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Subject: [WIP] Who Killed Magda-Lynn? rss

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Indigo Makin
United Kingdom
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As you've probably guessed by the name, this is a murder mystery game.
I am very new to the board game world but I guess the genre it fits with is Logic deduction. (correct me if I'm wrong)

You play as 1 of 18 characters(there are 20 in total but 2 can only be played by the Game Master) who for one reason or another are investigating the titular murder (note: the name is just a placeholder).

The board game is inspired by TV shows like Castle, Murder She Wrote The Metalists and so on. I.E shows where a non-police officer solves murders.

A majority of the character roster is made up of people not normally known for solving murders.

The game is for 2-4 players with one-three people playing the investigators and one person playing the role of the Game Master (i.e everyone else).

The Game Master chooses the murderer and motive (in secret) from the remaining 17 (but you can use fewer numbers for a shorter/easier game).

With the Game Master role playing the other characters, you interview people to get a feel of the narrative and eventually find the murderer and motive.

There is a "relationship system" based on how players interact with characters, you might end up getting them to like/dislike you. There are +/- perks that increases depending on how much a person likes you.

The game board is 16 locations split into 5 colour-coded districts that players have to travel to and from, interviewing people and investigating said locations to uncover random event cards that help/hinder or may or may not give clues to the case.

That last paragraph is a bit vague because I want to include random event cards that give clues to the investigation (there is a default story line for people to work with until they get a better feel of the characters and the "clue cards" are for the default story) but because I see a potential for people working with their own made up stories, I am unsure what to do with cards that give clues instead of just give a +2 whatever.

So in summary:

20 nameless characters (each with their own unique abilities)
16 locations in a town
2-4 players
playtests sessions so far suggest 3-5 hours play time.

How do interviews work?


Problems:

1:
One play tester was uncomfortable with the idea that the game world is set in a town with an actual police force (one playable character is actually a police officer) "so why are 'randoms' doing the detecting when there's a police force?" they referenced games like Clue(do) and so on that justified this scenario by having them locked in a mansion or something.

The current "handwave" for this so far is that the one of the characters is always marked as the primary suspect by the police at the start of the game who are reluctant to look for anyone else, (as a result, this character is only playable by the Gamemaster so the character puts up a reward to anyone who can find the real murderer.

2:
The game is best when everyone is roleplaying and attempt to build the narrative.
One play tester, when the game was still in its origins phase did not like the idea of having to roleplay because they found the idea uninteresting so to cut to the chase went up to every character they met and asked at every chance they got "Did you murder the victim?" Whilst this was very annoying and not in the spirit of the game, it did raise a fair point..."why can't a player just do that to cut to the chase?"

Current solution:
You are allowed to do this but if you are incorrect in your accusations, the character in question will instantly dislike you to a high level. A scoring system was also introduced, designed to keep people interested even when they find themselves unable to follow the unfolding narrative.


3:
How do you stop the game from being a straight Q/A?

Solution:
Have Q/A phase of the game be more conversational. There is a system that determines how you converse with characters, A d-20 dice roll determines how many questions you can ask in an interview and whether or not the character will be honest with you. You can have a free form conversation with the character (this also helps the relationship system) but you have to inject your question(s) in the conversation.


So this is the broad idea so far...I really want the replay value of this game to be as close to infinite as possible and I think I am all but there right now.

But these are the parts so far.

Components

20 nameless Characters (cards and tokens) each with abilities that are tied into their jobs
16 locations split into 5 roughly themed districts.
I currently have about 8-10 random event cards for each location (ideally I want 20 to allow for even more randomness to the game but it's tough making all of them up)
A rulebook that is 3 pages long (one play tester was adamant that 3 was the magic number and that no one will want to read a rulebook long that that in A-4 with standard font.
A potential "choose your own adventure" story sheet to help set up the default game.


That's it so far. I am only devoting a small amount of time to this at the moment but I am pleased with how it's going.
 
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Indigo Makin
United Kingdom
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Here's a look at some of the content so far.



A look at the game board


A copy of the current Rules

Current list of characters cards



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