So Game Chef 2017 has come and gone and I am without an entry. I really gave it a fair amount of thought, but at the end of the day, time escaped me. So, rather than continue to finish the work I was doing, I’m going to share some of the concepts and ideas I tinkered with.
First, what exactly were we looking at in this year’s contest? The theme was borders. So the basis for any game had to revolve around borders or boundaries in some way. To add spice, this year’s ingredients were yarn, echo, smoke and cut. 2-3 of these “ingredients” needed to be incorporated into any design.
To be frank, the ingredients are where I went into an infinite loop. The idea of yarn as an ingredient got me thinking about using a resolution mechanic. In early iterations of the mechanism, I looked at using thumbtacks to hold down the yarn. Strands would originate from a player’s position at the table and could be linked to other players. Another approach had each player with their own board, connecting their yarn from one power center to two others to determine their capabilities. This latter was inspired heavily by the way magic works in White Wolf’s Mage games.
Something that occurrect to me was that I was missing the actual theme of the game… Kind of a problem that…
This led me down the path of looking at using the same idea, but sharing the yarn across the table. In several versions of this mechanic, the yarn overlapped in geometric patterns. Players could cut overlapping threads for some benefit, but at the cost of weakening the bonds holding the players together. Some variations of this idea focused on games of managing empires (ala Reign to some degree) with the overlapping yarn showing the strength of the realm. These ideas were some of the last ones I played with and seemed to incorporate the requirements best. That said, none of them really clicked with me in a way that got me excited.
In the end, none of these ideas came together in a compelling way, so I let them lie fallow. I may play with them again at some point (especially the early-stage Mage-inspired idea). That said, I’m excited to see what others come up with for their entries!