game proposal – mostly for conversation
Conceptual Sketch of a Game I’ll Never Make
I am inspired by Defcon to make games in which the play space is a quantified exaggeration of now or the near future. But while the play in Defcon is high level strategy, I’m more interested in exploring a citizen-scale playspace.
For example, a simple quanitifcation is a multiplayer online game set in a scenario in which a large corporation is dominating the landscape with a very simple goal to its behavior ; within its possibility, it rearranges its behavior continuously in order to maximize its own profit.
All the human players are left with the task to topple this pre-exscheme; and that is the entire narrative of the game. They are given a cohesive collection of tactics which they can enact singularly, they can collaborate on, they can combine, etc. And of course it somehow introduces factions on the play level – so there is an incentive to win the game with your own movement, which may corrupt the larger motive, while making the play fun. While there is a win state , there is no necessary guarantee that the players will reach it.
I just want this to be less boring than Tale in the Desert, but totally in homage to it.
And I’m exactly interested in how this kind of model might redefine the possibility space of the citizen players in our real world.
2 thoughts on “game proposal – mostly for conversation”
Kunal, this is a totally awesome sketch for a game you definitely *SHOULD* make.
Just imagine how much it wouldn’t suck to play an MMORPG set in a coporo-dystopic future where players are cooperating and competing through economic, political, and cultural channels instead of just combat. It would not suck a lot!
If it feels like a long way from a glimpse of an idea to a fully-fledged MMORPG then you need to think in terms of small steps.
Why not start by taking some of these core gameplay ideas and sketching them out as a simple playable paper prototype:
“…a large corporation is dominating the landscape with a very simple goal to its behavior ; within its possibility, it rearranges its behavior continuously in order to maximize its own profit…All the human players are left with the task to topple this pre-exscheme; and that is the entire narrative of the game. They are given a cohesive collection of tactics which they can enact singularly, they can collaborate on, they can combine, etc.”
How could capture a little bit of this in a table-top game that could play out in an hour or two?
Is it an OGRE style one vs. many game? With one player enacting the corporation and the others controlling citizen factions?
Or is the corporation an automatic process, like Sauron in Knizia’s LoTR collaborative board game?
Perhaps all of the players *need* the corporation in some way in order to survive and are constantly in danger of losing their oppositional status and becoming absorbed into the machine.
The idea of a paper version would not be to figure out the specifics of what the online gameplay would be, but to sketch out the central theme and dynamics.
Other reference you could look at would be:
Steve Jackson’s Illuminati
And, for the voracious global corporate dynamics part, Sid Sackson’s Acquire.
Acquire! Man, how did they go from the world’s best looking box art:
To the world’s worst looking box art:
Yikes! Nice going Avalon Hill, you fucking morons!
Bonus interview with Sid Sackson, the great American boardgame designer.
Wow I just read this. That sounds fascinating. Also, I don’t have the time to make any more cabinets before school starts, and I’m going to include them in a different project for September anyway.
So – My new ambition for this last month of class is to work out play models for this, because deep down inside I’ve always wanted to make a subversive MMORPG and always been afraid to commit time to it. Paper prototypes are just as fast as code prototypes, so I wonder what the benefits of paper are. Is it the fluid rearranging of the rules?
Is this a topic worth talking about ? Why Paper Prototype?
Acquire’s second iteration is really amazing, though.I think the word people use these days is “kitchy”.