Role-Casting Game: Over-Agitation

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This is my con­ti­bu­tion to this year’s Game Chef com­pe­ti­tion. It’s a role-casting game.

I am not a native speaker. What could pos­si­bly go wrong?

This might be a strage idea. I guess, I’ve had stranger ones.




Hi there, or “moin” as we like to say in north­west­ern Germany.

I am PiHalbe, that’s Ger­man for “pi-over-two” and this is my con­tri­bu­tion to 2015s Game Chef Game Design com­pe­ti­tion. Eng­lish is not my first lan­guage, so bear that in mind.

This year’s theme is “A Dif­fer­ent Audi­ence”. As I’m already pod­cast­ing, I’d like to try to make a game for an already exist­ing audi­ence: pod­cast­ers and podcast-lovers. I call this a “pod-playing game” … err … try that again: a “role-casting game”.

This is the first episode of a game I am open­ing. I will first explain the rules. Every new game should do this to allow for eas­ily hack­ing the rules.

A role-casting game is always pub­lic. There are cast­ers and poten­tially an audi­ence, any­one can be the audi­ence. In par­tic­u­lar, this game’s nar­ra­tive will be avail­able for lis­ten­ers from the future. The first caster opens the game. He states the rules and sets the ini­tial set­tings of the game.

After the first episode is pub­lished, any­one can enlist them­selves as the next caster. The game cre­ator alots him 24 hours to sub­mit a follow-up episode. This means that there will be forced still­ness in the game for some time. If the sub­mit­ted record­ing holds any inap­pro­pri­ate con­tent, the game cre­ator may object. The game cre­ator should take care that all episodes are pub­lished in a sin­gle pod­cast feed. This process then reit­er­ates until either the game cre­ator closes the game or no follow-up episodes are submitted.

An episode should con­sist of about 3 to 7 min­utes of con­tent. Every caster as a sin­gle point of view. No later caster may use their point of view. If a caster records another episode, they should resume their pre­vi­ous perspective.

The theme of the game should cap­ture con­tem­po­rary issues. Pick items from your per­sonal view on the news and work on them. The set­tings does not have to be con­tem­po­rary, it may be his­toric, futur­is­tic, fan­tas­tic or sim­i­lar. How­ever, it should cap­ture issues you think about right now. This will make it more inter­est­ing for lis­ten­ers from the future.

There are a few mechan­ics in this game, as well. All will be addressed via reserved phrases. For a new per­spec­tive (the cast­ers first appear­ance in a game), the episode should always start with “Last night, I had the strangest dream …”, fol­lowed with a brief dream sequence. Fol­low­ing cast­ers will use ele­ments from the pre­vi­ous dream in their dream sequence.

The sec­ond reserved phrase is “… is spe­cial. If … then … except ….” This intro­duces an impor­tant ele­ment in the nar­ra­tive. Future cast­ers may refer to this ele­ment and either use it in the spe­cial fash­ion or the excep­tion. Using a spe­cial ele­ment in this way grants the power to retroac­tively alter a fact from another per­spec­tive and reveal it as fal­li­ble. For this, use the reserved phrase “Actu­ally, it turned out that ….”

The last one is: “I won­der ….” A caster may ask a ques­tion that future cast­ers should answer. They may not answer their own ques­tions. A ques­tion must be answered until the end of the third episode there­after. Every caster has to lis­ten to the last three episodes before record­ing a new one.

These are, again, the reserved phrases:

* “Last night, I had the strangest dream.” to phrase the perspective’s intro­duc­tion.
* “… is spe­cial. If … then … except ….” to cre­ate a spe­cial ele­ment, that might go either way.
* “Actu­ally, it turned out that ….” to prove an ear­lier state­ment by another per­spec­tive wrong, after the caster has incor­po­rated a spe­cial ele­ment.
* “I won­der ….” to pose a ques­tion that the other cast­ers must answer within three turns.

Any­one of you could be the next caster. Don’t be shy!

This marks the begin­ning of this game, tagged “Over-agitation”.

Last night, I had the strangest dream. I was liv­ing in a small mush­room at the end of the for­est. There were no doors, I was try­ing to get out. I had to chew my way through its tis­sue, a hundred-and-twelve eyes watch­ing me from the hyme­nium, ready to betray me to the gardener.

I did not think about it too long, though. I really had another things to take care of. Fore exam­ple the sound of pro­pellers, echo­ing back and forth from the moun­tain range. I am sure, they were look­ing for me. For us. The three of us, Genna, Ralph and me, we have had quite the time, forg­ing videos. We thought they were hilraious. At first. Yes, they were polit­i­cal, but we thought we could not change any­thing about the world’s global sit­u­a­tion, with all its wars, wars to come and polit­i­cal, cul­tural and finan­cial crises.

The idea came when we saw the Scan­dal about Greece’s new finan­cial min­is­ter and a video record­ing of him, giv­ing Ger­many the fin­ger. And then another record­ing of a satirist claim­ing that they had doc­tored the video. Nobody cared about all the bil­lions of Euros, but they all talked about that fin­ger. We could make that hap­pen. We had our exper­tise in video edit­ing, satire, pol­i­tics, pub­lic­ity. So, on we went.

At first, peo­ple just laughed. Then came the first protests in the streets in Ger­many, after we doc­tored an appear­ance of Obama in Berlin to per­fectly lip sync the Ger­man words “ich liebe Euch doch alle” as in “but I DO love all of you”. Yeah, the Mielke quote is not quite right, but effect­ful nonethe­less. Espe­cially from the per­son sur­veilling the entire planet to the peo­ple how lived under sim­i­lar sur­veil­lance for too long. Ger­man pol­i­tics made quite the effort to level the agi­ta­tion, but severe damges to our coun­tries’ rela­tions stuck.

Of course we were not that naive. We took our pre­ca­tions. Made our manip­u­la­tions hard to trace back to our per­sons. Now, we moved into the moun­tains, only com­mu­ni­cat­ing via satel­lite con­nec­tion. Our cot­tage is spe­cial. If they come to get us, we can always leave through an under­ground tun­nel into a cave except when the rain­fall is too strong and floods the passage.

The pro­pellers sound closer, now. We brew a hasty cup of cof­fee. I won­der if they will pin­point us here, eventually.

And now, it’s your turn.

Arti­cle source:–06-22-role-casting-game-over-agitation-990

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My unnamed Game Chef project: Introtext

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Some­body grabs you by your squishy end and draws you out of the comfy sticky goo that you were sub­merged in. You wind your­selves in fear of being crushed. You vaguely see a few worms, wind­ing them­selves in the fin­gers of sur­pris­ingly unre­mark­able humans. You must your­self be such a worm, cap­tive between the fin­gers of another human, or Norm. The Norm wears gog­gles and over-sized gloves. Of course, you don’t know what that is, now. But you will soon under­stand. He smiles at you. Con­tinue read­ing

Arti­cle source:–05-24-my-unnamed-game-chef-project-introtext-960

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PiCast – Game Chef 2013 – Middesign

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This year’s Game Chef ana­log game design com­pe­ti­tion is already halfway through and I thought it could be inter­est­ing to share some of my expe­ri­ences with it and the cur­rent sta­tus of my design in this episode. A lot of this is quite pre­lim­i­nary, but the basic foun­da­tions are likely to stand until the end of the competition.

I have no hopes of win­ning, but I will cer­tainly sub­mit my game and hope­fully find the time to develop it fur­ther after the com­pe­ti­tion. We had a playtest, last night, and every­body had fun with the con­cept. Also, the rules (as far as we got test­ing them) seemed to make sense and enrich play. So, I do not need to scrap those entirely. Con­tinue read­ing

Arti­cle source:–05-23-picast-game-chef-2013-middesign-959

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Game Chef 2013 has started

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This year’s Game Chef com­pe­ti­tion has just started. Its theme and four inge­di­ents have been unveiled today. And — sur­pris­ingly enough — they are not words but rather pic­tures. This will com­pli­cate my brain­storm­ing ses­sion, but is a nice devi­a­tion from other contests.

The con­test runs from May 17th and 26th 2013, which is the time you have to pro­duce a fully playable (and read­able!) ana­log game of sorts. I encour­age you to take part, if you can spare some hours this com­ing week. Con­tinue read­ing

Arti­cle source:–05-17-game-chef-2013-has-started-957

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Polished Rules, a Rant – an editorial

If some­one presents me with a set of rules, which form a com­pletely smooth, per­fectly inte­grated, closed sys­tem…
Con­tinue read­ing

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Decorations of the Red Fleet – house rules for The Red Star

Amongst other things The Red Star Cam­paign Set­ting is a mil­i­tary RPG.

It pro­vides copi­ous amounts of infor­ma­tion on aspects of the orga­ni­za­tion and struc­ture of the Red Fleet as they relate to the char­ac­ters and how it all changes with large scale devel­op­ments of the set­ting such as the fall of the URRS.

It also estab­lishes pro­mo­tion within the ranks of the fleet as an addi­tional reward mech­a­nism for player characters.

Strangely, it does not cover another class of rewards that seem obvi­ous within such a con­text: It ommits all men­tion of dec­o­ra­tions and medals.

This arti­cle aims to rec­tify this.
Con­tinue read­ing

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Tanelorn produktiv – an editorial

Some ideas are sim­ply good.

Very good.

Over the last few weeks I became more active again on the Tanelorn, one of the great Ger­man fan­tasy forums.

But besides enjoy­ing some inter­est­ing dis­cus­sions, I also felt keenly reminded of why I had taken such a pro­longed hia­tus from RPG-related forums in the first place. Con­tinue read­ing

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24h RPG Contest on the RPGGeek: Us, our settlement, the AI and the quantum information field, here, at the end of the world

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I totally for­got to men­tion this … any­where … at all.

I Octo­ber there was a con­test over at the RPGGeek for 24-hour RPGs. I decided to accept the chal­lenge and in turn pro­duced my sec­ond con­test RPG ever.

This is its name:

Us, our set­tle­ment, the AI and the quan­tum infor­ma­tion field, here, at the end of the world

(Postrocky, I know.) Con­tinue read­ing

Arti­cle source:–11-18-24h-rpg-contest-rpggeek-us-our-settlement-ai-and-quantum-information-field-here

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PiCast — SPIEL 2012

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This is the sec­ond (and the only one in Eng­lish lan­guage) of three inter­views I recorded at the SPIEL 2012 exhi­bi­tion in Essen.

I talked to Christof­fer Krämer who is one of the many cre­ative heads behind Swedish game pub­lisher Gigan­toskop. He talks about how they go about their cre­ative process, the inter­nal com­pe­ti­tions they make for design­ing new games, why they put their focus on games with strong themes, how ideas are cheap and why it’s best to talk about your game and not be afraid that any­body will steal your idea. Con­tinue read­ing

Arti­cle source:–11-14-picast-spiel-2012-christoffer-kr-mer-gigantoskop-911

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Next! The D&D Playtest

Do you still know how it was in May? When the first playtest pack­age was announced? All the excite­ment what the new edi­tion will be like. That time has long passed now. Today I feel more like I’m design­ing half of a game in my free time. A game that does not excite my any more at all. “At least in Ger­many it’s 80ies revival time, so why not play a sys­tem that is just as bor­ing as ADD?“ Con­tinue read­ing

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Posted in Jan | 2 Comments