Archive for May 17th, 2006

The Pirate Game

2006 May 17

Ben said I wouldn’t be able to write it quickly. Well, exams are stopping me from writing the entire game text. I explained the whole game to Josh & Shreyas, though, with almost enough details to actually play it.

jonathan: well, there’s this crazy pirate game i’m working on.
jonathan: i’m glad you asked, Shreyas.
jonathan: so it’s a variable player game.
jonathan: for at least 2 and probably no more than 5 or 6 players.
jonathan: there are 3 key characters by default.
jonathan: Mary Read, cross-dressing pirate lover of Anne Bonny.
jonathan: Anne Bonny, cross-dressing pirate lover of Jack Rackam.
jonathan: and Jack Rackam and His Amazing Calico Dreamcoat.
josh: I just want to point out Jacks fondness for young boys, which could possibly have completed that love triangle.
jonathan: yes.
jonathan: all of these three are getting it on with lots of people of both genders.
jonathan: it is a kinky pirate boat full of sex.
josh: it totally was
jonathan: so these are the only characters that HAVE to be in the game.
jonathan: in a two player game, the players mostly play any two of these characters, and the third one is a major NPC.
jonathan: so you can have a story about Anne & Mary feat. Jack.
jonathan: or a story about Mary & Jack feat. Anne.
jonathan: or a story about Jack & Anne feat. Mary.
jonathan: in a 3 player game, one player plays each key character.
jonathan: in a 3+ player game, you invent additional key characters: Anne’s ex-husband, Mary’s ex-husband’s ghost, Anne’s rich lawyer father, the boson, Mary’s pirate lover.
jonathan: each character is represented by a chess piece.
jonathan: Anne is the Black King.
jonathan: Mary is the Black Knight.
jonathan: Jack is the Black Queen.
jonathan: pirates are represented by black chess pieces.
jonathan: law-abiding people, or people opposing the pirates, are white pieces.
jonathan: the chess pieces move about The Broken Wheel.
jonathan: shown here:
jonathan: The Broken Wheel
jonathan: all major pieces have to stay on the Wheel at all times.
jonathan: pawns usually cluster around the outside of the Wheel and can be moved on and off as needed, since they represent minor characters.
jonathan: black pawns are junior pirates, ship hands, cabin boys, casual lovers.
jonathan: white pawns are soldiers, sea kracken, ghosts, bartenders, casual lovers.
jonathan: because you can never have enough casual lovers when you sail on the Revenge.
jonathan: so, play proceeds by turns.
jonathan: each turn is a little micro-scene in a movie.
jonathan: you get a handful of shots with which to depict a short situation or encounter.
jonathan: during your turn, you can move your piece and any pieces not directly controlled by another player.
jonathan: you can also move other players pieces, but only with their permission.
jonathan: in any case, each piece can only move once in a given turn, except for pawns, which can move as much as needed.
jonathan: you move one space at a time around the Wheel, or into the center LOVE/WAR space.
jonathan: you have to cross the center in order to get to Sex and Death, which are broken off from the rest of the wheel.
jonathan: okay, in any case, when you move your own PC piece, or declare that you’re staying in the same space, you begin describing your little micro-scene.
jonathan: you can move other pieces before, after, or during the scene.
jonathan: but once you put your fingers on your piece, your scene starts.
jonathan: say I’m playing Jack, so I move the Black Queen into the “See” space. there’s currently no other pieces there.
jonathan: I say, “Good gracious Lord ‘av Mercy, what be that black smudge of turd on yonder far horizon?”
jonathan: “Boson! Get you scurvy arse over here w’ me spyglass!”
jonathan: and then I move the piece for the boson, a Black Bishop, into my space.
jonathan: and i narrate the boson’s arrival and his conversation with Jack.
jonathan: and then I ask Josh, playing Anne, if he’ll let me move her piece.
jonathan: he says yes.
jonathan: I move the Black King into the same space.
jonathan: before I say anything, Josh says, “What the devil are you fellers staying at, ay?”
jonathan: having joined the scene, he is now an active player, though he can’t move pieces, since it’s still my turn.
jonathan: eventually the scene ends, and control passes to the next player.
jonathan: i’m unsure about the scene ending yet.
jonathan: but i want turns to be rather short.
josh: so pieces can move around at will? Except if they have to go through the center?
jonathan: 1 move per turn, except for pawns.
jonathan: that’s important.
jonathan: so you can’t have people wandering in and out of scenes, unless it’s a pawn fetching something.
josh: right, but I mean they can move more than one space
jonathan: no.
jonathan: one space per turn.
jonathan: so if the Black Queen isn’t on a neighboring space, i can’t move her in.
josh: aha, okay
josh: could you move her closer?
jonathan: yes, with permission.
josh: cool
jonathan: so you can team up with other players to have your pieces move two or more times a round.
jonathan: this encourages people to work together.
shreyas: good so far
jonathan: each space is a general subject for the scene.
jonathan: not an actual location.
jonathan: so you can stay on the same space and have a scene on the same subject in a different location.
jonathan: you can also extend scenes by say, having the next turn be Josh’s and have him choose to continue an earlier scene.
jonathan: the only time you can have sex or death occur to a significant piece (not a pawn) is on the Sex and Death spaces.
jonathan: pawns can be killed or sexed up on any space.
josh: woo!
jonathan: also notice that Sex and Death are non-coincidentally close together.
jonathan: just like in a horror movie, you may try for Sex and end up with Death, or the other way around.
jonathan: other people can only move your piece with permission.
jonathan: but, for example, the Death space doesn’t care who dies there.
jonathan: and the Sex space doesn’t care who has Sex.
josh: is their scarcity of pieces? Like are there only 32 character possible? Does killing off a pawn mean there are less to go around?
jonathan: however, notice that your piece cannot end up on any space that you don’t want to be on.
jonathan: Josh, i don’t know if there are infinite pawns or not.
jonathan: i kind of like having each piece be unreplacable.
jonathan: makes an eventually blood opera likely.
jonathan: okay, i think that’s everything except the LOVE/WAR space.
josh: yes
jonathan: the LOVE/WAR space is hot.
jonathan: in the LOVE/WAR space, you have to have at least one PC character.
jonathan: if there are no PC characters there, no one can be in the space.
jonathan: lesser pieces have to be escorted there by bigger pieces.
jonathan: in the LOVE/WAR space, you are either preparing for LOVE or WAR, which is to say, Sex or Death, or, more likely, both at the same time.
jonathan: it is the most emo of spaces.
shreyas: *prepares the eyeliner*
jonathan: this is where people beat their hearts to each other, break the hearts of others, backstab, double cross, or otherwise emotionally and physically destroy other characters.
josh: so you don’t do that elsewhere?
jonathan: well, yeah, you sorta can, but this is where, in Dogs terms, you actually roll dice and have a conflict.
jonathan: with the results meaning a move to Sex or Death.
jonathan: you can do that stuff in other places, but it doesn’t have real consequences.
jonathan: you can’t kill major pieces in other spaces.
jonathan: and you can’t Sex them up.
jonathan: LOVE/WAR is a means to an end.
jonathan: it’s also a shortcut to any space you want to go to.
josh: major pieces ared efined as?
jonathan: major pieces are anything that’s not a pawn.
josh: ah, okay
josh: but wait
josh: when you move to love/war are you automatically going to either sex or death?
jonathan: no.
jonathan: but it’s a possibility.
jonathan: where it wasn’t before.
jonathan: which is what makes it exciting.
jonathan: it’s risk.
josh: what be the purpose of the other spaces, if this be the only one where consequential story unfolds?
jonathan: well, imagine a movie that was just people being emo.
jonathan: that would be a sucky movie.
jonathan: so you have moments of high emo broken up by manuvering and seduction and the like.
jonathan: LOVE/WAR is the camera zooming in for a close up and people screaming their heads off in joy or pain.
josh: okay
jonathan: LOVE/WAR is the combat system analogue.
jonathan: you don’t want combat ALL the time.