Geiger Gamma Outline

2009 Jul 29

This is inspired by conversations with Ping, Ben Robbins, and John Harper last night. If you’ve played a previous version of the game, you might be able to play the Gamma version with just this list, even though Gamma doesn’t exist yet :) In any case, when we eventually get together to play / playtest Geiger — since all of us are invested in having the game finished relatively soon — we’ll probably work from an outline something like this.

01. Explain the Basics
02. Pick a “Ship” (Setting) and “Crew” (Why are the characters there?)
03. Pick a Menace (only generally)
04. Pick a Director
05. Brainstorm Character Archetypes (at least 2x # players)
06. Pick a Friction / “Signal” (Why is shit about to go down, w/o menace?)
07. Brainstorm Character Goals (= # players?, write on separate sheet, unassigned)
08. Pick Potential Survivors (slightly more than # players)
09. Cast the Survivors (and others, if you like)
10. Pick Character Names
11. Pick Survival Dice
12. Pick Initial Advantage Dice
13. Run Trailer
14. Pick Working Title
15. Explain the Director’s Role
16. Run Prelude
17. Explain Menace Dice
18. Assign Initial Menace Die
19. Explain Confrontations (including the Final Confrontation)
20. Explain Conditions (and adjust if necessary)
21. Explain Gaining Advantage Dice
22. Explain Gaining Survival Dice
23. Explain Achieving Goals
24. Run the Game
25. Explain and Run Epilogues

Also, if folks haven’t seen Jake Richmond’s new game, Ocean, you should check it out. It seems very similar to Geiger Counter in many respects — though I haven’t read it yet — but is also doing something a bit different, since the main characters have amnesia. It’s like Geiger + Penny for My Thoughts / PsiRun or something. As evidenced by Jake also working on the 16-bit-inspired Magical Land of Yeld, we’re clearly sharing some sort of unintentional hivemind.

10 Responses to “Geiger Gamma Outline”

  1. ping Says:

    That’s it! Print this page out and play! :) Seriously, it’s a beautiful game and the procedural approach is a winner so I’m excited to be able to help see it on its way.

  2. Cool. There are a few interesting things I’m interested in trying out or at least hearing you folks’ reaction to:

    A. Unify Advantage & Survival Dice as just Survival Dice. They help you survive, you start with 1 or 2 of them and gain more through acquisition, including the deaths of your fellows.

    B. Not placing additional dice on the map from the beginning, but keeping them on a sideboard (near the Goals, probably) as a shared group resource that can be placed in new “rooms” as you draw them.

    C. Trying out a chase-style game like Pitch Black, though probably not at our first playtest, since we have more than enough stuff to work out already.

  3. nemomeme Says:

    I played an early version and am curious about step 8:

    08. Pick Potential Survivors (slightly more than # players).

    Don’t have my copy in front of me but don’t recall that.

    I’ve picked up Ocean and am curious to compare and contrast.

  4. If you played the Beta, the number of main characters is exactly the same as the number of players, but the GPNW folks have convinced me that the Alpha rules — which call for slightly more main characters than players — are the way to go, unless you have 6-7 players or something, but that would be a really huge game.

  5. Steve Says:

    This is great timing, Jonathan. I’m going to run Geiger Counter at Confusion in New Zealand next weekend, and I’ll be applying this checklist to it.

  6. Ben Robbins Says:

    Am I missing the choose (or randomly assign) goals step?

  7. From our conversation on Wed, I thought we weren’t doing that anymore, but going with John’s suggestion of…

    A. Brainstorm a number of goals, probably 4-5.

    B. Write them down on a separate piece of paper in very general terms. “Get the disk.” “Get revenge for past slights.” “Consummate my unrequited crush.”

    C. Any character can potentially achieve any goal, but no more than 1 goal achieved per surviver, probably. Multiple characters can definitely have a conflict over the same goal.

    D. Goals can only be achieved once the menace has all 8 dice, but can be developed before then.

    E. Each goal achieved subtracts 1 die from the menace’s pool.

    Yes? No?

  8. Ben Robbins Says:

    The problem with that was multiple people thinking their character was “the traitor” (for example), and then having their plot line skunked when someone else beat them to it. I think it could get incoherent.

    My vote was brainstorming common goals & secretly assigning (randomly or choosing, whichever). So all players know what goals exist, but they don’t know who has which. That way they have a clue to play up threads that other players start.

    Also: you have to involve another character to complete a goal.

  9. Ben Robbins Says:

    Also, you could make some goals that were multi-faceted, so they had direct conflict: one goal is to expose the secret, but a flip side of that same goal is to make sure the secret is never exposed. Somebody has the former, someone else the latter. But who?!?

    Not every goal should be two-sided, but putting in one or two would pretty much guarantee conflict.

  10. Aha! I do remember that discussion now. Both of those are good suggestions.

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