Friday, September 5, 2014

Scenarios, Story Arc, and Re-Playability

Nells by Geng Gendall. Pay close attention to both windows.

Yesterday on reddit someone asked if Broken Contract was strictly campaign driven so I wanted to address that since others might be wondering.

The scenarios contained in Broken Contract - Deep Underground follow a story arc with named characters recommended. In 'Worked to Death', a miner who succumbs to illness on the job sparks the others to lash out in an unplanned clash. They are outnumbered by the Prods who will quickly rough them up. This is a fast and dirty scenario intended to teach the players the basic mechanics to the game to prepare them for a proper confrontation.

The true opening to the narrative though is 'It's Time'. In this scenario the Breakers have discussed a rough plan and are just waiting for the right moment to overtake the guards. This scenario is the spark of the revolt and runs the players through the paces of the game in 45-90 minutes. As a "prison break" of sorts the Breakers are ultimately trying get out the door. However, full scenarios like this one force you to choose how you are going to go about it. Both sides are penalized for killing each other while Breakers are rewarded for stealing a key card to get through doors, stealing weapons off guards, and getting out the first door in their way. The Prods are rewarded for setting off the alarm, holding back the Breakers until the hydraulic door closes (which takes several turns), and for putting the Breakers in restraints. With lots of ways to achieve victory you can play this scenario many times with your friends and have the plan and the outcome be different every time.

Board section used to play 'It's Time' by Sam Alcarez

Once out the door, the Breaker's goal becomes about working their way further up in the mines, but knowing that countless Prods potentially stand between the Breakers and freedom. Obtaining more equipment and members will increase your chances of success. To those ends, the next scenario is called 'Get Kellerman' and finds the Breakers fighting their way through more Prods to try and convince Talla Kellerman, the Progen Technician to join the cause. Meanwhile, there is a shed full of tools, a freight elevator that can be activated or sabotaged, and potentially other surprises that await. Additionally, if you are playing the campaign, you begin this scenario with constraints based upon the results of 'It's Time' but if you are just playing it as a one-off on an irregular gaming night, it lists specific characters so you can jump right into the action.

Talla Kellerman by Sam Alcarez

Also, you'll notice that the Kickstarter campaign has Add On characters. Substituting the Add On characters for existing characters or adding them in can be a great way to vary up the events as well. Some of the Stretch Goals are design to expand the contents of the base game to add more equipment, characters, and scenarios. Additionally, though the ultimate goal is to release Expansions to the game in the years to come, the intent is for this design blog to be a source of additional gaming material like scenarios, scenario design contests, side story arcs in development, and the like. Personally, I'm very excited about it.

Officer Hickley is meant to be the first of several Add Ons. Sculpt by Tim Barry.

You can find the Broken Contract - Deep Underground Kickstarter here.

And you can check out the Alpha Rules here.

What do you think?

Thanks for reading.

-Nick

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