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Subject: How should I describe my game? rss

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Metäl Warrior
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I'm in the early phases of designing a game, and am having trouble pinning down how to describe it in a soundbite.

It has the following main features:
- RPG lite, roughly similar in execution to Warhammer Quest or Descent, with cards portraying characters, enemies, loot and skills, and procedural dungeon generation.
- Heavy emphasis on multi-level branching narrative campaigns spanning multiple game sessions (think Choose Your Own Adventure books)
- Mainly action and dungeon crawling, although it also includes some pen and paper RPG elements such as persuasion, bargaining and exploration. No GM required.
- Strong cooperative element, players bonding together against hordes of enemies
- Light deckbuilding with loot and skills
- Strong player agency in their characters, from character creation to skill selection, possibly character development as well

I'm currently considering "Narrative Tabletop RPG" or "Cooperative Action RPG". Does the word "Narrative" sound too pretentious? Is RPG a four letter word in tabletop world?
 
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Brandon Rollins
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As an exercise in learning how to describe your work, you might try filling out the "submit a board game" form on this site. Don't actually submit it. Just fill out one and let the fields dictate the kind of questions people want answered when you describe your game. Nothing quite like using a guided form to refine your ideas into a message.

I personally like the idea of describing it as a "Narrative Tabletop RPG", but let's let some others weigh in. There might be baggage with the phrase that I don't know about yet.
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Charles Ward
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Matsumoto
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Easier said than done.... but: Get others to do it for you.
 
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Caroline Berg
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...124 to run fleeing from the mountain. ...125 to use a rope to climb the cliff. ...126 to quickly cast "summon stairs." ...127 to dodge under the falling rocks.
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Narrative RPGs are a subgenre of RPGs already... which are quite different from the type of game you are describing. I know, I know, your game is a board game, hence why you are in the board game forum and not the RPG forums, but since that is a term already used by RPGs, I'd be careful of applying it to your game - otherwise, you might get people very confused with how your co-op dungeon crawl with a campaign book is anything like Microscope.

I'd recommend looking at how the games you feel are similar to your game brand themselves. In particular, it sounds like your game is similar to Mice and Mystics, which uses cooperative adventure game to describe the game type.
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Wim van Gruisen
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I agree with Caroline. It doesn't sound like an RPG, but as a boardgame that borrows some RPG elements. If it isn't an RPG, don't call it that. Just because there is a skill 'persuasion' that you sometimes a card asks the player to roll against, doesn't make a boardgame an RPG. If the player doesn't have to actually speak the words that his character uses to persuade the NPC, it's not roleplaying. If you can substitute the words "create a soufflé" for "persuade" every time and the game is not significantly changed, then to me it is not an RPG.

Look at similar games and see how they're described. Take a cue from those descriptions. Caroline mentioned Mice & Mystics - you could also look at Descent or Warhammer Quest (which you mentioned), Mistfall or the D&D boardgames, to name a few. Or, to follow up on the 'choose your own adventure' books, City of Chaos or Tales of the Arabian Nights.
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Charles Ward
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Matsumoto
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ex1st wrote:
Easier said than done.... but: Get others to do it for you.


After re-reading this I felt that what I wrote was not very useful. What I wanted to say is that the game you have in mind, and the game that might come out, could be rather different. Having others play your game and then describe it for you would be great. This also removes any biases you might have.
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