Monday, July 14, 2008

Art imitates life

I got a call at work today about a project that was done in my office about 9 months ago. There was a piece missing, and they need it fixed right away. The engineer that did the project is on vacation this week, so I had to track down all the necessary information, figure out what to do, and get it done - on top of whatever I'm supposed to be working on. While thinking about I thought it might make for a good game design:

Players are given cards with Tasks on them. Once complete, the task cards are placed at the bottom of the communal pool of "completed" Tasks. Every so often players are dealt or must draw a task off the top of the "completed" stack, and if it's no longer complete, they must "fix" it (make it satisfy all conditions again). there would be some variable global rules which would change over the course of the game which would make previously "complete" tasks no longer complete.

It would be possible to prepare for these additional rules ahead of time, but it would take more time and effort of course. When a task comes up a second time, if it already satisfies all of the current conditions, then it does not need fixing, and the player who originally did the task would score extra or something.

As for keeping track of things, I envision using card sleeves with the tasks in them, and you would slide in additional cards in order to complete the task. You might also include a player card so it can be known who did the task originally.

There might be a way to put the task into the deck without it being complete in the first place, but in that case there would be some penalty.

I also imagine these tasks would be time sensitive - having some form of deadline.. There could be a 'calendar' track, and the tasks could have hard deadlines (specific dates), or maybe soft deadlines (date drawn +X days). Maybe when the deadline is reached you have to put the task into the deck, finished or not - or you could take a penalty and finish it (the penalty is for being late).

Here's an example of how the card sleeve thing might work:
Perhaps the tasks require some set of cards to be collected and added to the sleeve. The global rules add specifics to the requirements. You spend your turn actions collecting the appropriate cards to complete the task and placing them in the sleeve with the task and a player card identifying you. When the task is complete, it is placed at the bottom of the stack of tasks, and I guess another task would be drawn from the top of the stack.

At some interval players would get additional tasks dealt to them, in a To Do queue. Maybe when 1 task is completed every player draws a new one for example, or maybe every couple of turns. I entertained the notion that this could be a real-time game without turns, just free form - maybe the cards are in a big pile in the center and you sift through them to get the ones you want, or maybe you draw them off a deck and can trade them with other players. Players could have a sand timer indicating the deadline for a task, maybe 2 timers - a 1 minute timer for their original tasks, and a 30 second timer for any tasks that are 'completed' and need to be 'fixed'.

This is just brainstorming, if you have any ideas for this then please post a comment and let me know.

1 comment:

Ben said...

"and get it done - on top of whatever I'm supposed to be working on."

Yet you still had the time to write this out.

It sounds interesting, I'd be willing to hear more about it sometime.