Update: RA-Nime

Hey, remember this game idea?

What have we learned about this game in a few months?

What It Is

The game, under the prototype name RAnime is a bidding game about building the components of an anime series that focuses on a cast of girl characters that fit certain archetypes, and tropes and scenarios that can be added to your series’ plot. It’s played out over a series of bidding rounds, where each round, you choose between either beginning an auction for the plot points in the current lot, or you pull a tile out of the bag and add it to the lot.

The game is simple as heck; the basics of what you’re developing in your tableau is characters, and tiles that react to the types of characters they are and the ways they can fit together. Originally it was very much a big heap, because its inspiration was the same; order was important, but you just had to arrange them.

Also? I apparently didn’t organise my files for this one, and so I have some spreadsheets that I can’t find copies of? That meant it was time to reconstruct things.

What I’ve Done

I thought by now I’d have made a physical prototype. I haven’t – I’ve been distracted by other ideas. But I have learned through Cloudguides prototyping that some of the ideas I was working with were not nearly as solid as I thought they’d be. Particularly, small tiles made at Gamecrafter aren’t great at conveying text in the same way; so I might need to shift from the tiles as primarily carrying information.

Based on that I’ve revised the design to instead include a player card, and making the tiles relate to that instead. Particularly, my idea is that rather than including the characters’ images on the tiles, the characters have a ‘slot’ on the player tile, and a symbol that signifies them. This also means when you buy a lot, these tiles can represent slots for each character, each season, and that means you can make a choice about important details about how they interact. Gives you more control over things.

Something like this!

What I’ve Learned

The core idea is built around Ra, a really well regarded Reiner Knizier game that was, as far as I understood it, out of print. Except now it’s not out of print, a new version’s been made and it has some revisions. Which is a bit of a whoopsy to me – I should have looked that up.

Also, like, Ra‘s really good. I started with it as an idea space because I wanted to work on the idea of how storytelling is often making parts you need to have work, and how genre media is often made based on a checklist of traits rather than an actual eye towards specific qualities. At that level, it succeeds. The thing is, trying to cram all that information onto Ra-sized tiles makes it obscure and harder to observe the game state.

There’s a redesign of the tokens underway, and a revision of how simply the traits relate to one another; you can give tokens to different characters and when the scoring happens, you clear a bunch of those tokens away. A score tracker is possible when there are player boards, too. The next step is to make some player boards, revise the pieces to have clearer, starker iconography, and see what that looks like when I put it in Gamecrafter. This also creates a crowding of space and player engagement, and –


Look look look.

This is where I dive into excel and start doing weird stuff. But, here’s the parameters:

  • I need enough bidding tokens that X players can bid for N rounds.
  • I need enough tiles that N rounds of bidding can have an interesting average number of tiles in it
  • I need X player boards

This is all ‘how long is a piece of string,’ though. And now, when you have characters you can play into, you can make it so that the tiles you play have some like, attribution, some factor.

Nouns and verbs, nouns and verbs. I worry sometimes that these posts look like I’m losing my mind.

But here are some things you can do when there are characters you can attribute effects to:

  • You can play tiles into a character to ‘build up’ that character for each season
  • Tiles can be typed so that they can only apply to characters that fit an archetype
  • Tiles can be typed so that they can only be applied to characters without another tile
  • Tiles can be typed such that they can link characters.

So an example is that each of your five slots are five different characters of an archetype; characters can have two symbols that simplify the kind of thing that gives them character development, and tiles can have those symbols on them. If your characters are A, B, C, D, and E, you can have ten possible combinations (AB, AC, AD, AE, BC, BD, BE, CD, CE, and DE); you pull a DE tile in an auction, you can put it on D or E, and then the characters can have restrictions (like a Senpai character must have the most tiles if possible).

Another idea I like is like the Nile/Flood tiles in Ra, where the Nile tiles are worthless unless you get at least one Flood tile, in this, you can stack up Tease tiles on separate characters… but Tease tiles are worthless unless you also pull at least one Payoff tile – ie, your anime series may have the girls flirt, but if they don’t pay off then you’re just a giant jerk. I want these Tease tiles then, need to last the whole game, staying on your tableau until you get Payoffs for them, and at the end of the game, you need to have a Payoff for every 2 tease slots you have. Which I know, isn’t super inclusive of threesomes, but I guess you need more payoffs to make it clear how things work? Hm.

Ra has ‘god’ tiles, which I’m substituting as Mystery tiles; at the end of the game, if you have Mystery tiles leftover, those are dangling plot threads and they punish you.

And… that’s the update!

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