Let's talk about Stage One!

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  • For what it's worth (which is not an entry into the contest), I've put together a draft of Assassins v. Templars, my tribute to Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. It should be here.
  • I played Grey Pawn's Mythic Adventures last Thursday. I was the Danger Master and I had a lot of fun playing the game, especially making the treasure map. Drawing a bunch of unexplained pictures and interpreting them into locations as we play is really fun. It was quickly claimed by one of the players but I think there's a picture of the map from my game somewhere... Anyways, the game was a lot of fun. The group was looking for Oskaars golden platter off the north tip of Norway. The first scene was in a derelict airport pilot's lounge and bar, filled with some less than friendly characters. I decided the locals would see the PCs as foolish foriegners and tried to get them to leave before they wound up as another group of missing tourists. The players didn't appreciate their attitude much though. Oops. They went into a mysteriously out of place jungle with giant bugs and animals and had a fight with a local tribe of monkeys and some very rickety suspension bridges over rivers of lava. Then they went on to an ice maze that was actually a crypt full of ghosts and undead skeletons. That's actually as far as we got.

    The game had a few sticky points. One thing was it went a little gonzo, which I think happened for a few reasons. First off, being a game based on cartoons and animal people I don't think he players were shooting for high level of realism in the first place. On top of that some players just weren't connecting well to their characters or the fiction. That could be solved by adding another step to fleshing out characters and their motivations. Last, when players failed multiple times while trying to defeat a detail in a peril, they often used up all their good ideas in the beginning and got sillier and sillier as it went on. Another problem I had was I felt apprehensive about using gems to injure or capture players because both effectively removed them from play and I didn't think that would be much fun for them. Also the players wanted to interract with each other more during conflicts. We were also not sure how it should be decided who got gold coins or who won a conflict in a tie. I think if the DM moves were more fun for the players and didn't force the GM to single out players to be left out and those rules were clarified the game would go a lot smoother. The treasure map felt like the strongest part of the game (at least on the DM side).

    Mr Walton, I'm also curious whether the 2 page requirement is for the final product or not. I'll be revising Dragon and Warrior again soon, and I'm thinking of trying to cut some parts of the game back, like getting rid of money and shops so that all items come from the treasure player, changing the combat system, and making a more defined stage 1, but especially with the stage 1 description it mightbe hard to keep everything to 2 pages.

    Oh, also, I'll make it badass.
  • Posted By: J. WaltonHey, Happy Thanksgiving!

    Also,the next batch of reviews and invitations are up, with about the same mix as the last batch.

    I'm in the midst of consolidating all my online crap together, so if you don't recognize things, that's why. I'll try to get the next batch done on Friday or, at the very least, over the holiday weekend.
    Hey, so... how's this coming along? No pressure!
  • Got a chance to playtest my most recent revisions of Revenant:Viral on Sunday (formerly known as Resident Evil+), and had a fairly good time, though it shed light on several things I need to fix. The dice mechanics started off being way too clunky for the players, but a quick, five-minute fix made everything run a lot more smoothly. Also need to pare down the wording. My tendancy to want to describe every little thing meant I had to cram a lot of words in a little amount of space, and that affected overall legibility, and made it difficult for the players to get the gist of the game quickly.
    Probably will have the next draft ready for another run this coming Sunday.
  • Nick/Orion: I'm expecting the games to get longer in revision, so that's cool. The anthology is definitely still focused on the Stage One concept, but don't let that get in the way if the game really wants to go in another direction. You can always release it on your own or I can offer some suggestions late on how to make it fit the anthology. The final games will be short and sweet, but not necessarily two pages (which doesn't even mean much in a booklet, anyway).

    Parker: Hotness! I'll definitely review it after I post the rest.

    Mike: I swear that I have all my comments written on printouts and have just been trying to find time to write them up! Work has been an absolute killer, but we're publishing this 208-page report tomorrow and then hopefully things will calm down. I'm scrambling just to be able to prep for this game I'm supposed to run tonight! But, yes, the final batch of comments ASAP. (P.S. Your game rocks, but you already knew that, right?)
  • Three cheers! I'm stoked to read the last batch!
  • Posted By: stupidgremlinGot a chance to playtest my most recent revisions of Revenant:Viral on Sunday (formerly known as Resident Evil+), and had a fairly good time, though it shed light on several things I need to fix. The dice mechanics started off being way too clunky for the players, but a quick, five-minute fix made everything run a lot more smoothly. Also need to pare down the wording. My tendancy to want to describe every little thing meant I had to cram a lot of words in a little amount of space, and that affected overall legibility, and made it difficult for the players to get the gist of the game quickly.
    Probably will have the next draft ready for another run this coming Sunday.
    I'm glad that went well!

    I played (& Michael did as well), my Mushroom Kingdom Stories game. It was fun & silly, with some currency issues and issues with the player priority system that shouldn't be too hard to resolve, but I came away from the playtest realizing that, well, I just am not too passionate about developing that game, and I'm going to move on. It made me realize a lot about why I design, and how, well, I should be doing something because I care about it, and not just to do it. I'm going to lay off contests for a while until I can figure that stuff out.

    Anyway, Justin (savagehominid), who played it, wants to develop it a little further, though, so that's cool!
  • Posted By: J. WaltonMike:I swear that I have all my comments written on printouts and have just been trying to find time to write them up! Work has been an absolute killer, but we're publishing this 208-page report tomorrow and then hopefully things will calm down. I'm scrambling just to be able to prep for this game I'm supposed to run tonight! But, yes, the final batch of comments ASAP.
    Cool! Like I said, no pressure. I know we all have stuff going on. I'm just eager to read 'em.
    (P.S. Your game rocks, but you already knew that, right?)
    Modesty forbids.
  • edited December 2011
    Hans: Deciding when to stop working on a game is a BIG DEAL and definitely a worthy thing to learn. Honestly, I view contests as opportunities to try out something that might end up being interesting enough to continue with. Sometimes you strike on something good that you feel strongly about, but othertimes not. And that's totally fine. Game design is an art and a skill like any other. Some people seem to come out of nowhere with gobloads of raw natural talent, but the rest of us have to practice our design chops so we can bust them out when called upon :) And that typically requires a lot of mediocre results until you come across something where it really comes together and we have the tools and language we need to communicate effectively with an audience. If it didn't quite work this time, awesome. That means the next one will be better, based on the things you learned about yourself, the design process, and games.

    Anyway, that's my take.
  • So... the last set of reviews is finally up. Sorry I'm such a failure at reviewing, but at least this is better than Murderland :)

    Thanks for such a great micro-contest folks. This was a lot of fun and makes me want to do this again. I'm excited for both the anthology and seeing where all these games go in the future, whether I have anything to do with it or not.

    You rule!
  • edited December 2011
    Also, I'm preparing to review all the games that got turned in late. So far I have:

    -- A Quiet and Dark Place (Silent Hill) by Jesse Burneko
    -- Assassins and Templars (Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood) by Parker D. Hicks

    I'm hoping to also review Mark Causey's Castlevania game and Erik Battle's game, assuming they are in reviewable form (send them to me or link them here!).

    Any others?
  • Also... I've posted a page with -- as far as I know -- the current status of all the Stage One games. Let me know if there are inaccuracies and I will fix them!

    Stage One: Tracking Progress

    If you want to submit a revised draft, you can do so by posting a link in that thread or just emailing it to me (jaywalt, gmail).
  • Yay, closure!
  • Posted By: J. WaltonHans:Deciding when to stop working on a game is a BIG DEAL and definitely a worthy thing to learn. Honestly, I view contests as opportunities to try out something thatmightend up being interesting enough to continue with. Sometimes you strike on something good that you feel strongly about, but othertimes not. And that's totally fine. Game design is an art and a skill like any other. Some people seem to come out of nowhere with gobloads of raw natural talent, but the rest of us have to practice our design chops so we can bust them out when called upon :) And that typically requires a lot of mediocre results until you come across something where it really comes together and we have the tools and language we need to communicate effectively with an audience. If it didn't quite work this time,awesome. That means the next one will be better, based on the things you learned about yourself, the design process, and games.

    Anyway, that's my take.
    Thanks, Jonathan. This is how I feel, too, but it's good to hear someone who's been around the block say it.
  • Good news! The four initial invitees have all tentative agreed to participate, which means the anthology project can move forward. It's not clear yet what the MAX number of games that can fit in the first anthology booklet will be, but 4 was my minimum. Depending on final page count, we may be able to fit a couple more in, starting with the next ones that are revised and recieve invitations. And once the first booklet is done, I'm happy to plan for a second one with whatever the next batch of revised games is. And then quit or launch a new Stage One design event whenever we run out of interesting games to work on.

    I've updated the tracking page with more information about moving towards completion of the anthology, and will continue to update it as we gets closer. Yes, we already have one game ready for editing!

    So, for those folks working on revisions (1) the sooner you turn them in, the more likely it is your game can fit in the first anthology; but (2) don't panic, because there will probably be more than one booklet. Plus, if you decide the anthology isn't for you, great! I'll be happy to help support anything else you want to do with your game.

    I'm also happy to review any other Stage One games whenever people finish them, even if they're started long after the initial event, and consider them for later anthologies, assuming we get that far.

    Now, to try to get things for Magic Missile in order as well....
  • Given how little interest Lost Colony has garnered I'm seriously considering doing a bit of refactoring to make it a 1-N player game, so I can seriously playtest it myself and bring out the fun more prominently. The issue being that means killing off the competitive aspect of the game almost entirely.

    In any case, I'll keep you posted.

    - Mendel
  • Cool, Mendel, thanks for the update! I'm definitely interested in whatever direction you end up taking it.

    I tried out Half of Everything is Luck on Sunday night, just running through the first location, "Drop Zone." I've posted PDFs of the map and my makeshift record sheet up here, if folks are interested.

    I tried to use the new gun rules, but forgot about the guard minimums and only had three on the map (and none in the tower). Used up 29 ticks, killed all three guards. Took out the two Guard-6s with a double-Aimed PP7 (6d6), then grabbed a AF7 off one of the bodies and gunned down the last Guard-4 after Aiming (6d6 again). All three times, I didn't roll any 1s, so I guess all that aiming and careful shooting means I'm conserving ammo. Haven't even been shot at yet, much less taken harm, but I decided not to climb the tower for the Sniper Rifle, since I'm worried I'm cutting it close on time.

    The guns are fun but feel a little bit off, stat-wise, especially the long range on the PP7 and the ability to aim it, so you can rack up a lot of dice much more quickly than the Sniper Rifle. I sent Mike some thoughts on this, but the foundation here is really solid and the remaining issues can definitely be resolved with some playtesting and tweaking.
  • Hey Mendel, i totally misread
    Posted By: wyrmwoodrefactoring to make it a 1-N player game
    as "...make it a game for a total of 1 minus n players", which worked out in my head to "either 1 player or 0 players, or perhaps less"

    which is to say, my mind is severely blown and i have to stop and think about a new design direction now.
  • Posted By: J. WaltonAll three times, I didn't roll any 1s, so I guess all that aiming and careful shooting means I'm conserving ammo.
    Exactly! Functioning as designed!

    I think what feels weird about the guns right now is the use of the term Rate of Fire, and the fact that Aiming counter-intuitively doubles Rate of Fire. That was just a mechanical shortcut, but in the revision all of that will get some cleaning-up. It's really more accurate if Aiming grants bonus dice to roll depending on the weapon used, and it'd help to rename ROF to something less concretely associated with ammo. For example, the sniper rifle is fairly useless unless you're aiming, in which case it's usually a one-shot-killer.
    Haven't even been shot at yet, much less taken harm, but I decided not to climb the tower for the Sniper Rifle, since I'm worried I'm cutting it close on time.
    This sounds pretty normal for Agent. Should be worse on the Roadway and Dam, though, as the guards' numbers increase.
    The guns are fun but feel a little bit off, stat-wise, especially the long range on the PP7 and the ability to aim it, so you can rack up a lot of dice much more quickly than the Sniper Rifle.
    Looking at it again, the PP7's range definitely needs to be taken down a notch or two -- like maybe 5/10. It's a tough one, though. The AF7's kinda super-inaccurate if you're just burst firing unless the target's pretty close to you, whereas the PP7 is a little more accurate when left to auto-aim but doesn't zoom while aiming. Like I said, more research may be required. It's hard work, sure, but I'm willing to put the time in.
  • I also couldn't find anything saying what gun you start with, if any, though the new rules say you start with PP7 ammo. I ultimately decided to start with a PP7, but for a while I was wondering if I had to slap a dude up just to get a gun, or run like the devil towards a weapons cache...

    You're probably right that I may regret not having a rifle by the time I get to the dam. We'll see!

    Good luck with your research!
  • I'm happy to announce that Simon's revised draft of Heavy is the Head has been invited to join the anthology project and Simon has tentatively accepted! Woohoo! That makes 5 semi-finished games that we'll try to publish this spring. Hopefully I'll receive a few more revised drafts soon (and actually finish one of my own video game-inspired games), so we can split the anthology into two booklets.

    Did I mention that I absolutely love that we have ZERO straight-up tabletop RPGs so far? That's incredible. We have 2 single-player action board games, 1 intimate visual "party game" (not sure what else to call it), 1 multiplayer resolution-free dungeon crawl, and 1 two-player empire-building strategy game. You guys are defying every convention about gaming that I can think of and I'm just proud to be along for the ride.

    Of course, if somebody ends up submitting a great tabletop RPG, that's swell too. More variety!
  • I'd call Differences a collection of Parlour Games... i don't know if my say counts worth beans, though.

    I'll go on the record as claiming that I'll exchange any proffered game of Mouse Guard for a rousing play of Up, Jenkins! Ah, to have one's youth back, no?
  • Just an FYI, but I hope to have my next draft of Revenant:Viral (previously known as Resident Evil+) ready for upload in a few weeks. There's a PDF playtest group thing coming up, and I want to run a few people through the current revision before I submit it again.

    ...I'm just really hoping I hit the mark this time.
  • Sounds great, Michael. Can't wait!
  • I just sent in my latest revision of Dragon and Warrior. I was wondering if you'd like to lend your design for the monster cards and character sheet to the project, Stupidgremlin? I doubt I could do better. Though they will likely have to be stripped of any copywrited content. The blank monster cards probably already work fine, but I'm not sure about some of the other sprites. Also, if you and Hans would like to send me the names of everyone who played in your playtest of the game, I could put all your names in the credits. Thanks, and I look forward to Revenant:viral.
  • edited January 2012
    I believe it was just Hans, Michael, Justin, & Julius. Am I missing anyone, Michael? I don't think so, 'cuz it's a 4-player game, right? 'S been a while.
  • Posted By: jackson teguHey Mendel, i totally misread

    Posted By: wyrmwoodrefactoring to make it a 1-N player game
    as "...make it a game for a total of 1 minusnplayers", which worked out in my head to "either 1 player or 0 players, or perhaps less"

    which is to say, my mind is severely blown and i have to stop and think about a new design direction now.
    The game... it plays itself. Even when there is no one there.

    Damn. Now I'm thing about how you would do that. :-)
    --
    TAZ
  • Posted By: Orion CanningI was wondering if you'd like to lend your design for the monster cards and character sheet to the project, Stupidgremlin?
    Yeah, I'll dig up those files and send them your way. Do I have your e-mail around here somewhere?
    Thanks, and I look forward to Revenant:viral.
    I hope to have that ready by the end of the week. Drama at work, and the near-losing-my-job thing scuttled my usual game work the last couple of weeks, but now that I know my position is safe (though still with no freedom or authority), I've been gathering my notes again.
    Now if only I could find good minis to use. If not, I'll be forced to use cobbled-together Lego figs.
  • Sweet! Nice to see a few more getting finished up. I've been slack lately due to being busy with other fun stuff (starting a band, playing games!), but hope to get back to business soon. The first anthology is proceeding well and it looks like we'll probably have a full complement for a second as well, assuming all these games look pretty solid.
  • high scores from one of the first two games of roguish:

    margaret the wizard sacrificed the heart of a mountainous goat at the shrine of the eightfold god, having alread curried favor with said god previously by offering a charred and convincinglydead possum, and ascended to demigodhood. Eleventy billion points.

    stephen the level 4 wizard escaped the dungeon through divine intervention after helping to sacrifice a heart to the eightfold god. 1000 points.

    evan the level 3 knight escaped the Dark Dungeons after beheading the thrice-headed stegohydra and helping with the monstrous heart sacrifice. 777.4 points.

    fiona the level 3 rogue was gored to death by a unicorn after saddening a dwarf into catatonia, saddening a squid into stress-eating a poisoned baguette, and wore some sweet gold pants. 500 points.
  • Well, after the playtesting of Revenant:Viral last night, I got a lot of useful feedback and data.

    ...problem is, I don't have enough time currently to implement the changes that are needed. So I'm going to have to withdraw.

    I still intend on finishing it up, but I really will need more than just the two pages allowed. So I'll probably make it into a four or six-page game, which would also give plenty of room for examples.
    Oh well.
    Still, I thank J. Walton for the opportunity, and Ben Hsu, Joel Shempert, and Justin Smith for their help in the two playtests (someone else was involved in the first playtest...though I can't remember who...)
  • Michael, as I've said multiple times in this thread already, the final versions of games are expected to be more than 2 pages, so it's cool if you want to take some time and not be involved in the anthologies, but don't quit on my account.
  • Hm...I must've missed the details about the final page counts.

    But either way, I have waaaaaay too much that I need to work on, and very little time to do everything. Still, probably in the next couple of months or so, I should have a workable (and hopefully re-playtested version) available.
  • Stage One: still a thing! Still gonna happen! Jonathan's got a pretty far-along layout containing four totally sweet games in various stages of preparation, with some seriously epic cover art, you guys are gonna be so stoked by this.

    Why not get excited for it by playing a preview version of my game in the anthology, Roguish? That download is a Unix man page, so once you've saved it, fire up your terminal emulator and do a quick man ./roguish.6.gz to get at the sweet goodness. Or even install it into your manpath! (No Windows port is available, sorry.)
  • Stage One: still a thing! Still gonna happen! Jonathan's got a pretty far-along layout containing four totally sweet games in various stages of preparation, with some seriously epic cover art, you guys are gonna be so stoked by this.

    Why not get excited for it by playing a preview version of my game in the anthology, Roguish? That download is a Unix man page, so once you've saved it, fire up your terminal emulator and do a quick man ./roguish.6.gz to get at the sweet goodness. Or even install it into your manpath! (No Windows port is available, sorry.)
    I love you.
  • For what it's worth, the finalized version of the rules for "Fall of the Titans".

    boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/123036/fall-of-the-titans
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