Day 2: The Game Is The Thing, or…

“I can’t find a title for this thing that’s clever yet. That’s fine. The title will come.”

Yesterday I talked about three games I’ve tried to put together with varying degrees of failure and what I think I learned from those experiences. Today, I’m going to talk about the game that I am working on now, where it’s heading, and why I chose to work on it over other, previously-fleshed-out ideas.

The working title is Succession, which is far too bland for my taste. However, I find that for me, I’m much more attracted to simple, one-word titles, and until I come up with something through the flavor of the game, that’s what I’ll be working with. As always, suggestions are welcome. Maybe we’ll come to something during the exploration of what the game is.

The game is conceptually straightforward; shadowy forces are vying for control over the king’s court, as the king has gone mad and is not long for this world. However, because the mad king cannot be influenced, his inept, cruel and greedy family will have to do. The only problem is that not all family are created equal in the line of succession, and when the mad king breathes his last, only the most influential in the first line of succession will take the throne.

The goal is to have control over the family member who eventually succeeds the king. Succession is tiered, meaning the Dukes/Duchesses are first in line (there are three of them), the Countess and Countesses are second in line (four of these) and finally the Barons and Baronesses are third in line (five of these guys). All characters are vying for the favor of the king, but only the top tier can succeed him. However, characters can murder and plot their way into higher tiers, meaning that the easy-to-influence Barons could potentially become the much-better-positioned Dukes over the course of the game.

Mechanically, the game is a combination of board control and worker placement. You use your income to buy permanent influence on a character, while placing your agents to attempt assassinations or carry out plots on their behalf. High-tier characters cost more gold to influence, but are initially positioned better. Low-tier characters are cheap, but will require significant plotting to position correctly. What’s more, each player can influence each character, so just because you have influence on a Baron, that doesn’t mean another player can’t also influence them. Total control over these greedy monsters is rare, and only one can succeed in winning the throne.

I’ll get into specifics (and the “why” of adding them) at a later date, but comments on the concept are welcome.

Where is the game heading? Well, professionally, my end-goal is to see this game published. Over the time I’ll be working on it, I’ll fill you in on my thoughts as I explore all my options, from shopping the game around to publishers to the much, much more intimidating world of self-publishing. I’m taking a lot of cues from The White Box Essays, as well as any other sources I come across. Ultimately, though, it’s going to take a lot of hard work and dedication and, one can expect, some serious trial and error.

Why this game? Well… because it’s not a miniatures game, it’s not a combat game, and it’s not a skirmish game. Currently, it seems like the market is flooded with post-apocalyptic zombie space marine combat games. While dice are an excellent way to add a little random spice to a game, they’re also really, really common. And I didn’t want to do something common. I wanted to do the type of game that, when it is all over, no one can blame their rolls. It’s a thing I’ve caught myself doing, and it’s a mechanic I’ve caught myself leaning on in the past. So to challenge myself, I decided to do a game with no combat and no dice.

You know… because just getting a game published wasn’t challenging enough.

As always, comments are welcome. Good luck, and good day!

Published by ashermhart

I work at an amazing miniatures company during the day, and try to unravel the mysteries of game design for the rest of us plebians at night.

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