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Subject: Game similar to zathura, Jumanji's sequel rss

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Anne G
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I have an idea for a Board Game/role playing adventure inspired by the picture book "Zathura", a two player game for my 8-year-old boy.

[url=https://www.amazon.com/Zathura-Chris-Van-Allsburg/dp/0618253963/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1529597159&sr=8-1&keywords=zathura+picture+book]
Zathura, Jumanji's sequel[/ur]

In the picture book, two boys find a boring looking board game. I wonder if there is a way the board game could be fun as it is or with very small changes.

I also wonder if I can tilt the role playing in favor of role playing creative ideas over immediate gun based resolution of threats.

==============================================================

Part I: board game
A simple dice rolling game of move on a path space adventure game with negative events from the book "Zathura".
1. Meteors
2. The polarity of your gravity belt is reversed
3. your gyroscope is malfunctioning
4. Your robot is defective
5. You pass too close to Tsouris 3, gravity greatly increased
6. Zorgon pirate ship launches photon attack
7. Zorgon pirate boards your vessel
8. You have entered a black hole, go back one hour for each mark on the dice.

On the board, spaces are aligned on a circle leaving earth and coming back to earth.

Some spaces will have cards with events, positive neutral or negative
positive you meet a friendly alien
neutral You see a beautiful meterorite shower going by
negative an out of control robot tries to destroy you.

Special rule:
The only way to stop the game is to play it to completion and return to earth.

===========

Part II, overlays Part I: role playing

Two stuffed animals are playing the game and experience the adventure they are playing.

I don't think we can role play the game ourselves, feeling helpless is how my kiddo experiences life. Kids being helpless and yet finding creative ways out of their situation without using guns is what attracts me to this story/game. I think we are more likely to find those creative ideas if it is the animals who are scared, not us.

So in our case, the game would be played by two unarmed stuffed animals which we would animate.

====================================================
====================================================

question 1, Making the board game more fun

In the book it is specifically said the game looks boring but I wonder:

Can the board game be fun as it is or with very small changes.

===========

question 2. Role playing rule: the stuffed animals who are playing are unarmed.

In the book, the story starts in the park, it is clear the players are ordinary kids, probably 5 and 8 year old. They have no special powers.

They do use the power of the forces attacking them. For example they help the robot up and it is the one who fights and chases the pirate.

I wonder if the level of helplessness the stuffies will experience is something that can be chosen as we set up the board game.

Level 1 full control. Include cards with the best space weaponry
level 2 some helplessness. Include cards with friendly meetings with all powerful aliens
level 3 lots of helplessness. Include cards with friendly meetings with ordinary aliens robots.
level 4 total helplessness. No positive cards.

Are there other ways to adjust the level of helplessness in the role playing part of the game.

===================

question 3. How to deal with Third layer intrusions.
1st layer: two stuffed animals playing a board game
2nd layer: the stuffed animals experience the play as if it was real.
3rd layer: the kid animating the stuffed animal intrudes in the scene.

My kiddo may want to intrude on the play, coming in as himself fully armed and rescuing the animals.

Is there a way that the game rules could anticipate this possibility and have some rules in place to contain such intrusion.

=========

What do you think of my idea? Has something like this (board game and role playing as if board game is real) been done before?

========================================================================
========================================================================

Variant: the board game pawns could be two airjets, drawn on a Galaxy trucker small ship template.

As part of setting up the game, myself and my 8 year old kiddo would draw our own space ship: In each square of the template, the player could draw weapons, human living space, alien living space, cargo space, battery space... and more the player can come up with.

We would agree on how they will represent the items so it can be represented the same way on both ships.

Then we would agree on the level of difficulty, select cards and place them on some of the spaces on the circle through space.

Now that the game is setup, the stuffed animals can stumble onto it and decide to play it. They each get into a space ship and the board game starts

Oups. How do you roll a dice from within a space ship!!?

for the stuffed animals, both what happens in the game is real and the ships are real. The two stuffed animals are now flying space ships. A completely different board game/role playing adventure.

Hum, probably a more appealing game for my kiddo.

But no longer the original idea! How do the stuffies roll a die from within a space ship?

====================================================================

Note: I just found out there is a game called zathura
It does not look anything like my idea.







 
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Sean Hagans
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My reaction upon reading your idea was: "I'm a little lost". There's some semblance of an idea there, but I'm not sure what the game is.

I'm not sure how part 1, 2, and 3 compile into a game activity. As a player, what am I performing? If these roles in part 2 are performing activities in part 1, what am I doing in part 3?

You mention that the entities (stuffed animals) in part 2 are being 'animated', if so: are we talking about literal animation or figurative? Is the animation a part of the game experience?

I'm just a little confused about what parts of your idea are a game and what parts of your idea are some sort of branding/experiential entertainment medium or whatever.
 
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Anne G
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shagans wrote:
My reaction upon reading your idea was: "I'm a little lost". There's some semblance of an idea there, but I'm not sure what the game is.


Rococo_Zephyr wrote:
I'm also a little lost. OK, maybe a lot.


I edited my post to take out Part I from the main game idea.

Everything happens in the playroom:

Myself and my 8 year old kiddo lay out a board game

Then we roll the dice for the animals and we speak for and animate the two stuffed animals playing the board game. (kind of like in a puppet show).

The animals are the ones experiencing the board game as real.
 
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Level 3 Tunt
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I'm also a little lost. OK, maybe a lot. The way I interpret this, it sounds kind of like Untold: Adventures Await where the bulk of the game is making up what happens while playing the game.
 
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Sean Hagans
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Ok well first off, board games are about decisions. If you don't have any decisions to make, it is most likely an activity. Good board games will structure the decisions in the framework of rules that enhance the viability of said decisions for any given situation.

What it sounds like you are after, is a game where you are making decisions influencing an internal game played by your characters. Your game would be making meta-game decisions regarding the decisions of the characters who are playing their own game. The idea could be an interesting one, but I think in order to solve your first question: how to make the in-game game more interesting, you'll need to approach it by asking, "how do I make the decisions being made by the characters interesting?" If the sub-game is roll to move and receive a random event without any decision making, the sub-game is going to always "appear boring". Sometimes these roll to move games can be made more interesting by introducing a small additional rule (Roll a die. You MAY move up to the number of spaces presented on the die). The key factor of how interesting the sub-game appears, will be within what decisions the game requires to be made.

I would basically recommend to make the sub-game as a stand-alone prototype first. If you can make a game that is at least some level of entertaining, something that requires some decision making with enough information and rules to allow players the freedom of making good and bad decisions, that would be a great first step.

After that, you have to figure out how to make the meta-game aspect something that adds to the sub-game experience. You would want to either determine if you desire a role-playing/acting experience or if you desire a structured game. If you want a structured game (something that can be boxed and shipped and that you can expect recipients of to have a mostly similar experience of), then you want to start by building rules and mechanics for how the sub-game would play out without management from the players. Once you have an idea of how the sub-game is run without influence, you can start crafting rules and mechanics for how players are allowed to impart some sort of influence/interference. Then the bigger picture of what the game is (and is not) becomes easier to understand (and communicate).

Hope that helps!
 
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Anne G
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Rococo_Zephyr wrote:
?

In the picture book Jumanji, When the player's pawn lands on the "moonson season begins, lose one turn", it starts to rain in the house, and the kids are shown playing under umbrellas.

see picture on this page
jumanji

The board game play: the stuffed animal who landed on the moonson space would lose a turn

The role playing: both stuffed animals react to the rain falling on them, they look for a cover etc.

---------------------

The difference with untold adventures await is that the moment that the stuffed animal moves its pawn onto a new space with adventure guidance "Guide gets lost, lose one turn" the rain stops. Instead a man appeared in their living room sitting on a toy house looking at his map.

So the effect of a turn do not necessarily last through the whole story the way it does in a story you build little by little as in untold adventures await.

=================

Thank you for your feedback. Looks like I need to playtest my idea as it is so I can explain it better.

Anne

 
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Anne G
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shagans wrote:
If the sub-game is roll to move and receive a random event without any decision making, the sub-game is going to always "appear boring"


Indeed that is what happens in the book. The only decision the kids have is to roll and hope that things get better as they move further on the board game track.

What makes the book fun is not the game play but the reaction of the boys to what suddenly intrudes in their lives (jungle animals in Jumanji, meteors in Zathura).

===================================================================

Quote:
What it sounds like you are after, is a game where you are making decisions influencing an internal game played by your characters



OK, let me think about that.

Quote:
your first question: how to make the in-game game more interesting, you'll need to approach it by asking, "how do I make the decisions being made by the characters interesting?" Sometimes these roll to move games can be made more interesting by introducing a small additional rule (Roll a die. You MAY move up to the number of spaces presented on the die). The key factor of how interesting the sub-game appears, will be within what decisions the game requires to be made.


Super clear. Thank you.

Quote:
I would basically recommend to make the sub-game as a stand-alone prototype first.


yes, that makes sense. Although I do want to design the game for its potential as prompts to create fun role playing moments.

Quote:
After that, ... You would want to either determine if you desire a role-playing/acting experience or if you desire a structured game.
(something that can be boxed and shipped and that you can expect recipients of to have a mostly similar experience of).


a role-playing/acting experience, it is just for us.

Quote:
If you want a structured game then you want to start by building rules and mechanics for how the sub-game would play out without management from the players.


Interesting. This is a choice we need to make. Are we playing the game for the animals or can they play on their own. AI style with the constraints of rules.

Wait are we not back to no choice ie the base game is a boring game!?
 
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Sean Hagans
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Quote:
Wait are we not back to no choice ie the base game is a boring game!?


Imagine it like this: I can only influence the decisions a character entity makes while it plays a game. If the entity is playing Chutes and Ladders, the only thing I can influence for my character is "play" or "don't play". If the entity is playing Checkers, there are more decisions for the entity to make and thus, more decisions for me to influence. If i were to 'gamify' the influence I might choose to limit which scope of decisions can receive influence. I might allow influence on "choice of pawn to move" or might allow influence on "choice of where to move", but might limit the ability to influence both decisions. In this way, I as a player must make a decision of which entity choice I want to provide a greater influence over.

all of that explanation might be a moot point though because:

Quote:
a role-playing/acting experience, it is just for us.


If what you desire is 'interactive creativity', you don't need to go through all the effort of a board game. In that case, your event cards are really just acting / improv queues. I get how the addition of "we are pretending that these stuffed animals are playing a game that makes things happen to them" is interesting, but it doesn't really need rules or structure if the goal of the game is essentially 'a setting foundation to serve as a starting point to apply event queues'. What you are then describing is creating a board-game themed narrative for your 'draw random improv queue card then act out the card event' activity.

If that sounds accurate, I don't see any particular reason you should NEED to worry about the game theme to any large degree. If there's one thing I've learned over the years of managing role playing groups (including with kids) it's this: don't over-prepare the things your audience doesn't care about. Focus on the goal of the activity. If the goal is to apply creativity and react to these wacky events, cut to the chase and make that start happening as quickly as possible. I don't think you'll have a hard time getting a creative kid engaged with that just because the board game the make-believe animals are playing doesn't look cool enough (that does of course depend on the child, but pejoratively speaking you're probably safe).

So yeah, it's a fun thought exercise but I'm guessing what you would have to do to turn the whole activity into a more structured game is not exactly going to help you achieve what you're after. Make some fun queue cards and a quick rudimentary board game and have fun acting and playing around with your kid
 
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John "Omega" Williams
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You might want then to just grab a copy of Fuzzy Heroes as it is both a minis game, using plushes and toys, and a pseudo RPG. Its geared for kids and adults and fairly easy to figure out.

 
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Omega2064 wrote:
You might want then to just grab a copy of Fuzzy Heroes as it is both a minis game, using plushes and toys, and a pseudo RPG. Its geared for kids and adults and fairly easy to figure out.



anne001 is one of three people who have provided content for that game's page. I'd like to think I'm witnessing a viral marketing campaign for a 25-year-old game that only 10 people know about.

Fuzzy heroes sample
 
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Anne G
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Thank you Sean, I am very grateful to you for helping me conceptualize what I am after.

Yes I would say the picture book is like a story card/dice game with a board game theme prompt.

But I would like is a little more than that while keeping
* the unexpected immersive experience "into a board game world"
* the possibility of a not too scary "Survival game experience"

===================================

Here is a recent background experience which may help explain where I am coming from.

I started with a hex grid game idea. 3 policemen try to arrest a thief whose location can only be found with certainty when the thief robs a bank and the alarm is set off. - constraint - the thief can only cross his own path 5 times.

My kiddo, an 8 year old, refused to play the game as a hidden thief. He would be visible. And he was quickly caught.

Then we added a police station. There the thief could get some weapons. Now the thief could climb on a tower and shoot the policemen once if the police was in the line of sight. Now the police was quickly dead.

Then I was the thief and my kiddo was a thief who shoots other thieves. He could sit on top of the police station and could shoot if I was in the line of sight (I had three lives). He directed the police as they tried to get the thief and I was caught.

Then we played a version with three invisible thieves playing one at a time. I was staring right at the spot where the thief was so the police and sharp shooter had some information as to its location. These thieves did not trigger the alarm.

I really enjoyed the flow of testing a number of board game ideas as variation of my initial ideas. My kiddo was fully engaged the whole time as well.

It seems to me that the idea I am working on has some potential for this kind of fun exploration of a board game idea

===================================

What I have so far
Base level:

Find a simple board game idea that can carry us through a fun or dangerous space adventure

Maybe race through space
example of that game retheme

Using images rather than text to suggere the event

Test: the game needs to be interesting regardless of thematic.
Stewi wrote:

The story should be emergent in the game play, not just plastered all over the components. If I'm playing a game with interesting mechanics and zero fluff, we can make up a story as we go.


That makes me think of quantum not a lot of text to create a theme and still thematic.

Level 1:
Have elements of the game play intrude into the "real life" of the animals playing the game.

The goal at level 1 is not just story telling, it is improvisation with a sense of immersion. The creativity consists in finding ideas to show that The animal players really are in the game world in some way, and then find ways the animals can react to those situations.

Level 2:
Set up an intention for the role playing/animal acting experience.

For example, two of our stuffies are very annoying, one wants to marry the prince, the other one always claims to be the supreme king.

The intention of the human players at level 2 could be to scare the animals of level 1 (hopefully in a funny or pathetic way) through the emergent trouble from the base board game.

If the two stuffies playing the board game are friends of the human players, the intentions of human players at level 2 would be different, perhaps leaning towards the heroic, or towards giving them an awesome experience like flying in a light fast jet or flying through space in a jet pack with a space gun at hand, star wars kind of stuff...

Level 2 play consists in modifying the board game of level 1 - by modifying the events encountered, or by modifying the game rules, or
finding funny ideas to get the animals in trouble or out of trouble in level 1 play emmerging from the board game play.





 
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Anne G
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shagans wrote:
Ok well first off, board games are about decisions. If you don't have any decisions to make, it is most likely an activity. Good board games will structure the decisions in the framework of rules that enhance the viability of said decisions for any given situation.

What it sounds like you are after, is a game where you are making decisions influencing an internal game played by your characters. Your game would be making meta-game decisions regarding the decisions of the characters who are playing their own game. The idea could be an interesting one, but I think in order to solve your first question: how to make the in-game game more interesting, you'll need to approach it by asking, "how do I make the decisions being made by the characters interesting?" If the sub-game is roll to move and receive a random event without any decision making, the sub-game is going to always "appear boring".


Two stuffies are playing a variant of the game race through space In this variant, from time to time (3-4 times)
in the game one of the stuffies triggers an event by reaching one of three specific but as of yet undisclosed spaces with their ship.

The game starts normally, competitively but after a few turns someone will reach one of the event spaces and trigger the "the game turns real" event which is always the first event they will encounter: the space they are in is now really flying to the moon. They have to get to the moon on the board game for this weird effect to stop.

The game offers them some decisions as to which ship to move forward. And they can help each other from time to time when they can move a jet left behind to another jet further ahead.

The two stuffies are on the path of a black hole coming closer and closer and they may fall in themselves if all their pieces fall off the board.

In addition there are a few (2-3) events still up ahead, which they can try to avoid ( a malfunctioning robot appears )etc by avoiding the space
where the first event appeared and two others they will stumble upon.

The player can try to help his stuffies by placing one card on top of the event deck cards. (after a board game event was triggered).

The child creates an event card in real time, given what is going on on the board, and what might help the pet. He cannot provide weapons, but he can provide tools, traps. The child can draw a picture, draw a symbol or write some text on the next event card the stuffies will get in the board game if they trigger it.

=======

In summary

Level 1: stuffies play a board game

Level 2: role playing a survival miniature game in which two stuffies discover a situation, discuss what to do, run from danger etc. They can
use what is around and they can affect the situation by playing the board game.

Level 3: The child intervenes through one of the board game mechanics to try to help his friends.

I think it might work.

We might be able to play the game several times with different stuffies
(one he wants to save, one he does not want to save) and different events.

Any comment / reactions?




 
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Sean Hagans
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That sounds like something that could be a lot of fun for young kiddos. The write-up also helps clarify things quite a bit!

You could also try to implement a scriblenauts style key-word alteration system. Maybe the child's influence could scale up throughout the game so that the first influence they can do is substitute one keyword on an event card. So animals draw "a malfunctioning robot is approaching!" and the child can change "malfunctioning" to a different keyword and then play out the alteration (change it to "sad" or "lost" and then the animals help it become happier or find its way). Then as the game progresses the child can influence events more strongly until finally they get to make their own final event and decide how the story ends for that session.

Best of luck to you, it sounds like a lot of fun!
 
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Anne G
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shagans wrote:
substitute one keyword on an event card. So animals draw "a malfunctioning robot is approaching!" and the child can change "malfunctioning" to a different keyword and then play out the alteration


Waoh, thank you, yes, that would be fun.

Thank you for your help and encouragement.

 
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