Friday, November 10, 2006

Politics, Not as Usual

I'm a pretty big fan of political games; I'm a sucker for running Werewolf games. Typically, I don't think there are enough of them, even though, many games really come down to being political without people knowing it. Monopoly, when played correctly, can become exceedingly political. Any game that involves players making deals and trading things has it. At any point in a game where Kingmaking becomes an issue, there's politics involved.

The beauty of Werewolf is how much the politics of the game is out front and in your face. It doesn't feel bad when players gang up on you because, well, that's the game. Unfortunately, in a game of Settlers and everyone decides NOT to trade with you, it feels awful. Of course, the time that a single game takes to play out of these games might have an effect, too. Additionally, Settlers has all the other trappings added on; the building, the random die rolls that always seems to roll out of your favor, etc.

Maybe that's why game that really focus on the politics without any of the other stuff really work. And games that have politics as a side effect of many other things are painful.

Anyway, after playing I'm the Boss, I've had it in my head of trying to do a strong, purely political game.

About the same time, I became aware of Cash n Guns, which has fascinated me for quite some time (well, at least the theme). The concept of designing a game around a Mexican Standoff is a fairly brilliant concept, with players pointing and waving the weapons around at each other.

But upon reading the rules, Cash n Guns sounded a little bit too mechanical for me. I have no doubts that it actually is fun, however. I wanted a reason to point a gun at someone other than "because the rules say so!" One of the fun parts of the movies that really take Mexican Standoffs to the extreme is how when other factions arrive, and they join in, suddenly targets switch. Cash n Guns doesn't have any of that. It's pretty much, "everyone selects a target and displays it on the count of three."

And so, in the back of my head, two basic concepts floated around, and eventually mated into Loose Triggers, Smoking Barrels.

One of the more interesting aspects of this design is that every player has a Pal and a Weasel. You score points for how well you do, how well your Pal does, and you score negative points for how well your Weasel does. I don't think another game has been approached in this way; where every player has a single player that they are helping while hurting.

I'm trying to come up with a more elegant way to divvy up the Pals and Weasels, however. I've gotten the guys on it, however, and we have made some progress.

But, I'm pretty happy with it overall so far.

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Blogger Tim said...

I noodled over this secret partners problem earlier this week and posted my solution to the BGDF. It's since scrolled off the front page though. The idea uses 3 chits and one cup per player to distribute all the roles, including which player colour you are. Hope it helps. -Yogurt

11:13 AM  
Blogger sedjtroll said...

I think Scurra's mechanic for hidden goals in All for One will solve your problem. Have a set of cards with 3 player colors on it - the first is you, the second is your pal, and the third is your weasal. Each card is unique, and everyone has 1 pal and 1 weasal.

3:09 PM  

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