Business Card Games

edited June 2007 in Story Games
So I was thinking about Monte Cook's Ork & Pie scenario on the walk to work today. I mean, sure it's a joke, but it's a complete dungeon that fits on a single business card. That's pretty cool.

Why don't we have something like that for story games? Tightly packed little balls of situation, characters all pointing at one another, resolvable in under 20 minutes, with simple conflict resolution rules and a defined end. Maybe fits on a little double-folded business card printed on two sides.

Hand 'em out as designer calling cards and to promote larger games.
«1

Comments

  • I was planning on doing this with board games last year, but I never actually developed it. I did make a game you can play with real business cards, though it's not really a story game.

    For a story game, it'd be cool if the business cards were sort of like Button Men. Each one had a little bit of info that interacted with other people's business cards.
  • That'd work well for LARPS, too, I'd think.
  • edited June 2007
    You could fit a Dogs town on a business card. One side, even, if you were terse. When I get a free moment I'm going to try this!
  • I distinctly remember SHERPA, from Steffan O'Sullivan IIRC, a game that was meant to have charsheets that fit business cards, so that you could play while hiking, or the like.

    ...and here it is: Sherpa
  • I could see a game where each card had a profile of one of the characters in the situation and some very simple resolution mechanics.
  • Dead of Night has business card sized character sheets. I keep meaning to get some printed up properly with an advert for the game on the other side, or just with my contact info. In fact you could make them collectable by having different horror stereotypes on each one ...

    That said, I'd love to see a whole game on a single card. You could make it so each card had all the rules needed for your character, but different cards had different characters, and thus different rules. Almost like a CCG meets an RPG!
  • Posted By: Andrew KenrickDead of Nighthasbusiness card sized character sheets.I keep meaning to get some printed up properly with an advert for the game on the other side, or just with my contact info. In fact you could make them collectable by having different horror stereotypes on each one ...

    That said, I'd love to see a whole game on a single card. You could make it so each card had all the rules needed for your character, but different cards had different characters, and thus different rules. Almost like a CCG meets an RPG!
    That is an EXCELLENT idea!

    Now, the idea of Business Cards screams some sort of corporate/office politics themed game, but what else would be appropriate.
    Posted By: renatoramI distinctly remember SHERPA, from Steffan O'Sullivan IIRC, a game that was meant to have charsheets that fit business cards, so that you could play while hiking, or the like.
    I bought an early copy of Sherpa. To me, one of the innovative pieces was not the use of business card sized character sheets, but the use of a digital stop watch as a randomizer. That was so you didn't need to stop while hiking to roll dice, etc.

    So, my question would be, what sort of resolution mechanics would you pair with a business-card sized game?
  • Posted By: BlueNow, the idea of Business Cards screams some sort of corporate/office politics themed game...
    Ooo! On one side, it's a 'normal' looking business card, but that's actually your character's stats. Even the phone number can be used somehow, I bet!
  • See, what would be really cool is a game where you can grab any business card and based on what information is presented on the card, you have stats that you can use in play. This would work best, I think, for some sort of "monster duel" type of thing.

    Think: my business card has a large logo on the left side, my name and title on the right at the top, and then my contact info below, like this:

    tgt_bc_sm.jpg

    So myabe I get some particular bonus for the size of the logo and the placement (+2 to left side attacks), the relative size of my name grants another bonus vs. the attacking card's name, and the fact it is a horizontal card means I have a larger area expose front and back but a small flanking area (which would make vertical cards have a distinct difference in combat profile).

    The rules, of course, would fit on a business card (man, that's gonna be some tiny font). A game like this at Gen Con or GTS, where business cards are given out by the cartloads, would be awesome. It would also give an incentive to take the business card on the desk/counter next time you go to a doctor's office, retail store or Chinese restaurant.
  • Remi - let us know when we have gone too far from your intent.
    Posted By: Joshua BishopRobyPosted By: BlueNow, the idea of Business Cards screams some sort of corporate/office politics themed game...
    Ooo! On one side, it's a 'normal' looking business card, but that's actually your character's stats. Even the phone number can be used somehow, I bet!
    Posted By: HighmoonSee, what would be really cool is a game where you can grab any business card and based on what information is presented on the card, you have stats that you can use in play. This would work best, I think, for some sort of "monster duel" type of thing.
    "Office-Mon"
    See - I think the phone number IS your character's stats. Then build in orientation, logo placement, and lines of text as per Daniel's suggestion.

    Looking at my business cards - I have three - one for my "real job" and two for side ventures of different sorts. All are arranged 'traditionally', ie., horizontally and are of traditional shape.
    One has three lines of text, not counting one 10-digit phone number, one e-mail address, and one URL. The logo takes up a position like that of the Star Field on the U.S. Flag with the text next to it and the contact info below it.
    The second is similar, but has two different phone numbers. The logo takes up the full left side.
    The third has FOUR lines of text, three phone numbers (one is an 800-hundred number and includes a 5-digit x'tension), one two-line street address, one e-mail address and no URL. The logo takes up the full left side and includes a hole (yes you can see through my card).

    To Me: Multiple phone numbers suggest multiple 'forms'. More or less text should be a balance thing - some advantage (more defense/hit points?) at the cost of some disadvantage (slower?) Street address vs. URL suggests some sort of aptitude, the third card feels somehow anti-technology compared to the other two.

    As I type this up, I am reminded of "Liar's Poker" played with dollar bills (or some such). I don't remember the specifics, but it involved the serial numbers on currency and what digits may or may not be on them. I wonder if that could be adapted in some way....
  • edited June 2007
    All of these are very cool, but I think business cards as character sheets is way too easy.

    Imagine an ENTIRE game, with all the characters, situation, and rules, on one card. No interfacing with other cards. The business card would be designed as a very short playable game. I'm thinking a super-unflexible, single-situation resolution game.

    DUMB EXAMPLE:
    Last Man Standing (a game for 5-8 people)
    You're in a room with the other players and a bag of money. The cops will show up in 10 minutes. Each of you has a gun. Who gets the money? You can shoot your gun as many times as you want, but each time you shoot your gun, anyone remaining in the game may shoot you. When you are shot you are dead, and must leave the game. The last person standing gets the money. If 10 minutes run out and more than one person is standing, the cops get the money, and you go to jail.

    BEFORE YOU START: Write one player's name in the margin of this business car. You love this player, and must shoot their shooter.

    (EDIT: Jason Morningstar, I am thinking of that Viking game for Total N00bs you ran as perhaps a good template, as well.)
  • Cool idea, Remi! Psychology experiments might be a good model for this as well, like the Dollar Auction, but less depressing. :P
  • edited June 2007
    I realize that my 'No! This Way!' thing may not have been the best way to foster communication.

    Could someone be a little more specific about how it would work, button-men style? I'd really like this to be more about resolving a situation than just combat (which I realize my example doesn't quite fit). I guess my main question is: How do you set a compelling situation up in a short space, even distributing characters across cards?

    -Remi
  • edited June 2007
    Posted By: DanielSolisCool idea, Remi! Psychology experiments might be a good model for this as well, like theDollar Auction, but less depressing. :P
    Thanks Daniel. I think the thing that's missing is the impetus to play a character, even for a short time.
  • edited June 2007
    Data point - we're talking about roughly 100 words of readable text (10 point Caslon, 11 point leading, .0625" borders) per side. 650 characters, spaces included.
  • Posted By: Jason MorningstarData point - we're talking about roughly 100 words of readable text (10 point Caslon, 11 point leading, .0625" borders) per side.
    If nothing else, it's a great exercise in creating a concise text!
  • Posted By: Jason MorningstarData point - we're talking about roughly 100 words of readable text (10 point Caslon, 11 point leading, .0625" borders) per side.
    So with a folded-in-half double-business-card you have approximately 400 words (maybe 350 so you can use the occasional bold text). Hmmmmmm. I'm gonna try to write one of these.

    Ideally I'd like a 'standard' resolution system that can be described in 100 words, with the other 250 being situation, characters, and special rules.
  • Posted By: RemiHow do you set a compelling situation up in a short space
    The obvious answer is to make the players do it for you. "Make this" is more succinct than "you are all rainbow-maned unicorns being hunted by rapacious owlbears".
  • Posted By: RemiIdeally I'd like a 'standard' resolution system that can be described in 100 words, with the other 250 being situation, characters, and special rules.
    I think I'd (must ... resist) go for X cards for X players, each of whom has a piece of the rules that they can invoke. Three or four would be perfect. Ideally the mix of cards and number of participants wouldn't matter.
  • Posted By: Jason MorningstarData point - we're talking about roughly 100 words of readable text (10 point Caslon, 11 point leading, .0625" borders) per side. 650 characters, spaces included.
    A "Drabble" is exactly 100 words long.
  • Posted By: renatoramI distinctly remember SHERPA, from Steffan O'Sullivan IIRC, a game that was meant to have charsheets that fit business cards, so that you could play while hiking, or the like.

    ...and here it is:Sherpa
    Dead of Night could totally fit characters onto the backside of business cards. Ditto NPCs -- I statted up all the major npcs and critters for an Old West/Halflife2 mashup on one page of a 6x9 journal.
  • Posted By: RemiCould someone be a little more specific about how it would work, button-men style?
    Pimp: the Free Collectible Card Game
    (I'm linking blind from google, so if that doesn't work, I'll fix the link when I get home tonight)
  • edited June 2007
    Fleece: It's about prophets, mad Gods, sheep . . . and their shepherds.
    (EDIT: Fleece Revised: With a generalized play tip, instead of the specific one for the shepherds, and my name on it)
    So I got a wild hair and wrote a version of the game I was imagining. Don't know if it'll work, but I think it might. Essentially everyone stands in a circle and drops the business card in the center of the circle. The person whom the arrow on the card is pointing to gets to narrate.

    (EDIT: The game weighs in at 278 words, 1500 characters)
  • The business card form factor's a bit too small for me, but being a GTD advocate, I do like the idea of a game (and char sheet) on 3 x 5 cards, maybe bound with a ring, like some crazy gamer hipster pda.
  • Cool, Remi, print some up and let's play it Saturday.
  • I feel like this is derailing my own thread, but if I solicited a half dozen of these, wrote 3 or 4 more, and put them together as the '10 Minute 10 Pack Games Collection' (perhaps packaged in a wallet?), would anyone be interested in contributing?
  • Yes, Though 400 words may be more than I have ever given to a single set of rules.

    I have been thinking about a spy game that runs kind of like Psi*Run in reverse. If I can get the rules down to the appropriate size I will be glad to go in.
  • Totally.
  • I'd be down, too.
  • edited June 2007
    Two ideas:

    For the first, the business card is split into halves on both sides. You need one business card per player, minus one (all identical), and at least three players. Whoever doesn't have a card goes first. They describe what they're doing (for some reason, I envision it all being elaborate and dangerous pranks to gain favor in a fraternity), and then everybody else holds out a hidden business card to them. The narrator decides which card to take, takes it and turns it over. One of the four halves will be showing. The four halves are: You are LAUDED, You are APPROVED, You are DENIED, and You are HOSED. LAUDED and APPROVED means the narrator succeeds, DENIED and HOSED means they fail. LAUDED and DENIED means the narrator describes how and why; APPROVED and HOSED means the guy who gave them the card narrates how and why. Then the guy with no card describes what he wants to do, and picks his card from the rest of the players. And so on.

    Or reverse it:

    The business card is split into halves on both sides again. In this variant you only need one. The guy with the card narrates what he's doing, and when the other players call for a resolution check or whatever, he offers the hidden card to one of the others. They can refuse, in which case he offers it to another player, and so on. If nobody takes the card, he is assumed to have succeeded in whatever he was doing. If anybody takes the card, they take it as above, turning it over to reveal which of the four halves are showing. The four halves are: YOU DECIDE, YOUR RIGHT DECIDES, YOUR LEFT DECIDES, and YOUR PICK DECIDES. The indicated person then narrates if the narrator succeeds or fails, and why. Whoever holds the card then goes on to narrate what they are doing, until somebody calls for a check again.

    I'm not sure which amuses me more.

    Edit: I sort of have big hands. Can everybody palm a business card, or is that just me?
  • Posted By: Joshua BishopRobyOoo! On one side, it's a 'normal' looking business card, but that's actually your character's stats. Even the phone number can be used somehow, I bet!
    In one of the recent Traveller threads, someone was talking about how much fun it was to reverse-engineer planets and characters from their universal profiles...
  • edited June 2007
    Posted By: Joshua BishopRoby
    Edit: I sort of have big hands. Can everybody palm a business card, or is that just me?
    I don't really have any trouble palming a business card, but what if it was held in two hands, each hand covering half of the card, then the person choosing the card chooses a hand, and the result under that hand is revealed. That makes it easier for the tiny-handed.
  • Posted By: RemiI feel like this is derailing my own thread, but if I solicited a half dozen of these, wrote 3 or 4 more, and put them together as the '10 Minute 10 Pack Games Collection' (perhaps packaged in a wallet?), would anyone be interested in contributing?
    Believe it or not, I've wanted to do a game that would fit on business card that you could just hand to a friend and instantly start playing. This thread prompted me to finally sketch something out, so I'd be down.
  • Jasons Sims & Morningstar, JBR, Thor, & Daniel. If you get playtest text of your games to me this weekend (assuming you can do so), I will attempt to get some play in during Andy K's housecon.

    Joshua: I like your game idea, but am unsure what 'palming' means in this context. I have tiny hands, and a standard-sized business card pokes off both sides when placed in my palm.
  • Remi, can you hold your hand palm-down with the business card in it so that the business card can't be seen? That's the question.

    I can get you something this evening -- or will that be Too Late?
  • I can hold it hidden if I put a curve in the card, but otherwise, no, I can't completely cover a business card with my hand.

    You have until 10am (EST) Saturday.
  • edited June 2007
    Here's my game: Who Gets the Ranch?

    Will it work? We'll find out tomorrow. I felt like Dr. Bronner writing those rules.
  • Sent in a preliminary concept to Remi, I'll post it when it's had his quick review.
  • With apologies to Adam Dray, I've laid out his fine game Facts in a business card format. Adam, if you see this, do I have the go-ahead?
  • Remi:

    I don't think my having a playtest version by 10 am is in the cards for me (just got in from game night, it's 4 a.m. and I'm headed for bed.) I'll try to have you something tiny and playable ASAP, though.
    Posted By: Jason MorningstarI felt like Dr. Bronner writing those rules.
    DILUTE!! DILUTE!!
  • AgentFresh: That is fine. We have 3 games.

    Jason: I think that's part of the fun. I just changed 6 words in the text of Fleece, and it totally clarified one part of the narration mechanic.
  • edited June 2007
    Those card games are all very nice but please examine the equisite qualities of this one.
  • EABAnywhere is played on business-card sized character sheets...

    Free download
  • This is great. It's also funny, because you've all written LARPS. Well, Jason and Remi, anyway.

    Graham
  • edited June 2007
    [momentary hijack]
    Posted By: BlueRemi - let us know when we have gone too far from your intent.

    Posted By: Joshua BishopRobyPosted By: BlueNow, the idea of Business Cards screams some sort of corporate/office politics themed game...
    Ooo! On one side, it's a 'normal' looking business card, but that's actually your character's stats. Even the phone number can be used somehow, I bet!
    Posted By: HighmoonSee, what would be really cool is a game where you can grab any business card and based on what information is presented on the card, you have stats that you can use in play. This would work best, I think, for some sort of "monster duel" type of thing.
    "Office-Mon"
    See - I think the phone number IS your character's stats. Then build in orientation, logo placement, and lines of text as per Daniel's suggestion.

    Looking at my business cards - I have three - one for my "real job" and two for side ventures of different sorts. All are arranged 'traditionally', ie., horizontally and are of traditional shape.
    One has three lines of text, not counting one 10-digit phone number, one e-mail address, and one URL. The logo takes up a position like that of the Star Field on the U.S. Flag with the text next to it and the contact info below it.
    The second is similar, but has two different phone numbers. The logo takes up the full left side.
    The third has FOUR lines of text, three phone numbers (one is an 800-hundred number and includes a 5-digit x'tension), one two-line street address, one e-mail address and no URL. The logo takes up the full left side and includes a hole (yes you can see through my card).

    To Me: Multiple phone numbers suggest multiple 'forms'. More or less text should be a balance thing - some advantage (more defense/hit points?) at the cost of some disadvantage (slower?) Street address vs. URL suggests some sort of aptitude, the third card feels somehow anti-technology compared to the other two.

    As I type this up, I am reminded of "Liar's Poker" played with dollar bills (or some such). I don't remember the specifics, but it involved the serial numbers on currency and what digits may or may not be on them. I wonder if that could be adapted in some way....
    You know, simple as this might be as an idea, I still like it. Maybe we should move this to another thread and explore it further.

    Edit: Thread over HERE.

    [/momentary hijack]
  • Posted By: Graham Wyou've all written LARPS.
    Hey, my first LARP! Hooray!

    We played Fleeced twice yesterday and it's really fun. I think Remi needs to Dr. Bronner-ize it to fit in some more important stuff, but it plays great.
  • Divinity was at least conceived as the game where you carry around 1d6 and a small set of business card blanks, and that's all you need: http://www.evilhat.com/lab/Divinity.pdf
  • Free design idea - cut a card in half and poke a pencil through it - instant randomizer. Or instant dredel! I just tried it and it works great. It's a subtle rectangle rather than a square if you cut it exactly in half.
  • Tiny Spies is written and fits in word. I have to get it into something a little more PDF friendly and then I will post it.
Sign In or Register to comment.