Daily Design: Day 60
Daily Design is a series of game concepts devised daily through all of 2016. These are just basic concepts, designed based on three randomly generated words. Today, they are;
Watch, Imperial and Vessel.
As such, the game I’ve designed today is…
Interdum Paratus has players take the role of a bumbling city guard who finds him or herself inhabited by the soul of an ancient (and thoroughly evil) god.
Despite that, the player has a job to do. Citizens won’t oppress themselves, and crime runs rampant – it’s up to the guards to hold back the tide of the unlawful and protect the nobility. This is just a bit harder to do when maddening whispers threaten to overcome your senses.
Mechanically, the game comes down to judging citizens for their actions. Find a thief? You can choose to cut off their hands, release them entirely, send them to jail, or eat their soul.
Different choices obviously lead to different outcomes, but the game is simple enough that this is really all the mechanical depth it has. You make a few decisions and watch the impacts unfold and affect the city – it’s little more than that, but were it to be written (and acted) well enough, I think it’d be a fun time all the same.
Simple, then, as far as a concept goes. “Make a game about decisions but make it good”. Still, I think this concept has enough merit that it could stand on it’s own. Possible inclusions to improve the depth of the game would probably detract from the concept – “morality bars” are just bad design, and I think a more fluid system of how the city evolves would be best. Different decisions lead to different outcomes, and the concept is broad enough that any tone could be taken during development (though with the premise, I envision it as being light-hearted).
You know those dumb guards you see in every fantasy ever made? It’d be great to see it from their point of view. For example, you may be posted at the gate with strict orders not to let anybody into the city (say there’s an outbreak of gnomes or something). What do you do when an adventurer appears who claims to have urgent business with the king? Personally, I think they’d need to get a pass. You can tell them that you think Old Man Johnson out in the shack by the lake may be able to help and set them on their quest, only to have them return later (in cooler armour after having gotten stronger) with a pass. Good for them!
It’s essentially the one joke stretched across an entire game (ha! Guards are dumb!) but if the game were simple and brief enough, I think it’d be one worth playing.
That’s it! Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow with another simple game concept.