February 25, 2012

A Big Shift for Abby

As I noted earlier this week, I've been trying some different and strange stuff with Poor Abby Farnsworth to make the game more fun, more streamlined, and more unique.

A good friend called me to discuss the game on Wednesday night. He played the prototype on Sunday that included my new custom dice idea and liked the game, but had some reservations. We talked for about an hour and at the end I had a few ideas that were fairly big departures from what I'd been doing currently:

  • No more dice, regular, custom, or otherwise. The dice weren't enough of a differentiating factor for the overall feel of the game and though they were working, they weren't really satisfying my core need. Removing dice also greatly reduces component costs.
  • No more score tracker. Score trackers are inherently fiddly. Now, score will be tallied with scored cards (like Farmageddon) and a few other easy elements. 
  • Jurors are the core of the experience. I added 3 more jurors for a grand total of six. But that's not all.
    • You must control a Juror to obtain Evidence cards. This creates a back and forth between players.
    • As a result, all evidence is now dynamically priced (somewhat) based on how much people want it and are willing to fight for it. If tuned and implemented properly, I think this will be a real innovation. 
    • Jurors have Jury Tampering abilities. Based on how the Juror cards are dealt each game, they can influence and modify adjacent jurors in a few ways. 
  • Court Actions were simplified. Now only the Judge and Witch have actions which are driven by Influence. 
I think this is a big step forward for the game. I plan to test it tomorrow afternoon.

Here are the rules with dice. Read these if you want a comparison.

Here are the new rules with dice removed. These are the current rules I'm testing.

As always, your thoughts are appreciated.


Anonymous said...

Poor Abby is a truly interesting, albeit chilling game concept. I don't even think I could play it though because I know historically people were falsely accused of being witches and sentenced to die.

I think I'm overly sensitive that way. Or maybe I'm just neurotic.

Anyway, I prefer the no dice version because it's more streamlined and less components to worry about.

Again though, it does seem like it could be a gripping game. Lots of potential there, and there's no doubt you'll harness it.

BTW, my Google alert caught your comments on Rejection Therapy and I should probably clear a few things up. I think you are an incredibly sensible guy and so maybe that's why I care enough to share :)

Rejection Therapy (the game) stands on its own. There is no upcoming innovations planned, or books etc. A television production company did contact me out of the blue and in time secured the tv rights, but that was never premeditated.

I have also been approached about making Rejection Therapy a kind of "gateway" product, and then upsell people on subscriptions and who knows what other garbage but I respect the game and the people who play the game too much to ever do that.

Am I one of those "self help" guys who wants to be on the Today Show? I never thought of myself that way, but if I exude that sort of persona, I must be doing better than I thought.

In reality, I am a slightly neurotic, deeply flawed person who uses life hacking systems like Rejection Therapy to manage my world better.

I respect your work, I wish you success, and would love to see Poor Abby at GameCrafters. I will surely buy a copy.

Grant said...

Howdy Rink Justice,

I apologize for any snap comments regarding Rejection Therapy. I think it seems like an overall positive and good thing. And it's clearly successful.

I'll use Game Crafter to prototype a copy of Poor Abby, but it won't be sold publicly there. I'll just be grabbing copies behind the scenes to test and send to potential publishers.

Many people died from the witch trials. They are definitely a dark part of American history (and really, people the world over have been tried for being a witch and executed). But, I love history and I think it's possible to craft a more lighthearted experience.

In fact, one of my influences is Monty Python's witch scene from Holy Grail.

Obviously this is a slippery slope in some ways, but I assure you I won't be making a silly game about the Holocaust (for example) ever.

Thanks for your kind words!