Adding RPG Components to Other Games
Recently on my trip to Fear the Con Five I got the opportunity to play a wide variety of role-playing game. One of the games that was heavily featured was called Dread. Dread is a system that substitutes traditional dice mechanics for a Jenga Tower. Players make actions and the GM determines the difficulty of the action for player and has them make 1 or more pulls depending on the difficulty. What this does is it separates the normal chance mechanics of dice to building up a feeling of tension. The system was originality created to be used for horror games, but Dread has been modified for different themes. Lucid is a dread variant used for the setting of the movie Inception. Created by my good friend and fellow Kicked in the Dice Bags host Chad. These mechanics from board games had me wondering, what other board games could I base an RPG around.
As we have been seeing in the last 5 years in video games where traditional simple genres are getting the RPG face-lift. For example in Call of Duty 4 players earn XP for rewards which allows them to level up their characters and earn perks and new weapons. This mechanic gives the players a feeling of persistence. For table top games adding RPG components can give you an ability to add a narrative experience. This could be as simple as creating a reason why Australia is invading Japan in a game of Risk, describing the businesses are you putting on Boardwalk in a Monopoly game and talking in snooty rich person voices.
One of my favorite memories growing up was playing multi-player Magic the Gathering with my friends during Dungeons and Dragons sessions. During these games we would conduct diplomacy between the turns. Having weaker players band together to take on more powerful ones. What would it take to make Magic the Gathering an RPG? The players could be young Planeswalkers (Beings of great power that can control reality). The GM would construct special decks with limited amounts of spells creatures and equipment. During Role-play they can use cards to aid during adventuring and investigating. During combats would be settled against the players playing against DM who is playing with a more stacked deck. XP could be determined by rewarding players with new cards to add to their decks. The drawback to the this system that you would need a large amount of Magic Cards and knowledge on building decks.
Now is a great time to be into tabletop games and RPG’s. With the internet it is easy to quickly see what other people are experimenting with. Which that was part of the concept why we started this site. We love games and story, and even though you’re not playing in a high fantasy RPG campaign. Doesn’t mean you can’t tell a good story. We as a people strive to find meaning in the world around us. So this is only a natural progression in the hobby to use games to tell a story. What are your ideas for adapting traditional or indie board games to tell a narrative?