Monday, November 23, 2015

A Chance Glance and a Chance Conversation in a Student Bar, part 2

Devin passed him back his iPod.  “I can’t tell you how much of a relief it is to find someone here into decent music.  I thought I was going to spend my first year in halls hearing nothing but Adele and Mumford and Sons.”  Devin offered his hand.  “I’m Devin.”

“Carny.”  The blond guy with better taste in music than his appearance suggested introduced himself.

Weird name, Devin thought.  Not that he could talk.  His grandparents were Dutch.  Growing up in Wolverhampton with the surname Lucassen had attracted a fair bit of ribbing.

“I’m not at the university, though,” Carny added.  “I’m just here to check up on some folks.”

Ah, Devin thought.  Adele and Mumford and Sons it was then... for a whole damn year.

Carny saw his downcast expression.  “There’s a heavy metal music society, RockSoc, which meets up every Wednesday night in the main university bar.  A friendly bunch if I remember right.  You should have no problem fitting in.”

That wasn’t so bad.  Devin would give it a look.  It had to be better than here, where he felt like a fish out of water.

“Good talking to you and thanks for the music recommendation,” Carny said.

He drifted off, presumably to find his friends.  Devin retreated back to his corner with a pint of Guinness.

Devin spotted the blonde girl again.  She was seriously hot.  Devin normally wasn’t into the preppy look—raven-haired goth chicks in spikes and leather were more his type—but he could see the benefits of a figure-hugging sweater when she had a figure like that.  Totally out of his league.

Or maybe not.

He could swear she’d just given him a coy glance over her shoulder.

Nah.  That was the booze coupled with a bit of wishful thinking.  Hot blonde girls didn’t look in his direction unless it was to point and laugh.

Fair’s fair.  He and his mates back home used to do the same to all the normies when they got drunk and stupid.

The bar started to wind down around eleven.  Devin doubted he’d be spending many nights here.  It wasn’t his scene at all.  Maybe he’d check out the city centre tomorrow night... see what that was about.

His gaze followed the hot blonde girl as she walked out.  She gave him another coy glance over her shoulder at the exit, like she wanted him to follow her.  That one was harder to put down to shonky eyesight and booze.  Maybe she had a thing for bad boys.

Not that Devin was much of a bad boy.  Strip off the leathers and clip his long hair and there was a dull straight-A student underneath.

He watched her leave.

She had a boyfriend.  Devin didn’t subscribe to the stone-age view of a man ‘owning’ his girlfriend, but he considered it bad form to get involved before the girl had terminated the previous relationship.

And it was probably all wistful imaginings anyway.  If looks were rock bands, hers played arenas while his thrashed away in grotty little pubs.

He drained the last of his Guinness and headed outside for a smoke.  The September air was chilly and damp.  The other students were heading back to their rooms.  Devin went to the corner of the building and lit up.

He noticed the blonde girl was standing at the other end of the narrow alley that separated the hall bar and the main admin building.  Fuck, she was ridiculously hot, Devin thought.  The moonlight picked her out and lent her an ethereal glow of beauty.  She reminded Devin of the vampiric temptresses in old Hammer horror films.

Nothing good ever happened to the poor sods lured in by the temptresses of those old films, Devin thought wryly.  He took a puff on his cigarette, letting the warm smoke ward off the clammy night air.

Something crashed into his side and shoved him into the alley.

Devin recovered from the shock to find himself looking at the pinched face of the blonde’s boyfriend.  Rage burned in close-set piggy eyes.

“What are you doing staring at my bird!” he said.  He punctuated his words with a jab of his finger to Devin’s chest.

Fight!  Fight!  Fight!  To be continued... 

Monday, November 16, 2015

A Chance Glance and a Chance Conversation in a Student Bar, part 1

Time to kick off a new mini-serial (if only to prove I'm still writing!).  Back in October when I was writing new stories for Literotica's Halloween competition I mentioned I had a 3rd story in progress I thought I might work better as a mini-serial.  Well here's the first part:

A Chance Glance and a Chance Conversation in a Student Bar, part 1

Some had all the luck, Devin Lucassen thought as he spied the couple in the university bar.

It was the girl that caught his attention.  Or rather, if he was totally honest with himself, it was her boobs that caught his attention.  They were very large and emphasised by a plain white sweater that was about a size too small.  The fabric was stretched taut by her firm curves.  Her silky platinum-blonde hair was cut to her shoulder and had plenty of body.  She wasn’t a blonde bimbo.  Devin could tell that from her eyes.  They were dark and smouldered with intelligence.  It shouldn’t be a surprise really.  She wouldn’t be here, at university, if she was an airhead thicko.

His gaze kept involuntarily dropping to her chest.  It was hard.  Her bust was extremely eye-catching and he was a male near the end of his teens with all the hormones that went with it.  He still felt guilty about it.  He hoped she hadn’t noticed.  It wouldn’t make a good first impression.

Not that it mattered.  She wasn’t alone.  Girls like her never were.  What surprised Devin was how ordinary her boyfriend looked.

And he was her boyfriend.  Devin had seen them kissing openly in the bar on more than one occasion during the evening.

The boyfriend was very unexceptional.  He was about an inch shorter than her and slight of frame.  Spectacles covered a pair of close-set eyes.  He had the pale look of someone who spent too much time indoors playing videogames.

Not that Devin could talk.  He was your typical metalhead with greasy long hair.  His was a student demographic not exactly renowned for its pulling power with the ladies.

Fair play to the bloke, Devin thought.  He must have something else going for him.  Gives the rest of us hope.

Not that Devin had much hope at the moment.  He supped a pint of Guinness alone amongst a throng of chattering students.  They all seemed to know each other.  Devin didn’t know how this was.  This was Fresher’s Week.  Supposedly they were all first year students away from home for the first time.  So why did Devin feel like he’d shown up a week late?

He knew why.  He sucked at social interaction.  Always had.  He was clueless when it came to starting a conversation.  He needed an excuse—something to talk about.  That’s why he’d shown up in his leather jacket and Slipknot T-shirt.  Sure, it might drive some away like a fetid cloud of BO, but if they were that bothered about his music tastes, Devin wasn’t interested in getting to know them better.

It seemed fine in theory.  Now Devin was starting to think all his clever ‘strategy’ had achieved was to set him up as the Johnny No-mates of the hall.  Metal couldn’t be that uncool.  Surely there had to be some other metalheads around.  Or even a hot goth chick.  Hell, at this point Devin would settle for someone into Black Veil Brides or Bring Me The Horizon.

Nope, the bar was wall-to-wall trendies and hipsters.  Devin hoped it got better once he started going to lectures and meeting people on his course, otherwise his university experience was going to be very long and very lonely.

Speaking of hipsters, there was one over in the corner that appeared to be wearing a Slayer T-shirt.

He didn’t look like a typical Slayer fan.  Or that hipsterish, to be fair.  The student was skinny and had blond hair stuck in anime-style spikes.  The white earphones of an iPod were in his ears and he stood with the detachment of someone that didn’t give a shit about anything.  Or was projecting an attitude of not giving a shit about anything as a defensive shield.  Not that Devin could talk, given he was currently dressed in a biker jacket and a T-shirt with a burning clown skull on the front.  The blond dude wasn’t drinking, or rather, wasn’t drinking drinking.  He had a bottle of water in his hand and was supping from it with a straw.

 “Top band that,” Devin said as he walked past the blond kid on the way to the bar for another pint.

The blond kid took his earphones out.  “Sorry?” he asked.

“Just remarking on the T-shirt,” Devin said.  “Not many—” he looked around the bar.  “Okay, absolutely nobody wearing metal T-shirts here tonight.  I was starting to think I might be the only metal fan in the whole hall.”

And might still be.  Devin had heard some hipsters liked to wear metal T-shirts despite not listening to the music.  It was an ironic statement or some shit like that.  Devin had some sympathy for hipsters.  As a metalhead he knew what it was like to have the mainstream media shit all over his sub-culture, and the hipsters were a common target nowadays.  His sympathy dried up for the ones that engaged in this kind of douchebaggery—especially when they did it as a way of identifying targets to sneer at and take the piss out of.

Not this one.

The blond kid looked down at his T-shirt.  “My favourite band,” he said as if it was a guilty pleasure.  “I love their music.  What about you.”

“They’re legends,” Devin said.  “One of the original thrash titans.”

“Which album’s your favourite,” the blond kid asked.

“I don’t have them all,” Devin said.  “Reign in Blood I guess.  But that’s the one everyone says.  ‘Raining Blood’ is such a monster of a closer.”

The blond kid nodded in agreement.  “A lovely track.”  His eyes took on a far-off look, as if he was looking back over happy memories.  “I’ve always had a soft spot for God Hates Us All.  You heard that one?”

Devin shook his head.  “I’m still getting into the classic old-school era thrash... Sepultura and the like.”

He made a mental note to check out the album the other student had mentioned.

“So many good bands and albums back then,” the blond kid said.  “I don’t see so many good albums around nowadays.”

Odd, Devin thought.  The other student looked way too young for the ‘good ole days’ routine, especially for albums that were recorded before either of them were born.

“Nah.  There’s still plenty of ace stuff,” Devin said.  “The music press doesn’t report on it because they’re up their own bums.  You can still find it if you look for it.  Here, listen to this.”

Devin dug his music player out of his pocket.  They switched the headphones over and Devin selected a track.  The blond kid listened to it and nodded approvingly.

“Dark with an undercurrent of violence,” he said.  “Like a buzz saw cutting through a sternum.  I like it.  Who is it?”

“Whitechapel,” Devin said.  “I know deathcore gets a bad rap, but they’re damn good.”

The blond kid shrugged.  “It was the same for nu-metal.”

He took his earphones out.

“Thanks for that.  I’ll check them out.”

The blond guy offered his own iPod.  Devin saw it was one of the old models, made before Apple started combining everything into one device.

“Give this a listen,” he said.  “Five Pointe O.  Heard of them.”

“No,” Devin answered.

He listened to the track.  It sounded like a Molotov cocktail going off in his skull.  Sweet.

“They only put out the one album,” the blond guy said.  “A shame.”

Devin passed him back his iPod.  “I can’t tell you how much of a relief it is to find someone here into decent music.  I thought I was going to spend my first year in halls hearing nothing but Adele and Mumford and Sons.”  Devin offered his hand.  “I’m Devin.”

“Carny.”  The blond guy with better taste in music than his appearance suggested introduced himself.

to be continued (weekly on Mondays)...

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Monster Girl Card Game - Brainstorming V

Previous Brainstorming - IIIIII, IV


Typing up thoughts on how draining would work as a resource mechanic gave me some ideas on how to implement a seduction mechanic.

A key part of the game is "capturing" neutral pieces (characters) from the central deck and using them to generate resources or influence.  Thematically this is represented by sending succubi out to bonk various targets into submission (and using that as an excuse to show lewd animations on a computer game!).

When I was first thinking of how the game might work, there were a couple of options on how to implement seduction.

One was to make it simple and instantaneous.  Succubus A has a Seduction stat, Soldier B has a Willpower stat.  If Seduction is higher the Willpower of the soldier goes for intensive nookie and brainwashing.

Another way is to make it longer - Willpower starts off high and the Succubus keeps adding a number of seduction counters every turn until the resistance is beaten.

Then I thought about the randomisation mechanic I came up with last time for draining and thought it might also work here.  With a tweak.  For draining, the energy generated was a simple numerical value.  For seduction we might want to make the type of value important (in the same way playing cards have both a suit and numerical value).

For our game the "suits" could be represented by kinks (or type of lover).

For example:

Heart - Cute, Friendly, Loving (or at least able to act that way)
Whip/Hancuffs - Dominatrix
??? - Exotic, Sensual
??? - Filthy whore (Crude, nasty and very sexy about it)
Fist - Physical, likes to overpower with muscle

Checking out the various online kink maps might help to cover the range here.  Loving and Dominatrix seem good cats, the others not so.  Loving + various femdom types (bondage, wrestling, pain, smothering) is also a possibility as succubi (and monster girls in general) fit well with various femdom kinks.

Another possibility could be attributes - representing what sends the target a-quiver and what the succubus possesses in abundance.

For example:


We could use either or even both.  Maybe one is a prerequisite required before a target can be seduced.  The other is a measure of whether the seduction succeeds or fails.

Thinking about it with an example.

[Soldier] has a seduction requirement of 4 Hearts.

The simple way to implement this is a player captures the card with any Succubus with 4 Hearts in seduction rating.

We can also have item or spell cards to boost the seduction power of summoned succubi.  [Lesser Cute Succubus (2 Hearts)] + [Aphrodisiac Lipstick (+2 Hearts)] can seduce and capture [Soldier (4 Hearts)].

If we want to add a little randomness each succubus can have a seduction rating that determines how many cards they reveal (as with the drain mechanic).  This time only symbols of the correct type (it could be the card cost or some other attribute) count.  We can still have the other stuff, representing in how specialised the succubus is in different kinks.


[Soldier (Hearts: 4)]
[Weak Cute Succubus (Seduction Rating: 2, Base Hearts: 1)]

[Weak Cute Succubus] starts at a base of 1 Hearts and they reveal 2 cards when attempting to seduce.  If those 2 cards contain 3 Heart symbols the seduction succeeds.  Otherwise they have to try again next turn.

One way this random element might make things fun is it allows players to contest the same character without the outcome being certain.  This gives some needed interaction and could work like this:

- Player A sends his [Weak Succubus] after [Soldier A]
- Player B sends his [Moderate Succubus] after [Soldier A]
- They both take it in turns playing face down boosts.
- Boosts are revealed.
- Players reveal cards from deck equal to their succubus's seduction rating and adds the number of required symbols revealed to the seduction total.
- If neither total passes [Soldier A] requirement, neither player gets card.
- Otherwise, player with highest total gets [Soldier A]

While the revealing cards off deck part adds a random element, it is a random element the player has control over.  They build their deck and can stack it in favour of one kink (suit).  This means they will be more likely to hit symbols of that kink, but will have a much harder time capturing characters with different seduction requirements.

The seduction requirements might not always be positive.  A character might like one attribute, but dislike another.  When counting up the total seduction value, the number of disliked symbols revealed are subtracted rather than added to the score.

Hmm, some possibilities here.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Monster Girl Card Game - Brainstorming IV

Previous Brainstorming - I, II, III

The Monster Girls - Yay!

Last up I was thinking about the "battlefield" the players (and their monster girls) were going to fight over.  Time to start thinking about the central hook - the monster girls themselves.  This is main focus of the game.  I want an excuse to put as much sexy artwork of succubi, lamia, and the rest on cards as I can.  Think of it as a playable version of the Monster Girl Encyclopaedia.

Each player's deck should contain plenty of monster girls.

The question then is - Will the player's deck be all monster girls, or will it include other things like spells?

For the monster girls we'll want various tiers.  The bottom tier will be the standard nameless "foot soldiers" (e.g. generic slime girl, generic imp).  Middle will likely be specialised variants of the basic types with some extra abilities.  Top tier is where we get named characters with a lot of power and abilities.  On the fluff side, creating these and giving them back stories should be a lot of fun.

Next step: what interactions will the monster girls have (assuming we're avoiding the obvious fight each other option)?

Here are some possibilities for interaction with the characters in the kingdom deck:

Bind (Very Easy)
Turn off a character's defensive abilities for a turn.

Heavy Bind (Easy)
As above, but the character is tied up until rescued in some fashion.

Kill (Moderate)
Remove a kingdom character.  Each player should keep a pile of which characters they've killed.  This opens up scope to create kingdom heroes with abilities that punish players for murderous behaviour.  And others capable of resurrecting fallen characters.

Really Kill (Harder than Kill)
No chance of resurrection.  No card left to provide suspicion.

Seduce (Hard)
Lure a character away into naughty behaviour.

Which can then lead to:

Generate resources from character.  Mechanically this could be represented by more energy to open up more powerful spells/summons.  Maybe bonus abilities.

This is where the sexy snu-snu is happening.  That's not so relevant for a physical card game, but if implemented as a computer game, this would be where we sneak in the H-scenes.


Turn/Corrupt (Very Hard)
Use the character in a way that advances one player's aims (opens up higher value characters to seduce and corrupt).  I'm still thinking on how this might work.

Going back to Drain, I think the player should be given some choice on soft or hard here.

A soft drain generates a steady stream of energy without risking the life of the seduced character.

A hard drain generates a big burst of energy at the cost of burning out the character.

Draining a character to death would have the benefit of giving a short term burst of more energy (for spells) and free up the succubus to attempt to seduce other characters.  It would have the disadvantages of losing that character (and the other bonuses they give) and increasing the number of characters killed (and the kingdom deck will probably have characters that care about number killed - e.g. police).

Straight off this gives some juicy gameplay tension as there will be lots of game states where the player will have to decide which choice better furthers their aims.

To make it more interesting we could add a random element.  The player has some influence over how much energy is harvested, but this can vary and too much will exceed a character's threshold and kill them.

Here's a rough example of how that might play out:

- Each card in a player's deck has a value of 1-3.
- The drain mechanic works like this:  The player reveals X cards of their library.  They gain energy equal to the total value of the cards. (and maybe another benefit such as choosing one of those cards to go into their hand)
- Each character has a value representing the maximum amount of energy that can be drained before they expire with a blissful smile on their face.
- Each succubus has a min and max value for the number of cards that can be revealed.

Now to give some actual stats.

Succubus.  Min 1, Max 3.
Soldier. Energy 4.

The soldier can give up four energy max before expiring with a blissful smile on their face.

The succubus allows the player to reveal 1, 2, or 3 cards (each having a value between 1 to 3).

Picking 1 card is safe.  The player will gain 1-3 energy depending on what is revealed.
Picking 2 cards will give more energy, but if the player reveals two 3s, or a 2 and 3 their captured soldier will expire (with a blissful smile on their face).
Picking 3 cards is if the player wants maximum energy and isn't too fussed about the seduced soldier surviving.  The soldier will survive on some combinations, but there are more where they don't.

This does introduce a RNG element that might be annoying, but also might be a lot of fun as well.  And it's not totally random - the player chooses which cards are in their deck and can vary the number of 1s, 2s and 3s to fit whatever strategy they're running.

This is now giving us something to play with.

Characters have variable energy.

Succubi have varying values for Min and Max.  This represents both power and control.  A low-level succubus would have low values in both.  A high-level succubus would have a high Max, but it might also have a high Min, making it much harder for a player to keep weaker "thralls" alive.  (It wouldn't be fun if the warlock had full control over his succubus...)

To increase the tension it would make sense for characters that provide other bonuses when seduced to have low values of energy (that old and feeble academic might boost the power of your spells, but they're not going to survive a heavy night with a lusty minotauress).

Making draining mandatory also throws in more tension.  A more powerful succubus might have a greater chance of seducing a character, but she's also likely to burn them out more quickly.

Next thing to consider is energy regeneration.  Options here are:

- Characters have a set amount of energy.  Once that's out, so are they (with a bang!).  THis is fairly limited.  The character is going to die anyway, so there wouldn't be much tension in picking Min or Max unless they had really strong bonus effects.
- Characters have a max and go back up to that at the beginning of every turn.  This is probably the most straightforward.
- Characters get some back each turn, but not all.  Work 'em too hard and they will eventually expire.  This might be nice, but is fiddlier and probably won't be that much better than the regenerate-to-max option above.

Hmm.  Some possible workable mechanics here.  And it gives me some ideas on how to link it with seduction.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Monster Girl Card Game - Brainstorming III

The Kingdom Deck

I thought of the central deck mechanic as a way to avoid going to down the much-travelled route of summon mons and smash 'em into each other.

Time to brainstorm how that mechanic might work.

In abstract terms the kingdom deck represents a battlefield (in this case the organisations and individuals available to the players to corrupt) and making it a deck of cards is a simple way of varying how each game will play out.

At any time a certain number of kingdom cards will be in play.  This can be thought of as a window of access.  These are characters that are accessible to the warlock's sexy minions.  This window of access will be constantly moving - cards will cycle out at end of turn and new cards come in (representing opportunities to get at an individual passing).  Thematically and mechanically this seems plausible.  If the current configuration locks all players out from doing anything the game should have a way of keeping things flowing.  Effectively the cards in play are a queue.  At the end of turn the bottom card is removed from play, all the others slide down and new card is turned over from the kingdom deck and added to the top of the queue.

With that mechanic in place the questions become:

How big should the kingdom deck be?
Big enough to provide enough variety without being unnecessarily unwieldy.  Less than 100 and greater than 50 at a rough estimate.

How many cards in play at any one time?
This is the size of the window of access.  Too many and it becomes overwhelming.  Too few and reduces the possibilities of interaction between kingdom cards.  I'm thinking of starting with 12 and seeing where it goes from there.

Is the layout important?
This shouldn't matter.  Designate where the top is and where the bottom is.  As the game progresses cards cycle off the bottom and new cards are added to the top.  It shouldn't matter if this is a line or a grid.  The reason we might want to specify a specific layout is it allows for a spatial mechanic.  eg.  Bodyguard - while this is in play cards adjacent to it may not be seduced and corrupted.

How fast does the kingdom deck cycle?
Do we expect to go through it once or multiple times in a game?  This will affect strategy.  Deckbuilding games such as Dominion have the player cycle through their own deck many times in a game and having some control over the content of that deck is a major part of the strategy.  I'm not sure how it would work in a physical game (as opposed to computer game), but an interesting idea would be a "capture'n'subvert" type mechanic - seduced minions are shuffled back into the kingdom deck.  The game would then become about both players try to "build" the kingdom deck (by corrupting some pieces to their side, removing others that are detrimental to their strategy).  I think that could be interesting, but probably online only as tagging the characters once they go back into the deck to indicate who had turned them would by tricky to implement in a physical card game.

Then to think about what goes in the kingdom deck.  Characters for succubi to target, tempt, seduce and then corrupt to the player's side is the most obvious.  So what type of characters?

Basic characters that don't fight and don't have influence.  They exist as an energy source for monster girls to slurp energy out of (and give us lots of lovely perversion potential).  Also, if we don't mind wandering into grimdark territory, bloody sacrifices required to bring the more powerful demons into play.

Seducing these opens up access to higher tier characters.

While these characters are in play, players are prevented from certain actions (eg a priest that prevents succubi seductions from taking place while they're on the table).

Keys and Blocks are functionally doing the same thing - controlling access to higher rank cards.  Main mechanical difference is that a key can be grabbed at any time and used later on the higher target while the block needs to be in play at the same time the target is.   If the goal of the game is to capture top-rank "King" cards, it's going to be important that there are Blocks in play while the King is in play.

These cards exist to be a nuisance to the player through things like banishing succubi, rescuing seduced characters, hampering certain magic.  Think of them as like random events being turned over for the turn.

Thinking about heroes as mechanical representations also makes me think about when events trigger.

Here are some possibilities:

When the card comes into play (is turned over from kingdom deck at start of turn)
When the card leaves cycles out of play (less important)

And also on player actions:
When a succubus is summoned
When a spell is cast.
We can also have triggers that are specific to spells and succubi of different factions (Most card games divide into groups - e.g. the five colours of Magic: the Gathering).
When a character is seduced

This should give a lot of design space for making cards. (and we haven't even started on the succubi yet!)

Not in-game dangers, but design dangers.  I think the game wants the various kingdom cards to be able to interact with each other and the player.  The danger there is that if the interactions are too specific (eg limited to one of maybe five factions within the kingdom deck) or there are too many card types, there's a danger there will be too many instances where none of the kingdom cards in play at any one time do anything.

For this reason I like the idea of making the kingdom deck all characters.  That way there's more overlap between the types.
e.g. Strategically a player will want to remove Blocks to open up access to other characters.  The choices there can be:
a) Very easy - temporarily take them out of the picture.  e.g. an arachne sticking them in a web, sending them to sleep with alraune perfume.
b) Easy - removing them permanently.  e.g. Nom-noms for the more vore-y monster girls.
c) Hard - seducing them into resource.  e.g. Succubus drains them for mana a player can use for spells.
d) Very hard - seducing them and using them as a double agent.

Hmm.  I should start thinking about those sexy succubi cards now...

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Monster Girl Card Game - Brainstorming II

More rambling notes and musings I'm jotting down here in the hope that they coalesce into something fun people would like to play.

While doing some research on the internet I remembered some articles Mark Rosewater wrote on game design a while back.  MaRo is the public face of the design and development teams for Magic: the Gathering and writes a regular column on game design.  He knows his stuff on this topic.

His Ten Things Every Game Needs articles are a good checklist to run every budding game idea against to see how it holds and identify possible weaknesses.

So let's try it here.

As a recap from the last post, my idea is for a game where the player takes on the role of a succubus-summoning warlock and uses their sexy minions to gain control of a kingdom behind the scenes.  Nothing about this is set in stone.  Rather than ye-olde-world-fantasy, the kingdom could just as easily be a corporation, or army invading hell-space, or even a college for warlocks.  The succubus minions could be intelligence agents.  You get the idea.  What I'm trying to do is think up a monster girl game that's slightly different from the usual path of smashing mons into each other (coz, I'm awkward like that! :) )

Let's run through MaRo's points and see if that helps to clarify things.

1) Goal
The player is a warlock capable of summoning demons and other monsters.  Their goal is to take over a kingdom (or other similar organisation) by gaining control of various key pieces.  The kingdom is represented by a deck of cards.

Having a central kingdom deck opens up possibilities for solo or collaborative play if the central deck is capable of defending itself.  The solo option in particular might be important.  I want to try and keep the sexy if possible, but there's a danger then that most players might find it too embarrassing to play with others.  Personally I'd prefer to aim at a niche audience than water everything down for a larger audience that probably wouldn't even notice it.

2) Rules
This is the mechanics.  From the rough concept we know each player is able to cast spells and summon monster girls to do their bidding.  These monster girls are then able to seduce and bring NPC characters under the player's controls.  The rule system should determine how and when the cards can be played and captured, and also enable players' to interact with each other.

3) Interaction
And the first warning flag.

One problem with the concept is it might not lead to interaction between players.  They could end up working their plans in isolation, with the winner randomly determined by which kingdom cards get turned over during the game.  To get around this the game will need plenty of cards that can disrupt an opponent's strategy (but not so many it becomes overwhelming) and the game should force conflicts over the various kingdom deck cards.

4) Catch-up feature
A lot of games suffer from a snowballing problems.  That's when an early advantage for one player increases their chance of further advantages later on to the point where the game is effectively decided in the first few turns and the rest is an annoying grind to a foregone result.

With the concept's theme, a player with more puppets has more influence and is closer to a goal of total domination.  But they're also more visible to authorities trying to weed out corruption.  Assuming the kingdom deck contains random negative effects (e.g. witchfinders and paladin heroes), having these disproportionately affect the leading player will give the other player(s) chances to catch up.

5) Inertia
The pull to get the game finished.

As MaRo says in his article, in Magic the power level of the cards ramps up as more mana is available to the player until something will go unanswered and end the game (dragons cost more to summon than goblins, but they typically end the game in short order if they're allowed to stay in play).  There's also an alternate loss condition where a player runs out of library, so even long games will end eventually.

I probably want a resource system - start with low-level succubi and spells, but open up access to much more powerful demons and magic in later turns.

The easiest termination condition is have the game last a set number of turns.

A more complex condition (and one I'd like to make work) is for it to be provided by the kings in the central deck.  For that condition to work there needs to be reasonably fast cycling through the central deck to make sure the relevant win conditions make it into play before everyone gets bored.

6) Surprise
Cards are good for this.  Players need access to 'trick' cards to surprise the opponent.  That means we'll need spells as well as succubi.  The central kingdom deck can also be a source of surprise factor if seeded with cards that have interesting impacts on the game whenever they're turned over.  Having a random deck of cards determine these events also adds to replayability as the game should play out differently depending on what order the kingdom cards are turned over in.

7) Strategy
Different factions in the kingdom deck.  Different factions of monster girls available to the player.  They should play differently and open up different routes to the end-goal.  For example - succubi might be good at seduction and temporary charms, other monster girls might favour taking pieces off the board entirely (e.g. carnivorous plant girls eating them), an angel faction might favour disruption by making it harder for kingdom NPCs to be seduced.

8) Fun
Playing a warlock with a harem of hawt monster girls.  Sound fun? ;)

The last two points are easier for this concept.  It's a top-down concept, in as much as I have the background and flavour first, and I'm trying to come up with game mechanics to get that across.

9) Flavour
Sexy monster girls.  I'm also trying to reinforce the sex being important by making the game about seduction and corruption rather than fighting.

One question of flavour is where to turn the dial in terms of atmosphere.  Cute monster girls or sensual-but-deadly femme fatales?  Crude sexual humour or gothic elegance?  Light and fluffy, or total grimdark?

10) Hook
Also easy.  A fun, sexy monster girl card game for an audience that likes things like my stories, Kenkou Cross's Monster Girl Encyclopedia and Monster Girl Quest.  Here's where I might need to rein in some of my own grimdark predilections so as not to scare everyone off! ;)

Still very vague and general.  I'll see if I can start throwing out more concrete mechanics in future brainstorming posts.

Thoughts and suggestions in the comments appreciated!

Friday, November 06, 2015

Monster Girl Card Game - Brainstorming I

Writing productivity is still shite.  I suspect it's a mild case of writer's block.  The ideas are there, but the mechanics of transcribing them down as words and sentences are a little jammed.  I suspect it's a little bit of mental sluggishness brought about from trying to make this my sole activity.

In the past I've found programming projects a good way to get the cogs moving again.  It might be a good time to start thinking about monster girl games again.  While going through old notepads I found some notes on a card game idea and thought it might be worthwhile to brainstorm things out here to see if the ideas could form a viable game.

The most obvious way to use succubi/monster girls is in an adult Pokemon-type game where the player summons various monster girls and has them fight (or fuck) monster girls of his opponent(s).

I want to avoid this.

The moment you slap a */* on a card to represent attack and defence values for the purposes of fighting other cards, it's very easy to get stuck on a path that terminates in generic Magic: the Gathering clone.  The design space is large (as witnessed by Magic still being a great game despite being nearly 20 years old) but the basic mechanics tend to end up being very similar.  That said, Magic/Yu-Gi-Oh-lite, with sexy monster girls doing smexy stuff to each other, would probably still be a fun game.

The other and main reason I want to avoid travelling down the obvious road is thematically it doesn't feel right.  Succubi to me seem more about seduction and subtle use of influence behind the scenes rather than bare-knuckle fighting in a pit.

Picture two warlocks (in Phil's world for example) summoning a pair of succubi to fight each other Pokemon-style.  Rather than fight, I think it more likely the two succubi would give each other a wink and then put on a lesbian sex show so hawt their gormless 'masters' would get so horny they'd have to join in... and then get their life/soul sucked out.  (I should write that story!)

I like the idea of the player taking the role of a warlock with access to a bevy of beautiful monster girls and succubi to (maybe) do their bidding.  That seems fun.

I also like the idea of just keeping it to monster girls and seductive succubi.  Having random orcs and other monsters drags it back to being about fighting, which I want to avoid.

So I was thinking of how to represent sexy succubi in a top-down way for a strategy game, and this is what I came up with:

Seduction and Corruption.

And this gives a goal and an idea for the central mechanic.  The players are warlocks.  They summon succubi and other tempting monster girls to attempt to gain control of a kingdom behind the scenes.  This is done through using their succubi to seduce and corrupt various NPC characters.

 Mechanically this can be represented with three decks.  Each player has their own deck and between them is a third deck representing the kingdom.  At any one time there will be a number of cards in play from the central deck.  These are the characters (and also maybe locations and items) that each player will attempt to subvert and corrupt with summoned succubi.

One way of determining a winner would be which player has brought the greatest influence value under their control at a designated end point.

Another thing I thought might work is to have the win condition be a variety of 'king' cards.  The victory condition would them be the first player that successfully had one of their succubus minions seduce and bring a 'king' under the player's control (the game could have a variety of 'kings' such as an actual king, or a pope, or top general of the military - each would have different strengths and weaknesses).

The idea I had then was of chains.  A player wouldn't be able to bring a king under their control right away, even with their most powerful succubus.  They'd need to engineer a situation to be able to get at them.  This could be achieved by chaining through various ranks.  Gaining control of a squire opens up opportunities to seduce knights.  Gaining a knight opens up an opportunity to compromise the elite royal guard.  Compromising the elite royal guard exposes the king.  Once the king is exposed the player can slip their most powerful succubus into the king's (or queen's) bedchamber and claim victory as their succubus corrupts the king into a puppet to carry out their every command (or the succubus's command if the warlock is not careful, succubi being deliciously duplicitous creatures and all that).

It's a rough idea anyway.  I'll add to it with a few more brainstorm-type posts as I think things through.  If it sounds interesting, feel free to make suggestions in the comments.

At this point there's no point getting too excited.  I don't need to remind anyone my track record (especially this year) has not been the best on this type of thing - but if it gets cogs turning again for writing it will be fulfilling its purpose.  And there might be a cool game there to build.