Friday, October 26, 2012
Sooner or Later...
...all gamers contemplate writing their own rules. I'm convinced that this is one of the immutable laws of our hobby. What gamers do with that contemplation has a great many permutations.
The first wargame I actually designed was a simple one played on a grid with 1/32 scale plastic medieval figures. My brother and I were 10 and 13 respectively and we had a simple set of rules for movement, melee and ranged combat. We played it for an afternoon or two and then moved on to Dungeons & Dragons and Squad Leader.
Thirty three years has passed since then. I've read, played, tweaked and set aside many more rule sets than I can remember. I've helped write a couple of games. I've edited, promoted, and pimped many others. But now it's time to sit down and actually write a set of rules. By blogging my design process, I hope to solidify some ideas, work through some design choices and hopefully get some feedback from those of you who read this.
I've put a lot of thought into what I'd like a game to do and how I'd like it to work. Some ideas have been tested in part with other game systems. As with all creative processes, this design will draw heavily on the experiences of things (in this case games) that came before. I'll pick and choose some elements and concepts I like from other systems, throw them into the blender brain and see what can be created without blatant plagiarism.
First let's name the game BFD for Big F'ing Deal. We could call it Whoop-de-do, Rod's Dumb-ass Game or Another Gamer Geek Wants to Make a Million Bucks if we wanted, but BFD is a nice simple acronym. BFD needs to meet the following general goals and criteria.
1) Be fun to play; hopefully for a wide audience.
2) Provide experience designing and writing a game to meet my specific needs.
3) Provide experience self publishing and marketing to a greater audience than just
myself and a few friends.
4) Become an alternate source of income either in it's own right, as an example of work
for other clients or as a driver of miniatures sales.
1) Simple, generic, universal game mechanic.
2) RPG-lite, but expandable to skirmish and mass combat.
3) Adaptable to most historical periods and genres.
4) Easy to use campaign system with good depth.
5) Easy to learn.
6) Fast playing.
I'm sure I'll think of some other things to add later, but it's a good start for now. Realistically, All of the goals and criteria may not be met. Things evolve over time. So I'm prepared to make changes, let things that aren't working go, and remain open to new ideas. At the same time, I don't want to end up like some friends of mind who constantly change their rules, seeking perfection or the next great thing.
Enough for now. I'll post again in the next day or two with thoughts on the first criterion. Please feel free to chime in with suggestions or critique.