I’m super late with the October Wrap-Up post. Mostly because work has taken the better part of my brain capacity as my students were in the process of making the pre-prod documentation for their first big scale video game project (65 students working together on a single game for 5 weeks, that ought to be interesting).
October was full of playtests as I went to both MidgardCon and RegnCon to present the latest iteration of Loop ‘n’ Loot. As I already wrote in the forementioned retro-linked articles, the feedback was really positive and people enjoyed playing the game.
But I was unsatisfied with some game mechanics and extra mental charge for the players and referee. By the way, should I keep “referee” for the GM name for Loop ‘n’ Loot? Should it be “the Dealer”? “The Croupier”? Let me know what you think in the comments! Or join the Discord server to start a discussion around it!
The hours dedicated to game design for Loop ‘n’ Loot allowed me to work on:
- Consolidating the Math around the new values for Attributes (ranging for 0 to 3 now instead of 1 to 5). It was especially important to make sure it worked because the hand size is now a consequence of these values.
- And to make sure it’s working in order, the Tool Item have been reworked along with a brand new mechanics called “Memories” attached to the soul traits. The key word association had really good feedback and help with the randomisation of the game (which is a pillar in itself). The Memories will be gain by absorbing Soul Traits and will have 2 keywords (ex: “kick” + “door”) and the player will be responsible to come up with a memory associated with them (ex: “the NPC from which I got the memory has his house on fire, family trapped inside, he kick the front to reach her daughter and save her from the flames”, any other player would come with a different example). Then, when making a test, the player could call back to a memory to increase the hand size by one IF the memory is relevant. In our example, the memory is obviously relevant to dramatically open a locked door, but it could also be used for a Test against Fear or how to extinguish a fire…
- Tools, taking your time, memories are mean to increase your hand size when doing a non-combat test. Let’s imagine a player want to bash a door open. Their Value in Clubs determine the initial hand size (3). The referee sets the difficulty at 3 (it’s a nice door, well crafted, and everyone knows doors are the main obstacle for adventurers). The player says they have a crowbar Tool, +1 hand size. They invoke the “Kick Door” memory, it’s relevant, +1 hand size. The total card to draw is 5.
- The Soul Trait mechanic has changed. You used to get 1 random trait on absorption. I was fine, honestly, especially for the players. But the referee had a lot of work to do create NPC and a lot to track in combat, especially with Humanoid character that can have Traits AND equipment. Now when absorbing a Soul, players will have to state where the Soul is absorbed: Head, Torso, Legs, Hand 1, Hand 2 or Mental slots. Each slot would have either a Trait or a Memory. It does not change much from a player perspective except they have more agency when they evolve their character. On the referee’s side, it means that the maximum amount of things to manage on a NPC is cap to 6. I’ll spare you the details but to come up with that solution, there has been 2 different new designed and trashed Soul Traits systems before reaching that – I believe – elegant solution.
- If you played Loop ‘n’ Loot before, you would notice that the number of Character Slots has been reduced. Everything is a consequence of something.
- Less Slots + Memories = New character sheet!
- All items and Traits have been re-balanced to fit the new system! It was a lot of work..
- Finally, I designed and created the NPC cards for Maze of the 4 Queens. I have 27 of them. The number might go down a bit, it sure won’t increase until the potential Kickstarter (which will likely have “create your own room+monster” pledge).
All in all, I’m really happy about the state of the game. It was a lot of headaches. A lot! But streamlining all the game components and make them simple while keeping them interconnected and supporting character versatility was primordial!
I will be playtesting that new iteration of the rules at HexCon in Trondheim, this week-end (12-13 November). So if you are in the vicinity or know people who would be, share the good words :).
As usual, let’s conclude the wrap-up with a sneak peak of what is happening behind the scenes with the NPC card.