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Author Topic: [Game Chef 2011] The Daughters of Verona  (Read 4955 times)
Wilper
Member

Posts: 32


« Reply #15 on: July 20, 2011, 11:07:30 AM »

Today I have gathered the portraits for the characters.  I will have to crop and resize a bit, but I have the raw materials at least.

And I have thought a lot about the characters. how much to say about them, and how much to leave to the players.

I think I may have found a cover illustration as well, if I am to build a booklet of the rules.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lorenzo_Costa_003.jpg
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fjj
Member

Posts: 34


« Reply #16 on: July 20, 2011, 10:57:18 PM »

I have thought a lot about the characters.
Tell us more! Can you show examples of which options you are considering?

Looking for front page art sounds like procrastination to avoid addressing some central design issues :)
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Frederik J. Jensen
Wilper
Member

Posts: 32


« Reply #17 on: July 20, 2011, 11:39:13 PM »

I wasn't searching for the front cover as such, more like I stumbled across it when I got the character illustrations.  But I am guilty of avoiding design issues, I sat most of the evening yesterday testing various layouts of the character cards. :-)

Anyway.  The characters in Shakespeare's plays (at least the comedies, I have not investigated his other stuff), are not that deep.  They have a name, maybe one or two things they want (love, fame, wealth, a good laugh, whatever) and relations to other characters (the daughter of X, lover of Y), but no history.  They are defined by their actions in the play.

If we compare with the characters in Montsegur 1244, we see that those characters also have a background that matters, the characters are defined by the answers that the story gives to the questions on the character sheets.

For my game.  Is it enough to have a name, a picture, and a few relations to the other characters?  Will that still work in play? Will players get good stories?  Or do I need to give them desires and needs, background and fate?

I have a scene card analogy in my game.  The Montsegur 1244 cards are rather explicit in the way they avoid directing the story (A dead horse. Rotten food. Pretty flowers on a meadow.), and they don't need to direct the story. The PCs have agendas and backgrounds that give them direction.  But in TDoV the cards are actively directing the story (A letter arrives. Someone dresses like a man.), is that enough to get the story going and engage the players?

I could take a game with in the form of a single sheet of paper that has the single word "BOB" on it, slap it down in front of the crowd I usually play with, and they would make it work and play an awesome story. No matter what I do about the matter will they have fun with TDoV no matter what info I give them or withhold.  But for J Random Indiegamer would he grook it?  Would it be fun?  Which would be the best?

If trad gamers, or even board gamers, found the game and were intrigued by it. What would they need to get good stories?

The likely audience is experienced Indiegamers, who would be introduced to the game by a real enthusiast who found it on the web after hearing chitchat on StoryGames. Or guests to the Indie Gaming Lounge, who would be guided through the experience by one of the "BOB"-players. But I'd still like the game to be playable by people who don't have the experience of many other "similar" games.
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fjj
Member

Posts: 34


« Reply #18 on: July 21, 2011, 02:00:45 AM »

Is it enough to have a name, a picture, and a few relations to the other characters? ... Or do I need to give them desires and needs, background and fate?
Giving each a desire, need or hope is a very efficient driver and it will help engage the players.

The Montsegur 1244 cards are rather explicit in the way they avoid directing the story (A dead horse. Rotten food. Pretty flowers on a meadow.), and they don't need to direct the story.

But in TDoV the cards are actively directing the story (A letter arrives. Someone dresses like a man.), is that enough to get the story going and engage the players?
The scene cards in Montsegur 1244 all contain a sense impression. Their main purpose is to bring details into the story (colour, depth). The cards you describe are more like story cards in Montsegur 1244. For a comedy, forcing the players to bring scene twists into the story sounds fun - but it will be a different economy than in Montsegur 1244. What about drawing them after each scene instead - and state that to play them as an interrupt, the element on the card must appear in the scene? Thus each player will have a secret hand to spring surprises from - and they must find creative uses for the cards they have in order to take control of a scene.

..."BOB" ...
What would you need if you play with a group of open minded players with whom you have not played before and where none of you are game master? How can you help the group creating a story that is motivating and engaging for all present? Where each player can bring their story juice to the table?

Finally:
Can you share some more details on the structure of the 5 acts? Will there be an overall story arc to direct the players?
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Frederik J. Jensen
Wilper
Member

Posts: 32


« Reply #19 on: July 21, 2011, 02:29:32 AM »

Is it enough to have a name, a picture, and a few relations to the other characters? ... Or do I need to give them desires and needs, background and fate?
Giving each a desire, need or hope is a very efficient driver and it will help engage the players.

Yes, I think so too.  I'll just have to find how much I need to diverge from the source material to make a fun game.

The Montsegur 1244 cards are rather explicit in the way they avoid directing the story (A dead horse. Rotten food. Pretty flowers on a meadow.), and they don't need to direct the story.

But in TDoV the cards are actively directing the story (A letter arrives. Someone dresses like a man.), is that enough to get the story going and engage the players?
The scene cards in Montsegur 1244 all contain a sense impression. Their main purpose is to bring details into the story (colour, depth). The cards you describe are more like story cards in Montsegur 1244. For a comedy, forcing the players to bring scene twists into the story sounds fun - but it will be a different economy than in Montsegur 1244. What about drawing them after each scene instead - and state that to play them as an interrupt, the element on the card must appear in the scene? Thus each player will have a secret hand to spring surprises from - and they must find creative uses for the cards they have in order to take control of a scene.

Yes, it will be different. I hadn't planned on making a Montsegur 1244 clone. It just happened by itself when I had begun I started drifting in that direction. :-)  I don't know if I want Montsegur 1244 style scene cards. They were awesome for that game. But I imagine that TDoV will be played in various "settings", historical, present day romance or even Sci Fi. It will be harder to build decks that are generic enough to suit that, and I want to support that kind of play (One of the better games of 1001 Nights we played took place on a huge space ship, with an insane captain, and everyone were aliens made of liquid glass.).


..."BOB" ...
What would you need if you play with a group of open minded players with whom you have not played before and where none of you are game master? How can you help the group creating a story that is motivating and engaging for all present? Where each player can bring their story juice to the table?

It would be storyjamming.

The BOB example might have been unfortunate. I'm just saying that I'm constantly torn between two different visions of how the game plays. First the one where the usual bunch of players gather, and then when a group of players with different backgrounds and agendas will do the same.  I don't mind if they get a different experience, but it should still be a good experience.

Finally:
Can you share some more details on the structure of the 5 acts? Will there be an overall story arc to direct the players?

The 5 acts will be very generic. The only given things are that there are lovers, obstacles to their love, and that there will be weddings and a feast in the end of Act V.  I'll try to add some advice on what kind of stuff that would be appropriate in each act. But I'd like to avoid actual examples, to leave the field as open as possible.
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Wilper
Member

Posts: 32


« Reply #20 on: July 21, 2011, 12:13:48 PM »



I cropped and resized all the pictures of women for the character cards. And wrote the last of the absolutely necessary rules.  Now the game can be played, but I think it could be greatly polished.  Especially the section on what should happen during the five acts.  I have studied the five act structure on wikipedia, but I think I'll need to dig deeper before I can write a very meaningful section on it for the rules.

Not counting the cards I have used 1300 words in the rules this far.
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Wilper
Member

Posts: 32


« Reply #21 on: July 22, 2011, 12:33:52 PM »

Two more days to polish the game.  But I have a playable draft, complete with cards if anyone cares to have a look.

http://www.ludd.ltu.se/~wilper/gamechef2011/


My todo list, order of priority high to low.

* As for the characters, I'll take 15 of them and build a play set with prepared relations and stuff. To use if you only ever intend to play once, or as a tutorial game. This will in essence be a Shakespearean style comedy, it can't take more than an hour to whip up one of those, can it?

* I'll make card backs, for those that want them. I will just print my own decks and dump into card sleeves with opaque backs.

* I'd like 7 more Scene cards, to make a full 4 pages worth. Suggestions for events and location both are welcome.

* Tidy up layout a bit.

* I'll add funny quotes on the rest of the Scene cards. It is trivial to hide the ones that are there already if I want a uniform look.

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Paul B
Member

Posts: 5


« Reply #22 on: July 29, 2011, 07:56:53 AM »

Per my offer over on S-G to trade feedback, here's my notes on Daughters of Verona:

Like that you’ve selected some Shakespearean tropes to help guide expectations. Good call; nobody else did this and I feel like that’s important if you’re going for a Shakespearean simulation.

A thought on the stock comedy characters: It seems to me that every one of these characters exist only because of their relationship to one another. Lover A exists only because he is in love with Lover B. A Blocker exists only to block. A Fool needs a person of power to foil. It’s just something that jumped out at me early – maybe what you need is not stock characters, but stock relationships (and the players fill in either end of the relationship with their characters). Perhaps there are enough characters drawn in setup that one needs not worry about a Fool without a foil, or a Lover without a match? I’ll bet you could provide a tiny bit more structure to the relationship setup early on.

The scene/location deck is very efficient and clever.

Whoa wait…I just hit the end of the file. That was it?

Okay. So Daughters of Verona reads to me more like a Shakespeare Generator than a game as I understand it. Actually I really wish I’d had a randomizing table during my own IGC effort, because the tropes, the characters, the “typical scenes” breakdowns are interesting and thoughtful. However, I feel like there needs to be something more than the (very lightly) guided creative exercise presented – but that’s maybe just my own biases showing! If that was the intent of the design, then I think it’s pretty tight and probably as “complete” as it needs to be. I’d recommend someone take on a facilitator-type role to make sure everyone progresses through the exercise and scenes are somewhat vetted for appropriateness.

That said, if you’re going for a game that has some of the uncertainty and tension you get from a game experience, some ideas:
  • Maybe build some small little procedural pushes into the scene/location cards? Only noble characters can appear in palaces. Only lovers can meet under a tree. At the end of a Duel, at least one character must end the scene grievously wounded. Stuff like that.
  • Maybe everyone gets a secret scene/location card? Maybe one at the top of each Act? If there’s something procedural or even mechanical baked into the card, then players can’t be 100% assured of what will actually happen in play.
  • Maybe build something into the relationships: Any connected Lovers appearing in the same scene get a draw off the deck, say. A Fool gets a draw when he’s in the same scene as his master (but not the master!). Powerful characters can veto any played secret card, or acts as facilitator. Stuff like that.

I’m thinking anything mechanical added to the scene card thing would ideally prompt a major change state in the game: A Lover must make a major revelation (introduce some heretofore undiscussed fact, or draw a new line on the r-map, or whatever). A Powerful character loses his power, or pick another character onto which to transfer power.  Stuff like that.

Just riffing here. I think what I’m looking for is procedural or mechanical constructs that help frame up those scenes with more direction, rather than relying entirely on the players, who may have not much more than the tropes to work with. That said, I’m not persuaded you need a real “resolution” system as long as you lay out how each Act is supposed to end – let the players figure out how the Lovers’ situation is complicated, but here’s some requirements and surprises you have to work within.

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Wilper
Member

Posts: 32


« Reply #23 on: August 01, 2011, 09:43:18 PM »

I continue the development of my game here: http://wilper.wordpress.com/the-daughters-of-verona/
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