Retro: The Good Ship Revenge

2007 Feb 19

This project is an easy one to start off with because all work on it was concentrated in a few days, right before I got distracted by the Avatar game. The plan was to write a game similar to my freeform duets (Heavenly Kingdoms, Kazekami Kyoko Kills Kublai Khan, Waiting/Tea), but for a variable number of players. The game also drew on The Pale Continent‘s use of chess pieces and ideas about incorporating board game techniques that would later see the light of day in Avatar and the Exalted hack.

The premise was terrific. Anne Bonny, Mary Read, and Calico Jack Rackam command the rollicking casual-sex-and-death pirate ship, The Revenge. The original subtitle was “Yo ho ow, emo pirates!”

Two to five players would control the three co-captains and a few other important characters which would be represented as major chess pieces (not Pawns). A few other major pieces would represent important NPCs. All minor characters are Pawns. Black pieces are pirates, white pieces are lawful citizens.

Players take turns moving pieces around a board shaped like a broken wheel, with each space representing a basic piratical activity to frame the next scene about. Major characters would spend these scenes engaging in sex and violence (or whatever else they desired) with any minor characters they liked and any major characters whose players agreed to participate. However, in order to have sex with or kill a major NPC or PC, their pieces have to cross over the treacherously emo “Love & War” space (where some undeveloped resolution system would kick in) and from there to spaces specifically for “Sex” and “Death.”

All in all, a very fun little game and one I’d love to return to at some point. It seems like it could be whipped up into a fully working 10-page booklet without much trouble. Perhaps I could sell it alongside Seadog Tuxedo as a couple of short pirate games.

– 2006 May 14: Initial Wheel Design and Discussion
– 2006 May 15: Design Goals
– 2006 May 17: Explaining the Rules to Josh and Shreyas Over Chat
– 2006 May 18: Second Draft of the Broken Wheel

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