Thursday 6 May 2021

Bastionland Editorial #9 - Sparks

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I've spoken before about how Intergalactic Bastionland occupies a slightly weird space right now. I've been thinking about it intermittently for nearly a year, but as a result of the last year being the way it was, I've found it difficult to even put together something to test out at the table.

Well I'm back to tinkering at it, in the hope that the coming months will grant me a table of friends to ride its maiden voyage.

In the most recent work I've been doing on this game, I'm spending more time than ever on creating sparks. Not Spark Tables as they are in Electric Bastionland, but a slightly different method for combining a couple of dice rolls into the seed of an idea, be it a place, character, fallout, or vague hints at a direction for the narrative.

It feels like this is the game, more so than whether I decide to drop a particular rule from Electric Bastionland or add in a new one for space-stuff.

It's all closely related to what I wrote about getting the game into your head, filling the game with stuff that's going to bring your table to life and inject unexpected ideas, not rules that are there because I feel like they should be.

I wanted Electric Bastionland to be a very small set of rules surrounded by a living world that leaps off the page. But could we go further?

Last year I wrote this manifesto to keep myself on track. To lay out a challenge to myself to keep pushing the boundaries of minimalist design with rich flavour, and avoid drifting toward the middle-ground of RPG design. Make something that some people love rather than something that everybody quite likes.

So I'll be testing out the fruit of this idea some time soon. A blind step deeper into the mists of minimalism. I might turn back, screaming, but I always want to explore those limits.

Bye for now,

1 comment:

  1. One thing that I did to avoid confusing my younger gaming group is rename HP. I called it Dodge. My players always complained about not being able to "roll to dodge", so I treat HP as "dodging" attacks. Works great.