Sunday, September 25, 2011

Enhancing Games

While I did post it on facebook, I failed to mention here that I am very close to succeeding in my goal this year (and last year) of making my own game.  If you are curious you can check it out here.  I am hoping to make final improvements and make the game available as a free "print and play" game.   I had fun making this game, and I do have a couple of ideas for other games.  However, I have realized something about myself.  When it comes to being creative, I may enjoy creating content for something that already exist rather than create something new.
I think this is why I enjoy being the game master in a role playing game so much.  There is a lot of potential for being creative, but I do not have to start from the scratch.  The frame work and nitty gritty details (such as the the mechanics, game balance, and over arching theme/feel of the game) has been done by someone else.  I then have the creativity to play within that frame work.  It is kind of like the difference between finding new ways to play in a playground that someone else built and building one's own playground.

With that in mind I have been thinking the past couple of weeks of ways that I would like to improve games I already have. 
Warcosm is a starship combat game that is extremely easy to play and a lot of fun.  The biggest problem is that the game is from a small company and the ugly components are substandard.  I want to improve this game in two ways.  The first is to make a mounted hex board to play on, and to replace the mono-chromatic, really small counters with bigger more colorful ship counters.  This is a fairly easy fix.  On the website, and indie RPG website there are several PDFs of Star map hexes and starship counters available.
The other thing I want to do is create scenarios.  One of the things Warcosm allows players to do is to easily create new star ships.  Much like a miniatures game, I want to create a whole fleet of readily available ship types for the races in the game.  Then for creating various scenarios the objective and situational rules will need to be defined.  Each scenario will have a point limit, and ships can be selected from the lists of created ships to fill the point limit for the engagement.
The best part is that the website for Warcosm, has an open,unanswered call for someone to do something like this.  Knowing that others might be able to enjoy what I create is a strong motivator.

I know that objectively when compared to a lot of other games, Zombies is not that great.  However, it was one of my first "real" (read: Non-mass market) games.  The components (plastic zombies, city tiles, cards) are excellent and it really seems that they could be used to support a much better game.
I do not think it would take a whole lot of effort to make Zombies into a Left 4 Dead like board game.  It could be either a co-op game or an overlord vs. players game.   I have several ideas on how to make this happen, but I think for it to be really effective I would need a slightly smaller scale to work with something like the graveyard expansion or prison expansions for the game:
I am kind of torn on this one though.  Part of me wants to go ahead and order the expansions that I feel like i need to create something awesome and have something ready to go by Zombie Day (October 29th this year!).  The other part of me is hesitant to spend money for expansions that are for a game that I really do not play much at all.

This is a fairly easy one to do, but the most expensive option.  I got Elfball at Gen Con this year.  The main business model of Elfball is to be a vehicle for selling miniatures. I opted to get the paper stand-ins for the miniatures so I could mess around with all of the teams.  However,  I have been looking for a reason to try my hand at painting miniatures for a while, and this seems like a good place to start.
Wooden Ship and Iron Men
This is a very fun game of naval warfare that has a unique way of doing simultaneous turns.  While I like the game, I have to admit it is not much to look at
This is a game that is just crying out for miniatures to make it awesome:
The problem is that miniatures of this type are rather expensive.  There is an old game from the 60's called Broadsides that has plastic miniatures that I hear work really well, and I could probably find the game on ebay for not to much.  However, Abigail really dislikes this game.  I like it enough to keep it, but I am not sure I want to spend money improving it.

So that is what I am thinking about.  If I decide to go for the Zombies improvement, I will probably start that soon, and if I decide against it I will start working on Warcosm.


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