Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Attack of the Black Eyed Monster

Greetings friends!

Today I'd like to talk to you about emotions; the good such as the joy of seeing a dream of yours gestating into life, and the bad such as the doubts and worries that come with it.

This is where the titled Black Eyed Monster comes in. They say to feel jealous is an attack of the Green Eyed, well then surely doubt is black?

So in recent weeks things have gone from good to great to amazing!

It all started when I released the ruleset for First Law: Override (then known as the Working Title: Gang War). It received some pretty good responses talking about how the ruleset seemed interesting with lots of potential.
- Yes this is far flung from "AMAZING!! 10/10!! Game of the Year!!" but it's a start, and it's a hell of a lot better than "Boring, Repetitive, Predictable which without any form of self depreciation or seeking of attention, was the reactions I was expecting - mainly due to knowledge that most of the 'fun' stuff I had left out of that rules pack.

Then things began to progress. We saw further rules packs being released as well as the first in-house test plays coming out of the woodwork. I started to see with my own eyes that change was coming, the rules were fun and cinematic with dice rolls being as dynamic and tense as I had hoped they would be.

I started to get excited. For the first time ever the dark recesses of my brain had birthed something that was turning out to be as good as I had imagined it would be (normally it's missing some x-factor that stops it being great).

What followed was input from a good friend of mine. What I think for him had started off as a punt "yeah, let's give your game a try" turned into something with clearly visible enthusiasm.

We played two games making a few changes here and there and simply from deployment itself the enjoyment for the game was pouring off him like heavy rain.

- At this point I need to declare, the game as it was, was no longer my own creation. I had received regular support from notable people and each one had helped take a raw idea and make it better.

But somehow these rough ideas had created a game that caused this friend of mine mid game to blurt out "I LOVE THIS GAME!" I think we can all agree that it is a rare occasion that this happens in any game when it is intentional, never-mind involuntarily.

What followed was a further build change with more tweaks and adjustments all the while my friend was making more and more suggestions that gelled with my own ideas so well. I knew that there was only one logical progression from this stage:


To some people this might be seen as a dirty word, similar to compromise and handing over the rains to someone else. Far from it. I could see that the two of us wanted the same thing, and this person could provide something that I just could not: a different view point!

So the offer was made and thankfully accepted under the caveat that there are no demands for involvement. If he was unable to play test games at any time then that would be fine and similar. I explained that this was fine, that this is a hobby of mine and that I am a fickle creature. For all I know in 6 months time I'll have grown bored of the Outer Fringe and Honos and instead be creating an underwater game like X-Wing only with Fish (or whatever) all it was, was a declaration of partnership and ownership. The game stops being mine and becomes ours.
- This by itself has many beneficial rewards for us both. For starters with a stake in ownership, both parties have a greater reason to contribute and any suggestions/ideas are put forward as peers rather than 'Owner vs Tester'.

Since then the game exploded!

I mean almost literally!

In the last couple of weeks I have seen the rules expand, contract, tune & tweeze in ways that I could never have achieved by myself. I have had suggestions made that were so far left-field I would have never thought of, but when I see them on paper I realise how perfect they are. I see my own suggestions being either agreed with completely or being tweaked slightly, and likewise I tweak the suggestions I receive. I've seen a single idea passed between hands each time being moulded and pressed so it ends up almost entirely different to the original idea, but the result of this combined moulding is something so much better than it would have been if only one of us had played with it.

Clearly my collaborator, who for ease of reference will be referred to only as G (I haven't asked him yet how involved in public he wishes to be, so would rather not 'out' his involvement without prior permission) had been bitten by the game design bug and the passion and ideas were there.

Everything was fantastic, and it still is! My brain is buzzing I ways I can not imagine and G is a fantastic person to collaborate with.
-In everything I do I need someone to temper my chaos. At home it is my wife, at work it is a colleague of mine, and here it is G.
G's brain clearly works in a different way to mine, and I've known that for a long time based on how he plays games. He's like the chess champion who when you get to the end of the game you realise that you thought you were making your own decisions, but you were not, their actions in game were making your decisions for you and because you couldn't see that you were actually playing their game; you were just along for the ride. It was this sort of brain I needed and has resulted in the rules progressing more in 2 weeks than I ever could in 2 months!

Then the black eyed monster attacks!

It pulls out it's Heavy Plasma Rifle at short range, aims and releases all 7d6 of damage complete with exploding 1s into my brain!
To use an #Override reference

I see these suggestions and contributions coming from G and the Black Eyed Monster speaks to me (metaphorically) telling about how I could have never come up with something this good on my own.

And I know that it is right...

...but isn't that the point of collaboration? To use each other's strengths to complement the other's weaknesses? That without me the game wouldn't be as good as it currently is either?

And so I pull out my two-handed Kratel Blade coated in Pha'Nur Venom, switch to Offensive Stance and cut into the black eyed monster with my own 7d6 of DOUBLE DAMAGE!

The beast is not Out, but it is Incapacitated.

I go to strike the Black Eyed Monster again, take from Incapacitated to Out but decide against it.

Sure I could remove it now and it won't bother me until the next game where as in an Incapacitated state it is possible it could be revived. But it's down, it's not going anywhere any time soon and my next Action could be better spent actually trying to Hack the objective and bring home a win for our team.


And so ends my long, drawn out explanation of the past few weeks.

Until next time; stay safe and be excellent to each other!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

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