I've made several attempts to write a simple storytelling game for beginning gamers, with a mind to entering it in Daniel Solis' Thousand-Year Game Design Challenge
One of these prototypes was Hearth & Hunt
, but it had some glaring problems. Already there, however, you can see the seeds for this game:
- Ritual phrases to control conflicts between players.
- 'The story within the story': The players play storytellers who tell stories about characters. This abstraction is important, I think, for allowing the storytellers to bicker, compete and contradict one another without the players needing to bicker, compete and contradict one another.
- The use of oracles of some sort.
It was in that game, too, that I expressed my motivation to create the game: to create a game that could be played in prison. That seems simple enough, but I think there are a number of assumptions that flow out from that:
- The rules have to be memorisable: If a document gets lost, confiscated or stolen, there's no easy way to replace it.
- It has to be free or cheap.
- It has to be short and simple. A prisoner cannot duck into the local brick & mortar to be taught how to play.
- It cannot have a game master. The presence of an authority figure was one reason why D&D gets confiscated in prisons.
- The rules have to be consensus-based. A language of mutual respect and self-expression (embodied in the ritual phrases) hopefully encourages this.
- Components have to be replaceable.
- It has to be customiseable and easily added to. That game might be the only one people have access to for months.
So these are my attempts. A short document (it needs to be 1000 words or less to qualify for Solis' challenge) and a longer one explaining and expanding upon it. There's also a sample oracle, The Life Domestic, although oracles are optional.The Rule of Three PDF (5 MB)Breaking the Rule of Three (4 MB)The Life Domestic (>1 MB)What you can do for me, if you'd like to
Read it and tell me what you think.
Specifically, tell me if you think it adds something that other games don't.
Specifically, play it with your friends and families and see what they make of it.
Specifically, test out the ritual phrases and see if they come naturally to you.