Thursday, March 26, 2015

Game Design and the Ten Thousand Things

You live and learn, I guess. When I put the pdf of the Bare-Knuckle Fighter online, my greatest fear was that the game wouldn't work the way it was supposed to work. That I somehow missed a giant flaw in the design and people would scratch their heads and go "WTF was he thinking?!". Turns out I was half right. The flaw just isn't in the system, it's in the way I set the rules up.

I'm not saying it can't be done. I've been told it can be understood the way it is, the entry level is just so very, very high (in other words, I wasn't able to get the idea across). And if you need to follow my blog and remember concepts I started writing about months ago and also at least played lots of games or at best wrote some of your own (as those things tend to come easier to you then), I really failed big time to make this accessible.

This really describes the situation here [source]
It is a common mistake, I think, to assume that a concept oneself is seeing quite clear will be as clear understood by everyone else. And it gave many a gamer headaches in the history of gaming. Go to any forum that discusses rules and you'll get an immediate idea what I'm getting at here. Only in this case, I'm the problem. I even have problems seeing where the problem is. I look at the game and think, well, isn't it obvious?! It ain't. Not for everyone, anyway. And that shouldn't be the problem. It should all be about the game with the rules being the conduit, not the gate.

I'm aware of it now and I will do what I can to make this work. I came to grow quite fond of the Bare-Knuckle Fighter and I'd really like to get this across.

If you happened to download the game in the last few days and you are reading this, don't be afraid to try it. And since you are reading this right now, let me give you the following advice to help you along:
  • Don't panic!
  • Despite me being overly complicated about it, I've been told it's a really easy game, once it clicks.
  • A dry run can work wonders. So just take some d6 and give it a shot while making familiar with the rules on the "board".
  • The first thing you should do, then, is rolling 3d6 for each player.
  • Add the values of each throw, they are the initiative.
  • The lowest initiative has to decide first where to put those dice. What the roll showed is what you can work with.
  • The results on those dice are the values added to the actions you chose (unless the rules indicate otherwise, see actions on the "board"). If you put a 3 on attack, it's what you get at the end of the round to your base attack, if you put it on damage, the 3 will be the damage dealt and so on.
  • Once the lowest initiative has put the dice on the board, the highest initiative can react to that by either defending or counter attack or doing something else. Do that.
  • When all dice are distributed that way, see who hit whom and what damage is dealt. See which drop die actions worked. Delayed dice will get active in the next round with the value they show.
  • Roll next initiative, repeat the above.
  • Naturally, there will be questions about the options available. Check the rules (first on the "board", then in the text) if those questions arise and you will find an answer.

If you think the above is easy enough (and I really hope so!), you'll find the game quite easy to play. But I will update the game as best as I can this weekend and a good friend of mine will have a shot at the rules in a guest post as soon as he's ready. There'll also be a supplement with a more concise introduction to the game (also this weekend, if I can manage).

All will be good.

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