The very unofficial Venture Brothers boardgame should get a progress update, considering the Season 6 premiere today!Read More
There's a conflict between excitement and strategy. Exciting moments can lead to outcomes with strategic choices to be made, and such strategic choices can lead to exciting moments (or even have moments of excitement within them when a good new option is discovered), but it's rare for the two to coexist at the same time. This is because we're dealing with a momentary experience (excitement) vs. an unbounded period of decision-making (strategy); one relies on tension and emotion (largely resulting from limited information or time) and the other relies on meaningful decisions with a breadth of options (largely resulting from lots of information and the appropriate amount of time to process it). These facts make Project Venture Capital a difficult proposition: exciting, tense adventure with a wide range of strategies and tactics to employ in pursuit of different end goals.
The best approach I can take when trying to make a complex game based on such an excitement-heavy theme, then, is to try to give Players a sandbox world implementation of the theme with enough realization as to lead them to want to play repeatedly to try different strategies. They should feel there are whole parts of the game they didn't really dig in to in their first playthrough which can maintain further interest in subsequent plays. That's a lofty goal, of course, and one not likely to be fully realized without a cumbersome system. But keeping that as a guiding ideal could help me ensure each set of mechanics within the finished design is as engaging and exciting as I can make it; the Actions and the Victory Conditions towards which they work should reflect this.Read More
The inspiration for Project Venture Capital, as hopefully made clear enough in Diary #0, comes from multiple elements of The Venture Bros. that struck a chord with me from its beginning. The constant duality of crushing failure and optimistic promise, stakes fluctuating back-and-forth from dire to laughable, the thinly veiled bloodlust of the super-powerful (occasionally) held at bay by unionized bureaucracy. That's a lot of melodramatic narrative material to draw from there alone. Throw in about the right mix of parody, cynicism, sarcasm, drug addiction, and nerd references; an exotica, jazz/electronic hybrid soundtrack by virtuoso J. G. Thirlwell; and a retroactive look at 1960s futurism; and you've got me hooked. And what really led me to admire The Venture Bros. as a production (and by extension, its creators Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer), was that it kept expanding its universe, adding characters, developing them, telling backstories, killing them off, and overall developing a rich fictional world, all with a consistency in tone since the first few episodes that you don't often see in comedy shows, or sci-fi, or animated late-night cable programming.
So a boardgame interpretation of The Venture Bros. needs to have at last a few minimum prerequisites. I'll list some of the basic elements I believe a design of this nature needs to get started, and briefly ruminate on each to inspire the relevant systems: Live the Adventure!; A Spec Game? Or Not a Spec Game?; "We Should Split up, Gang!"; Globe-Trotting Exploration amongst Powder Keg Rivalries; "You'll Never Stop My Ingenious Plan!"; The Spoils of Inquiry and Investigation.Read More
The Venture Bros.: Adventures in Super Science!
What I Want in One Sentence:
Pressing peril and incredible stakes in a cat-and-mouse game of super science, espionage, formalized arching, and failure.Read More