Playing With Cards: Danger Patrol
Wednesday, May 04, 2005The basic idea:
The players play a simple card game to resolve conflicts (which are usually multi-stage affairs, like the Raises and Sees of DitV). In order to play a card in the card game, however, you must narrate events in the SIS. Using character traits in narration gives you access to certain game-resources (in other words, using character traits rewards the player).
The winner of the card game, naturally, wins the conflict (i.e. the stakes resolve in his or her character's favor). The other players get back resources (and/or lose them) based on the cards they played. A "loser" might win a pile of Director-power chips for instance.
That's been the basic structure of the system for the past year or so. The details of the "simple card game" are shaping up now and I'm pretty happy with the results. My goal is to make in-the-moment player choice extremely simple (higher value, same suit, diff. suit, etc.) and to make every option appealing for a different reason. Some will help win the conflict and some will help you lose it -- and both outcomes can be attractive to the player. Fred's PACE and Tony's Capes both do this very well.
Looking at the design in this way, I see the influence of Universalis all over it. "Play a card and narrate an event" is essentially the Uni core system, with "card" replacing "coin." And the notion of winning resources for losing is another key element of that game. I'm pretty happy that Uni still has a strong presence in this design. I want DP to appeal to all of my cool non-gamer friends, and the games they like the most are Universalis and Primetime Adventures.
Right now, the "simple card game" is akin to Uno. The initiating player in the conflict pays a card to open, and narrates an action that their opponent can't ignore. Then the responding player chooses a card to play. The four possibilities of card provide four different narration options and game effects:
- Higher Value, Same Suit
"Not so fast..." Block! Give a complication.
- Higher Value, Diff. Suit
"No, and..." Block!
- Lower Value, Same Suit
"Yes, but..." Take a hit. Give a complication.
- Lower Value, Diff. Suit
"Yes, and..." Take a hit.
So, how do you win a conflict? Right now, a conflict is over when one side takes 10 hits. The winner is the side with the fewest hits taken.
I'm going to hold off on talking about traits and complications now. My question is:
Does the conflict win/lose condition make sense? What about ties? There is probably a better way to deal with this, but I haven't thought of it yet.