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Six-Gun, The Cowboy Action Game» Forums » General

Subject: Designer's notes rss

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Sam Smith
United States
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Hi everybody, thanks for taking the time to check this out!

For the tl;dr folks: My objectives in designing Six Gun were to invest players more deeply in the combat process and to create a fast-moving game that could be re-created and played anywhere.

Before I started on Six Gun, I knew that I wanted to come up with a more tactile combat system than is normally seen in board games. Experiments with a few different ways of throwing objects at targets weren't entirely unsuccessful, but I wasn't satisfied.

My main issue with normal, "roll higher than this number to hit" systems is that they remove the player from the decision-making process at some of the most critical points in the game. Triumph and tragedy essentially hinge on luck.

In Six Gun, shooting players try to guess the suit of a card drawn from a deck of playing cards. If they guess correctly, the shot hits the target. The mechanic still contains a good deal of luck, but it also calls for an evaluation of gut instincts and rewards observant players.

I picked apart the new system for its granularity, finding it pretty easy to layer in damage types, weapon effects, and shot circumstances through the playing cards. I also wanted damage to be generally realistic, with one or two shots felling a character or at least having game effects beyond just reducing health points. Maybe there's more there, but I erred towards keeping the game fast-playing.

My second objective was to create a game that could be played anywhere and with almost anything. The zones are irregular so that players can scribble out maps and play with coins for characters and still have a game done quickly. Cards and dice are essential (but don't forget about split cards!), but both of those things could be installed on your phone for free.

In the future, I hope to put together some campaigns, explore a new system of special actions that relies on putting together poker hands, and learn how to draw horses, so that I can play with them.

Thanks for taking the time to read this! I would be thrilled to discuss anything. And remember to thank Nate K. and all of the other gamers in the PnP Contest!

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