Friday, June 8, 2012

School Games

I am near the end of a short semester.  The classes have ended up being a lot more challenging and time consuming than I thought they would be.  The one thing that suffered was my game work.  The other thing that has come out of it, is a small group of gamers with an idea: what if you made a game system for your group?  

It was intriguing enough to think about, so in between classes (sometimes during) the concept has been ruminating.  Now we have started working on something.  A system whose sole purpose is to please a very niche group, what an odd beast it is.  

Don't we all do this anyways?  Whenever I have run things for my group it get customized all to hell and back, for my group.  What is different is this entire system is made to order.  The feel of the dice mechanics, the may monsters work, the classes, the damage system, and even the mood the rules are meant to burgeon are all for them.  Looking at the notes the work, the calculations I have run the thought occurs to me that the game is as much for me too.  

It is an odd beast.  In a lot of ways it goes against my normal design philosophies.  Simplicity is there.  The ease at which the GM can run things is there as well.  The characters are clunky old school beasts.  Not that the rules are some draconian monstrosity.  Quite the contrary.  They just are not elegant.  It all just makes me smile.  

A week into the discussion we all sat down and asked each other to write down what each of us wanted from the game.  We said we were holding it to three points a piece.  When we were done one of us, me, would sit down and combine those points that were so similar into one and then break it down to the core concepts that we all seemed to be shooting for.  What was remarkable about this was how easy this was.  We all wanted pretty much the same things from the mechanics.  

1)  We want it to feel like a game.  When we play it, the stories can be serious and exciting, thought provoking even, but it should always feel like a game.  
2)  Rolling the dice should be exciting and possibly game changing.  It should never be dull when the dice hit the table.  
3)  Risk/Reward should be a dynamic of the game.  It should feel like a gameshow almost, in the way a spin of the wheel could reap incredible benefits or crushing defeats.  
(One of the guys called this feeling Fun in the Dungeon, as if that was the name of gameshow we were discussing.)  

Clunky, amateurish, and ridiculous is what someone else called what we were working on.  I might have as well if I was a jerk looking at someone else's project.  Looking at it and discussing it has been a highlight from this semester of school.  Reading and writing those points down again, I can not help but smile.  

This could be as fun as we are hoping.