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General Forge Forums => Game Development => Topic started by: jburneko on March 10, 2011, 12:07:33 PM

Title: [Nine] A Game of Covert Operations
Post by: jburneko on March 10, 2011, 12:07:33 PM
Over on Story-Games there was a thread about writing a whole game in a single paragraph.  I took a couple of minutes to scribble some notes and came up with this:


This is a game about an elite team of covert operatives. Each player is a member of the team and gets seven skills points. Each player makes up his character's skills, so that's anything from 1 skill at 7 to 7 skills at 1. No player may share more than half his skills with any other player. Each session of play is a mission that is prepared by the GM. The GM provides one main objective and up to three side objectives. Maps and a concrete understanding of all the obstacles in the mission is good prep work. When acting against an obstacle players roll 3d6 and add their skill. A non-skilled obstacle has a flat target number of 12. Most NPCs get a single skill rated at +2. If the GM deems an obstacle "Hazardous" then the character takes stress when they fail equal to how much they failed the roll by. Stress is subtracted from all future rolls. If a PC ever rolls a 0 total in a Hazardous situation they are taken out of the mission. Someone with an appropriate skill can attempt to reduce stress on a character. They roll against the stress as the target number and reduce it by the margin of success. This can be done only once per character per mission. The final objective of each mission is guarded by a powerful NPC. Mission to mission this final NPC has an escalating number of skill points 3, 5, 7 and finally the Mastermind with 9 skill points. These NPCs accumulate stress like PCs. When one of their rolls results in a Zero total the PCs succeed. If the PCs fail the mission they are knocked back on level of progression. That is, if they fail the mission with the 5 rank NPC they must do another mission with a 3 rank NPC. If the fail the Mastermind mission then they lose the game.

They key here was that I surmised that a game basically consists of Concept + Resolution Mechanism + Reward Cycle.  I took the basic idea that 3d6 + Skill vs. TN was sufficient for resolution and that the Reward Cycle had to be embedded in the structure of the game rather than, say, "leveling up" or anything like that.  That's why I choose a mission structure with an escalating video-game like "boss" structure.  It's rewarding to complete objectives and take down bosses and you get kicked back if you fail.

If anything it's really more of resource management/puzzle game assuming the pre-planned maps and obstacles part is taken seriously.  I think my question is, is this really enough?  To me it feels like it covers just about anything I've ever personally found satisfying in this style of game because I don't really revel in the micro-tactics of something like the d20 Spycraft game.  Does this look satisfying to anyone else?  I'm curious.