'Story' Miniatures Games

edited February 2010 in Story Games
Miniatures games don't seem to have progressed towards narrative-based, stakes-based, freeform gaming in the same way RPGs have.

Are there any 'story' miniatures games? If not, how would you go about making one?

Comments

  • edited February 2010
    It's tricky to find people that are both minis fans and dirty-hippie indie games fans, so that may well account for the lack of progress.

    For the ones I've crash-built, I just stole nifty, simple ideas wherever I could find them: Key type mechanics from Lady Blackbird, scene setting from, well, everywhere, dice-resource mechanics from some other place, mechanics at a player rather than character level yet another.

    Vulpinoid recently posted a thread about an Aussie minis/LARP hybrid. You might want to look that up. There have also been multiple threads about Braunstein ( D&D's granddaddy) that might give you some ideas.


    Edit:
    Here are my homebrew rules that I made up for a one-shot scenario and played through:

    http://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=0ASlT9zTQYGSvZDI1NjV3d18xaGIycWpxaHM&hl=en

    Here are pics from the game:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/kindle/sets/72157618850297930/
  • I wouldn't, to be honest. Poking miniatures around a map fosters the wrong kind of mentality, at least in my opinion. It's like the difference between saying "I am my character, what I say, my character says" and "This little figure here is my character, and I shall speak for him." But if I were to go that route, then the board would be largely abstract. I wouldn't model physical situations like who is standing where on the battlefield, I'd model the state of affairs like who has the advantage over who, and leave the players' imaginations to supply the specific details.

    Agon is a good example of this, using only a simple 'range strip' for its combat. 3:16 I am not so fond of, but it's another example of a game that uses abstracted combat in the form of a minimalist 'game board'.

    -Ash
  • edited February 2010
    Oh, and the other trick, I suspect, is to have decent collection of non-soldiers handy. I don't mean go all pacifist and take out action-adventure entirely, but consider the way a minis game might play differentl with stuff like the various fanatsy townsfolk, halfings, royalty, animals, and so on from Megaminis.

    The norm for minis gamers is to have a big ol' collection of soldiers and the collection is geared towards an organized, single battle at a time. That already puts in a whole bunch of constraints.
  • edited February 2010
    I haven't tried it but I think the platoon combat system in Diaspora could be done with minis quite well. I don't have the book to hand but I think the authors intended it that way too. I think it would work best with 15mm, though you could probably do 25/28mm with it as well.
  • edited February 2010
    Empire of Dust features simple, quick, yet deep combat which takes place on a grid. Is it a story game? I dunno, it's probably more gamist than narrativist but we certainly played it with a focus on story first. The boxed set comes with chits to use on the grid but I was only able to pick up the PDF and we used miniatures for everything but cover/fire/barrels/etc.

    Edit - here's a link to our actual play.
  • In Geiger Counter, you move miniatures on a map. You also use dices as counters on the map.
  • edited February 2010
    Check out http://www.angelfire.com/az3/twohourwargames/ The guy who produces the Two Hour Wargames line of skirmish miniatures rules is very much in the 'personifying the figures' camp of minis gamers, as are most of the people on the THW Yahoo group (http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/twohourwargames/). They may have what you're looking for.

    The THW game 'All Things Zombie' is played very much like a survival horror movie, with the individual survivor figures being personified in an RPG-like manner. The THW 'Larger Than Life' rules are designed for pulp-hero skirmish wargaming, but they will almost certainly cause RPG-like characterization of the figures involved. I've seen battle reports written up by players of the THW WWII skirmish rules that do the same thing.
  • Minis games where someone who's playing can make something up and have it impact gameplay... the only published one I know of is Inquisitor, and you can argue that it's basically a skirmish RPG with big figures.

    What about a game where the figures are not your characters? I'm thinking of some sort of crime-scene reconstruction scenario, where every player's character has a different vested interest in how the shooting actually went down, but there are limits to which figures you can move and by how much. Your on-the-board statements about the facts of the crime would become veiled statements about your real agenda... hmm, 1001 Nights-ish.

    Which I suppose means we should mention Warhammer 1K1.
  • Posted By: DestriarchPoking miniatures around a map fosters the wrong kind of mentality, at least in my opinion. It's like the difference between saying "I am my character, what I say, my character says" and "This little figure here is my character, and I shall speak for him."
    Why do you think that a story can be told under one of these notions and not the other?

    A lot of miniatures games have moved away from a direct conflict scenario.

    Team A earns victory points if they accomplish tasks 1 or 2, Team B earns victory points if they accomplish tasks 3 or 4. Either can earn victory points by eliminating their enemies, but these often aren't the most effective ways to earn victory points and this win the game.

    Consider some of the scenarios from Mordheim/Necromunda (Games Workshop), Confrontation 2 and 3 (Rackham), or Malifaux (Wyrd Miniatures).

    Many of these scenario victories are specifically designed to help tell a story through a sequence of miniatures skirmishes. I'd argue that Malifaux is fairly advanced in this regard because players can choose from a range of subgoals for their team's skirmishes, some easier to achieve (and worth less victory points), others harder to achieve (and thus worth more)...this certainly fit's the stake setting criterion.

    Also consider that there are many ways to tell a story.
  • I've been tinkering with this idea for months. Granted, most of it has been at the back of my head and I have very little exposure to miniatures games, but I just love the idea of a tabletop wargame! But, simply rolling dice and marking kills is extremely boring.

    What kind of story would you be wanting to tell? I think that will greatly impact what you can do with a minis game.

    I have a start for a minis game that I've injected some story into, using the green and tan plastic army men. Each one comes with a stat card with a personality detailed on it. The soldier also gains some type of experience for each "battle" he survives. I've also made about half the card with blank space to note cool stuff he's done, "bragging rights" I guess you'd call it. That way, each soldier has a story attached to him. A story that is specific to him and that likely will never be duplicated. That's very basic story injection.

    I'm curious as to how deep of a story you're looking to tell in a minis game. From the way I understand it, they're all more oriented to a battlefield view rather than a soldier view, so that would limit, somewhat, the options for storytelling you have. Of course, that's just how I see it at the moment. Someone else may come up with something that blows my opinion out of the water, and I'd love to see it!
  • Mechaton seems to fall into this camp, but I only know about it third-hand. Some actual Mechaton players might be able to shed more light on it.
  • edited February 2010
    Oh, another side thought:

    Minis gaming tends to be a competitive thing, but at least one minis game "sub culture" that I've heard about does it slightly different. In this case, the games tend to be multiplayer, multifaction affairs, much like the Raven's Nest games vulpinoid talked about elsewhere. Anyway, in those games ( various ones run by a guy named Howard Whitehouse and folks inspired by his games), apparently it's common after the game to declare an MVP ( by quick voice vote, IIRC). That's something I also tried to work in to that game I made and tested.

    In Whitehouse's games, this may be a bigger sort of deal, as some of the players will inevitably be playing baddies who are there to threaten and menace and otherwise be PITAs for the Good Guys types, but which can't win in-game ultimately.

    IIUC, this lets the players of the baddies ham it up and so on, and perhaps allows the Good Guys to do the same, taking different sorts of actions and attempting stuff in a way they wouldn't in a more standard sort of minis game rule set.

    Edited to add
    I also played a pretty excellent games-with-minis with Elliot Wilen based on the Space 1889 setting and using the Mythic GM Emulator for the mechanics. This was, in many ways, much more like an SG, with high amounts of player input into the creation of story events and twists on the fly. I'd add that we played this essentially co-operatively rather than competitively. What competition there was, as it existed, was more of a sorta player-level "Oh yeah, but then what happens next is...!!!" kind of thing than any particular My-guys-shoot-your-guys kind of thing.
  • We use miniatures in each of the four tactical mini-games in Diaspora, and each one has players doing story-gamey sorts of things through use of FATE aspects -- compels, tags, maneuvers, and declarations. I'd say it (like FATE) is a hybrid, of course (there's certainly also a staright-up tactical game going on), but still maybe close to what you're thinking of.
  • Posted By: DVUSI'm curious as to how deep of a story you're looking to tell in a minis game. From the way I understand it, they're all more oriented to a battlefield view rather than a soldier view, so that would limit, somewhat, the options for storytelling you have. Of course, that's just how I see it at the moment. Someone else may come up with something that blows my opinion out of the water, and I'd love to see it!
    Here's a few games to consider...

    Cadwallon (Rackham) was advertised as a tactical roleplaying game. It broke out the miniatures whenever a tense situation arose; that could be combat, sneaking into a buildng past guards, arguing in a local pub or even when things got tense at court. Conflict took into account a characters stance and their attitude to the world around them, as well as many more traditional miniatures effects.

    Mordheim and Necromunda (Games Workshop) are more traditional miniature wargames, but they both have a subtle level of storytelling that develops over the course of multiple games. Each of these games offers a range of scenarios by which teams can achieve "victory". Characters develop and the team evolves as encounters are resolved. Why not use this to tell stories with an ensemble cast (eg. a crew in the Serenity/Firefly universe, a football team [consider Bloodbowl in the same vein], or the typical platoon of soldiers). Dogs of War (Rackham's version of Mordheim) works on a similar premise. Character develop through their improvements and their battle scars (so development can be good or bad, and often it pays to retire a character for the good of the team). Why do stories have to be told about individuals when the team often has a personality of it's own, derived from the relationships of it's members...? Wouldn't game engines like this be better at telling the grand stories of space operas and epics?

    Malifaux (Wyrd Games) is a miniatures game that focuses on an individuals struggle to dominate a wierd west world (a fusion of steampunk, necromancy and wild west gunslinging). This is done with charismatic individuals leading teams of mnions of assorted quests, many of which don't involve fighting an opposing team at all.

    That's not even touching on the world of indie miniatures gaming which can be just as bizarre and esoteric as the indie RPGs found around here.

    I've got a couple of sets of miniatures games that focus on the telling of ongoing stories, the most promising of which is going through some revisions at the moment.
  • Posted By: SanglorianAre there any 'story' miniatures games?
    The Imagination Sweatshop was working on one, War Eternal.
  • No motion on War Eternal for 2 years? Eppy, the world cries out for this game!
  • edited February 2010
    Posted By: misubaNo motion on War Eternal for 2 years? Eppy, the world cries out for this game!
    That is a very interesting start, for certain. I'm not entirely sure it actually needs much more to complete.

    It does make me think of something else, though. Maybe minis rules incorporating SG type concepts/mechanics don'y lend themselves well to a longer page-count type product? Perhaps an anthology of rules sets might work better? A bit like the Norwegian Style book is what I'm imagining.

    I have a fair few minis rules sets that have been independantly produced, and sometimes it seems like the designers are doing a fair bit of, not padding exactly, but definitely expanding of the simple core concepts to justify the thing as a sellable product.

    Edited to add:

    For those folks who have no idea what I was trying to get at in the earlier post about Megaminis miniatures, here's some URLs to catalog pdfs for the company;
    Check page 2 of this catalog for a set of Orc villager non combatants
    http://www.megaminis.com/MEGA/CATALOGS/MegaMinis-MONSTERScatalog.pdf

    They're also now putting out a similar elven villagers set as well. There's a pic on their main page
    http://www.megaminis.com/

    Check out the following pages in this pdf as well (Villagers, Page 2, Halflings page 3,Townsfolk page 4 and King's Court page 9)
    http://www.megaminis.com/MEGA/CATALOGS/MegaMinis-FANTASYcatalog.pdf

    Great, so what's the big deal about all of those?

    Well, essentially, I have a line of thought which goes something like "Toy Soldiers in=Wargame out"

    (Which is fine. God knows wargames could benefit from an infusion of SG type mechanics and ideas. Or at least I personally would benefit from the combination. I guess I shouldn't speak for other folks on that point.)

    I mean, it doesn't always come out that way. certainly starting with toy soldiers didn't make the Bronte sisters' story games all war all the time, from the accounts I've read about those. But it certainly encourages things in that direction.

    Anyway, as a thought experiment, what kind of minis game would be interesting using something like those villager packs I've pointed to as the core minis in the game, and how would it be like and unlike more traditional minis games? What kinds of SG type concepts could be borrowed for that?
  • There was a really interesting thread on this exact topic at the Forge, I think it was in one of the Birthday forums a year or so before S-G started: Something like, "Is a narrativist miniature game impossible?" or something. It contained lots of debate. A few people said it was possible, and demonstrated in theory how it might work, but I don't think any of the ideas ever ended up complete.

    If you can track that thread down, there's good conversation minin' to be had.

    -Andy
  • Posted By: SanglorianMiniatures games don't seem to have progressed towards narrative-based, stakes-based, freeform gaming in the same way RPGs have.
    "[N]arrative-based, stakes-based, freeform gaming" isn't the pinnacle of miniatures games any more than it is of roleplaying games. It's only a way to play.
    Posted By: komradebobI mean, it doesn't always come out that way. certainly starting with toy soldiers didn't make the Bronte sisters' story games all war all the time, from the accounts I've read about those. But it certainly encourages things in that direction.
    Wait, what?
  • edited February 2010
    Posted By: Daniel H.Posted By: komradebobI mean, it doesn't always come out that way. certainly starting with toy soldiers didn't make the Bronte sisters' story games all war all the time, from the accounts I've read about those. But it certainly encourages things in that direction.
    Wait, what?

    Which what?

    Apparently its' covered here:
    http://mulibraries.missouri.edu/specialcollections/exhibits/brontewritings.htm

    A sort of developed-by-accident toy play/story writing activity.

    Or were you talking about my statement that using toy soldiers tends to lead to wargame type games?
  • edited February 2010
    [cite]Posted By: vulpinoid[/cite] Why do stories have to be told about individuals when the team often has a personality of it's own, derived from the relationships of it's members...?

    I agree! This makes me want to go and play around with my army men concept, again. Only, I think I'll zoom out one step to the squad level instead of the soldier level. I could also make it cooperative, with other players playing one or more squads in the platoon/company. I also want to include player control of the campaign. I'll still need a GM, at that point, to control the baddies...

    The wheels are turning.
  • edited February 2010
    My first thought would be to create a new wargame that worked off the Otherkind dice mechanic. Something like Combat Patrol from Warhammer 40k 4th Edition, for example. Space Elves vs. Space Spartans.

    Map: Exterior of a manufactorum.
    Mission: Space Elves must inflitrate the building and destroy stolen tech.

    Stealth through the open terrain using advanced tech. Danger: Discovery.
    Unsurprised, the Space Spartans open fire with a cleansing burst of assault cannon fire. Danger: Jamming.
    Space Elves close the distance to strike with their monofilament blades. Danger: Casualty.

    Effectively, it would just reduce the attack, damage and armor saves to three dice instead of a series of rolls. Instead of an index card, a casualty would be a loss of one model; a jam would be the loss of a heavy weapon. That's my quick impression, at least. Heck, a game of Apocalyptic proportions could be a loss of a squad per casualty taken to demonstrate the huge swaths of energy raking the battlefield.

    Kind of scalable in that fashion, I guess.
  • edited February 2010
    I once run a Necromunda campaign where each player role-played their gangs leader, all the dealing was done IC and I used/created wargame scenarios for when the shit hit the fan. It made for a great setting, with detail about the settlement and the surrounding dome being key.

    All told it had a brilliant story (thanks to the players involved) and most certainly had beginning/middle/end phases, with lots of interaction, betrayals, alliances and real character. One of the main reasons I hardly wargame these days is because I find it hard to devote time/money to it when the wargames I meet are not interested in that sort of play... :-(
  • Posted By: Keith FyansAll told it had a brilliant story (thanks to the players involved) and most certainly had beginning/middle/end phases, with lots of interaction, betrayals, alliances and real character. One of the main reasons I hardly wargame these days is because I find it hard to devote time/money to it when the wargames I meet are not interested in that sort of play... :-(
    One thing I've seen is where a certain player, maybe with the help of a couple pals, starts creating and presenting one-shots, usually at conventions. That's what the game vulpinoid talked about sounds like. So do a few of the other games I've read about, and really the one I mentioned creating upthread ( although that one was only ever meant to be a one-shot, with no sequels). There is continuity between games, but the continuity at some very real level is on that core presenting player, rather than reliant on the other participants(although some people may reappear at the next convention to play again with characters they'd used before).

    Of course, there are downsides to that, the same way that playing RPG one-shots versus RPG campaigns has a downside, in that they don't scratch quite the same itch. On the upside, like RPG one-shots, it may be easier to organize in some ways.

    ______________________

    Getting back a bit to Sanglorian's initial post:
    One of the common things I find in SGs that is hard to pull off in minis games is accounting for the way in SGs that players are often expected to pull in out of character ideas/story stuff, and are often also expected/allowed to have some sort of participation in building the initial setting and situation.

    For a partial solution, one of the concepts I've experimented with is simply having a larger collection of stuff available to use than there is a plan for, It doesn't need to be a huge amount of extra stuff, mind you (although, admittedly, it helps). This collection of extra stuff is there for players to draw on for inspiration and add to the game as they choose and inspiration takes them. Which, I guess, is sorta proto-Vanilla Narrish ( which, as I understand the term, is about the ability of players to take the story in the direction that the group wishes as events develop in play).

    I'll post a concrete example from actual play about that in a second. Basically, that toy collection is grist for story elements ideas, but also a limitation on them. The key thing is to have more available to you than you start out using, so you still have stuff to add in to play as you go.
  • Wait, wait. Didn't we already do this? Isn't it called Primitive by Kevin Allen Jr.?
  • An actual play example: The Venus Mission: The Natives are Restless!!

    The background: Elliot Wilen and I had been eye-balling the Mythic GM Emulator rules for a while and decided to give them a whirl. Around the same time, I'd been getting into the Space 1889 setting, but had no love for the rules. I'd also been collecting a bunch of Victorian era minis because...well, Ilike the minis and what the hell, why not?

    So, deciding to combine this chocolate and peanut butter of stuff, we got together out at EndGame in Oakland, California to throw down and see what would happen.

    The part I brought:
    I admit, I brought mostly ideas about the setting, some minis from my collection, and a bit of evangelism about the setting. Elliot was to be the mechanical expert, as I'd mostly just skimmed the rules for MGME. I figured that was okay, as Elliot had mostly just skimmed the Space 1889 stuff by way of the wikipedia entry on the game and maybe another fan website or two I'd emailed him links to.

    An aside about the Space 1889 setting:

    Basically, S1889 is a Victorian Science Fiction/steampunk setting. The Great Powers of Earth have colonized the inner planets of the solar system the way they raaced to plant their flags around real-world Earth in the 1800s, getting there by way of big, clunky, bolts and brass ether fliers. Unlike the real world, the inner planets are largely inhabited by exotic life-forms. Venus is a young world full of jungles, low-tech lizard man tribes, and dinosaurs. There are multiple small outpost colonies of Earther Euro-Imperialists. The year is 1889ish.

    There, now you have about the same amount of info that Elliot had!

    The set up:
    I showed up at the shop a little before Elliot, grabbed one of EndGames wargaming tables, and collected a bit of terrain from their vast shelves of the stuff. In particular, I layed out a rather open table with some of their modular table base set ups to form a slowly rising landscape from East to West. I also grabbed a couple small hills, a prebuilt, prepainted goblin village made by Games Workshop ( basically three grass huts and a partial palisade), a Warhammer Fantasy Battle style Lizard man temple built by ( I think) one of the shop owners, and a few bits and bobs of various types, plus a couple of green, round felt cloth pieces that are useful for defining an area as heavy growth/rough vegetation.

    For myself, I just brought a couple of palm trees and a box of lichen/reindeer moss, which is always handy.

    The minis collection:

    About a 20 prepainted D&D minis of various kobolds, lizardmen, troglodytes and whatever else was sorta lizardmanish and primitive looking. (One was some sort of hybrid lizard man/mindflayer type I'd picked up randomly in a trade. This turned out to be important in actual play).

    Another 20 or so giant snakes, komodo dragons, and so on, to be used as smaller prehistoric critters.

    Five or so prepainted Dino toys I'd picked up. there was a T-Rex and some kind of bronto type thing, and a couple of other plant eaters.

    A box of Victorian Adenturer types. I don't recall the exact numbers, but let's say at least a dozen distinct "character" types, as well as a unit of 10 or so armed Naval Brigade Britishers who were pretty generic in their uniformity of paintjobs and poses. IIRC, there were also some German Colonial troops and a few character types for them as well.

    What I brought, fiction-wise:
    Getting a little more specific with the actual situation at the start of the game, I decided the following things were important and presented them

    1) The adenture/game was taking place out in the hinterlands, in a disputed area between the British and German Colonies.
    2) Rumors had been circulating that the lizardman tribes of the border area were starting to get aggressive (lizard men in the setting are actually usually pretty mellow)
    3) Explorers had reported back to the British outposts that they'd seen the ruins of some sort of ruined temple structure out in the area. Lizardmen are known for being very low-tech, and it seemed highly unlikely that it had been by them, or if it had been, their ancestors must have had a much higher tech and organizational level than the had currently.
    4) Some rather overly idealistic British missionaries had gone missing in the area
    5) The Germans officially claimed no knowledge of what was going on in the area, but hey, sneaky darn Huns! What's really going on?!?
    6) Someone with ties to the British colonial interests on Venus has organized an expedition to the area and has a airship handy to get the characters there..
    ____________________

    So, right all of that is great, but then what and how does it tie in to more SG-style play than traditional minis wargaming style play, right?

    Well, first off, that's pretty much all I had.

    We had character minis, but no characters yet, nor did I know the mix of characters that would be used. I also didn't have a plot or general idea of the direction things wold go, although I did have a mental storage bank of cliches that I'd want to work in if I could. I didn't know which ones would be usable yet, however, and some of that would inevitably rely on the use of the MGME charts and what Elliot would bring along in his mental cliche toolkit as well.
    _______________________________

    Getting started
    Elliot and I quickly established that we wanted a sort of jungle exploration movie, so we each ended up picking out two minis as characters, and also mutually decided that the airship had to go, as we had no model for it anyway and exploring on foot seemed a better plan. The characters, aside from our Redshirts in the Naval Brigade, were a retired British Officer with some sort of stereotypical hyphenated name, a drunken daredevil Aussie airship pilot, Teddy Roosevelt on a big game hunting expedition, annd Teddy's lesser-known butterfly enthusiast brother, Maynard Roosevelt.

    Done and ready to go, we used the MGME to establish some initial facts about why the airship was kaput, and our column entered the Eastern side of the board in a treacherous, swampy valley adjacent to the plateau (the far Western end of the board) we'd been heading for originally.
    ____________________________

    And that's when things got chaotic. I don't actually recall all of the events, but after the initial, genre required dino stampede and run in with a T-Rex, the game essentially opened up as we ran scenes baseds on inspiration from the MGME rules-charts and the minis we had available.

    There was an evil, alien, higher tech Cthulhu priest that became central to the plot, complete with a spaceship, freeze rays and horrific mind-control powers, useful against both lizard men and Belgians as well as Naval Brigade Redshirts.

    There was Maynard Roosevelt captured by Lizardmen all Merry and Pippin style, only to end up making friends with them and getting the inside scoop on what was Really Going On.

    There was our daredevil Aussie figuring out how to fly the captured Alien Priest's ancient UFO in time for the big showdown.

    There was the surprise arrival of the (gasp!) Hun patrol...only to discover them to be Damn Fine Chaps led by an embarassingly anglophile young Lt. Lettow-Voirbeck, also out to investigate exactly what was going on out here in the hinterland.

    A desperate plan to encircle and capture or kill the alien cthulhu priest at the big required sacrificial ceremony at the temple ruins, even while he was surrounded by his mind-controlled lizardman minions.

    The Germans sneaking through an eerily quiet valley filled with obviously mind-controlled komodo dragons and giant snakes, to outflank the ceremonial area, only to come out without a scratch!!!

    The unlooked for and timely arrival of a mysterious stranger who'd been stalking along after the party: Lettow-Vorbeck's jilted Swedish Cowgirl/Adventuress/Big Game Hunter Ex-girlfriend (the Victorian era's answer to the LSN!!!), who showed up and quite nearly saved the Good Guys' collective bacon once battle had been joined at the temple ruins.

    In the midst of total battle chaos, badly wounded and nearly dead British Lt Hyphenated Name Guy managing to coolly line up his Webley behind the alien priest while others were distracting it, and blow it's alien brains out, thus saving the day.
    ____________________________________________________________________________________________

    Total play time, about 2-4 hours, with breaks for food, split over two Saturdays, and not counting set up or break down time.
    _____________________________________________________________________________________________

    So yeah, the actual events of play, all of that stuff was coming in from the intersection of initial set up, the available toy collection including a bunch of unassigned parts, and the use of the MGME.

    We started out with maybe a 3rd of the available physical stuff being meant for some sort of clear purpose, another 3rd or so being tied loosely to some sort of cliche or startup background (but without direct use), and the last third completely unassigned but available.

    There was no set direction that this story had to take either. It might have turned to exploration. It might have ended up a showdown between the Brits and Germans. It could have involved some sort of rampaging T-Rex stirring up problems. (The presence of the lizardman/mindflayer hybrid had been a total accident, and ended up being a core part of the story after Elliot brought him in early in the first session and ran with it). Maybe it would have ended up being a surval story, or one of betrayal and greed about a treasure to be found in the ruins.

    Who knows? I don't, and I suspect that if I put the original collection of stuff I brought together with a different group of people, we'd get a very different resulting story.
    ___________________________________
    So, I don't know if that helps sanglorian, but yeah, there can be very open-ended, S-G style gaming with minis. I have this particular bit of actual play experience that says indeed that such is doable.

    The question becomes more one of methods that work to do it consistently and how to work things like stake setting and player input into the constarints imposed by using little model people in addition to the individual mental toolkits of the players.
  • edited February 2010
    Posted By: komradebobApparently its' covered here:
    http://mulibraries.missouri.edu/specialcollections/exhibits/brontewritings.htm

    A sort of developed-by-accident toy play/story writing activity.
    This part, thanks. Currently, I'm working my way through Jane Eyre, Wide Sargasso Sea (by Jean Rhys) and Branwell (by Douglas Martin); this imaginative play is interesting to note.
  • edited February 2010
    Posted By: AndyIf you can track that thread down, there's good conversation minin' to be had.
    Minis and RPGs: Thoughts on new directions?

    There was also a good thread here at one time discussing Cadwallon and some other games. I remember John Kim having some cool ideas in it but I can't find it by searching Story Games.
  • Cadwallon is a really interesting game. The tone of the setting and the way the character abilities reinforce that tone in my opinion move it away from a traditional miniatures game, even though there is a lot of miniature tactical combat.

    It also reminded me a lot of Planescape in that different neighborhoods within the city had dominant attributes, so if you were in the rough part of town, Pugnacity (your ability and willingness to fight) might actually be boosted, while if you were in the center of the church's power your Religion might be the dominant ability. Sure, you could try to cold-cock that priest, but he may very well put your ass in the ground with his firey rhetoric before you can even think of raising your fist.

    ME
  • Mechaton has strategic "stakes". The campaign rules we were playing with have big narrative stakes, but as far as I know, the games get too tense and no one's ever completed a campaign.

    I'd like to see more of that kind of thing. I've been working on a game of 18th century piracy on and off, but the thinking is much more tactical and strategic than moral.

  • Posted By: merb101It also reminded me a lot of Planescape in that different neighborhoods within the city had dominant attributes, so if you were in the rough part of town, Pugnacity (your ability and willingness to fight) might actually be boosted, while if you were in the center of the church's power your Religion might be the dominant ability. Sure, you could try to cold-cock that priest, but he may very well put your ass in the ground with his firey rhetoric before you can even think of raising your fist.
    Can you tell me a bit more about how that works?

    Vulpinoid mentioned a similar idea, and I'd certainly thought about similar concepts before, but I'm curious how it is handled in that game.

    Also, if you have any ideas about how that general concept could be combined with stuff like more freeform stake setting, I'd love to hear about it.

    _________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    One thing I've been thinking about recently is the difference between rules for really common stuff that you might do all the time, and very rare stuff you'd like to see happen sometimes, and how that all relates to freeform stakes.

    On the face of it, it's really a pretty old kind of question going back to OD&D and its immediate precursors. The answer there seems to have been pass the hot potato to the referee/DM. But is there a different way to handle it after we've seen GMless games for a while now?

    MatrixGamer has come up with one solution in his games: Ask an "enemy" player to set a target number after you've described your one-sided stake and described supporting reasons, then roll and get a yes/no result. The thing happens or it doesn't.

    Mythic GME doesn't have "enemy" players, and the system returns Hell Yes/Yes/No/Hell No rsults, but requires further questions to flesh results out.

    But me, I'm interested in a style of freeform stakes ( and the issues surrounding them) that are more like:

    Player A describes somesort of events until...
    Player B objects, and offers a different outcome
    Players A& B ( and possibly others) negotiate stakes
    Resolution of Stakes, with one outcome clear about the way eents transpire, or at least give some authority to someone to narrate in those results with limitations (no undercutting of core concept of winning stake)
  • Whoops. I got out Cadwallon last night and I may have overstated some of the mechanics. I was right in that each section of the city has a primary attribute, (Such as Pugnacity or Sleight or Style) but that actually governs how the NPCS in that section of the city react to threats and intruders. It is a cool mechanic for setting up the city watch or a roving band of thugs, especially if players are trying to lay low or be stealthy.

    There also are Faith ratings for each section, and these are used to determine how effective certain kinds of magic are. They basically are Light, Dark and Neutral, and when you try to cast a specific kind of magic (and we are talking religious magic at this point, like a miracle) you can draw extra energy from the people and churches around you, so a section of city that worships a dark god will actually make it easier to cast dark magic. There is a mechanic called Temporary Faithful that allows you to convert energy from nearby fantatics into miracles. I'm still sorting out all the rules, but it does seem cool.

    ME
  • Posted By: vulpinoidWhy do you think that a story can be told under one of these notions and not the other?
    Simply personal preference. I like a game where I can really get into character, not one where I'm saying what a character does. In other words, when it comes to RPGs, I'd rather be an actor than an author.

    -Ash
  • Posted By: DestriarchPosted By: vulpinoidWhy do you think that a story can be told under one of these notions and not the other?
    Simply personal preference. I like a game where I can really get into character, not one where I'm saying what a character does. In other words, when it comes to RPGs, I'd rather be an actor than an author.

    -Ash

    Cool. I'm glad you said that actually.

    I do think that using minis creates a certain amount of distancing from an individual character experience. I'm personally okay with that, as I think of them as different sorts of games, if that makes sense.

    Putting aside your preferred sort of game for a second, what sorts of game mechanics/methods can you see that would make a game with minis enjoyable?
  • I think this is a key point with the Raven's Nest idea (the hybrid of Miniatures and LARP), players use the miniatures when in external environments as a pacing mechanism, while they engage in Live-Action play when indoors, or when specifically talking to other characters/players. The fact that there are 25+ players involved allows for a more realistic game dynamic, while the constraint of the miniatures ensures that all 25 aren't magically in the same place at the same time when something dramatic occurs.

    (How many times have you been involved in a game where the following situation unfolds...Something interesting starts to happen, the player at the other end of the table who was at the opposite end of the city last scene suddenly says..."I pull out my sword"...."But you're not even there"..."Yes I am"..."How can you have gotten there so quickly?"...it leads to all sorts of tension on the table if not complete arguments.)

    I'm not going to say in this thread that Destriarch's opinion is WRONG, it's a valid point.

    The same thing happens in many regular table-top games, even in close quarters. With players describing things in certain ways and hoping that the other players on the table don't realise that their description of the scene is in complete contradiction to the GMs scene set-up. But hell, it also happens in live action games when time is slowed down for a combat sequence.

    Miniatures are one of the few ways I've seen to circumvent issues like these.

    This thread has certainly given me pause for thought, and has provided a new avenue for design opportunities. I'll try to work on something focusing story through a paradigm of miniatures when I get the chance.
  • Posted By: komradebobPutting aside your preferred sort of game for a second, what sorts of game mechanics/methods can you see that would make a game with minis enjoyable?
    Well, if it's going to be about making a story with multiple characters, then there have to be legitimate and reasonably complex webs of interaction between those characters. Simple rules naturally, but many and varied ways in which they can be combined so that the strategy is good and deep. Perhaps this could even make use of interpersonal relationships, as in when two minis are actually lovers, or one has a dire secret that will doubtless be revealed during the story.

    I'd also like to see some kind of mechanism in there that openly rewards acts of selfless 'One for All' heroism, such as sacrificing a miniature so that others might live. In fact, any rules that serve to reinforce common storytelling devices would be good. For me, if it's going to be a story game and not a wargame or a board game, it has to create plots that involve something more than beating people up.

    (Incidentally, Vulpinoid, I don't think I've ever been in that situation. Once or twice someone has said 'I'm there' then the GM has said 'you can't get there in time', and every time so far the player has said 'Oh, ok then' and sat back down without a complaint. We must move in very different circles.)

    -Ash
  • Ash-

    I think the web of relations part is what is interesting me these days.

    I agree about the story element encouraging rules, too.

    Unfortunately, I haven't been able to come up with any universally applicable rules for that sort of thing with minis. With that one-shot I did, I just sorta cobbled the thing together, but then it was supposed to be a one-shot, so it took a lot of pressure off on a ton of levels and really let me get the thing finished.

    Michael W-
    Man, I'd really love to see what you'd do if you decide to put together that Labyrinth/Raven's Nest Hybrid you were talking about before. That could be really stunning.

    I'm also thinking that the nature of the game itself is such that you're likely to attract a more self-selecting crowd more open to non-traditional rules, which might really work to your benefit.
  • edited February 2010
    Posted By: Sanglorian
    Are there any 'story' miniatures games?
    image
  • Good Point Todd...and certainly something I've been thinking about when it comes to the notion of roleplaying in it's purest form.
  • You know how a game review will sometimes say, "there's a lot of great stuff here, but I don't know what to do with it" ?

    The Barbie photo shows how Barbie doesn't have that problem. She comes with a comb. Ken's jeep has a seatbelt !

    These girls are 'getting ready to play'. But roleplay is also underway: Barbie herself is getting ready to go out.

    I'm not gonna geek-out on theory parallels beyond this post. (The comb is 'System'! A dressed doll is a character sheet!!)

    But I'm sure Mattel designers have some amazing internal playtest-result documents.

    Further tangent: Meg Baker is into paper dolls. That's like the pen & paper version of Barbie.
  • Todd, I would call the paper dolls a "houseruled" version of Barbie, and those characters wouldn't be allowed at a sanctioned event.

    ;)


    ME
  • edited February 2010
    Posted By: vulpinoidGood Point Todd...and certainly something I've been thinking about when it comes to the notion of roleplaying in it's purest form.
    That's part of the reason I point folks towards the HG Wells' Floor Games book before Little Wars everytime a thread like this comes up. After all it's a major inspiration for Sandtray/worldplay therapy techniques, which are an awfu;l awful lot like controlled freeform,but as a therapy form that helps an observer get some notion of the observed patient's worldview ( their instinctual vanilla narrativism?).
  • Posted By: merb101Todd, I would call the paper dolls a "houseruled" version of Barbie, and those characters wouldn't be allowed at a sanctioned event.
    Actually, that's proxy play, which can be legit at some sanctioned tournaments, but never is at Mattel tournaments. That stops everyone and their brother from showing up with a proxy 1966 Beach Blanket Bingo Barbie. Which sells for over $6,000 at auction.
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