I’m currently finishing off incorporating the feedback from the Disaster Strikes! playtest, so I can release a full draft on the website. Thanks to comments from Blackrat, I have encountered a problem with my design. It’s not a massive one, but it does need solving before the game can go live.
In Disaster Strikes!, you use playing cards in a similar way to how you would use dice in a standard roll+stat>difficulty game. However, because you’re using cards there’s a few features that you don’t get with dice. Here’s the key ones for the problem at hand:
– You can pick from multiple cards in your hand rather than just getting one result
– The face cards do something special; namely, you can play them on top of another card to provide a bonus
– But if you do play a face card, you get negative consequences determined by the GM
– The suit of the card you play suggests a particular mode of action (planning, execution, inspiration or sacrifice), and you get a bonus if you can describe an action that fits that mode of action
– If you play a sacrifice (spades) card then you get a negative consequence determined by the GM
Here’s the problem. To get the bonus for a sacrifice card, you have to describe an action that costs you. But you are also supposed to get a negative consequence determined by the GM. That’s two negative consequences! Rather a lot for one card.
Now, I could just say that the consequence narrated by the player to get their bonus is instead of the consequence determined by the GM. But that duplicates another mechanic, which is that if you play a face card in your character’s personal trump suit, you get to decide the consequences, instead of the GM. With your trump suit you can choose a positive consequence instead of a negative consequence, so they are different. But it feels like a spades card should be more like a non-trump face card. It should hurt to get one.
Alternatively, I could say that you get the bonus for appropriate description whenever you play a spades card, without needing to describe anything – instead it’s a trade-off for the GM-determined consequence.
Am I making too much of this? Anyone have any other ideas about how to fixenate it?