Recommend
3 
 Thumb up
 Hide
6 Posts

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Board Game Design » Board Game Design

Subject: WIP - Card-Driven Storytelling Game rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Ben Milton
United States
Portland
Oregon
flag msg tools
So here's a system I've been working on for a storytelling game. Any thoughts or criticisms are appreciated.

The players play around a large central map (board) with numerous locations marked on it. The locations are all rated by level of Peril from 1-4.

Near the map are four stacks of cards. These cards are Perils to be encountered, such as Poisoning, Betrayal, Sorcery, Torture, Enslavement, Theft, Madness, Arrest, Deception, Hunger, etc etc. There is 3 of each type of Peril. All of the peril cards are shuffled together and split into the four stacks, corresponding to the four Peril levels. When players move to a location, they flip over one of the cards in the appropriate stack and the GM narrates an encounter involving that card, at that level of difficulty.

Character creation is also card based. Character cards describe different classes of knowledge such as Military, Nobility, Scholar, Barding, etc. When creating their character, players make a small deck from these cards (say 7 to start), which delineate their skills. They can take more than one of the same card to show a higher level in it.

When players encounter a Peril, they shuffle their character deck and draw a hand of 3 cards, laying them face up. They then choose which of the skills shown they want to use to overcome this peril. If only 1 Ranger card is showing, then they would only be able to use Ranger at level 1. If they had 3 Healer cards showing, then could use Healer at level 3. You have to use all of the cards of the skill type that you pick.

If this is lower than the Peril, you lose the encounter. Narrate how you lost, and mark down which skill failed you, and you are now In Peril, with the appropriate penalty narrated by the GM. Another player might have to help you out. If you equal the Peril level, you lose, but take no penalty and are not placed in Peril. If you exceed the Peril rating, you win that encounter, and mark down which Peril type you overcame.

You increase your skills by losing. After a particular skill has failed you a certain number of times, you can take another card of that type for your character deck.

You "level up" by winning. Every time you overcome a certain number (5-7 probably) perils that you haven't overcome before, your hand size goes up by one.

So your level really does denote your experience (how many kinds of things you have overcome) while your skill level represents how hard you are practicing against difficult things. These are just the core mechanics so far. They provide a kind of underlying structure to over-aching campaigns that the GM can make and weave into the encounters. It also provides regular story seeds to keep the game flowing.

Does this sound like it could be fun? Does it sound like it could work? Are there any other games similar to this that you know of? I did take some inspiration from Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple and the Burning Wheel System, but I think this has a nice balance between them.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Herc du Preez
South Africa
Cape Town
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Maybe its just my group but I find games that require a GM / Story teller tend to fall a bit flat after a very few plays.

The system itself seems interesting enough, but what is the over-arcing story or quest? If this is an RP system, then doing away with the board may be a good idea, leaving the entire story in the hands of the GM. If this is a board game (I assume it is since it is in these forums), then the board game should provide a scenario. What are you levelling up for? To find the princess. Where is she kept? In the Castle of Treachery (find the Treachery card). What is protecting her? A Bad ass demon which requires 5 Clerics to take down.

It might also be helpful to have a pass/fail blurp on each peril card since sometimes GMs do run dry.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Duncan Anderson
United States
Denver
Colorado
flag msg tools
mb
This was a little thought experiment I had along similar lines, played with a standard deck of cards: http://swapcards.wordpress.com/

It's neat as a solitaire puzzle (although way too easy), but I think that the "character construction" aspect and the "obstacles" really lend themselves to a narrative structure of the player getting stronger over time. The game would need some work with a Party of adventurers, but with a DM/Dealer and a player it's a neat 5+ min filler.

Hope it gives some inspiration.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ben Milton
United States
Portland
Oregon
flag msg tools
I'm not really sure whether to officially make it a board game or an RPG, since it has some elements of both. An open ended storytelling board game? Ideally I would like it to be a game that people who have never played or GMed an RPG can pick up and play quickly. Hence the card based character design, and the perils, which provide simple story sparks for a GM not used to making up stories in the spot.

It's possible that I might go in a more board game direction, put hexes on the map and have the GM narration rotate around the table. Some other advice I got in BGDF made me think too. I could have each peril encounter have particular skills that are needed to beat it, which would take a bit more of the pressure of the GM.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ben Milton
United States
Portland
Oregon
flag msg tools
That's a neat little system, Duncan. I've always wanted to make something like that.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steven
Netherlands
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
Hey Ben!

I've played a cardgame once where you had to narrate a story and use the cards from your hand to tell the story. The goal of the game was emptying your hand but any other player could take over the role of narrator if they could incorporate one of their cards in the story. Here are some things I learned from that game:

- switching narrator is a lot of fun!
- competition and 'winning the game' can get in the way of fun storytelling

Do you want the storytelling to be flavor to a D&D super lite type of game or do you want storytelling to be the main focus?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.