Todd Crapper, award-winning designer of Killshot, cooked up a pretty sweet mechanic that I encountered in the last playtest for High Plains Samurai/Screenplay. High Plains Samurai is basically kung-fu spaghetti western . . . maybe we could call it japchae western. It’s like he was in my head.
Anyway, certain effects last for the duration of a scene. We took some time to demarcate how to measure this duration. Each scene has an intent, and once that intent is met, the scene ends. This was refined so that the intent had to move the story forward, and once the players succeeded in their intent, moved the story forward, and were ready for something more, the scene ended.
I really like that. In Nefertiti Overdrive and Centurion, a scene is based on the concept used in plays, TV, and movies, but it’s not quantified. Demanding an intent, requiring that intent to move the story forward, and then measuring a scene based on meeting that intent works on both a narrative and mechanical level.
The game I am designing now is more fiddly than Nefertiti Overdrive. It isn’t complex by any stretch of the imagination, but there are more moving parts. Scenes based on intent are now going to be one of those moving parts. It just works so well in my mind.
There’s a mechanic to interrupt, and that is also something I’m toying with including – allowing GM’s to interrupt the players’ scene, or have the players interrupt the GM. More thought needs to go into how to use that.
There’s nothing like gaming with another designer to jumptstart creativity.
Japchae is delicious.
You can learn more about High Plains Samurai here.
You can learn more about Killshot here.