Archive for July 25th, 2008

Mike Sands on Geiger

2008 Jul 25

Mike Sands organized a game of Geiger Counter recently and had some good things to say about it. He sent me an email linking to his post and also said:

“I must say, there wasn’t much of the usual playtest kinks, it seemed pretty solid overall. Your new character sheet design looks like it serves to deal with our biggest issue (i.e. deciding what condition to pick).”

Rock. That makes me feel really good, that the text already seems to be working for people, even if it’s not nearly as good as I want it to be. Listening to the recent Theory from the Closet podcast with Thor has made me want to throw out my current draft and re-write it from scratch, but we’ll see what I have time for before GenCon.

I think Mike’s comparison to Eric Provost’s The Infected is spot-on. Geiger is not about creating really great or memorable characters, necessarily. It’s about the movies we love despite the fact that the characters don’t necessarily have a lot of depth. Even Ripley is ultimately not that complicated, but the movies succeed anyway. It’s very much just about structuring “what happens” to be really fun and exciting.

The Dancer and the Dawn

2008 Jul 25

Continuing an outline of the early play of Transantiago. This text is all ugly, but it gets at what I’m ultimately aiming for.

THE DANCER:

The Assassin has strangled this world of suffering, garroting it with the crimson thread called Desire. As this world dies, the parts worth saving depart along the Night Road which pours from the fatal wound, towards the World To Come. Engulfed in the Night Road, the Assassin is lost amidst the hustle and bustle of those departing, trapped amidst a station that we will name after him: Assassination Station. I will now place this station on one of the Stars Amid The Darkest Night, to show where the Assassin may be found.

[PLACE ASSASSIN STATION TOKEN ON ONE OF THE FOUR STARS AT THE BEGINNING OF THE NIGHT ROAD]

It is my duty, the duty of the Dancer, to bring the dawn. The sun rises on the last day this world will ever know, before all the goodness departs along the Road of Night and all the excess is lost in the ashes. It rises on the Songbird, who is departing Assassination Station, leaving the depths of the previous night, to begin searching for Those Who Come In The Night.

[PLACE SONGBIRD TOKEN ON ASSASSIN STATION]

Where shall the Songbird fly, as she sings a final welcome to the sun?

[PASS BOOK TO SONGBIRD]

And then the Songbird takes the first turn, leaving from the first station.

When the Corsair takes the second turn, as befitting a pirate, he begins at whichever station he chooses, forcibly seizing it and placing it on the map, before departing from there. This ensures that there are two disconnected subway lines in the beginning. Perhaps the Traveler does this as well, starting from some station he’s wandered into? Do I need to start with some flavorful unique thing for all 8 initial bodhisattvas?

The Gardener’s Introduction

2008 Jul 25

Play of Transantiago begins with a passage something like this, read by the Gardener.

GARDENER:

When the Buddha was on his deathbed, a group of children came to him and asked: “Teacher, why is there a ‘Santiago’ in Chile, a ‘Santiago’ in Cuba, yet another ‘Santiago’ in the Philippines, a ‘Santiago’ in the Cape Verde Islands, a ‘Santiago’ in California (though that one’s called ‘San Diego’), at least thirty ‘Santiagos’ in Portugal, five in Spain, one in the Galapagos…?” But by the time the children finished their question, the Buddha had died.

Ānanda took the children aside and said: “Brave Ones, the Beloved Teacher has traded in his fleshy prison for a body made of rainbows. Lucky for you, I too once asked him your question, so I can share the answer with you. In truth, the mirrored city, Transantiago, is a perfect jewel carried within the mind of Lokeśvara, the Lord of the Earth, who scatters reflections of it as he pleases amidst the grime of this world. But, I would advise you: if in the future you meet a bodhisattva on the road, pray render your speech more succinct, else he escape like the wind in your hands.”

Following Ānanda’s advice, it is my duty, the duty of the Gardener, to sheer away excessive blabber with a snip of the fingers, tending the conversation by keeping it well pruned.

[PASS THE BOOK TO YOUR LEFT, TO THE DANCER]

Transan Board at Lulu

2008 Jul 25

Just ordered a test print of the Transantiago playtest board from Lulu, to see how their poster prints work. Unfortunately, it was $9 for shipping, which I guess has to do with the cardboard tube they mail it in. Weird. It’ll be strange if people have to pay $30 for board + booklet on a ‘free’ game that I’m making zero profit off of. I might have to check out other options.

In any case, I’m excited about getting to playtest the new version, either in Boston or at GenCon. Here’s the final playtest version of the board.