I’ve been unable to get Save the Singularity out of my mind. It’s actually kind of annoying-I’m in a really beautiful location that I can’t fully appreciate, and I’m not even able to think about Professor Pugnacious as much as I’d like to. And the thoughts don’t seem to be leading anywhere! Very frustrating.
In trying to narrow down the part of Game Design Space that I’m searching in to find what to use for Save the Singularity, I’m trying to figure out what restrictions are good ideas, and see how that limits me and what mechanics it suggests.
I don’t actually see a ton of potential for the board that isn’t just copying Pandemic. There is some, but it doesn’t seem worth the expense, size, and effort of a board. So let’s drop the board, and make it just cards and custom dice. Are the cards really necessary? Can we make it just a dice game?
Okay, let’s try that. We want to have just dice. We want a way for enemy scores to go up, our score to go up, and obviously, some sort of decision to make to try to change the ratio of them. The obvious mechanic here is Push Your Luck. I’ve tried a bunch of different die distributions, and tried over and over to come up with combinations of results that interact well and are interesting, but every time I do I think “oh this can be made better by simplifying it a little, let’s combine these traits, let’s tweak this probability a little, oh wait now I have Zombie Dice.” Zombie Dice is really cool, but I can’t just copy it! I need to come up with something new. Hopefully something as interesting and catchy and replayable. Without the Zombie theme I doubt anything I do can catch on in popularity nearly as well, but I still want it to be new and unique. Ah well.
Back to the drawing board. Maybe I’ll give those cards another thought…
If you enjoy reading about Game Design, you will probably enjoy Steve Jackson’s Designer’s Notes on Zombie Dice.