We’ve spent most of today recording footage for the Shenanigans Kickstarter video. It’s been an interesting experience for me since all of my other games had videos supported by the same team – some things are very much the same while others are really quite different. I though that it might be nice to discuss some of the differences in technique and how they’ve affected the outcome.
I’m in the process of putting the “Shenanigans: The Musical” Kickstarter page together and it’s becoming increasignly apparent that I want to break the rules. The core game consists of 24 cards and works perfectly well as a core. Then in addition to that we have three 10 card expansions. Conventional wisdom is to include the expansions as stretch goals, but increasingly I’d like to reject conventional wisdom.
All of the pieces have fallen in to place and I’ve finally seen a complete card come together for “Shenanigans: The Musical”. It’s not turned out how I might have expected, but I’ve got a full set printed and collectively they look pretty sweet. Have a gander:
Recently I tried a gross simplification on Shenanigans: The Musical (as it’s now titled). I figured that the most interesting bit of a social deduction game is the discussion about who to target so wondered what would happen if I made the discussion encompass the whole game. I developed a version that I felt worked nicely on a mechanical level and did some playtesting, the results were unanimous: The new version is terrible.
Good news everyone, I didn’t die. Thinking no longer feels impeded by a cloud of cotton wool, so I’m in a good state to go through last week’s post and see which of my fever induced notions has any value from a design point of view. As a whole excercise hopefully it’ll do something in terms of giving some insight into how I develop concepts and can offer some hope to people labouring with difficult ideas that even bizaare fever dreams can give rise to something interesting. Let’s begin.
Sad news everyone, I’m dying. Or I have a cold and will get better in a few days. One of those. Probably the second one. I guess I’m still not immortal though, so the first statement is technically true. My point is that today is going to be a little more disjointed than usual, because I feel like I’m thinking through some sort of cloud of cotton wool which is making me somewhat inconsistent. I just saw this art for one of the Artiste cards, isn’t it cute:
Sometimes you’ve got a game that’s a fair way through testing and further refinements aren’t bringing any significant improvement. At this point you may be approaching the best game possible within the limitations set by the major decisions that you’ve made. This is a good place to be, but that doesn’t mean that it’s okay to rest on your laurels – it’s time to slash and burn.
Around mid July I wrote about the Artiste project that I’m undertaking with The People’s Orchestra. It’s been a month and a half so it feels like a good time to offer another update and perhaps tie some of the previous blog posts to their actual impact on game development.
Working for a charity is giving me a fascinating glimpse into how organisations of this nature deal with their duality. On the one hand we’re fundamentally about doing something to make the world better, but on the other we’re embedded in a system which obliges us to pay the bills if we want to keep using the office in which I now type. There’s always a tension between generating revenue (whether directly or through grants) and achieving our actual goals. None of this is really my part of the operation, I’m just supposed to make a game that can be added to the post-performance merchandise stand, but eavesdropping on these conversations has refined some of my thoughts on educational games.
This article is about Kickstarter, but I’d like to open by talking about the role of luck in games – trust me, it’ll all make sense in the end. Suppose you’re in a game with two strategies, one will give 2 points, the other gives a 50/50 chance of getting 3 points or nothing. Which is the best option? Clearly the reliable strategy averages two points and the unreliable strategy averages one and a half, so the reliable strategy is the one to play. Nobody likes random numbers.