The very unofficial Venture Brothers boardgame should get a progress update, considering the Season 6 premiere today!Read More
With all the Venture Bros. excitement and new eyes on the site, as well as the dearth of updates on various projects, I thought I should share a small peek at the prototypes very slowly being assembled.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
Anna Zann from Wayvehl Securi-Max Correctional Facility
Vessel from The Summit
Goo P. from Abandoned WellRead More
I was addicted to a wide range of games as a kid, from airline business simulators to your more common action platformers or shooters, or just making up my own with lego and war game models. But as hinted in Diary #0, one genre to which I continually returned was that of the strategy RPG, for better or worse. I enjoyed the level of control players were given over a vast array of differing characters, all with their own abilities, who wanted to assist in your quest. The stories and character development were usually horrible, but the strategy gameplay in various fantastical settings often hooked me in. It's sad to see a form one enjoys sit largely stagnant through its countless iterations in the decades since, and this sentiment spurred the work that originated Project Cross-Flux. Evolving out of an overly ambitious videogame design, this project has morphed into a boardgame design that hopes to provide a diverse questing toolkit, in a limitless setting, to be utilized for several game modes.
Hopefully you know the drill by now, so below are some key points to do with this design that I'll try to incorporate later as the process continues: Flexible, Expandable, Modular Design; Set in the Open-Ended Infinite; Wide Assortment of Playable Character Classes; Versatile Stats; Tactical, Ability-Focused Combat; Engaging and Modifiable Map.Read More
Benoit from Driftwood
Brick from The King's Paradise
Vinaya from The Set of Amulet Lords IIRead More
In stressing the interpersonal elements of activist work in Diary #0, I meant to draw your attention to how, when commonly using the term "organizer" to mean someone who manages a protest or other community endeavour, we typically overlook the crucial element of its meaning: "organizer [of people]". Challenging enough, the majority of work such an organizer does is motivating, training, and telling people where to go and when. But of course, when working with the vast amounts of people necessary to effect substantial social change, the dynamics of such a diverse group working together brings even more of the challenges of organizing. So when contemplating an activist boardgame for Project Turnover, I kept returning to these sorts of dynamics.
I'll list some of the key elements I believe this design should pay attention to or incorporate before brainstorming more on the specific mechanics for the system: People Power; A Common Opponent and Mutual Antagonism; Clashing Personalities; Organizational HQs; Direct Action (Cards); Strong External Pressures.Read More
Ulixes from Nuova Roma
The Believer from The Palace of Mirrors
Shepherd-XII from The Hattusan FlatsRead More
Not quite Halloween Eve material (you can hop back to Project Host Master for a small does of that), but here it is. Rather than simply continue what was established in Diary #0, I seemed to have started this entry with musings on the distinction between absurdity and spectacle in action cinema. Getting many sentences in and still not mentioning Project Action!, I realized I was a bit side-tracked. I shifted that writing over to Project Stump in this post here but what I think I meant to say is this: Project Action! should fall right on that line between spectacle and absurdity. The scale, form, and impact of the violent actions in the Project Action! boardgame should reflect this by aiming for enough of a tongue-in-cheek style that it critiques the violence, but not too much that it "kills" the interest of those looking for more of a bad-ass-action-simulator in a boardgame. Simple enough, right?
So I'll list out the base necessities I believe the game design needs to get what I'm looking for, then briefly brainstorm on each to see what kind of system I should be trying: Thematic Punching Characters; Variable Punching Powers; Simultaneous Punch Selection and Programming; Dynamic, Physical, and Thematic Punching Resources; Limited Weaponry (Mostly Punches); Modifiable and Useful Environments for Punching; Descriptive, Impactful Injuries from Punches; Punches with Different Attack & Damage Types; No Puncher Elimination; Variable Punching Goals.Read More
Baland the Harvester from The Filament
7-8-9 from The Museum of Mathematical Innovation
Soaring Patriot from The Rolling PeaksRead More
The ivory tower is peculiar; this is well-established. While it attempts to shelter both student and the tenured from the world it entrusts them to better, it's also still an institution, and influenced by the top-down pressures of ideology, in-grouping, and rhetoric to which most institutions are subject. As Diary #0 hinted, the idea of Project Genealogy is to design a boardgame that lampoons some of the absurdity in this, by following a ridiculous, over-the-top war between rival universities that's waged by their genealogy departments rewriting the histories of their schools' founding families. The on-going "study" of these families and their competing schools unveils significant details that affect their public image, so unprecedented manipulation of history to better your status and cripple your enemies' is a reasonable path to the top.
Listing below my ideas for some of the foundational parts of a successful design in this vein, I'll proceed to then use them as inspiration for developing the rest of the system for this game: Complex Timeline; "Take-That!" Family Dynamics; Manipulated History; Annual School Review; Revealing Economics; Diversified Universities.Read More
Calico Sammy from Anubis-III
Lt. Cdr. Asim from The Emptied Keep
Guide from A Fragile CourtRead More
While this game will encompass a wide range of archetypes and classes from a variety of sources, the foundation comes from the long history of RPG genres, and as such, will still include several of its core tropes like the typical (or essential, depending on your view) classes like a medieval Soldier. And given the tiered tree structure of class promotion in Project Cross-Flux, and wanting to tease more interesting things for later, these class reveals will have to start with some of the more standard, basic ones.Read More
Lack of control is a consistent element in horror, and I believe an effective design for Project Host Master would be to make a game where control over horrific entities slips from and returns to your grasp as easily as your emotional state can swing when the right monstrous creature lurks around the corner. There should be some control; players should have agency and a number of options when decision-making. But consistent with the theme established in Diary #0, the things created, or summoned, or whatever by the Players' Characters should regularly test the limits of their controller's control, and if given a chance, break free to cause havoc of their own desire. The environment is intended to be a threat in this game, so the feeling should permeate that anything here could be used against you. This along with other elements to be revealed, will hopefully help distinguish this game from being a re-themed dungeon crawler.
I'll list the basics I believe the game design needs to get started, and briefly brainstorm on each to see what kind of system I should be trying: Variety from the Start; Horrific Stats; Highly Modular Map Tiles; Game-Controlled Enemies; No Player Elimination; Emergent Victory Conditions.Read More
Bob from Gelatown
The Rusted Bullet from Bristol
Zarrin from The Black CoastRead 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