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The Blade Runner/Beneath a Steel Sky/Dystopian metropolis game blog RETURNS.

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There Will Be Games

Ok.  So Josh got a little trigger happy and pulled the plug on things too at the first sign of trouble, but I'm over it.  I apologize to everyone who was getting into the ideas coming out of it, but let's get back on the horse.  No bullshit this time, I promise.

I'm a "theme first, ask questions later" kind of guy.  Sue me.  That's what separates us from them, if you get my drift.

The theme in question here is DYSTOPIAN CITY, taking cues from Blade Runner/Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Beneath a Steel Sky, etc.  I'm not convinced that Android is the best anyone can do, and we're the people to do it.

I'm not committed to any one concept from the aforementioned, but I do think there's some really cool gaming to be done within the atmosphere that a futuristic, dystopian, crime-ridden city has to offer.  There's got to be something to tie in directly to the gameplay that sets it apart from a modern city, something that says, "Hey, this is a science fiction game and really couldn't work any other way.  Androids (or replicants, if you want to use that word) are an easy way to do that, but again, I'M NOT COMMITTED TO ANDROIDS.

Here were my ideas about how to handle androids.  It needs to be ambiguous.  BSG and SOC handle traitors in a very clean cut fashion, and if we're going to allude to Blade Runner, it can't be clean cut.  So what I had thought was that you get a deck of cards that is 50% human, 50% androids.  You get an odd number of cards at the beginning of the game, let's say 5 for now.  Whether you're human or android ultimately comes down to what the majority of your cards say you are (so in this case, whichever you have 3 of).  The twist is that you don't get to see all of at the beginning of the game.  Say you only get to look at one card at first.  As the game goes on, you get to look at the others, one at a time.  You're either becoming sure of your humanity, or become self aware of your programming.  Meanwhile, the other players trying to investigate you while in addition to hunting down and retiring androids (if that is what this game is about).  They'll have a number of ways to it.  They might be able to go to your apartment, and if they successfully search your home, they can take a peek at one or more of your cards.  You won't know which ones they saw.  You'll just be left knowing that they might know more about you than you know about yourself.

Imagine the paranoia there.  I think the communication between players should be pretty loose.  They could lie to the other players.  Everyone could turn against you, thinking your an android, when you're not entirely sure that you are yourself.  Of course, if their hunch turns out to be wrong, not only are they going to look bad, but if they take action against you, some penalty would have to be issued.  Or you might have a situation where you find out that another player is an android, and this point, you know that you are too.  You get this unspoken alliance with that person.  Like I said, there's some pretty rich gameplay experiences to be explored here, and not only do I think that a BR inspired game is far from impossible, but I think a good game can come of it.

I had some other ideas in my BR-leaning brainstorms.  I thought about putting the mood dial from the book in, and that would give you different bonuses depending on what "mood" you left your home in.

So yeah, that's what I've got so far.  Still no idea on victory conditions.  Richest android hunter is an easy way out, but I do like the idea of playing out a personal story.  And of course, you find out you are android, how you win would have to change.

With that, I give the floor to you guys.

There Will Be Games
Josh Look (He/Him)
Staff Podcaster

One night during the summer of 1997, Josh Look's cool uncle who owned a comic shop taught him how to play Magic the Gathering. The game set off his imagination in a way that he could not sleep that night, and he's been fascinated by games ever since. He spent many afternoons during his high school years skipping homework to play Dungeons & Dragons and paint Warhammer minatures, going on to discover hobby board games in his early 20s. He's been a writer for Fortress Ameritrash and is the creator and co-host of the geek culture podcast, The Wolfman's Lounge. He enjoys games that encourage a heavy amount of table talk and those that explore their themes beyond just their settings.

Articles and Podcasts by Josh

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