- What is your game about?**
Within the context of Burning Wheel, drilling down on parts of the story involving the characters discovering things hidden from them. Parts like puzzles in a dungeon, murder mysteries, or spooky paranormal OMGWTF is happenings. Giving solid mechanical support to playing these types of situations in the way that I want to play them.
- What do the characters do?**
Anything they can to figure out what's going on, how to solve it, etc. Trap-wise, Circles, Intimidation, etc. etc. to coerce the world into helping solve their problem. Standard BW behavior, except for two differences. First, in many cases the characters can use the results of an Investigation, good or bad, to severely help or hinder another thing (Big Reveal). Second, while usually the characters can only try one thing to achieve an intent (Let It Ride), it is possible to try several things during an Investigation, though too many failures will result in failure to achieve the purpose they had in Investigating.
- What do the players (including the GM if there is one) do?**
Aside from standard BW play, the GM designs an appropriate puzzle that is solved alongside play, in stages. The players solve this puzzle. Their successes and failures in-game translate to better odds of successes and failures at the puzzle, and their successes and failures in the stages of the puzzle translate to better odds of successes and failures in-game.
- How does your setting (or lack thereof) reinforce what your game is about?
- How does the Character Creation of your game reinforce what your game is about?
- What types of behaviors/styles of play does your game reward (and punish if necessary)?
During an Investigation the players are under more pressure than usual to succeed at rolls, and thus have their characters take more conservative actions. Near the end of an Investigation the players are rewarded for going out on a limb and gambling they have the correct solution to the puzzle.
- How are behaviors and styles of play rewarded or punished in your game?
Since each Investigation roll is essentially a linked test to the next, succeeding them is rewarded by better odds of succeeding the next. Since there are only so many allowed actions during the Investigation, failing a roll is punished by reduced odds of solving the puzzle. Players correctly solving the puzzle and then gambling that they've solved it correctly is rewarded by high odds of success on a single roll pretty much within the players' choosing; incorrectly solving and then gambling is punished by low odds of success on the roll they wanted to succeed on.
- How are the responsibilities of narration and credibility divided in your game?
Identical to BW.
- What does your game do to command the players' attention, engagement, and participation? (i.e. What does the game do to make them care?)
First assume they care about the BW game they're playing. Then presumably they care about the Investigation intent, so that solving the puzzle invites participation. The fact that the sculptures are shiny and the players enjoy induction invites attention and engagement. *Feedback from success/failure at the puzzle should generate interest, but may be problematic since +1D or +1 Ob out of context isn't as riveting as knowing to which intent these modifiers will apply.* The game remains interesting because to make any progress on the puzzle after staring at it for a bit requires additional play.
- What are the resolution mechanics of your game like?
The GM marks guesses right or wrong according to fixed secret knowledge.
- How do the resolution mechanics reinforce what your game is about?
This is precisely what I want an Investigation to do, I don't want to feel cheated because the world state shifts.
- Do characters in your game advance? If so, how?
Identical to BW. Maybe there can be die traits related to breaking the rules somehow, who knows.
- How does the character advancement (or lack thereof) reinforce what your game is about?
- What sort of product or effect do you want your game to produce in or for the players?
The feeling of solving a puzzle without the effort on the GM's part and without ever blocking the game.
- What areas of your game receive extra attention and color? Why?
The Big Reveal, because it gives a way to have time pressure without making an accidentally-too-hard-rule impossible and thus blocking the game due to AP.
- Which part of your game are you most excited about or interested in? Why?
The Big Reveal, because it seems awesome and was not an obvious requirement given the constraints (playing Zendo to investigate).
- Where does your game take the players that other games can’t, don’t, or won’t?
It makes it possible for the GM to present legitimately challenging puzzles to the players without putting the burden of "challenging" on the GM. So it makes good on-the-fly investigations far easier.
- What are your publishing goals for your game?
- Who is your target audience?
Me, Eric, Mike, Robin, Thomas, David, Mark, Rohini, Jesus, RDJ?
Tuesday, September 2, 2008