Howdy, I'm working on a collaborative storytelling game that is inspired by the super spy genre such as James Bond and Mission Impossible. I'm having trouble with how the game starts and I'm looking for help.
During the game, the players take turns telling scenes. In each scene they draw one random Item card, one random Function card and one random Scene card. The Item and Function cards are put together to make a super spy gadget such as "A Pen that Repels Alligators" or "Glasses that Detect Lies". The Scene card has a story prompt like "Someone important must be saved." The player then tells a scene where that gadget is the perfect gadget to get the superspy out of trouble and fulfil the scene prompt.
The body of the game works pretty well. Players are enjoying playing once the game gets going, but it's very difficult to start. Currently at the start of the game I have the group draw one Villain card that will say something like "Dr. Villainous is using a collection of [item] to take over the world." The players draw an Item card to fill in the [item] to add flavor and replayability. The villain is the main antagonist for the whole game and is defeated at the end.
But even with a specific prompt like the villain and a starting scene card, players struggle to start the game. The first scene requires a lot of creative work to do since it can establish a lot about the setting, characters and style.
I'm looking for advice on how to make starting the game easier.
Are there any resources about designing the start of a story games? Something like a talk or blog post or podcast maybe?
Are there general principles that can be followed to make the storytelling easier? Or am I basically stuck playtesting until I stumble into a eureka moment of game design?
Anyone have any clever ideas to make the first scene easier?
To answer any rules clarifications questions, you can see the current draft of the rules here
, the items here
, the functions here
, the scenes here
and the villains
I already have a lot of cards so I'd prefer any solutions that avoid adding more cards.