2015-03-30 : Dirty Tricks in My Games
In my game Murderous Ghosts, there are two dirty tricks.
1. On the bottom of every page in the explorer's book, there's a note: "If you've had enough and you're ready to stop playing, turn to 48 instead." On page 48, spoilers! You wake up safe in your bed and it was just a bad dream. This is, as you'd guess, basically never a satisfying ending to the game. Furthermore, the corresponding page in the ghosts' book says that congratulations, you've won by frightening the explorer player into quitting.
So one way to win Murderous Ghosts, as the ghosts player, is to make the game so unpleasant for the explorer player that they'd rather quit than keep playing.
2. In the explorer's book, it says that if you manage to resolve the violence that keeps the ghost here, seeing the ghost to its eternal rest, you win. In the ghosts' book, though, it says that explorers who are trying to help ghosts to peace are extremely easy to murder, so one strategy is to drop false hints, and use the explorer's curiousity and compassion to draw them into a situation they can't escape.
When you're playing with an unexperienced explorer player, the text of the explorer's book is your lying accomplice.
I'll stand by both of these dirty tricks as essential pieces of Murderous Ghosts' game design. Small as they are, the game wouldn't work without them; it wouldn't be the game I wanted to create. When I designed Murderous Ghosts, I included them on purpose.
On the other hand, I must and do recognize that they limit Murderous Ghosts' appeal. Including them in the design means that some people who play the game have a bad time and never play it again, and tell their friends it's not good, and so on. When I included them in Murderous Ghosts' design, I had to accept this.
Most of my games include dirty tricks, traps for the players to stumble into.
In Apocalypse World, the hardholder is a trap, and the hardholder's -2weird stat line is a double trap.
In Dogs in the Vineyard, "yes, your gun can be big and excellent, and in fact you can have as many big and excellent guns as you want" is a trap. Taking the blow when you're just talking is a trap, in that it gets you used to taking the blow when the danger is small, so that you aren't appropriately wary when the danger is greater.
Rock of Tahamaat, Space Tyrant is nothing but a big trick on Rock of Tahamaat's player, who can only watch events unfold with increasing helplessness and desperation.
You can win The Doomed Pilgrim basically only if you can trick or trap the internet into playing to lose. Midsummer Wood is similar.
Spin the Beetle might be my only honest game!
1. On 2015-03-30, Vincent said:
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3. On 2015-03-30, Meserach said:
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11. On 2015-03-31, Vincent said:
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14. On 2015-03-31, Gordon said:
15. On 2015-04-01, Vincent said:
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20. On 2015-04-13, Vincent said: