Monday, April 28, 2014

The Game of Battery

In our gaming group's long-running (14 years!) Gonen's World campaign, we have invented snippets of detail about the setting that we've never fully fleshed out. For example, in my recorded "Blue Crystal" broadcasts, I had sportscaster Doofus Gandy occasionally mention a professional sport called Battery.

The other day, in a fit of inspiration, I lifted some of the basic rules from the old Hasbro game Battleball, ever-so-slightly complicated them, and revamped the positions and associated die types, passing rules, and made a few other changes. I figured our group could form a "league" and play Battery during the breaks between game sessions on our twice-monthly game days. Already, the group has latched on to the idea, with Ryan Ashmore providing some fictional background for the sport and most other players inventing teams (so far we've got the Highseat Triple-As, Galeg Kar Smokestacks, Saltwash Assault, and Blackpool United).

However, it's all moot without a prototype to actually play. So last Friday I blew off some Pharaoh Publishing business and made a board and playing pieces.

One problem instantly became apparent. Like Colin Campbell's Cape City character Skyscraper, the board is just "Too Fuckin' Big." So my original 36x48 board needs to shrink to 24x36. I could see that without even playtesting. Ryan's fictional backstory indicates the game is of urban origin, so, given that, a smaller board makes sense in the setting context as well as making for a faster-playing, more brutal game. I think the Battery pitch should be more like a basketball court than a football field. This is the original:

I won't bother to explain the rules here, other than to remark that I want to keep them as simple as possible - I see this as a fast-playing game more akin to Checkers than Chess. Nevertheless, the gaming group is busy examining the rules, riffing on 'em, and in general suggesting a lot of things that might make it more fun, or might complicate it beyond my original intentions. We'll see how it goes. But, for fun, if this league takes off, I will try to write some in-character sports stories about our exploits.

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