Skills, boards, and the team

In which we introduce our skill symbols, consider how the board may be constructed, and ask a serious question about building a team.

Hello all, and welcome to our December newsletter! Let’s talk about skill symbols first, and then move on to some of the other exciting things we’ve been doing.

Skills: symbols and categories

Over the last month, we’ve been considering two overlapping categories. The first is the categories of skills, the second the different books contained in our amazing imaginary library. Each character will have a number of different skills — things at which they excel, and which they offer to the team. Pirate Queen Ching Shih brings strength, diplomacy, waterlore, and the ability to use a weapon. Mary Seacole has medicine, science, and resilience. The skills match the monsters — for example, in order to defeat the waterfall the players use waterlore and resilience.

In the very first stages of this game, we matched up the skills on the books and the monsters perfectly. But that made the game too dependent on the luck of drawing exactly the right card. So we grouped the skills together, giving each category a name, and decided that a monster could be defeated either by the exact skill needed or by two other skills from the same category. For example, the skills of stealth, strength, and speed are all part of the athletics category, and so stealth and strength together could be used in place of speed. Thematically it makes sense, because a character who is an expert at one type of athletics is likely to be able to turn their hand to another athletic discipline.

We’ve started on symbols for the skill categories, and are thinking about a tree for knowledge, a heart for healing, a fist for courage, a running figure for athletics, a quill for craft, and a sand timer for wisdom. The skills which fit under each category are:

  • Knowledge: coding, logic, map reading, puzzle solving, science.
  • Healing: kindness, medicine, positivity.
  • Courage: bravery, resilience.
  • Athletics: agility, good shot, keen sight, small size, stealth, strength, speed.
  • Craft: disguise, story telling, waterlore, rope making.
  • Wisdom: diplomacy, judgement, leadership, persuasion, prediction.

Please do let us know what you think, either by email, by commenting on this post, or on Facebook!

Putting together the board

This has been fun! So, this game takes place in a library — a library with different sections. We’re thinking three levels, each with its own set of literary horrors to be overcome. Instead of one large board, the board will be modular, meaning one small board per level.

Having multiple boards opens up a whole range of possibilities. If the boards are double-sided then one side can be more difficult than the other. Expansions can easily slot into the game, or levels taken out. And for those short on table space, it’ll mean that only one level really needs to be out at a time.

It’s likely to also mean easier production. Folding boards can be tricky to make, and it’s possible that small boards might even be able to be made in the UK. Watch this space!

Building a team

We realise that we haven’t put anything up on the “about us” section yet…apologies for that! Jobs/children/life in general is a bit much sometimes.

We’re a small group of women. We’ve deliberately sought to be diverse as a group, and we want to ensure we keep being diverse and inclusive. This game will be the best it can only if our team reflects the different cultures, races, and experiences of our characters. And so, we’d like to know if you would like to get involved! At some point in the process, this game will need input in the following ways:

  • People who can consider and express the cultural sensitivities of using specific literary characters or historical figures
  • People who can comment on what specific characters should look like
  • People with wide knowledge of classic literature around the world
  • People with experience in marketing and promotion, particularly through social media

Two very important things here. Firstly, we are not asking for free work. Even if it’s just one chat on zoom, we’ll ask how we can buy you coffee/cake or whether you’d prefer a small donation to a charity of your choice. If you contribute more, we can work out how many hours and put it in our spreadsheet to ensure you get a fair cut at the end of the process. The game is going to be crowdfunded (probably through Kickstarter) and everyone who works on the game will get a proportion of profit equal to their hours. Secondly, this need not be a huge commitment; it’s just as useful for ten people to each work on two characters as it is for one person to consider twenty characters. It might be that your contribution is just a single conversation, or it might be that it’s much more. In all cases, everyone who contributes will be recognized and compensated!

If you want to get involved — whether in a big way or a small way, now or later — then either let Jess know at dissentgames@gmail.com or contact us on Facebook.

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