Monthly Archives: September 2008

Quick and Easy RPGs

I ran a game of Maid at Geekcon today.  Most of the players had not played before.  Two of the players had characters from a previous session.

We made characters and played through a whole ‘adventure’ worth of events in an hour.  At the table next to us, the people playing Paranoia weren’t even done with character creation yet.

I could have kept going with the Maid game, but I didn’t need to- I got all the fun I needed out of the session in an hour.  Definitely lots of craziness and sillyness, all in a tight little package.

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Shadowrun: Mercenaries Style

So, one of the dream game ideas I’ve had recently is a game of Shadowrun, run in the style of the videogame Mercenaries.

Here’s some stylistic things that would need to be present in the game:

*Larger (and crazier) than life characters, even by Shadowrun standards.  Probably built on a higher point total.

*Conception of characters as a for-hire and for-profit Mercenary Company.  Perhaps almost vaguely legal, or an intentionally overlooked high-profile Shadowrunner group.  The powers that be let this group continue to exist, as long as it remains mostly in their best interests.

*Game focus on gameplay and action, rather than planning.  This requires some group consensus on the players to jump in on the action rather than stall, some sort of function for retroactive preparations (ex. spend a bennie to retroactively have bribed someone on the inside to open the gate for you), and a play focus on ‘hot runs’ rather than ‘cold runs,’ and a GM who won’t dick you over for minor (or glaring) tactical missions.  It’s about kicking ass and blowing shit up, not grueling gritty unforgiving hostile ‘realism.’

*Various corporate/national factions that all want to hire the PCs for their interests, but want you to hose over the other factions.

*NPCs are relatively forgiving of you blowing up their assets, as long as you’re willing to do a job for them…

*Lots of options of sidejobs and mainmissions.

*Some sort of random mission generator.  Stockpile of pregenerated maps, pregenerated security details, and possible mission objectives (with bonuses for collateral damage.)

Recent Gaming Roundup

So I noticed that I haven’t posted in almost a month.  You know why?  I’ve been gaming!

My most recent love is Mercenaries 2, a open-world blow-em-up.  Think Grand Theft Auto in a war zone.  I absolutely love this game.  Anyone who knows me should buy it so we can play co-op.

Some of the things I like about it:

Everything is destructable.  Everything.  You might need a bigger gun/rocket/air strike, but everything can be blown up.

There are Factions which is something relevant to my D&D game and something I’m pondering for another design.  Basically the Oil Company wants you to fight the Communist Guerrillas and vice versa- do you pick a side, or play them off of each other?  It can be very easy to pick one side, but it’s harder to try to manage the whole field and keep everyone happy.  There’s also tons of stuff to do- sidequests galore.

I want to run a Shadowrun game loosely based on this game.

Another videogame for the xBox I recommend is indie puzzle-platformer Braid, an xBox arcade download.  It’s well worth the purchase price, and guaranteed to stretch your mind.  It’s best going into it with an open mind, but it’s basically a 2D platformer where you can alter the flow of time.  It has some fascinating puzzles, an interesting story, and many ‘aha!’ moments.

As for the rest of my gaming, I’ve been mostly running D&D, which continues to be enjoyable.  The last two sessions were pretty hard core hack and slash, which was less enjoyable all at once, but there were some cool combats.  The fights seem to be best when they are interspersed with other stuff- I don’t think hack and slash is enough to carry the game.  Social interactions are expected tonight, which I look forward to.

I played Beowulf, Joshua “Ace” Newman’s Anthology engine ashcan, and I think my tolerance for the Anthology engine is wearing thin- people don’t know how to play it, and don’t seem to be willing to do what it takes to run it properly.  I got very frustrated with another player hogging the spotlight, and the GM being unwilling to moderate.  I end up having to wield the grown-up stick, and looking like an asshole.  I don’t think this is all the fault of the game, but it’s something I’ve noticed in games with a weak-GM model.

Other recent games played include the Maid RPG, a bizarre comedy rpg, the excellent Battlestar Gallactica boardgame, and Tony LB’s Misery Bubblegum, which I understand the mechanics of, but I’m still fuzzy on the overall point of play.  Why this game?