Ok, so most of you probably are aware of MADcorp, my dungeoncrawling game that’s in beta right now. I’ve also been experimenting with using the same system to play a sandboxy campaign that’s not so limited to dungeons — in other words, there’s a world with a bunch of things going on, and the players can choose to involve themselves in these things (in order to try to leverage them to personal gain) or not.
Here’s the thing. A game-unit of MADcorp is one dungeon. short-term success means getting a bunch of valuable shit and getting out with it alive. Long-term success means doing that continually and leveling up the company. When you get to level 20, you win.
With this other idea, a game-unit is resolving a situation (for the moment) into which you’ve inserted yourself. Short-term success means resolving that situation in a manner that nets you some gain (gains come in the form of wealth, fame, infamy, and/or recognizance of deeds by political powers). Long-term success means using those gains to enhance your position in life and the world. When you achieve the position you want (whether that means being able to retire to a private island for the rest of your life, or becoming the King of Kansas, or whatever), you win.
Are you seeing what I’m seeing? Idea #2 has a much better reward system (leveling the company up to level 20 is not nearly as satisfying an end goal as retiring to your own private island forever), which would make it more rewarding, which would make it a better game.
The question is, do I continue with the nearly-done MADcorp and publish it? It’s nearly-done, and this second idea is going to require a lot more work yet (hammering out how wealth, fame, infamy, and deeds work exactly). But the second idea otherwise uses the same system, and is a better game. Do I sell people the not-as-good (but still good) game only to release a better game that not only uses the same system but in fact can encapsulate all the gameplay that could occur in MADcorp?
Maybe MADcorp is a sort of “red box.” Maybe it’s a rip-off. I can’t figure it out.