Notes from the Pub

January 18, 2012

This is a smattering of thoughts drawn from recent design discussions, so I can have them for future reference.

Fingers on the Firmament

  • Emily’s game Caravan Solitaire is amazing and does many of the things I want this game to do.
  • I should finish the short game based on Journey first, since it’ll get me part of the way there.
  • The game should probably be 1-on-1 as default, with the GM playing the landscape of space and the ruins. When you meet other people, the game stops and you have to invite other people into the game to play them. They can decide to hang around for later stuff or not. I’m not sure the GM ever plays NPCs, though they might play ghosts or memories. Every person you meet is a distinct PC and that person can then take that character with them, find another GM, and continue their story.
  • Convention or meetup play would involve a bunch of characters gathering together to attempt a major feat, like exploring an unfamiliar region or deciphering a complex ancient mystery.
  • Play creates a record of new places and ruins and creations that you put up on the internet, creating a “living campaign” that others can participate in.
  • I’ve been worried about the moves for traveling between the stars, but that should be one of the fruitful voids, perhaps, with moves that — when taken together — allow you to do that, but without a single travel move that’s too on-the-nose. Players should be encouraged to seek out the fictional positioning that makes traveling possible or safer.
  • Playing out certain portions of the games “unlocks” moves for both the PC who does it and later folks who play through that same series of locations in the “living campaign.” In order to be able to do certain things, then, you may have to play with characters of a certain type/level or find someone who’s unlocked certain achievements and get them to send you their campaign notes.

Geiger Counter

  • In the new version, there are cards for specific characters (“Choi”), setting types (“Deep Freeze,” “The Facility”), menace types (“Hunter,” “Horde”), and locations (“Generator Room,” “Alien Ruins”). All of these have conditions that the menace player can choose to apply when they are in play in a given scene.
  • Location cards give a brief description of how to draw the location on the map and, on the back, have scene framing suggestions for what you might do in that space, in the event that you don’t have strong feelings about what you want to do. They may even involve other locations, such as “someone shows up in a different room with news from this location.”
  • There’s some way to encourage folks to frame really short scenes? Or vary the length of scenes instead of having them all roughly the same length?

One Response to “Notes from the Pub”

  1. jackson tegu Says:

    I think a conversation with Drew about Fingers on the Firmament would be illuminating, re: the convention meetup idea. He had an ongoing game for years that bordered on that.

    “There’s some way to encourage folks to frame really short scenes? Or vary the length of scenes instead of having them all roughly the same length?”
    Last night, after My Daughter The Queen Of France, we were commenting on how having the scene-cutting fall to a player who was otherwise not involved in the scene made for much shorter & longer scenes (one was half an hour! I crafted three good end points, but we had to keep rolling!) so there’s something.


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