Now that we have the Solar System out of the way, time to focus on my own game, Zombie Cinema. It’s a pretty routine Forge-style narrativist-formalist-dramatist (yes, that is a joke; yes, that means something) zombie romp in many ways, but there are some innovations, especially in the area of social context. Luckily the game design is completely done and honed, thanks to the fact that the game was released a year ago in Finnish. I know exactly what’s going on with this one, so it’s all a matter of some minor editing and stuff.
The most important details still to be finangled with the zombie game are the rules, really. My basic notion here is best condensed into a couple of points:
- The game is a boardgame-rpg hybrid in the sense that it utilizes the social context and mechanical tools of boardgaming to represent the roleplaying game (or “story game” as I’m apparently calling it in English). Instead of character sheets, players manipulate a game board and cards.
- The game is pretty simple, rules-wise: Zombie Cinema, as the name implies, is supposed to allow a group to play through a story with the extent and content of a zombie movie. This is a pretty narrow agenda, so I simply don’t need a lot of rules. The game really just has a story arc mechanic and conflict resolution rules.
- Boardgames are supposed to be playable without rules expertise – you just open the box, read the rules once through and go. The rules are objective. They don’t concern themselves with guidance, only with the objective facts of the rules.
All this considered, I have this crazy goal of trying to fit the game’s rules on one tri-fold sheet printed on two sides. It’s not a lot of space, so every sentence counts. I did write up and lay out a rough draft of this in the spring and even had Ben Lehman look it over, but I’ll still want to sit down and think hard about this before the week’s end to see if I could improve this in any way without making it any longer.
This would be much easier if I was absolutely constricted to this particular lenght of the rules, but in principle there is nothing stopping me from commissioning two sheets for the rules; it just doubles the printing costs for the rules, that’s all. So if I were to put in a second sheet, I’d need to actually have a reason and get some use out of it. So far I’ve considered writing up an extensive play example for the second sheet, the theory being that these rules alone might not allow a given group to set up the game independently without ever seeing how the game is played. As for that, you be the judge: