Tuesday, June 30, 2009

My Games Part 2: Contest Entries

1km1kt.net, where I post my work, is an archive of over 400 games, including most entries for the 24hour RPG project. As you might expect, I've made numerous attempts at these contests.

Eastern Front
This is the first 24 hour game I ever wrote. Its short, has atrocious production values, and in over five years, I've never gotten around to revising it - despite a desire to do so. However, to date, its the only one of my games to have a review over on rpg.net. Not a very flattering one (10/30) but that is still unique for my projects. (Link)

Lone General
My second attempt at a 24 hour game - Machine Sentience - failed to reach completion (and will be discussed in a later post), so this is technically my third 24 hour game. It shows a bit more finesse than the last one, though. More impressively, its a 19 page war game - meant for solo play - written under a time limit. I can't really vouch for how well it works, but considering my track record with war games (ie Part 3 of this series) its still an accomplishment, and so far can tell, no one else has attempted a similar project. (Link)

Rings of Jerusalem
Modus-Operandi is a website dedicated to espionage themed games, like Spycraft, Top Secret, and James Bond. While I don't play any of those games, when they solicited a contest for 24 hour spy themed game, I decided to make an entry.

In an alternate universe, Saturn was colonized not long after the end of the American civil war. Cites built inside giant spheres floating in the dense atmosphere of the plant, and are reached via metal zeppelins and anti-gravity ships. Due to immigrant quotas and Russian pogroms, many Jews have come to take up residence within these exo-planetary settlements.

However, WWI is fast approaching, and merchant raiders would be a vicious threat to anyone living on Saturn. While the Jews have no navy of their own, they have put together an undercover force to sabotage the war-fighting capabilities of the various power-blocks, so as to avoid being caught in the crossfire. (Link)

Of G-Men and Super-Men
This is the most recent of my games, written as part of a contest on 1km1kt.net. In addition to the normal 24 hour rpg rules, the entrants needed to a) include professional touches normally lacking from 24 hour games (ie a cover, index, NPCs) b) included "Keeton" (the glorious benefactor of 1km1kt) somehow, and c) chose from a list of 41 topics (many of them submitted by me).

Given that I'm one of the judges, its not allowed to win, but I think it would have been a contender otherwise. From a document point of view, its my best illustrated, and includes a number of professional features like table of contents, glossary, and character sheets - elements that tend to be left out in the crunch to complete a game quickly.

The game takes place in a version of 1958 where people with comic book like powers exist. Each player is an agent of HEROES -Headquarters for Enforcement & Registration of Observed Supernatural - essentially a version of the FBI tasked with controlling super heroes. (Link)

Sputnik Lost
This is an RPG written under a different kind of constraint - rather than a limit of time, the restricted factor is space. Sputnik Lost is a complete game covering one sheet of paper, and for that matter, I only used one side! It tells the tale of a Soviet Moon landing that never returned and was covered up by the communist government. (Link)

Days of Plunder
Like sputnik lost, this is an attempt to fit an entire game on a single page of paper. Its a naval wargame in the age of sail, squeezed onto the front and back of a standard 8.5x11 page. I'll admit that some of the text is smaller than 12 point font, and it has some balance issues - but is indeed, a working simulation complete with wind direction, boarding, and broadsides from different types of vessels.

Its available from this thread on RPGLaboratory.

Yet another type of RPG challenge, is Game Chef. The participants are given some "ingredients" they have to include and a week or two of time to work. Prior years have had such restrictions as "must use colors in action resolution" or "design for 10 2 hour sessions".

The occasion I took part in had us choose between two sets of words, and then use three of the four somehow. My choices were the concepts of "currency", "memory", and "drug". The end result was each character being a faction in an attempt to overthrow the government. However, to quell this problem, the government coated the local money with a mind altering chemicle. Hence the trade off was you could use cash to either force your opponents to rethink their actions (as they forget what they're trying to do) or in the more conventional method.

Like most games written under duress, it had some good ideas, but I don't think it received the full development it deserved. Of course, my rate of following up on projects I'm not so happy with is dismal, and its been two or three years since then.

Final Note
One interesting aspect of all my contest entries (and most of my normal projects) is that each one of them has a gimmick. In Eastern Front, all the ratings are a double edged sword - sometimes rolling over is good, sometimes roll under. Rings of Jerusalem lets you spend attribute points to give other players bonuses.

Furthermore, every time, my style has improved a bit, and I highly recommend that you try one of these contests yourself if you have any interest in creating games. The 24 hour challenge only requires a bit of uninterrupted time and is a great way to finally use that idea that has been sitting in your head.

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