All posts by Rodney

Game designer, writer, and programmer at Rising Phoenix Games. Follow me on Twitter: RisingPhoenixGM.

A Love Affair With Deadly Solo Games

I strongly believe that gaming, or any geekdom, should be about people first. So then it might seem strange that I love solo games so much, particularly deadly ones. Solo games, like The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, Zombie in my Pocket, or our own Choose Your Destiny Adventures, are a conversation — a dialogue between the designer and the player — of the most intimate nature.

Deadly solo games
Photo credit: Steve Halama

A solo game designer creates a puzzle for their players to solve.
The best designers get the difficulty balance right. They know their audience and create challenges that’ll push players to bring their best, without breaking them.

But how difficult should a game be?

Different Strokes

It varies. Solitaire’s three-card draw version is perfect for many players,  while others prefer the easier one-card draw version. It largely depends on your audience. Hard-core puzzle solvers want a challenge, other players just want to relax and take a load off. Still, make things too easy and players will pass through your game too quickly and have little reason to come back to it. If it’s too tough players will eventually give up and hate the game. The sweet spot, in my experience, is somewhere just before that: deadly.

Deadly and Desirable

The Dark Souls series taught us that a deadly challenge is memorable — even desirable. Of all the bazillion games out there, Dark Souls is the only one tempting my brother and I to buy a console. And a TV. And the game. I’ve literally watched hours of other people playing the game, and it still fascinates me.
The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, the first in the Fighting Fantasy series, is famous for being difficult to beat, with only one true path through it. You’ll die plenty of times on your way to the warlock. I picked it up again recently because I’ve still not beaten it — and that’s enough to tempt me back again.

This is starting to have weird similarities with BDSM, and maybe there’s wisdom in that. The question then is, how difficult is too difficult?

A Step Too Far

A game gets too difficult if it’s unplayably hard, if the player bearly gets started before meeting a grizzly fate, or if multiple attempts result in little  or no progress. In a solo game, without a buddy for backup, it’s vital that the designer supports the player, so the rules need to be digestible and must provide the tools for beating the game.

We like a challenge, we don’t like getting the snot kicked out of us again and again.

When a designer nails the difficulty then the player feels respected, and that makes for a fun game that’s hard to forget — just like a good conversation.

Choose Your Destiny

Our Choose Your Destiny Adventures can surely prove deadly, and they’re a lot of fun, especially if you want to break out your fifth edition fantasy character and play for an evening. You can subscribe to the series on our Patreon page.

Death Queen  - A Deadly Solo Game
What’s more deadly than an adventure with “Death Queen” in the title?

Till next time, play good games!

Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

Check out our store, subscribe to our newsletter for monthly updates, and visit us on our blog, our Facebook page and on Twitter.

Getting Social with Social Classes for RPGs

Social classes and RPG classes are two very different things, but when they start to mix things can get really sticky very quickly. Just look at the barbarian in Dungeons & Dragons or Pathfinder. Almost always represented as a class for tribal berzerkers, the class could just as easily be used to build an urban gladiator. Take it a step further: the berzerker could be the king of a tribe or a landless peasant.

Social Class in Action!
Photo by Lou Levit

Why’s this important? Social classes were an important aspect of the medieval age, and navigating social classes can make for interesting interactions at the table.

RPG Classes are Jobs

Think about RPG classes as jobs. As a first level fighter, you have some on-the-job training, and are on the path to learning more, through leveling. When you multi-class, you’re effectively learning two jobs.

Most RPGs I’ve played blur the lines here, and as you level you also rise in status. Effectively, the social class you’re born into has very little impact on a character unless the GM is using a specific system to represent it.

And Social Classes?

Each social class contains a number of jobs, similar to how you could be a cat burglar rogue, a bandit rogue, or an assassin rogue. Could you be a level 1 noble or a level 7 peasant?

The hierarchy of European feudal society goes something like this:

  1. The Church
  2. The Monarchy
  3. Nobles and Barons
  4. Knights
  5. Tradesmen
  6. Peasants

We can simplify this into three groups that are representative of the largest portion of the population:

  1. Those who prayed – the clergy.
  2. Those who fought – the knights.
  3. Those who worked – the peasantry.

Here’s my first attempt at defining each of these as RPG classes, compatible with the fifth edition SRD:

Clergy Class

As a member of the clergy, you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d8 per clergy level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 8 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (5) + your Constitution modifier per clergy level after 1st

Proficiencies

Armor: Light armor
Weapons: Simple weapons
Tools: Brewer’s supplies, calligrapher’s supplies, cartographer’s tools, or clerical supplies
Saving Throws: Wisdom, Charisma
Skills: Choose three from History, Investigation, Insight, Medicine, Persuasion, Religion, and Literacy (yip, Literacy is now a skill)

Knight Class

As a knight, you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d10 per knight level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 10 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d10 (6) + your Constitution modifier per knight level after 1st

Proficiencies

Armor: All armor, shields
Weapons: Simple weapons, martial weapons
Tools: None
Saving Throws: Strength, Constitution
Skills: Choose two from Animal Handling, Athletics, Insight, Intimidation, Medicine, Perception, Religion, Stealth, and Survival

Peasant Class

As a peasant, you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d8 per peasant level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 8 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (5) + your Constitution modifier per peasant level after 1st

Proficiencies

Armor: Light armor, shields
Weapons: Simple weapons
Tools: Carpenter’s tools, cobbler’s tools, cook’s utensils, glassblower’s tools, leatherworker’s tools, mason’s tools, potter’s tools, smith’s tools, weaver’s tools, or woodcarver’s tools
Saving Throws: Strength, Constitution
Skills: Choose two from Acrobatics, Animal Handling, Athletics, Deception, Insight, Intimidation, Medicine, Nature, Perception, Performance, Persuasion, Sleight of Hand, Stealth, and Survival

Design Notes

The clergy class is quite similar to the cleric and the knight to the paladin, for obvious reasons. I figured the clergy would have a d8 Hit Die, representing their better living conditions. Peasants get a d8 for being hardy, but a d6 Hit Die could also make a lot of sense.

Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

Check out our store, subscribe to our newsletter for monthly updates, and visit us on our blog, our Facebook page and on Twitter.

The Great Cereal Conspiracy

There are things the cereal companies don’t want you to know. Terrible, diabolical, apocryphal things. But we know the truth. Oh yes, we do. In this exclusive story, we go deep undercover to discover the hidden truth behind the great cereal conspiracy that plagues your favourite sugar-coated morning meal.

Great Cereal Conspiracy!
Death Cereal! Photo by Amanda Belec

Our journalistic staff work hard for their money, which is great because if we ever decide to pay them we won’t feel like we wasted the money. They recently, through no small amount of Googling, uncovered a great cereal conspiracy that left the rest of us in the office with the wobblies. Or it might have been last night’s staff-party curry.

The conspiracy is so fearsomely fiendish, so dastardly devilish, so painfully poisonous — and alliteratively alluring — that we think you’ll be at least sort of glad you read through this bit to get to the end.

Suspenseful stalling aside, our operatives agents journalistic team consumed several thousand bowls of cereal during their collective lifetimes in preparation for this article. Supposedly they’d have done so anyway, but we’ll clutch at anything to give this article some level of credibility.

So, what is this Great Cereal Conspiracy that we keep alluding to (mostly for the sake of good SEO)? Well, let me enlighten you, the discerning consumer of wheat, rice, oat, wood pulp, or other breakfast cereals.

Did you ever notice how, when you were younger, they had really great toys in cereal boxes? The thing was, you could only eat a finite amount of cereal before your little body was stuffed and sky-high on a sugar-fueled buzz. What we didn’t realise then was that the cereal companies had it all planned out. They knew that we’d grow up. They knew that one day we’d be able to consume enough cereal to make cereal-focused-toy-collecting a viable activity. And, when that day came, they simply pulled all the good toys from the boxes.

Yeah, I know, I’m fuming mad about it too.

Yummy Conspiracies

If you enjoy food-based mysteries, please check out A Dinner to Die For, which is the player’s guide to How to Plan a Murder. It’s a fun game to play with friends, and the rules are intuitive and easy to run in large groups.

A Dinner to Die For

 

Model Tents – Modeling the Pathfinder Playtest

If your a miniatures nut like me then the Pathfinder Playtest is just another excuse to take on more miniature projects. We’ll be making model tents. If you’re a player in the playtest, come back when you’ve finished Part 2 of the Playtest, otherwise consider this a Spoiler Alert. 

Some In-Tents Model Tents
Some “In-Tents” Tents

Specifically, we’re making gnoll tents. These tents are easy to make, dirt cheap, yet generic enough that you’ll get plenty of use out of them.

You’ll Need

Assuming you’re making three model tents, you’ll need the following:

  1. 2 x 2 inch squares of plastic card (3)
  2. Thin sticks, about 2-2.5 inches long (9-12)
  3. A paper egg box
  4. String or thick thread, for “rope”
  5. Flocking flock. Yeah, flock!
  6. Baking flour, about 2 teaspoons
  7. Water
  8. The usual tools, glues, paints, and equipment for the construction of miniaturized scenery.
  9. Paint (lots of brown and tan)
  10. A bowl of Kellogs Corn Flocks, yum! (Just kidding)

All Your Base Are Belong To Us

Cut the plastic card to size and round the edges. Scale wise, these are 10-foot square bases. Sand the sticks then glue 3–4 poles to each card, to make a teepee shape.

Base and tent poles for our model tents.
Base and tent poles for our model tents.

Glue sand and flock to the bases now, since we want to see inside each tent — we’ll put the tent material on later.

Pelts and Skins

This was an experiment that worked out really well. Cut an egg box into rectangles, then shape each rectangle to make pelts, like in the image below.

Model tents need model pelts, made from egg boxes!
Pelts, made from egg boxes!

I got about 12 pelts out of one box.

Tip: Use a miniature to judge the size of these. They need to wrap around the poles of your tents, so don’t make them too small.

Flour Water For the Win

Last week I showed you how to make Captain America’s shield using a fan cover and paper mache. Paper mache isn’t particularly easy to work with at this scale, but works for this project, and we’ll see why in a bit.

Mix 1 part flour (2 teaspoons) with 3 parts water (6 teaspoons) and mix until it’s smooth. Dip the pelts in the paste and soak them well. Pull a layer off the pelt to make thinner skins. This does two things: it gives the pelt a better texture and makes it easier to wrap the pelt around the tent poles.

Stick a pelt down inside each tent, to make the floor. I worked this down with the edge of a spoon, which helped to flatten the pelt into the ground.

Wrap the corners of each pelt over the poles to make a shelter. Don’t worry about being too neat. For the tent’s entrance, fold a pelt in half before you stick it on.

Model tents, ready for undercoating.
Our model tents, ready for undercoating (front and rear views)

I painted the paste over the base of the model too, which holds the grit down better.

Detailing

Glue rope around the poles and add other bits of detail, such as weapons and shields, as you see fit.

Painting

I base-coated my model tents with matt black, then painted them with poster paint and Citadel paints.

Gnoll Tent Camp
“Well done on earning your camping merit badge, Spot!”

To get rid of any shine, use something like the Anti Shine Matt Varnish, from The Army Painter.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. I’d love to hear from you, please leave a comment below.

Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

Check out our store, subscribe to our newsletter for monthly updates, and visit us on our blog, our Facebook page and on Twitter.

Let’s Build Captain America’s Iconic Shield!

Captain America’s iconic shield is super cool and so dead simple to make that even young kids can lend a hand.

Captain America's Iconic Shield
Captain America’s Iconic Shield

You’ll Need

Cap’s shield is cheap to make. You’ll need the following:

  1. The wire frame from the front of an old fan.
  2. Old shoelaces.
  3. Nylon straps.
  4. Lots of newspaper.
  5. Flour – 1 cup.
  6. Water – 3 cups.
  7. Poster paint – red, white, blue, and black.
  8. Water-based varnish.

You’ll need the following tools:

  1. A pencil.
  2. Scissors.
  3. Brushes.
  4. A protractor.

Step 1 – Lace Loops

Fasten the shoelaces to the fan cover to make two loops, one to go around the arm, the other for holding onto.

Step 2 – Pardon My French

Cut the newspaper into strips, then mix the flour and water until it’s a smooth paste. Dip the newspaper into the mixture and lay it onto the fan cover. You’ll want three or four layers, alternating direction, on each side of the shield.

Note: Be careful not to cover up the shoelace loops.

Step 3 – Stars and Stripes

When your paper mache is nice and dry, give the shield one coat of white paint. When that’s dry, mark out the star and rings on the front of the shield with a pencil.

To do this, measure the radius of your shield. The rings are half the shield’s radius, starting at the shield’s edge, so draw a circle that’s half the radius of the shield. Now, divide the outside half into three equal sections by drawing two more rings. These are your red, white, and red outer rings.

For the star you’ll need a protractor. The star has five points, so 360 degrees divided by 5 gives you 72: you need a point of the star touching the circle every 72 degrees! Once you’ve marked your points, just connect them up with a ruler to get a perfect star!

Step 4 – Paint!

With everything marked out, paint the shield in its patriotic red, white, and blue colors. I edged the back of the shield in red, then painted the rest in black, as seen here:

Captain America's Iconic Shield
Captain America’s Iconic Shield – Back

When it’s all dry, paint the shield with varnish. I used a water-based varnish called “Tough as Nails” that didn’t give off fumes or cost much. Try your local craft store, though I got it at a hardware store.

Step 5 – Sewing

Is learning to sew some kind of cosplay right of passage? Anyway, the sewing here is easy: sew the nylon straps onto the shoelaces, to cover them up and give the shield a nice finish.

And you’re done. Go save the planet Cap!

Captain America's Iconic Shield

Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

Check out our store, subscribe to our newsletter for monthly updates, and visit us on our blog, our Facebook page and on Twitter.

It’s Here! Test Drive Outrun Today – Devlog 5

This is going to be a short post because Outrun’s development just reached a major milestone. Instead of me yakking on, let me give you a copy of the game so that you can take it for a test drive.

Test Drive It Now. Outrun Cover concept. Photo by Connor Botts.
Outrun Cover concept. Photo by Connor Botts.

Outrun is a solo table-top RPG I’m developing as part of the A Game by its Cover game jam, happening through August. It’s inspired by the Rushing Drive Famicom cartridge cover by Philip Summers (on Instagram).  I’ll be posting updates twice a week, right here, so stick around and see the game come to life. You can find our other devlogs here: Devlog 1, Devlog 2, Devlog 3, and Devlog 4.

Gearing Up

Throughout these devlogs I’ve looked at iterations of the game, each building on what came before. Heck, you might even think there were two very different games being built. This morning I put everything together and gave it a test drive, now you can too.

Of course, we’ve still got a way to go, and there could well be bugs, but let’s call this the alpha playtest.

What’s In, What’s Out

The playtest includes the very basic game, without the music and RPG component, which will all come later — once the core mechanics are working perfectly.

How Can I Help?

Download the rules (link’s at the bottom), read it, play it, then give me your creative feedback at itch.io/t/268449/outrun-this-thread or in the comments below. Giving me feedback helps me evaluate the game and polish it up, but it will also earn you a playtest credit in the final version of the book.

It’s really helpful if you can tell me if any rules are hard to understand by pointing them out to me.

Enough Already, Give Me the Book!

You can download the book from:

Itch.io

Test Drive Photo by Evgeny Tchebotarev
Photo by Evgeny Tchebotarev

Enjoy!

Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

Check out our store, subscribe to our newsletter for monthly updates, and visit us on our blog, our Facebook page and on Twitter.

Pathfinder Playtest – Session 1

The Pathfinder Playtest is here, and this past weekend my players and I took our first dip into the new game.

Pathfinder 2 Rulebook
Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook

The first session of the Pathfinder Playtest was brutal. It might be more a factor of encounter design than the new rules, but two of my three PCs fell dying at some point, as did the third PC’s animal companion. Fortunately, all the characters survived, thanks to our overworked cleric.

The party left the dungeon twice during the session to get a full rest, and by the end of the session they had five rooms left to explore.

While the players liked the three actions a round mechanic, we often didn’t use the third action for a third attack, it was just too risky. There were plenty of critical failures without taking a –10 on the roll.

As a GM, I felt that I had more options with my NPCs, though this might be because I haven’t played Pathfinder for a while and have learned so much since I last ran a game. PF2 monsters are certainly easier to run, with stat blocks that aren’t more complicated than they need to be.

It did take lots of work to digest the Core Rulebook, but once I’d gotten something down, it proved easier to recall than in PF1. My wife, a PF1 regular, said that she found character generation much easier in PF2. Character gen took about 3 hours for us, on average.

I’m looking forward to playing more of the Playtest and I’m excited about Pathfinder’s future.

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Sale

We’re running a 30% Off sale on all our Pathfinder Roleplaying Game compatible products, including maps. Check out the sale on Drive Thru RPG.

Flaming Crab’s Culinary Magic is Hot Hot Hot

Endz has named The Culinary Magic Cookbook as a potential top 10 book for 2018. Congrats to all our friends at Flaming Crab Games!

The Culinary Magic Cookbook for Cooking with Magic
The Culinary Magic Cookbook: Everything you need for cooking with magic!

 

Till next time, may the dice of fate land in your flavor favor.

Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

Check out our store, subscribe to our newsletter for monthly updates, and visit us on our blog, our Facebook page and on Twitter.

The Minimum Viable Product — Devlog 4

Extra Credits has this great video about making a Minimum Viable Product (video embedded at the bottom of this post). Basically, you build the simplest version of your game possible, before getting into all the features that aren’t vital to your game.

It's the quest for the minimum viable product!
Photo by Evgeny Tchebotarev

Outrun is a solo table-top RPG I’m developing as part of the A Game by its Cover game jam, happening through August. It’s inspired by the Rushing Drive Famicom cartridge cover by Philip Summers (on Instagram).  I’ll be posting updates twice a week, right here, so stick around and see the game come to life. You can find our other devlogs here: Devlog 1, Devlog 2, and Devlog 3.

Building the Minimum Viable Product

I caught myself designing POD cards for Outrun before I’d nailed down the core mechanics. What a waste of time that’ll be if my core game changes and I need to update the cards.

But what does Outrun’s MVP include? Here are my design requirements:

  1. A challenging solitaire game involving choice, with a low level of randomness.
  2. That’s it.

Here’s what the bare-bones version of Outrun looks like:

Outrun — A Solitaire Card Game

Use a standard deck of 52 playing cards. These represent gas in your fuel tank. Shuffle the cards well, then place them in front of you, face down.

Draw a card face up from the top of the deck. If you draw a red card (Hearts or Diamonds), stop drawing. If you draw a black card (Clubs or Spades), draw again until you have 3 cards face up in front of you or until you’ve drawn a red card.

You can take 1 even card and place it to the side. Queens count as 12, so they’re even. Each even card represents 1 hour of driving, and your goal is to drive for 24 hours by collecting all 24 even cards. Place the other cards, if any, in your discard pile.

Repeat the process of drawing cards and taking an even card, if any show up. If your deck runs out of cards, you’ve run out of gas and you lose the game.

Refueling: If you take a Queen from the cards in front of you, you can immediately shuffle the remaining face-up cards and your discard pile into your deck.

The Pale Rider:  The King of Clubs is the Pale Rider. Whenever you draw him, discard 2 cards from the top of your deck into your discard pile. Shuffle the Pale Rider back into your deck. You may then take an even card if any remain face up in front of you. If the Pale Rider is the last card to be drawn from the deck, you lose the game.

All the lazerpunk goodness builds on top of this minimum viable product. Give it a go and tell me what you thought.

Lazerpunk – A Definition

I’ve thrown around a few definitions in my earlier Devlogs, but here’s one worth defining clearly.

Lazerpunk: Cyberpunk with an 80’s retro aesthetic.

Outrun’s look is what I call lazerpunk — cyberpunk with an 80’s retro feel. It’s Hotline Miami and Satellite Reign smashed into one.

30% Off Pathfinder

We’ve got a huge Pathfinder Roleplaying Game compatible sale on. The sale’s going for a few weeks, then it’s gone.

Till next time, live awesomely.

Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

Check out our store, subscribe to our newsletter for monthly updates, and visit us on our blog, our Facebook page and on Twitter.

Here’s that Minimum Viable Product video I mentioned:

Funding Outrun – Devlog 3

Making games is awesome, but keeping your projects funded and in the black is just as important as having fun. Today I’ll look at some of the ways we’re funding Outrun. I’ll also look at sourcing and creating cheap assets.

Outrun is a solo table-top RPG I’m developing as part of the A Game by its Cover game jam, happening through August. It’s inspired by the Rushing Drive Famicom cartridge cover by Philip Summers (on Instagram).  I’ll be posting updates twice a week, right here, so stick around and see the game come to life.

Status Report, Scottie

A load of playtesting’s done and written up, so the core mechanics are in. Next, I’ll be focusing on additional mechanics and fluff. The bones are there and just need fleshing out.

Games assets got some love over the weekend, so let’s take a look at those.

Art Makes a Game

Great art draws you into a game. It’s also the one aspect of game design that hobbyists frequently get wrong, not through bad art, but through poor design.

Design is about unity and the thoughtful application of elements within the product. I’m starting to get technical, but my point is that, by applying design principles, you can turn a collection of assets into one unified whole.

I’m always scouring the Internet for useful assets, so I already have a library to pull from. For the rest, I make whatever I need or find an artist.

For Outrun, I’ve done 12 different page backgrounds. Here are two of my favorites so far.

Retro & Lazerpunk Boarder Samples
Retro & Lazerpunk Border Samples

I’ll be offering these page boarders off Drive Thru RPG, as a way of funding Outrun.

Page Background Set - Funding Outrun
Page Background Set

Photos and Filler

The rest of the book will be filled with emotive photos that bring the world of Outrun to life, similar to what I did with How to Plan a Murder — one of my best layout jobs yet, IMHO.

I’ll create my own design elements to fill in the gaps. I spent a lot of time researching the look and feel I want for outrun, so now it’s just a matter of making everything. Yay, Photoshop!

And the Cover?

My beautiful wife will bring her design talent to Outrun’s logo and cover, but you’ll have to wait and see. There’s a chance that the cover will be heavily inspired by Philip Summers’ design, below, but adapted to an RPG book format.

Wouldn’t it be awesome, though, if the PDF was formatted to look like a TV screen running a Famicom game? I think buyers might want to fling their keyboards at me for that one, but I like interesting ideas.

Rushing Drive, by Phillip Summers - Funding Outrun
Rushing Drive, by Philip Summers

No Tip Jar Here, Friend

If you like what you’ve seen please consider checking out our other RPG products. If you like something in our catalog, the team and I will always appreciate making a sale, and the money keeps us going.

Check out our Products

By the way, we’ve got a 30% Off sale on all our Pathfinder Roleplaying Game compatible products, starting tomorrow, in celebration of the Pathfinder 2 Playtest that just kicked off.

Join the Conversation

I’m sharing our progress here, but the conversation is happening at our dedicated progress thread at itch.io. Come along and say hi, or leave a comment here. Comments are moderated, so your comment won’t go up until a mod has had a chance to approve it (we get a LOT of spam).

Later.

Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

Check out our store, subscribe to our newsletter for monthly updates, and visit us on our blog, our Facebook page and on Twitter.

Outrun, Driving Beats – Devlog 2

Driving beats and hand brake turns, it’s time to put the pedal to the metal!

Outrun is a solo table-top RPG I’m developing as part of the A Game by its Cover game jam, happening through August. It’s inspired by the Rushing Drive Famicom cartridge cover by Philip Summers (on Instagram).  I’ll be posting updates twice a week, right here, so stick around and see the game come to life.

Base Mechanics – Driving, Part 2

Last time I talked about driving mechanics, but there are two parts to it — distance driving and skill driving.

Driving Beats Photo by Evgeny Tchebotarev
Photo by Evgeny Tchebotarev

Distance driving uses the rules I mentioned in the last post and covers the exploration part of the game.

Skill driving is all about shifting gears, hand brake turns, and gunning the engine. The rules were inspired by Tokyo Drift Racers, a 200 word game by Martin Killmann.

Disclaimer: These rules are in development and very likely to change. I’m sharing them so you can give them a try and tell me what you think.

You start with a pack of regular playing cards and 6d6. Shuffle and draw ten cards, face down, to make your challenge deck. Take 2d6 to make your starting dice pool. An extra dice or note paper is useful for tracking damage.

Driving Beats Sitting Around
Skill Driving Playtest, Underway!

Follow this process:

  1. Before a card is revealed you can shift gear, adding or removing 1 die from your pool.
  2. Reveal a card from the top of the deck.
  3. Gear shift up or down 1 die (remove or add a die).
  4. Roll the dice. Your aim is to equal the value on the card. (Jacks = 11, Queens = 12, Kings = 13, Aces = 1)
  5. You can hand brake turn to remove 1 or 2 dice from your pool after you’ve rolled. These dice don’t come back magically, you have to add them back to your pool by gear shifting up again (step 1 and 3).
  6. You use your brake to subtract 1 or 2 from the total value of the remaining dice pool.
  7. The difference between your target score and the final result is damage to your car. Your car can take a total of 6 points of damage, anything over that wrecks it.
  8. Rinse and repeat for each card in the deck.

Give it a try. A few plays should lead you to a winning strategy.

Driving Beats

Is music a key part of your play sessions? Shouldn’t it be?

In my last post I promised to fill you in on Outrun’s secret sauce. Nightrun and outrun retro wave music captures the heart and soul of Outrun. It’s in the friggin’ name!

But what’s outrun anyway? Time to get your laserpunk on!

There are a few musical RPGs out there, but not many that include music as part of the game’s mechanics. Ribbon Drive uses mixed tapes to direct the narrative flow and Waxing Lyrical uses song lyrics for the basis of character creation and world building.

So how else can you use music as part of a game’s mechanics?

Tracks have a variable length, differing beats, and moods. Outrun turns that into a core mechanic that makes up for the lack of a GM with driving beats. More on this, later down the line.

The AGBIC Game Jam

Want to know a little more about the #AGBIC jam? Here’s a great video that tells all.

See you on the flip side.

Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

Check out our store, subscribe to our newsletter for monthly updates, and visit us on our blog, our Facebook page and on Twitter.