Prototyping Chaos and Escape

February 16, 2016 Leave your thoughts
Guess who's back to prototyping?
Guess who's back to prototyping?

There’s something magical about the drive between LA and SF along the 5 (no I’m not referring to the smell of the cows). The drive is just short enough that it’s physically doable in one sitting and long enough that it gives one time to think about a wide variety of things without much distraction. Previously, I talked about how the idea for Hackyonyms came to be. Over the holidays, I came up with a few new concepts while doing this drive. I recently prototyped two of these ideas to introduce to a monthly games gathering that I have. I wanted to expand a bit more on these games here:

The first game is a large party game reminiscent of Mafia with some physical maneuvering going on. In this game, players are assigned roles that determine how they play. Generally speaking, there are bad guys that have the ability to exterminate and townspeople who are tasked with eliminating the bad guys in just a few rounds. Players are able to move about large designated space, playing out their roles, uncovering information along the way.

I played this game with 13 friends and, although there was some struggle with the meta game, there was more that enough heated discussion at the end of the game, and praise to warrant me expanding upon it. I’ve since tweaked the rules and have added two more roles including the drunk and a person that can curse others.

Can’t wait to give this game another play.

The other game is a card version of “escape the room”-type games that are becoming fairly popular.

If you’re not familiar with this genre of game, people are placed in a room together and made to “escape their room” using and solving clues scattered about. Typically the team has an hour to escape. There are variants of the theme of course and even books written nowadays about the topic.

These dice represent parts of clues you can find
These dice represent parts of clues you can find

Escape the Room, the Card Game, as I’m tentatively calling it, utilizes a kanban-style system to force team members into working together to both find and solve clues. Traps, items, and skill upgrades act as problems, clue elements, and attributes that team members might naturally have or encounter, respectively.

I’ve since tested the game twice to a lot of reassuring comments&emdash;particularly about the feel of the game and how various elements within it work together.

Going to be expanding on these games in the coming weeks. The next event I’m scheduled to go to is the Protospiel San Jose. If you’re going or in the Bay Area and interested in tying out any of these games, hit me (Kevin) up!

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