Daily Design: Day 72

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;

Public, Contravention, Pun.

As such, the game I’ve designed today is…

Play on Words

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In Play On Words, players take the role of a professional stage-actor over the course of this short and simple game.

Before each performance, the player is given the script to go over. These are kept short, because if players wanted to remember and recite full-length scripts, they’d probably rather be paid for it.

At any time, players can initiate the play. At all times, the player is given a dialogue box and can choose to say their line at any time (as well as any line in the dialogue box). They may have up to 4 options, with only 1 being the scripted option.

The player is scored at the end of each play based on their performance – however, the best scores aren’t achieved by following the script exactly, but by improving it with some improvisation. Moreover, certain things may go wrong during the play, and the player has to quickly drop a line to make it fall back on track.

Mechanically, improving the play comes from recognising confusing or badly written lines. These may be lines in the script that contradict earlier information, get a name wrong, etc. Avoiding these and using another line is the best way to improve your score, though mostly staying on track is a safe bet otherwise.

Because the player can opt to speak at any moment, timing is also a key factor. Interrupting another actor mid-line can be an effective way of building drama, but not if they’re about to deliver key information.

By keeping the story and dialogue funny and light, I think Play on Words would be a lot of fun, even (or especially) if the player is bad at it. While it’s mechanically very simple, being able to manipulate the play to your whims (by accident or not) could lead to some really fun results, and it’s an idea I’d love to see someone (possibly me, I guess) develop.

That’s it! Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow with another quick game concept.

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