Thursday, March 16, 2006


Well, the rules for the pre-alpha run of Livewire are now officially available:

Livewire, pre-alpha rules (10 pages, including quick-reference sheet)

I have to admit, I'm not at all sure this game will work. The problem is pressure. Games run best (in fact, games run only) when there is pressure to play them. There is very little pressure in this game, so I think it will fail.

The thing is, you can't just slap pressure into a game. Not every player responds well to pressure. And many more players will respond poorly to pressure unless it is specifically geared to them. But the players who don't need pressure still need a pressure-filled environment to be intrigued by... it's kind of a lose-lose situation. If you include pressure, you drive them away, if you don't include pressure, you let them drift away.

What I have done is created a "voluntary pressure" system... but I'm not sure it's going to be enough.

We'll find out, I suppose.

Comments are, as ever, appreciated. I did think about this game for quite a while, so if you think I missed something, chances are I thought of it and trimmed it, or that the game does address it in a way which does not need to be stated in the rules.

However, this is the pre-alpha ruleset, so... the rules might not be the clearest thing ever.


kestrel404 said...

There are two likely outcomes here. Either the game will start off slow and peter out, or it will remain unplayed.

Why? As you said, lack of pressure. However, there is a form of 'pressure' that could do wonders for this game, and I could see it becoming a cult classic with very little effort. I'll start putting that effort into effect when I get a chance. What needs to be done, you might ask?

There needs to be some existing material. A basis from which to work, something for the players to start off with. And it needs to be both well written and inviting to people who like to tamper and meddle. Just having a system isn't enough. You need to have at least a small amount of content to get the enthusiast player interested. Once the enthusiast has gotten their claws into the game, they will generate enough content for the casual players. And that's when the game really takes off.

But without that starter content, all you've got is system. And that's generally not enough to drag in even the enthusiasts. I can see the potential in this system. It's like a larp version of the Forum I linked to, with wackier rules. My 'pressure' is looking forward to seeing the content that's generated. I wish I could play, but distance makes it unfeasible. Though I might join in if there is a reasonable amount of activity at gaming weekend.

Hmm...time to make some content.

By the way Craig, I'm extrememly jealous of your ability to crank out game systems like that. I haven't even finished the basic layout for my design yet. Did you start this right after your last post, or did you have a head start?

Anonymous said...

(Craig says:)

I started it after KFtCGtRPG ended - about two weeks ago. It took about five hours of work.

Yes, I know exactly what you mean: there's nothing to lure the players in. But, believe it or not, I knew that would be a problem.

That's why I made character creation a rather intense process: I encouraged, gave advice, and most importantly of all, insisted that they think of a first "plot arc" that would get them off their butt and trying to accomplish something.

I decided that was better than having a "base state", because I wanted this to be a "pick up and play" game rather than a "read read read and play" game.

The great thing about this game (in theory) is that the slow players will continually come in and re-inject the fast players with their enthusiasm. I have several players who can only play one or two days a week, but have their interests for those days planned out a week in advance. :D

If you wanted to play, there's no reason it can't be PBeM in conjunction with live play...

kestrel404 said...

Ah, so you're cheating on the 'no GM' aspect by helping out with character creation. That could work, to a limited extent. Of course, you'll want your other players to recruit more people if you don't want the game to peter out eventually. I think this could become a VERY long running game, if given the chance.

As for PBEM, meh, I've got enough to do online as it is. I need to get out and see people more. I just live out in the boonies, making that hard.

Craig Perko said...

Well, if the game starts moving, I think that people will try to get other people to join specifically because they'll need help with something. These "direct cascade joins" will be less likely to continue playing, but it's still something.

What I'm hoping for are "indirect cascade joins" - when the game creates enough spin that people actually talk about it and are obviously having fun, other people will want to try to join. These people are very likely to continue playing, if they are made aware that they have to jump in. (Most games, you make a character and people come to you. This game's primary weakness is that that doesn't happen.)