Re: To Smithereens - a board game developing

I loved this response, so thanks.

Here's my 'table-game death' vs. 'video-game death' theory:

A competitive multi-player video game rarely conflates 'death' with outcome-significance; you only really die after you've died 20 times, or 30 times, or whatever. So, ultimately, multiplayer mode simply does not invoke the concept of "death," in any recognizable form — or, rather: does not invoke the concept of life.

If you have lives, you've entered a different paradigm of life.

Meanwhile, in 'To Smithereens' — or 'Monopoly,' or 'Candyland' — you lose once, and you lose permanently. Your game is over. You're ejected from play, by one of your friends. You're out. You're dead. You're killed. They're not. You're punished with a jail-term on the permanent sidelines, trapped, watching everyone else continue to have fun without you. Yours is the horror of the ghost.

(And that's just the paradigmatic metaphor of most table-games, to say nothing of 'To Smithereens' in particular, where the story metaphor is also death.)

To reformulate and conclude: Generally speaking, competitive table-games give you one life and one death — so, to whatever extent you're 'embodying a life' in a table-game, the nature of that life is, metaphorically, equivalent to your real one. If you wanted a competitive multi-player video game to evoke something closer to the normal-life paradigm, there would be no "multiplayer mode," in the traditional definition; instead, it would be like playing the actual game campaign, with one life — for half an hour? an hour? more? — until one of your friends kills you.

tl;dr — The pain of death is proportional to what's lost.

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

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Re: To Smithereens - a board game developing

That makes sense. Incidentally a couple of the battle royale video games now (particularly Battlegrounds) might actually cross that line for you. They're (usually) slow start games, kitting out your avatar, looting buildings, getting progressively more crunched in space on the map until there's only one player left. One life, might last 5 minutes, might last half an hour....and still die. Definitely nearer that one life intensity.

I certainly agree with the overall "permadeath" annoyance at least in board games with several players. To Smithereens is only 1v1, so there's that. Once someone dies, you can get drinks together right away.

Or play again, because we've finished up and been like "Fuck you I'm gonna beat you next time let's play NOW" big_smile

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Re: To Smithereens - a board game developing

(For what it's worth, I only just realized what '1v1' means.)

(I never said I was smart.)

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

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Re: To Smithereens - a board game developing

(Out of curiosity... could the ships be drones?)

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

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Re: To Smithereens - a board game developing

I suppose they could be, at least insofar as the actions they're taking could be done by drones. I'm honestly not sure how well "You're actually a drone" would play on most players of strategy games, though.

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Re: To Smithereens - a board game developing

Interesting theory, Teague! I'd never thought about that regarding table-top games, but it would, weirdly, explain the relief I felt at losing/dying midway through games as a kid. I'm a ghost; I'm free! I don't have to play anymore!

Teague wrote:

The pain of death is proportional to what's lost.

As I've gotten older, I've become fascinated by game creation & interactive storytelling, and I like some games, but I largely feel the same way about them as I do about driving; I would be having more fun in the passenger's seat. I like to watch more than I like to play.

Incidentally, Writhyn, I'm enjoying following this thread and seeing how the game is developing!

If it's not about musicals, I probably don't know what I'm talking about.

Re: To Smithereens - a board game developing

Update #9
It's like, 95% there. There's a couple of finagly bits I want to iron out/test:

1) Adding a few more tiles to the Asteroid. Feels like it's not quite varied enough. In fact, there are a couple of things we're trying out to give the Asteroid more of a presence.

2) Damage system is getting a test tonight. At the moment it feels a little too back-burner, like parts being damaged is a very small part of the game's strategy. The system to be tested is spreading damage: parts will be able to receive multiple damage tokens, and if a 4th token is received, 3 of them are spread (equally as possible) onto adjacent parts. This opens up further tactical options for targeting things. Anyone who's played Pandemic will probably recognize this mechanic.

And, that's it. So far I've tested the game with about 5 people, including a short-attention-span high schooler who nonetheless played it 4 times in succession. So, there's that!

Also, The Rules are coming along nicely, so I'll have those ready before too long, and after that, Prototype Volunteer time!

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