To start off with getting ideas of a tabletop game I wanted to make, I feel that I’m a lot more fortunate than most in that brother…

…is obsessed with tabletop games.

Okay – maybe obsessed is a little bit too far, but let’s just say that all I needed to do was to throw open the cupboard downstairs and be greeted by this:

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And so, I looked around my brother’s collection for inspiration on what I could make and what I came up with was this:

Rapidpitch!

Yeah, you probably guessed as much from the title of this blog post.

Think of it like a mashup between something like Dungeons and Dragons (or any other role-playing game for that matter), Cards against Humanity and Superfight. The emphasis of Rapidpitch is on de-emphasising the mechanics (the ludology of games, “a systemic view on games, with β€œan interest towards formal elements in games, such as rules and other structures…” (Montola, 2008)) and more about telling an interesting story (the narratology or storytelling experience) that will hopefully make the people playing it laugh, akin to something like AI Dungeon.

First, imagine a room full of film studio executives, producers, writers and creators all hurriedly yelling and screaming movie ideas.

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Thank you, Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

As to be expected, this board room is so disorganised that every so often – that being, every round – a new executive producer of the studio is appointed! And it definitely has nothing to do with fraud or tax exemption or something. Think of this person as the Card Czar from Cards against Humanity.

This person must then decide, from the other players, who has the best pitch of the round. These pitches are based on a brief drawn from a pack of cards e.g. a Science-Fiction thriller but with a romantic twist.

Players then have thirty seconds to write down their pitch – it can be anything from comedic to ‘Ooh, that’s a genuinely good idea…’

Whoever the executive producer says has the best pitch will receive an Auteur Award!

Or as any sane individual would call it, a point.

The player who receives the most Auteur Awards after a certain number of rounds – to be playtested and decided upon – wins! Before the studio gets shut down due to bankruptcy, of course.

Brownie points for role-playing i.e. being a loud snarky producer or a timid pitcher…or the exact opposite!

Rapidpitch is aimed at those not looking for something tremendously complex mechanically but leaves the door wide open for creativity and experimentation. Plus its simplified nature allows for user-created modules that can be added with ease, with its only requirements being “voluntary participation and an acceptance of the rules of the game…” (Brandt, Messeter & Binder, 2008).

Considering the simplicity of the game, I expect the development process (mainly polishing the rules and writing up the “Pitch Deck”) to be very short and for much of the game’s development timeline to be devoted to playtesting. Because of this, I have confidence that the game can be made into a viable project in the limited time I have available to me.

Also taking into account the immense popularity of these ‘casual-creative’ games like the aforementioned Superfight, which sold out of its first five prints in preorders alone, I believe Rapidpitch has a strong market to tap into.

In short, unlike many tabletop games “which only offer the illusion of free will…freedom within the structure of the system” (Brown & Waterhouse-Watson, 2016), Rapidpitch will offer a high degree of openness for a narrative to emerge naturally among its players.

References:

Brandt, E., Messeter, J. & Binder, T. 2008, ‘Formatting design dialogues – games and participation’, CoDesign: International Journal of Cocreation in Design and the Arts, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 51-64.

Brown, A. & Waterhouse-Watson, D. 2016, ‘Playing with the history of Middle Earth: board games, transmedia storytelling, and The Lord of the Rings’, Journal of Tolkien Research, vol. 3, no. 3, pp. 1-32.

Montola, M 2011, ‘Social Constructionism and Ludology: Implications for the Study of Games’, Simulation & Gaming, vol. 43, no. 3, pp. 300-320.