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Subject: Is The Subject Matter Of This Design Too Extreme For Publishers? rss

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Michael J
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I'm on game design #8 for the year. I've got a working prototype. I'm wondering if this game concept is too extreme, dark, violent, scary, or too relevant to be something a publisher would look at.

The game's working title is: HMX: Nighthawks

The Concept:

You and the other players are members of the US Marines Squadron HMX-1, otherwise known as "The Nighthawks". HXM-1 is responsible for flying Marine One, the helicopter that transports the President Of The United States. Unfortunately, in the not too distant future, the helicopter is shot down over the fictional country of Krykestan due to the presence of a traitor on board. The chopper crashes in an urban setting crawling with insurgents. The marines send a rescue team immediately, but the team will not arrive for 10 minutes.

The game simulates the harrowing 10 minutes between the crash and the rescue. Players must first locate the President in the crash zone, which is scattered over 3-4 square blocks. They must secondly locate their radio transmitter to radio in their coordinates. Lastly, they must evacuate the President to the evac site safely.

Enemies fighters are descending on the crash site. Your team will have to put up with ground infantry, snipers, grenades, RPG's, and more, as it regroups, finds the President, finds the transmitter, and makes their way to the evac location.

Additionally, one of the 7 marines aboard the flight was a traitor. 3 marines were killed in the chopper crash, leaving 4 marines alive to evacuate the president. One of the 4 surviving marines (played by the players) MAY be a traitor. Or, the traitor may have been killed in the crash. Players will not know which is the case, and they must evacuate the president while "watching their backs". Players can attempt to neutralize the traitor if they think he is preventing them from evacuating the President. This will create sheer tension during the game as players have to watch each other carefully, not knowing who to trust.

Gameplay will be a low-weight simulation, with cards being played for movement, attack, etc... Probably closer to Space Alert and M44 than ASL. Might also remind people of Full Spectrum Warrior computer game.

I know this isn't a family game, but is it too extreme for a game company to look at?
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jeff coddington
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I'm not sure about Publishers, but some Gamers might have a problem with a Marine traitor. It sounds integral too you game concept though.
 
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jp21763 wrote:
I'm not sure about Publishers, but some Gamers might have a problem with a Marine traitor. It sounds integral too you game concept though.


People seem to have tolerated that kind of concept in Air Force One and The Rock, so it doesn't seem too out there for a board game.
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Kurt Weihs
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Sounds reminiscent of Escape from New York
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Russ Williams
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It would not even have occurred to me to think of this idea as "too extreme" or controversial or whatever.
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GMOFreePortland.com
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While it may not be common, there have been actual cases of Marines committing acts of treason. While some may find it distasteful, it is not an unreasonable element for the senario you have set up. I like the idea that the traitor may be dead at the begining and no one knows. The paranioa and distrust can still come into play even without an active player being the traitor.
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Andrew Rowse
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jp21763 wrote:
I'm not sure about Publishers, but some Gamers might have a problem with a Marine traitor. It sounds integral too you game concept though.

The concept could always be rejigged so that the marine is not a traitor per se, but an imposter impersonating a marine.
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Andy Van Zandt
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i agree with russ, i wouldn't have even thought twice about it, but if you're worried- since it's a fictional country to crash in already, it could be a fictional country's president and marines, too.
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Sithrak - The god who hates you unconditionally
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Huh? Dark and controversal? Was this thread edited? How is this any more dark and extreme than the 5 bazillion wargames where hundreds or thousands of soldiers die that came before it? O_o
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Andrew Swan
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Quote:
Is The Subject Matter Of This Design Too Extreme For Publishers?

No, and I look forward to playing it - sounds great! thumbsup
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Chris Walkley
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Sounds good to me! There is nothing in it which actually sounds extreme to me. And if potential publishers or gamers are so juvenile that they get annoyed because one of the 'good guys' might actually be (SHOCK HORROR!) a 'bad guy' then I think you'd be better off with a decent publisher... and produce the game for your target audience: people who will enjoy the theme.

A more important issue for me would be that the core of the game would have to stand up to being played with or without a traitor if, as you say, it is possible for either to happen.

The last thing you'd want is for people to play it and say stuff like: "Cool game, but only worth playing when the traitor is/isn't [delete as applicable], killed in the initial crash becasue it totally changes the balance of the game."

I wish you all the best for your design. If, as it seems it might, it invokes the tense crap-your-pants feeling of modern urban conflict and the intensity of the scenario you are sugesting, then it will go straight on my wishlist.

Chris
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John Mitchell
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sanguine wrote:
jp21763 wrote:
I'm not sure about Publishers, but some Gamers might have a problem with a Marine traitor. It sounds integral too you game concept though.

People seem to have tolerated that kind of concept in Air Force One and The Rock, so it doesn't seem too out there for a board game.

Also the Rainbow Six: Vegas series of computer/console games, though admittedly that's Special Forces rather than Marines.
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Luke Morris
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Sounds spectacular to me as long as the design is tight and doesn't involve too much time spent "moving" around the area. The "enemy within" is a very interesting concept within a modern day setting and I'd not think twice about playing it whether it was American Marines OR British forces.
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Matt Kruczek
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Though I personally don't have any problems with the game "story", I could imagine that there would be some people who would object to the traitor's purpose being to kill the President. It may seem to be to "treasonous" for some tastes.

My own opinion: I love it. It has a feel of an episode of 24 about it, and I would hope that the pace of the game isn't so slow as to dilute the sense of tension and paranoia that you've obviously woven so well into the set-up.

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mjacobsca wrote:
The chopper crashes in an urban setting crawling with insurgents. The marines send a rescue team immediately, but the team will not arrive for 10 minutes.

Sounds like the plot of Black Hawk Down www.imdb.com/title/tt0265086 (with added President)
The game sounds interesting, too.
 
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I agree with a number of people on here. I quite love the idea. But members of the military, especially the Marines, take the idea of a traitor rather personally. The military is family to a lot of these guys, so the idea that they might betray one another can be downright disturbing.After all, they literally put their lives in the hands of their squadmates. If they can't trust their men with their lives, it all falls apart.

Because the idea of marine traitors is a bit much for some people, the trick is to take the exact thing and change the names slightly. Make it the somewhat more distant future. Same setting: urban wasteland. Insurgents could still be insurgents or they could be hostile aliens. Or renegade robots. The President of Earth or the President of the colonies could be rescued by the "Hellhawks," an elite unit of the Planetary Defense Force. Same EXACT systems, barely tweaked theme, and no one gets mad at you for "talking about their Marine Corps."
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Alexander Meyer
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Sir, as a former potato peeler in the United States Marine Corps, who has peeled dutifully in many, many campaigns, I just feel insulted by the mere ...

Where was I?

"Escape from New York" meets "Black Hawk Down"? That is a great and cheesy concept for a game. I am looking forward to play.
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Gary Bacchus
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That's a great premise! Get some mechanics together for it.
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Richard Berg
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It's always interesting to see what publishers will stay away from . . . I have a gem design on the Crime Wave of the early 30's - one that players really like - DILLINGER, which many publishers shy away from because it includes killing police.

Given what the public seems to be willing to except - cf. such deprerssing sewage such as "Saw" and "Hostel" - I found this, if not amusing, interesting.

RHB
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Bwian, just
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matt_k wrote:
Though I personally don't have any problems with the game "story", I could imagine that there would be some people who would object to the traitor's purpose being to kill the President. It may seem to be to "treasonous" for some tastes.

OTOH, it gives the traitor something to do: you see, he wasn't trying to kill the President, but rather get him into the hands of his allies on the ground. Now every time a Marine says we should move toward group A, instead of group B, you have to wonder if he sees tactical advantage, or is just steering the President toward his friends on the ground.

This even allows more nuanced victory conditions, which I don't recall seeing yet. Rather than good guys win/traitor(s) win, you have good guys win/traitor wins/no one wins. (President escapes/is captured/is killed.)

matt_k wrote:
My own opinion: I love it.

Ditto. If you are really worried about it, you can obviously take the re-theming option, but I wouldn't have a problem with it either way.
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Chris Walkley
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dumwytgi wrote:
I agree with a number of people on here. I quite love the idea. But members of the military, especially the Marines, take the idea of a traitor rather personally. The military is family to a lot of these guys, so the idea that they might betray one another can be downright disturbing.After all, they literally put their lives in the hands of their squadmates. If they can't trust their men with their lives, it all falls apart.

Because the idea of marine traitors is a bit much for some people, the trick is to take the exact thing and change the names slightly. Make it the somewhat more distant future. Same setting: urban wasteland. Insurgents could still be insurgents or they could be hostile aliens. Or renegade robots. The President of Earth or the President of the colonies could be rescued by the "Hellhawks," an elite unit of the Planetary Defense Force. Same EXACT systems, barely tweaked theme, and no one gets mad at you for "talking about their Marine Corps."


They might. But then, they don't have to play. Because something might offend people doesn't always mean it should not be done.

To the OP: Please don't retheme. A gritty modern combat game sounds great.

As a slightly different example: Just becasue The Shield portrayed corrupt cops didn't mean the producers should have said: "Oh, hang on, we'd better not make this show in case cops get offended."

And thank god for that!
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Gláucio Reis
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cdwalkley wrote:
The last thing you'd want is for people to play it and say stuff like: "Cool game, but only worth playing when the traitor is/isn't [delete as applicable], killed in the initial crash becasue it totally changes the balance of the game."

That's a pretty good point. It is my biggest issue with Shadows over Camelot: the difficulty level changes a lot with the presence or absence of a traitor and with the number of players. The OP implied that the game would be strictly for four players, which would make the issue even more prominent. And I'm having a hard time to figure out what he thinks to be extreme, dark or scary about the game. I would be more concerned about the fixed number of players, if that really is the case.
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Jason Sadler
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Is it possible to shoot the traitor in the face with a Bennelli Super 90?
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Chris Walkley
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GSReis wrote:
cdwalkley wrote:
The last thing you'd want is for people to play it and say stuff like: "Cool game, but only worth playing when the traitor is/isn't [delete as applicable], killed in the initial crash becasue it totally changes the balance of the game."

That's a pretty good point. It is my biggest issue with Shadows over Camelot: the difficulty level changes a lot with the presence or absence of a traitor and with the number of players. The OP implied that the game would be strictly for four players, which would make the issue even more prominent. And I'm having a hard time to figure out what he thinks to be extreme, dark or scary about the game. I would be more concerned about the fixed number of players, if that really is the case.


Quite right. The mechanics are what are important here. Not speculation on how 'offensive' the theme might be. No one will be offended by a game that flops. If the game is good enough, people will play it! And a bit of controversy (if there actually would be any, which I doubt) can only increase interest!

 
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Chris Walkley
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BeatPosse wrote:
Is it possible to shoot the traitor in the face with a Bennelli Super 90?


Likewise the president... (let's not discriminate here...) devil
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