Bringing it all back home

My preceding post was about how to proceed as a publisher. All well and good, but what does that mean in terms of fun games people can get and play?

First off, it would mean making Dust Devils available again soon. This will mean something simple — like Lulu or a comparable offering — in the short term. If that goes well enough, Nine Worlds could follow suit. 44: A Game of Automatic Fear will continue to be a free-with-registration game. I don’t have plans currently to offer a print version, but that’s possible.

My intention is that all of these games would be secondary products. Which implies I have at least one primary product. Well, I’m working on it.

In fact, my design notebooks, as always, fill up with a smattering of game designs. I can dismiss some more easily these days. I have a sharper yard stick to measure up ideas. If I don’t think an idea has broader appeal among RPG hobbyists than, say, Dust Devils, the idea is done for.

One game concept keeps coming back, which is a good sign it’s the right one. The working title is Exodus Squadron.

The short version: It’s my take on Battlestar Gallactica (the new one, of course — yes, I realize there’s already a licensed RPG).

The not-as-short version goes like this: Players portray space fighter pilots. Their job is to protect a human fleet as it escapes bondage by an alien race, racing home. Characters come from the various castes of humanity enslaved. Play rotates among three playspaces — space battles, the mothership/fleet, and “away team.” Each playspace feeds into the others in various ways.

The game will be aimed at a maturing gamer audience, one that has great interest in such fun subject matter, but increasingly less time to prepare sessions and conduct play. The point will be exciting tactical combats mixed with dramatically paced downtimes and interesting exploration. Ideally, each session of play is a single stellar system or encounter, easily prepared (or downloaded) on 1-2 pages. These series of “jumps” comprise a campaign — say, a dozen such episodes before reaching a conclusion at the home world (presumably earth).

That audience is not necessarily “indie gamers,” by which I mean story gamers or those interested in narrativist play. If they enjoy the thing, fantastic. But, my intention spend efforts and resources reaching some sliver of other gamers.

Design for Exodus Squadron is still in early phases. I have some working bits and bobs, but no playtest is close. I have a strong vision for both the look and feel of the product, and for the color and themes of the setting and game.

I’ll be posting more about it as the game develops.

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