Broad Vision or Narrow Scope: Musings Part I



When we set to design materials, we traditionally go with a broad, sandbox approach, but I was toying with the idea of creating something narrow in scope. This wouldn’t be a mainline product for us. This is something more or less just for fun, a mental exercise if you will. I’m thinking about the pros and cons to doing it. An example would be “a struggle for survival aboard a derelict spacecraft” as opposed to a “space opera or space horror” setting. ┬áIt’s something to get ready for another bout of design which I’ll beginning next week in earnest. This week, I’ll be wrapping up the support materials I’ve been diligently working away on for Iron Dynasty consisting of adventures and other goodies which we hope to start spinning out next month.

Some things I’d want to do if I did it in a narrow scope?

1. Have the rules self contained.

2. Have a simple system.

3. Have an adventure integrated into the core of the system.

4. Provide variations on 3.

Essentially, I think if a proper adventure generation system was spun out, then it would nearly run itself.

If I don’t craft something from scratch, I think using a FATE CORE, akin to that found in Diaspora might be a great place to start. I have some other musing about the system, but too much to do until then.

I’d love to hear what style of game you prefer: broad (sandbox style) or narrow (focused vision).

Until next time, I bid you, dear reader, adieu!

2 Notes on, Broad Vision or Narrow Scope: Musings Part I

  1. As much as I love a sprawling, epic world/game into which I can truly sink my teeth, the truth is that I simply don’t have the time these days to play or run such a beast. And even if I somehow were to find the time, it would be impossible (without taking hostages) to find enough other players able to make the same level of commitment.

    For example, I’ve got a copy of the Edge of Midnight RPG I picked up cheap at a con a couple years ago. I was very excited about the game when it came out, and thrilled to find it cheap… but still haven’t read the thing because it’s 300+ pages long. I’m intimidated, and fear trying to recruit players. (“Want to play a game? Here, read this. No, not the whole thing, only these six chapters describing the world and character creation.”)

    So I’m voting for you to chase that focused project. My only request is that you leave it open-ended enough that players can keep going if they like after “finishing” the game. IMHO, too many of today’s hyper-focused “story games” suffer for this lack. Once you’ve told the story, there’s nothing more to be done with the game — aside from finding a new group to play it with, I guess.

  2. Insightful response. Your comments echo some of the thoughts I didn’t write out, especially considering the time constraints of many folks and having a game “focused but not restrictive”.

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