Ideas for 2013

Where was I? Oh, yes. Finished reviewing 2012. Time to talk about 2013.

I’m nearing the end of the Disaster Strikes! playtest, so first priority will be to get the game finished and decide how to publish it. Kickstarter, maybe? Watch this space.

But DS! isn’t the only idea I’m working on. Oh, no indeed. Here are some of the frontrunners.

Revolution! Extending the concept of my RPG Geek contest entry, Farmtopia, this will be a game about overthrowing a regime and living with the consequences afterwards. Like Farmtopia, the game mechanics will focus on power and status, the consequences of revolution, and a freeform, democratic sort of conflict resolution. But considerably fleshed out, and taken beyond the “Animal Farm” scenario. (Even though that will always be my favourite.)

The Shadow Game (working title). This is a game about having a dark side, and fighting against it. The basic deal is that two players “run” a single character, while a GM-type figure controls the rest of the world. The GM throws challenges and quandaries at the character. The “main” player must deal with them while the “shadow” player pushes the character towards dark deeds, offering power as the carrot, and loss of control as the stick.

The WTF? game (working title; working on with Admiral Frax). This is a game about going through the looking glass. Think Neverwhere, Utopia, and suchlike. This is a genre that has been done before, but we want to fix two things about it: the tendency to disempower the players as they find themselves lost in a world they don’t understand, outgunned by the all-powerful NPCs; and the reliance on massive GM prep to create a world that the players can plumb. We have ideas for radical new game mechanics which will turn all of this on its head, without losing the fundamental “what the f*ck” element of mystery and discovery.

The traitor game (working title). This is a game designed to allow you to play a tight-knit community but where some of the people in it are secretly traitors, without all the tedious stuff that normally goes along with treachery. Basically I want to create a situation where nobody (including the players themselves) knows which characters are traitors but the game mechanics incentivise people to skulduggery of a sort that might be explained by them being a traitor. There’s a kind of schrodinger’s traitor effect where you might or might not actually be a traitor. However (important!) some people don’t like being a traitor and there will be mechanics to allow them to avoid this and still participate in the game.

A Game of Popes. “When you play the game of popes, you win or you die”. Silly game concept based on watching the Borgias at the same time that Francis I was being elected. Game will revolve around screwing the other proto-popes over through skulduggery.

Not sure where I’ll find time to write all this while moving house and having a baby.

Josh Fox

Rabalias grew up wanting to be a pirate. But a band of evil bureaucrats kidnapped him and forced him to work for The Man. Even so, Rabalias was patient and cunning. He escaped by gnawing his way through the walls of his prison and concealing the hole behind a picture of cthulhu. He fled to the coast, and stowed away on the Black Armada, where he worked his way up to the rank of Admiral.

10 thoughts to “Ideas for 2013”

    1. Hmmm, awkward. I’ve been talking about the shadow game for over a year, though, FWIW – it’s the game I keep saying I want to run for you and Frax. I must admit though, your game concept list includes a number of others that I will steal and write myself if you don’t get your @ss into gear! Get on with it! Go!


      1. …Having said that, I search of my emails and files suggests I have in fact been working on it for more like 7 months. Even assuming I’d been thinking about it for some time before I put pen to paper, it does look possible that your post may have influenced me. Sorry about this – not an intentional ripping off of your idea at all. And I suspect that we’ll have developed the concepts in quite different directions, especially as I’ve been building off a similar but differently-themed game I ran a number of years back (you’ve heard me wittering about it – Echoes). But, er. Do you want to compare notes, or something?

  1. Don’t apologise! I’m not at all bothered, I was only teasing 🙂

    In terms of comparing notes – I have no notes; that post is as far as it got! So go forth and make this game 😀

    Also yes I’ve been waiting for you to run Echoes for me for, what, two years now?

  2. Apropos “A Game of Popes,” have you ever heard of Credo?

    It was mentioned to me when I was studying early Church History and I’ve always wanted to give it a try, but never found a copy. As I understand it, you play as Byzantine Era Bishops and re-write the Nicene Creed, but it’s more interesting than it sounds?

    1. Kat: First off, apologies for only just approving your comment. The levels of spam this blog gets are getting ridiculous and I’m afraid it languished for a long time in approval hell.

      Anyway. No, I hadn’t heard of Credo. Sounds like it could be fun, although it doesn’t seem to have high ratings on BGG. I wonder if we could find someone with a copy so we could try it out?

  3. I have a copy of Credo, happy to share/show!

    It’s a nice theme, but the execution is pretty poor: gameplay is multiply broken. It has that ‘lots of stuff bunged in that the designer thought was interesting, but doesn’t really work’ feel.

    I and friends of the time developed a much improved (we thought) stripped-down game on the theme, called Papal Bull. Wonder if I’ve still got that kicking around somewhere.

    1. I was about to say “bring it round next time we’re doing a gaming weekend”, then I read the rest of your post. Sounds like maybe we’re better off just taking your word for it.

      Papal Bull, on the other hand… I’m always up for trying new games, especially if they’re written by someone I know!

  4. Papal Bull does probably require a bit more of an interest in the minutiae of theological debate in the early Church than Credo does… which might be a warning-off.

    But it did have a clever (I thought at the time) mechanism involving matching up coloured blobs at the edges of cards so as to chain together valid credal statements.

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