Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Metatopia - AIR

I have written a fair bit about AIR because it was the game that really wanted to come out earlier. You see I played a game that promised me something, and then didn't deliver on it at all. I wanted a game that was able to tell a ghost story in space, because that sounds like something amazing.

What is it, or the Elevator Pitch.

Exactly what I said, you're playing a ghost story in space. You wake up, something has happened to the space station. You need to get off to survive, but something on the station wants you dead.

The Slightly Longer Pitch
This game is a rather antagonistic relationship between the players (Victims) and the GM (Captain). The goal of the Captain is to kill the Victims, as nastily as possible. The Victims want to get to the escape hatch and survive whatever it is that is trying to kill you.

Much like Geasa though, there is an element of co-operation at the beginning. During the setup the Victims and the Captain will build parts of the ship, and then build in a very indirect way what the Ghost is. You'll do that with keywords on the Downwards Spiral, which the Victims must go through in order to make it to the Escape Hatch.

What does the game do, how does it work?
It's the most boardgamey RPG I've ever done. The players are moving on a map, as well as on the spiral. There's a constant recognition of where you are at all times, but no knowledge of where the ghosts are and what they're going to do.

I want to bring that to the mechanic, so you're uncertain at all times what's going on. What happens is that the Captain rolls a certain amount of dice and assigns them to methods of how you can deal with a problem. The player will then roll and assign dice in an order on how they're going to try to get past a problem.  When that's done everything is revealed and the player gets to see if they succeeded or not.

There's a fair bit of book keeping on the part of the Captain, but I don't know if it's a hindrance.

What are you hoping to get out of Metatopia for this?

The mechanic still needs some work, I think it's fun but there are ways it could be more fun and scarier. It needs to really survive contact with other people, to see if it's going in the right direction. Surprise, because there's probably going to be something brilliant that comes out of people playing it. You can follow the AIR label in order to find the playtest sheets and document if you're interested in seeing what it is before the convention.


Paul Thornton said...

Have you thought about just going the whole hog and design it as a board game? I think that with the right set up it would be pretty easy for players to put themselves into the shoes of the characters and make it a role playing experience for themselves.

Jonathan said...

I have, actually originally this was meant to be a board/card game that just seemed to work better when it was an RPG.

I mean, the card/board game ended up playing a lot like Eden Studios abduction, not totally but enough like it that it made me want to not do it like that.

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