Leviathan: Sci-fi Noir in the City of the Philosopher's Nightmares

Once, I had a small idea for a world of swirling capitalistic nihilist intrigue, where hard-bitten men in fedoras punch the tickets of their business rivals, in fear of no law but that of unintended consequences. Years later, I publicly described it on my blog. In that same post, I also talk about a wonderful book I found that gives a system for the behavior and success of gangs. It's like Guns, Germs and Steel for the Crips and Bloods rather than Europe and America. It's fantastically evocative of gaming, to the point where I became convinced that it would do me good to treat a game inspired by it as an achievable goal.

Months later, today, I posted the first step in the foundation of my design efforts: An annotated summary of the first chapter of this beautiful book.

It's not in any particular design document-esque order, but the gist is that I currently want players to be able to design their own decks of cards, each representing a character in the gang, and feel like they are only partially in control of that herd as they fight for control of some precious resource. Details are plenty in the post. I admit there's a lot of over-the-top speculation as well, but I've made a conscious if perhaps foolish decision to think big.

Note for those who don't know: I enjoy receiving criticism. There's nothing I want to hear from people more than "This sucks, here's why," except maybe "You can't make a game, here's why." My ego needs no particular sparing. I'm committed to being improved, not to being confirmed. Thus, feel free to leave whatever responses you have either here or there.

edit: Wrong category! Whee!


  • OK, I haven't looked at the stuff you linked yet, but you've got my attention.

    Sci-fi Noir in the City of the Philosopher's Nightmares?
    Guns, Germs and Steel for the Crips and Bloods ?

    From those descriptors I have no idea what the game is like, but I know it sounds interesting. :)

    I'll take a look and see if I can provide something useful.
  • I've done no more than skim so far, but have you read this paper ?

    If not, I imagine you might find it worthwhile. I read about it in an excellent book called "The Truth About Markets" which I recommend to one and all.

    Essentially, this economist spent a long time hanging with a street gang, and eventually got hold of their accounts. It turns out that street gangs and franchises like McDonalds have a great deal in common, looked at economically.

    I suspect you will have come across it already, but it seems worth a mention, just in case.
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