Friday, 23 November 2012

NaGaDeMon Day 23: Play Test Part 2

Last night was the second and final play test for Lego FU, at least within the month of NaGaDeMon itself. The changes I made after the last one seemed to work well, so they're going to be committed to the document.

A surprising emergent property, though, was the replacement of the standard FU Conditions of Injured and Dying with No Legs and Disassembled. The players started the night asking, "I shoot at him. Do I kill him?" and moved to "I shoot at him. Do I disassemble him?"

The scenes of minifigs in pieces on the ground, trying to hop around and reconnect with their legs or trying to roll their heads around to reconnect with their torsos were interesting to say the least. All sense of blood-thirstiness vanished immediately, even though one player insisted on their minifig carrying the head of a captured bounty back to the bounty office.

This time I also remembered the Creationary box. It's hard to build something convincing in 60 seconds, it seems, and worked about half the time. I'll definitely leave that as an optional rule.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

NaGaDeMon Day 17: Layout and Art

I'm living the dream. A gaming mate from Brisbane has agreed to work his magic on the layout of Lego FU1. We had some facetime last night to talk through things and the various ideas he's sent me in email over the past fortnight.

And wow! what a chat. With some of the ideas now on paper (so to speak) I'm even more keen to see this product finished and in the wild.

His website is undergoing redesign at the moment, but you should check out Lovehate Design and send business his way.

1. As publication date draws ever nearer I feel a growing dread that Lego lawyers will chase me down and insist on a takedown of the PDF or a major edit. Lordy, I hope I don't have to re-brick it as Brick FU.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

NaGaDeMon Day 8: Playtest

Tonight, we playtest!

I have my draft printed and ready, and at least one of the players has read it. Another player has played FU before in our regular game and I hear we're having another player as well. I should be able to get a nice cross section of opinions from them.

The experience of others tells me that it's time to get specific about this playtest. In other words, have some specific goals in mind, some specific questions to answer. The good news for me is that I'm writing a supplement for an existing game so there are plenty of things I don't need to test. So here's the list:
  • Changes to the FU point economy.
  • Rules for building
It's a small and problematic list. Changing the ebb and flow of a reward system exposes the system to imbalance. The FU rules are forgiving on this, though, because they tell the GM to hand out a FU point whenever a character does something cool or funny-in-character (or something like that, I'm working from memory here). My list of how to earn FU points could be taken as making this instruction more specific to the setting. On the other side of the ledger are some new ways to spend FU points. Some of them are just re-bricking1 the basic FU rules (spend a point to get an extra bonus die) so I don't think I'll run into much trouble there, with the exception that players might question whether it's worth the bother to earn the Lego FU point when the ordinary FU point is more easily available. Others are additions to the ways that FU points can be spent, so I'll watch them closely.

As for the building rules, I'm more than a little worried. There's a good reason that most games avoid these subsystems: they're either too simple to accomplish all the nuances of "real world" design or they're enormously complex and take over the whole game2. I've pursued a simple system, in keeping with the spirit of FU. FU has rules for gear and also rules for turning the props of a scene  into gear. Gear gives bonuses whereas props do not. I want to see how well my build rules connect with the gear rules.

After this playtest I move on to revisions and start planning for the last playtest. In that I'll have to test the changes I'll make from tonight as well as see how Lego integrates into another setting. Our normal FU game is a Star Wars game. I'll be adding Lego to it to see if we can play Lego Star Wars FU.

1. Ah hah! See what I did there?
2. See Car Wars, for example. It's all about the build.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Lego FU Day 6

I made some good progress on Lego FU last night; enough to have removed all the bullet points and replaced them with paragraphs. Next on the list are these three things.

1. Play test. That's right, I've planned not one but two play tests for November. The first is this Thursday night with my regular gaming group. The second will be to add Lego to my normal campaign to see how that works.

2. Rewrite those paragraphs. I took the time to read them again and... uh, wow... some of them are horrid. There's no consistent voice, some have too much waffle and not enough ice cream, others are far too frugal.

3. Add more bullets. Now that many of these ideas have become text they've spurned more ideas. I just need the bullets for now. Paragraphs can come later.

Adjacent to the writing is the layout development work. That's begun in earnest and I'm delighted with how it's progressing. Design and layout belong to a world alien to me, but it's great to see how that manifests itself. I can't wait to see the finished product.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Building the Foundation of Lego FU

I began writing last night. That's a good thing, especially since it was the official start of the NaGaDeMon. Of course, my writing is clumsy the first time around, but I'll revisit and rewrite as I need to. Right now I just want to turn bullet points into basic paragraphs.