Monday, July 28, 2008

Living in the past?

I actually haven't been living in the past for once - but in some respects I wish I were. In particular, I'd really like to revive and "finish" an old game design... well, I'd love to revive and finish several old game designs, but right this minute I'm thinking of one game in particular...

I've always been interested in game design, I just didn't always know it. The first game I really worked on with any kind of success was an idea by a friend of mine about competing television networks. The idea was sort of like Magic, where your TV shows are the creatures, facing off against each other each day (for a very loose description). Mohan had this idea for some time, and he told me about it one random Thursday when he was in town for the summer. At the time he didn't really have any plans on how the game would work, just an idea of the general scheme of the game. All weekend I could think of nothing else, and on Monday he was at my house again, I described in great detail how I thought the game could work. I'd dreamed up an entire game's worth of mechanics based largely on what he'd described to me the other day, and my experience with Magic.

The game was called 8/7 central, and Mohan and I worked on it all summer. It changed tremendously from one iteration to the next, and by the end of the summer we had a prototype of a game that certainly worked - though I think we both thought it could be better. Mohan went back to school, but I kept working on the game and corresponding with him about it. I posted about it on the Board Game Designers Forum - it was one of the first games in the Game Design Workshop over there.

After some time though, things sort of stopped. That was all several years ago now, and once or twice I stumbled across old cards and brought the design back to life, but those times were short lived, and he game has been relegated to the back burner ever since.

When I visited Mohan in Seattle last month, we mentioned the possibility of reviving 8/7 Central and thinking about "finishing" it and maybe trying to get it published. Since Jackson Pope at Reiver is looking for a card game or something cheap to produce, I got to thinking about 8/7 Central again... I suppose now is as good a time as any to revive the game. So I sent Jack a short description of the game, and if he thinks it's interesting then I'll be hitting up Mohan to think about the game again.

I just re-read the rules and remembered a significant change I thought of the last time I'd looked at it*. I remember being unhappy with certain rules**, but I'm sure with a little thought and some testing those can be ironed out in no time.

So watch for some posts about this, my first ever "real" game design prospect that I seem to have avoided posting about thus far...

* There is a deck of cards in the game that is 50% Ads and 50% Events/Modifiers. This can lead to getting a draw of too few or too many ads. The brilliant idea to fix that is to allow ANY card to be an Ad - just play it upside down. Then the deck doesn't have to have any regular ads in it - maybe just a few special or better ones.

** In particular the rules for moving programs, as well as perhaps the auction for programs, though I kind of like that, as it's a somewhat unusual auction mechanism.

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