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A PBM I'll never get around to creating
I've had the idea for this kicking around in my mind for many years (two wives ago) but it's unlikely I'll live forever and I can foresee Rimworlds occupying my time for some years to come. If anyone like the ideas and would like to take a crack at being a maker, he's welcome to them to change them and rearrange them as he wills. ('Twould be nice to see an acknowledgement somewhere in the rules.)

"Hell Men" Close-ended for around 30 players, size can be adjusted by adjusting the size of the playing field.

This game takes place in a future a few hundred years from now. Our civilizations were destroyed and our cities raped by invading aliens who dominated Earth long enough to make the 21st century into legends about men who had flying machines that could reach the moon and rode metal horses that took them hundreds of miles in a day. It is unclear to anyone exactly why the aliens left, but gone, they are.

The pitifully few survivors of this almost-armageddon live in small villages or nomadic tribes in the fields and valleys and forests that most of the Earth has returned to being. But there are the remains of a few great cities that still thrust up out of the landscape like the skeletons of giants. And in this city there are remnants of the technology that once had made mankind into the lords of creation.

Unfortunately, finding and bringing back this technology to the tribes living in the hinterland is difficult and dangerous. Young men and women, the best of the best, are chosen to go into the cities where they must overcome dangers from unexploded traps left by the humans when the aliens came, from feral humans descended from slaves taken by the aliens, some of whom were experimented on and whose DNA was altered, making them into monsters (think vampires, werewolves, etc not just frankesteins.). There are "andys" metal-men who once served the aliens and still protect the cities as if they were there. And there are animals (Lions and Tigers and Bears – oh my!) who have escaped from the remains of Zoos.

But the technology that still exists can mean life or death for the clan/village/tribe. And the honor of being a "Hell-Man" as the scavengers are called impels each player to say good bye to his friends, take the small amount of goods the tribe can spare and head off into the city.

The Player starts be creating his own character, using the idea that you can add more points to some good qualities by accepting some bad ones. Then he is assigned so many startup points to use to create his party. Most of what he can get is simple tools and weapons. He can recruit a friend if he's willing to spend the points and a donkey which increases the party's inventory capacity. Ammo might be important, or it might not. Counting arrows expended takes the game into a level of detail that most folks really don't want to go, but it could be done, especially in a PBW.

The city I had envisioned was a version of Manhattan Island, complete with numbered streets and avenues, a large park just north of the center of the island and with no way to reach it except by boat. (Luckily, there's always a canoe just where the player comes to the NJ shore.)

All goodies are placed at the start of the game which is probably finite. They range from generics like "books," and "utensils" to specifics like a flamethrower or a working pair of walkie-talkies (meaning the player can split his party.) There are plenty of chances for combat with NPCs (the strength of an NPC party should range from 2/3rds of the party's strength to 1 and 2/3rds of the party's strength) and other NPCs that can be recruited. Most of the buildings have been reduced to rubble which can be searched, but which seldom yields anything beyond "You find a rusty bottle cap; it is worthless." Even where the building can be searched upper floors can be blocked with rubble. I suggest that the details of a building be created only at the moment the first party to encounter it decides to go inside. If you've planted treasure at startup, you'll know if the building has anything worthwhile, but the rooms (with boiler-plate descriptions) along with any traps can be added to the game just in time to be used.

One thing that exists at the beginning is a subway which allows one-turn travel between north and south (with a couple of stations along the way, maybe) and another heading east to west north of the giant park and one in the southern part of the island as well. The stations are blocked with the game starts and their locations are random. They should be mentioned in the rules since repeat players will know they exist, but they are blocked by rubble – i.e. a visual description will reveal nothing but rubble, but a search of the region will discover the stairs – blocked by rubble that can be cleared – leading into the station itself. I probably would have put some kind of morlocks in the tunnels, just to keep everyone's attention.

The players will accumulate goods, and will be in need of others. Luckily there are traders who come to established spots at the edge of the island every xxx turns and who will buy what the player has, and sell at least some of what he needs. How much treasure the player can accumulate is determined by his party's carrying capacity, so having a couple of pack animals is a great idea – until the party's forward progress is blocked and they either have to abandon the animals or retrace their steps.

Players can establish HQ's where they can set up some of their party in manufacturing (both materials and machines to be found in the game) and even trading posts the more intelligent of the permanent inhabitants might come as well as other players.

Each player's winning condition is established on turn 1. It has to do with accumulating technologies – not goods, but the knowledge of how to make things. This is what the tribe needs. (A copy of the book, "How Things Work," would be very useful.)

So basically, the player who gets the best education, wins. Smile

Interesting! I like the concept, though I'm having trouble seeing how it would work well as a PBM-style game. How would the players control his party? How many orders could he give them each turn?

I like it though, sort of a closed-ended RPG. I think the opportunity for player interaction would be pretty great.
There are other ways of doing it, but I'd have it possible to issue orders to one member, or an order that would apply to a group of 2 to all of the party. Group orders would have the benefit of all the skills and talents of the group members while an individual's efficiency at carrying out the order would have to depend on himself.

Right now I'm dealing with setting tactics for starship combat and I want them to be able to set targets and begin firing distances for each type and class of weapon, and boat. I'm doing it with an orbiting set of panels each of which contains a drop down for a particular class of weapon (beam, torp, etc) . Player selects all types he wishes within that class and then picks the tactics to assign. Off the top of my head, something like that should work.

I think the great joy of group games is the player interaction.
(03-27-2011, 04:11 PM)JonO Wrote: I think the great joy of group games is the player interaction.

So true!


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