I want to play more games about smooches. I however, am not powerless to the whims of a games industry in this regard – I can just make my own, and therefore, I think I should. Through this month, I’ve just been jotting down some notes here about possible ideas in that space. Consider this a peek at process.
What do I want to do? I am pretty sure I don’t want a competitive game about smooches, so that puts me in cooperative space.
Do I have a player count? Two players would be really convenient, because a cooperative game tends to take the form of a complex puzzle two people are stuck trying to work out together. But I don’t want to make a game that says ‘romantic relationships are two people.’
How Big Do I Want It To Be? Oo, well, what have I seen lately in terms of card game engines and how big are they?
One idea I saw recently is Everdell, where there’s a common group of cards for people to build with. There’s also Purrlock Holmes on the Trail of Furriarty, which uses asymmetrical communication – there’s something of mine other players can see but I can’t, and I need to work it out. Also I saw the magnificently tight Avignon, which uses cards to represent a space between two players. That’s got some cool ideas in it.
Everdell has the room for a big game, like Star Realms massive, with the common pool of cards creating early game variance without needing lots of redundant cards. Purrlock Holmes is a lot more like an ordinary deck of cards, and I do kind of like that idea, especially because it can scale up and down just by adding or removing cards. And Avignon is obviously a small number of cards, and using the same idea space seems reasonable.
My field drafter game based on Osum is also an option, too? Where you deal cards out in a grid and players get to peek, build and etcetera on them? Could I do something with that?
What Themes Work? I think one idea I like is the notion of a deck of cards that represents a set of characters working together – maybe if it was just three characters, with a player taking one each (an optional third?) as they try to work on something…
There’s a deck deconstructor. A common deck of cards that’s full of problems and you can spend time and energy getting past a problem now, and then you can cooperate together to do things that get the problem gone for good? Oh, decks could have suits, and players can only pick things from their suits, and combos explicitly are designed too only work across suits. Could even be a mundane ‘living a domestic life with your smoochbuddy’ game with problems like laundry and rent.
Arranging mutually exclusive guests to your Big Gay wedding (player cards that have a masc or femme on either side, dressed up to wed? Hm).
Oh, the field drafter could be starting out with initial problems that are ‘buried’ and understanding one another is the big important part of the game. Players could even start their turns, close their eyes, and other players lay down cards on the field for them to find, as they ‘build life’ together.
Another thing I like is Sprawlopolis’ and Purrlock’s hand-sharing mechanic, where the cards you pass vs the cards you keep represent messages you try to send. Could even go with Onitama, where the cards’ leave’ hands and live ‘between players’ and you could use that to send messages to each player?
This is what notes and draft ideas look like. I’m not sure which I’ll do, not sure what’s best. But we’ll see what we see as I browse through resources and other game ideas that work best.