Sunday, December 25, 2016

Day 47: FotLC through the 113 lenses from The Art of Game Design

Day 47 - Lens 91: The Lens of Character Transformation
We pay attention to character transformations because we care about what might change us. To ensure your characters are transforming in interesting ways, ask yourself these questions:

How does each of my characters change throughout the fame?
They don't, or not in fundamental ways. Looking at characters in a board game is strange to start with, and in the case of FotLC it is even more unusual: In one sense there are no 'characters', at least not at this point. There are pawns that the players manipulate, but they have no character.

In another sense the players are told that their pawns represent the leaders of a post apocalyptic tribe. The players may invest them with an arbitrary amount of character, and that character may shift over the course of the events of the game. That could be a complex character arc, but would be brought to the game entirely by the player.

In a third sense the players themselves have been told that they are playing people from the post apocalyptic future who are playing a board game. So they have been actively charged with playing these undefined characters.

How am I communicating those changes to the player? Can I communicate them more clearly, or more strongly?
The rules materials help at least the player running the game to shift into character a little and the end game reveal to the winner poses an in character question. That question directly addresses the question of whether the player or the character they represent has changed through playing the game.

Is there enough change?
The change in question is very focused. It's at the heart of the theme of the game. Making it the only important change makes it stand out. I don't know yet if that makes it too simplistic and thus boring, or if it makes it profound.

Are the changes surprising and interesting?
I think so. I don't expect the player to anticipate the question they are asked at the end of the game and I hope they find the choice interesting.

Are the changes believable?
As any change comes with a decision from the player it depends on whether the player finds the choice that they make believable. In one sense the tension created if they don't is just as interesting as the choice itself.