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[Meat] Even Good Guys have Bad Days

By September 16, 2009Game Chef 2009

With the combat mostly rounded up (minus one or two worrisome pieces of errata) the story structure and feedback mechanisms have been the most troublesome part of my past week.

Character Generation (chargen) and Setting Generation (setgen) are still fairly heavily intertwined. Meat uses a bidding mechanic obviously in chargen and setgen; and to a slightly less obvious degree in combat.

A major issue i’ve had within chargen and setgen is creating bias on the character’s part in order to justify the pvp within the game. Finally, today i think i’ve figured out how to do that with some simple “tavern” mechanics.

Traditional games are plagued with the “you’re all in a tavern” trope. SG and shortform games have done away with that in a number of ways. Short games with a sort of convention fiat, and others with building in the social contract. Because Meat is pvp, I hadn’t thought to just flip the social contract. Hardwire the conflict into the setgen.

For example, let’s say you have a three person game. You’ve outlined the characters and discussed the area for the Minor Conflict that plays out the first combat scene. Part of chargen/setgen is bidding to create setting, conditions, character boosts and finally the person with the most left in the bank is the player that gets to play first (second/second, etc.) Those points are banked and roll forward to your next buy, down the line.

Going first, means placing last on the battle board. The person with the least amount of char/set points will have to place their hero on the board first and answer the first question: What just happened here? That player quickly describes what he perceives to be the scenario that all the players just built up. He embellishes it through the eyes of his character.

The second player, places his figure on the battle board. He must answer the second question: “How is this his (player 1) fault; and why must you stop him at all costs?” Finally, player three goes. Player three had the most points banked and has the privilege of placing on the board last. He answers the third question: “This person (player 2) is grossly misinformed! How will his success be the downfall of humanity? Stop him!”

In this scenario, still loose, nobody is after Player 3 yet. There must be a way to loop that back around? If this gets played in larger numbers I’m thinking that you build in allies to create informal teams in the basic loop. I’m in search of better questions to leverage the story and the characters.

The result of all this is that the character that wins the Scene will have the option of redefining what “really” was going on in the scene. There will be a few mechanical rewards for victory which will be incentive to longer play. However the social win should prove pretty good stimuli for immediate feedback. It also helps to stock the fires for the next scene.

I’d love help on those causal loops if anyone has any thoughts on that.