I have just submitted my game design for this years Game Chef competition. Overall I think I have a decent game idea. I am now waiting for the next phase to move forward. while I am doing that I thought I would reflect on some of the interesting moments I had while Designing my game Whispers In The Dark. Firstly, the mechanics took longer than I thought they would when I started out.
On the start of my design I knew that I was going to be using a card mechanic in the game. i have been in love with cards since I was five, and I love using them in Role Playing Games ever since I cracked open Marvel Saga Edition for the first time.
Originally I was going to go with a very simple mechanic. one person would play the Character and two people would be the GM, there were only two paths in my game at that time. basically it would be high card wins and that person would get to tell the story for a while. it worked, but there was no strategy and no real skill involved.
I had two major breakthroughs that really cleaned up my design. First, I realized that the character was a hindrance and so got rid of him. the second was breaking the game down into four parts. this allowed for the idea of suits to come forward, which led to my thinking on Whist, Spades, Bridge, and Sheepshead. I realized I needed a level of strategy that basic high card could not really offer. so I added trump cards.
originally each player would have their own trump, but that idea lasted...not long. it was a bad idea. it led me to the idea of rotating trump. which I think is interesting. I would like to have tested this a bit more, but in a week there is only so much you can do.
the dismissing of the character as a player option really opened up the game for me. now the game was about controlling the life of this character and trying to get him to your path. there are four paths in the game each is illuminated by a Lantern. each lantern tries to get the player to go down that specific path.
The game title came out of my own life in a lot of ways. Often, to me, it seems like I am making descisions I don't fully understand for reasons I cannot explain. this game is very close to an autobiography in that regard. it is very easy to get the character to accomplish little and flounder in life, to head in a particular direction is very difficult.
Overall I would have to say that the biggest surprise for me was that I came close to the 3000 word limit, hitting 2528 words. that blew me away as I am usually really bad at writing.
Here is my game submission should any one like to look at it.
Whispers In The Dark