[Grand Tour] The Siren Call of Cool (after Ryan’s episode on Master Plan)

Originally posted at Master Mines. 

So I’m coming back to the design of Grand Tour slowly after a (practially) 3-month hiatus, and I’m already running into a bit of a problem.

Grand Tour is a weird concept in that, while I have the theme down, I am still struggling with figuring out the meat of the game. In essence, right now, it is nothing more than a glorified storytelling session with a Travel theme limitation. I’m not saying that’s bad, but I can’t say that it is good either; at least it doesn’t feel good to me yet.

While at Gen Con I got into a couple of games (aside from all the ones I had a chance to look at/through), one of them being Primetime Adventures (the Star Wars Episode LV game run by Judd). I LOVED that game. I read it on the flight up to Indy, and while it sounded cool, it didn’t make much sense. Once I played it, though, it really zinged for me, and the very simple card-based mechanics really impressed me as a quick way to handle conflicts. The fact that it uses cards appeals to me too, because one of the design restrictions I have decided to work under is that the game needs to be travel-friendly, and cards are something that are cheap, can be packed away easily in a backpack and are available virtually everywhere in the world.

Cut to later, when I start thinking about Grand Tour again – now I can’t get out of my head the card-based mechanic of PTA as a very viable way to handle conflict between Travelers in Grand Tour. In essence, Grand Tour has become in my mind this very specialized thematic hack of PTA that can be played with the same rules. That sounds cool at first glance, but I am double-guessing myself here thinking, am I just taking the easy way out? I mean, this wouldn’t even count as system hacking; it’s be PTA with a thematic template on top.

I’m not necessarily opossed to Grand Tour being a system hack of PTA, but I don’t necessarily want to go for that option right off the bat without exploring other choices. For that, however, I need to better define what I want my game to be like, and about, which will be my next step.

It’s good to be back.