Tuesday, August 14, 2007

GenCon 2007

Artwork by Daerick Gröss

I am releasing Stranglehold XSW: Impact (tr)ashcan edition at GenCon. Only 50 Copies.

You can read about that here and here.

I will also bring a few copies of George's Children with me, for those interested.

I'll be at the Rogue Games booth (1535) for some of the show and you'll be able to pick up either (or both) games there.

See you in three weeks.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

An Overview

George's Children is a shard-experience roleplaying and storytelling game that allows the players to take on the roles of children in a post-apocalyptic world, devoid of adults. It draws heavily from Stand by Me, Lord of the Flies, A Boy and His Dog, Akira, and Mad Max. The children and their point of view is everything.

Adults have been dead long enough for the world to slip into crisis, but short enough that some children remember them.

Played without a gamemaster and told in three acts, the players take turns in age order (oldest first) detailing each of the following stages of the game

Act I: Breakfast
Act II: Gossip
Act III: The Journey
Act IV: The The
Act V: Bedtime

During Act I, the children get one turn to introduce their character. They can either succeed or fail at the end of the scene, determining whether or not they eat. The oldest child is expected to take an action that brings all of the children together in one place.

Act II can be played one of two ways (although most everyone prefers the first version). Co-op or competitive rumors. Each child reveals a rumor about THE THE, being as convincing as they can about something that must be overcome. This is essentially how the plot of the game develops. But it changes every time you play. The only rules about the rumor is that it must be told as a THE. Children do not go to A park, they go to THE park. Therefore if a child says there's a monster in a forest somewhere, he is referring to THE monster in THE forest. In our first ever game, it was THE itchy. In the competitive version, the person with the most successes convinces everyone to go after his/her goal. In co-op, everyone votes or agrees.

Undoubtedly, it always becomes about safety or luxury. Children want to get somewhere safe or fight some bad guys. OR, they want to reach a place where food is plentiful.

Act III is the journey. It plays like Act I, but continues around the table over and over again until one player reach give glory, which immediately starts Act IV. If anyone accumulates five worry, he or she ages one year and is out of the game. If the child is 12, he/she dies. The player still plays the game, but the child is not part of the story any longer. Act III does not have to be a journey. If the goal is to build defenses against an incoming gang of kids, then game play is still the same, but the players do not walk somewhere, but instead take turns preparing for the end.

Act IV is THE THE. This is free-form again. Although instead of gaining successes, the players spend the successes they have received so far, one at a time, revealing more and more about the climax.

Act V is Bedtime where the players discuss the fate of the other children at the end of the day based on the amount of Worry they have amassed.

Gameplay is about 3-5 hours depending on the number of players and the complexity of the story.

Character creation is a two-step process, pick a name and an age (between 7 and 12). No two children can be the same age.

Your Memory score is equal to your age. This represents a child's reality and how he/she interacts with it. Your Imagination score is 15 minus your age. This represents a child's perception of reality and ability to expand it.

Children have one goal each, to help frame the character. This has no mechanical value.

Children have strengths, which can be used once to reroll a failed die roll. Basically luck or hit points with names.

Determining success is a simple 50/50 ratio, with children bidding their attributes to determine how many dice they roll. The other children can increase the difficulty of a trial by spending their own imagination or memory. The more people spend, the harder it is for a child to get passed their objective.

Children either forge independence (gain Glory) or forge bonds (reduce the worry of others) during their turn. Since it is (sort of) a race to be the first child with five glory, the game can get a little competitive. Which is good. In the Lord of Flies version of the game, children play to last man standing, not a set number of Glory.

I think that's the easiest way to describe everything in the game.

Game Review

We received a not so glamorous review of George's Children over at Story Games. And while I appreciate all constructive feedback about anything I write, two things strike me about this review.

One. We did this book for charity. That means we worked for free.

Two. Story Games is unforgiving and certainly not looking to extend any olive branches to me. So while any news is good news normally applies, I'm not sure anyone is going to race to my defense.

Anyway. I'm looking into doing some edits on it and maybe have a nicer edition out.

Who knows.