Re: Game themes
> Message: 1This new theme might not appeal to you nearly as much as it appealed
> Date: Wed, 27 Dec 2000 17:54:29 -0500 (EST)
> From: Andy Latto <andy.latto@...>
> Subject: Re: Digest Number 213
> Lost Cities is another great game that could use a better theme. It
> just doesn't feel like organizing expeditions to lost cities. I
> can't figure out what it does feel like, though.
to my schoolmates, but I'll bring it up again. Where, we thought,
would you be able to get funding from outside investors in order to
start a venture where others have already made incredible advances?
How can your backers be happy when you play a "2" when the rest of the
world knows about "7"?
So the game became a battle between the head of MIT's Laboratory for
Computer Science, Michael Dertouzos, and the head of the MIT Media
Lab, Nick Negroponte. The five suits represent whatever nebulous
"waves of the future" the labs are hyping at the moment. Handshake
cards are corporate sponsors. Number cards are students and their
work; the higher the number, the better the thesis. Playing a number
card means you've adopted one student's work for promotional purposes
and begrudingly awarded a degree, while discarding a number card means
you've cut his funding and banished him from your lab.
We enjoy griping about dumb students getting degrees, about brilliant
students getting ignored, and about labs kick-starting a program with
the dregs from their rivals. Of course, it helps that we can often
name such students after our friends.
- I like Brian's MIT retheming of Lost Cities. It could be extended to other
That said, the theme of Lost Cities already works for me, even though the
mechanics and the theme have little or no direct connection. This is because
of the cards. They are linked to the mechanics, in that they clearly convey
the information you need to play the game. They are also linked to the theme,
in that they beautifully illustrate the various expeditions. (Too beautifully
for me to agree with whoever finds them Lovecraftian, by the way.)
LC is not the only game in which the I find the mechanics and theme to work
together via the bits, rather than directly.
Talking of rethemable games, we played Hellrail yesterday evening. That could
easily be rethemed to and relocated out of hell and onto the earth. So you'd
pick up and drop off, not adulterers and heretics, but lawyers and
stockbrokers. OK, bad example, that still sounds like types of sinner. But
you get the idea...
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