I was in the midst of adapting and modifying various games when I decided to get back to working on my own. Naturally, the last 6 months of influences and other great games has significantly colored my ideas about solo gaming. Here are the core concepts that have survived:
1. Limited control
This sounds weird, but is something I picked up from the indispensable Solo Nexus blog. He uses simple systems of limting control over EACH force to increase solo enjoyment. playing Combat Cards and THW games both demonstrated to me the usefulness of this technique in solo gaming. It's not half bad in head to head play either, in games like Memoir 44, which I love.
2. Minimal list prep
Being able to get the stats sorted and bullets flying as quickly as possible makes me more likely to actually play a game.
Example: THW games
Counter-example: AE Bounty
3. Minimal clutter
My original Gut Check rules featured a ton of counters. I now find this messy and visually unappealing. Rules which use the minis themselves to indicate status are great. A few counters are OK, but they should not be all over the place and if they are model-able it is a bonus... I like modeling!
Example: Blood Bowl
Counter Example: Gut Check
4. Minimal Dice rolling
As a solo gamer, I don't like rolling huge buckets of dice, or long strings of dice. For a while I got quite attracted to the idea of using a few polyhedrals, but that's limiting the ease of use for some people.
Counter Example: Warhammer
5 Easy force construction using any figures
A key part of the Throwdown idea is just grabbing some of the minis you already have painted and getting to it. Keeping forces small helps this, the 5 figure pack as a starting point seemed great to me.
Example: Combat Cards
Counter Example: 40K
Huh? That's right, I'm interested in movie-like action games, not realistic simulations. I admit it. I want to make a game that actually encourages or includes action movie tropes.
Example: And One For All
Counter Example: Advanced Squad Leader
I started off prototyping with an ordinary deck of playing cards. (The idea was that everyone had access to these cheaply). In a couple of days, I had something that worked surprisingly well.
I have now made up a set of custom cards for it, as while the game is still currently playable with a standard deck, it requires a bit of looking at the reference chart that I'd like to eliminate. It's much nicer looking at a "shoot" card in your hand than having to remember what equals what. With the custom deck, your game options are written in plain english on the cards themselves:
|The cards, ready for print|
Modern to Sci-fi feel, meaning a focus on gunplay. Actual technologies are somewhat abstracted though.( It's John Woo rather than Arthur C. Clarke.)
Suggested force size of 3-10 models
Use any figures, any scale. (15mm on a 25mm grid is just the default.)
Fully customizable but simple force construction
Uses just 1 deck of cards and a 1 page QRS to resolve all action, no dice.
Play on a 1" square grid, no measuring. (Free-move traditional play also supported by replacing squares with inches)
The rules need some playtesting, and I will be emailing the usual Blogosphere suspects I think might like to help in the next week or so. Unlike Gut Check, I am going to try selling this set as a print 'n play PDF as a proper project in the hopes that it will force me to finish it. I'm confident I can create something that meets or exceeds the current standard of PDF rules in terms of quality and value for money. I'm thinking US $5 as a price point.
As well as the card deck, I'm thinking of including some printable gridded map boards.
The rules themselves are only 5 pages at the moment, but are free of fluff, examples (needed), or descriptions of the hobby. There is also a single page QRS that has all the info you need for a game on it.
More to come...