Saturday, January 27, 2024

Setting Unknown - The Rules

The other day, I posted about "Setting Unknown". I want this to be a spiritual successor to games like Star Smuggler. Very light rules and can be played as solo endeavor or as a small group. 

Clicking the Star Smuggler link will get you to the review of the game, which at the time was termed as "a programmed adventure". It has over 300 different events stitched together in a series of Choose Your Own Adventure style connectors. Replayability is very high but at this point, it's been nearly 40 years for me. I think I have played this to death. 

Over on the MeWe Sandbox page, John Salway asks what the minimum amount of information and details you need to have a sandbox adventure. 

Personally, I would define a game as a set of rules that describes a challenge to be overcome by a set of known rules by an agent or player.  I offer that the minimum information and detail needed for a sandbox game is a description of the scenario, a game space, and a means of resolution.

Scenario=Knowning the rules
and Challenge=Game space

Let's use the drawing of my ship as a starting point. It is both rules and game space. It presents a surprising amount of information to the player. You are on a spaceship. Unless there is some new information, this game will not involve ghosts, dinosaurs, magic, swimming, cooking, etc. 

I should address the elephant in the room: Doctor Who. I love that show because it changes its default settings with every episode and book. It took 60 years and a host of really creative people. I am not that... so I won't go there. 

I have labeled a few things, engines, lasers, radiators, rail guns, and cargo spaces. 

I guess I should use all of those points to create the challenge and the rules. There are many rules already implied. The ship has engines, so it moves. It has weapons, so there is combat. It has a radiator, so there must be heat. Then comes the storage spaces, something must go there. If you can obtain things to store, then there must be some sort of economy. 

All of those things relate to the challenges met by the players. I haven't worked it all of that out, but I do have some hopes. I would like to have ALL of the rules fit on two sides of a sheet of paper. Every scenario should be on one side of a sheet of paper. 

How many sheets of paper is debatable. Setting Unknown is definitely one of those back-burner tasks, but enjoyable nonetheless, especially as a reason to start drawing again. 

The Plug: I am now back on Facebook which is a big change. I am not using the whole "Link in the comments", so my only way to attract followers is word of mouth. You can also see me on Mastodon.Social and Dice.Camp in addition to MeWe. My last outlet, one that I am going to start working hard on this year is Ko-Fi

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