Grand Tour: A New Game In The Works

I’ve been thinking about a possible game I want to write lately. Let me throw out what (little) I have so far.

The game is tentatively called Grand Tour, and it is a game about Travel: the pre-trip hype, the excitement/trepidation of the actual tour, and the bummer of coming back home.

The players take the role of Travelers, the people going on the trip (kinda obvious). These can be of background/age/race/religion/etc. just like the travelers one meets on the road. Certain groups make some sense (high school/university graduates on a post-graduation trip, young and seasoned hostel veterans, retiree adventurers) especially once one figures in the factor of the Tour (see below).

Player characters would have a combination of hard and loose stats. For example, hard states include things like Endurance measures a Traveler’s energy levels and fatigue as the trip goes on; Resources measures a Traveler’s cash (probably pre-set at Tour creation?); and Stress measures both the initial amount of stress a Traveler begins the Tour with (you know, why one is taking a vacation for in the first place) and also the amount one accumulates as a party travels together, getting on each other’s nerves. Stress could be a sliding scale with Relaxation, with scores changing during play. Loose stats include player-defined Traits that define the Traveler (sort of like Aspects, if you will) and include things like who is the party clown, the stickler for schedule, the bar hopper, etc.

The skeleton upon which Grand Tour is played is, well, the Tour, and this gets constructed at the table much like a communal character. A Tour has stats as well, starting with Name: as simple as Cosmos Italy or Rick Steves Best of Europe, or imaginative like The Transfiguration Tour or The Hellhoot Adventure. (BTW, these are the names of 2 of the 4 trips I’ve taken to Europe with family/friends.) The Name kind of defines also if the Tour is Fixed/Pre-packaged, or if it is Custom/Free-form, with this decision affecting some of the stats below.

Then we have hard stats like Time (how long is the tour), Schedule (the trip itinerary which the Travelers will either strive to follow or blow to the four winds), Mobility (a measure of how much one has to move to hit all the locations in the schedule – interacts with a Traveler’s Stress and Resources), and Rigidity/Flexibility (maybe a sliding scale – how fixed is the itinerary, with pre-packaged tours being very much towards the rigid side, and free-form ones being more towards the flexible side, though there can be combinations).

The game would be played in a series of Phases, each part broken into parts and scenes. Phase 1 is the Pre-Trip phase, which includes Traveler and Tour creation, as well as defining all the variables for the particular tour and the establishment of the shared story of the Travelers.

Phase 2 is the trip itself, with each location in the schedule being a part, and sub-locations being scenes. So for example, if you are doing a Tour of Paris (6 days), and your schedule includes the Louvre, Versailles (hey, a side trip!) and the Eiffel Tower, Paris in general would be a Part and the Louvre would be a scene, Versailles would be a scene, etc. This is still kind of loose, because there are sub-locations you can combo up (see Napoleon’s Tomb and the Eiffel Tower the same day) and others which could take a whole day if not more (the Louvre ), thus needed more than one scene for the sub-location.

Phase 3 is the Post-Trip phase, in which the Travelers return home and may have to deal with the effects of post-tour funk or Bummer (this depends on the individual Traveler – some people comparmentalize their vacations and don’t let it affect their lives, while others take some time to gather back what they left behind, like me), or even if they returned at all!

As you can see, this still needs lots of work and thought, but I figured I’d put it out there to make it real, to stake a claim that I am doing this. And to fish for thoughts.  😉

I’ve posted this to the Story Games’ Little Ideas forum, the Fear the Boot Game Design forum and the Harping Monkey forums, to see what reactions I get.

Have at it.