played one.

    "Nah, I can just wikipedia this shit, how complicated could one game genre be?"
  • I tried to make a game that emulated Roguelike PC games, using all sorts of stolen ideas. It didn't hang together at ALL. :(

    I still have playtest notes, though--it could return to development!
  • So many, I can't remember. The most recent: Advanced Dungeons & Pendragons. You should see the spreadsheet I made…
  • A game where you play magical tiki heads that can jump onto different bodies, thereby gaining new skills and powers.
  • edited June 2012
    Re-writing every Iron Heroes character class to my own exacting preferences w/o consulting my prospective players.
    :<
  • My first Fastaval scenario. Railroading ending with a deus ex machina.

    Took 15 years for drunken con-attendants to stop critisising it.
  • So many, I can't remember. The most recent: Advanced Dungeons & Pendragons. You should see the spreadsheet I made…
    Yes, we should.
    I want to!

  • Tried to create a space opera RPG based on the Fuzion core rules. All it ended doing was reminding me why I liked Hero and Interlock and considered Fuzion a steaming pile of dung.
  • I have a stage racing board game that takes approximately as long to play as a stage race takes to run. You had 5 racers and 4 Domestiques to keep track of. there was a die roll for every racer each ten miles of race. It is still an amazing representation of the forces that hold the race together and make everyone thing about their GCs, climbers and sprinters. 4-5 hours minimum at the table and nothing would change for 8 or ten turns at a time.

    I have recently returned to the game (while watching the Dauphine) I think that there are things like the board that will stay, but it is probably going to be a card driven game. If I can figure out a way to make the turns where nothing happens go away, I will have a real game.
  • Re-writing every Iron Heroes character class to my own exacting preferences w/o consulting my prospective players.
    What's wrong with that? I don't always even let my players to create their own characters.
  • edited June 2012
    Embarking on a project to rewrite & expand all of D&D3.x's weapon and armor lists as realistic XVI-to-early-XVIII Century weaponry in preparation to running the Age of Worms Adventure Path, because the cities and general outlook on society presented therein looked oh-so-obviously Late Renaissance.
    This included, of course:
    · extensive research on period weapons and armor, of course;
    · extensive reading on the fictional history of the Greyhawk world, to map regional variants of weapons (a Swiss halberd, say) to locales in Greyhawk (making it a Perrenlander halberd or whatever). of course;
    · new special rules for firearms, taking in account their superior armor-piercing efficacy as well as the low accuracy of smooth-bore weapons, of course;
    · a general re-haul of critical range stacking rules, to a middle-ground between 3.0 and 3.x rules, because of the general weapon power creep resulting from having a 1d8/18-20/x2 rapier instead of a 1d8/19-20/x2 so-called "longsword" as your baseline weapon, of course;
    · inclusion of obsolete/antiquary weapon types, such as a 1d8/20/x2 Oeridian knight sword, for use as magic weapons retrieved from ancient hoards, of course;

    and of course I didn't finish that project, which BTW all prospective players had exactly 0 interest in, and of course I never got to run the Age of Worms AP (or D&D3, at all, anymore).
  • edited July 2012
    It wasn't a table top but it was suppose to be an RPG never-the-less. When I was in college (grad in '93) I tried to write a computer RPG somewhat based on High School kids juggling classes and after school activities while also saving the world from aliens and other paranormal entities. I was inspired by Sierra text adventure games, Lucas Art's Zak McKracken, the psychology PC game Alter Ego, and movies like Ghost Busters and Back to the Future. I knew 3 or 4 programming language at the time to various degrees, (Basic, Pascal, COBOL, C); but nothing that I think they were using at the time at any of the game companies. I did attempt to get started but I didn't get far. I remember buying some kind of "make your own text adventure package" but I never could finish it either. I did however, write most of the game out in pseudo code with flow charts and I really enjoyed the process of thinking through putting the game together. Even though the coding of the game was prohibitive, it never occurred to me I could play the game I wanted to creative outside of a PC as a table top game. I had played D&D as a kid but I didn't play again until around 2004, I didn't really know of non D&D RPGs until I had been playing for awhile after that, and then got into story games in 2008.
  • Zombie campaign in which the players play themselves, set in their real town, that began with them sitting down to play a zombie RPG.
  • Zombie campaign in which the players play themselves, set in their real town, that began with them sitting down to play a zombie RPG.
    I think we've all been there at one point or another. I think everyone thinks of this premise at least once in their gaming life.

  • I think we've all been there at one point or another. I think everyone thinks of this premise at least once in their gaming life.
    Totally! We played about four sessions. It was pretty fun but it didn't work nearly as well as we hoped and the players hated playing themselves.

  • Zombie campaign in which the players play themselves, set in their real town, that began with them sitting down to play a zombie RPG.
    Why didn't this work out?

  • Games where you explicitly "play yourself" rarely seem to work out (even though the Mother of All RPGS is said to have begun in just this way.)

    I am just as guilty of creating "play yourself" type games. I've tried such horrific techniques as the "GURPS Roast" where you can pick some of your traits but your friends assign you most of your virtues and flaws (heartbreaking in more ways than one! You do realize one of the uglier reasons our friends hang out with us is because we're not a threat to them, right?)

    I also created something called Chuck's Rug, which I'm not giving up on, yet... but I'm close. It's about you and your friends getting stuck (for real) in the eponymous Chuck's RPG Campaign World (Chuck is a notoriously bad GM who steals shamelessly from other games and your favorite -and most hated- TV Shows, Films and Comic Books.) It's kinda mean-spirited and that may be why it's not quite coming together. Also, it's about playing yourself, which is like the Curse of Don Quixote to gamers.
  • I tried to make a Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy RPG back in the 80's.
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