There is a pile of new board games fresh from Spiel 2010 in Tuonela’s Game Club. I had the privilege to play few of them, and one of the most eye-catching games for me was Spy.
The package was the first thing to pique my interest. It was a small box made from clear plastic, and had a simple paper inside with a graphic of some planets. The contrast with large cardboard boxes featuring full art was curious.
The box said ”Spy”, a game of diplomacy and deceit. Having aquired a newfound taste for diplomacy and rethoric, I knew I had to try it. The minimal components were feeding my appetite; A small pack of cards and some glass beads, along with the most mysterious thing: The game was for 5-20 people.
I hate anime for pretty much the same reason I hate MMORPG:s: They turn people into boring zombies. This hate, although crippling my ability to broaden my horizons, is one thing I carry with me, since I feel that if I stop hating anime, I’m admitting defeat. Therefore it always stings a bit to find that I like something that I later realize is heavily influenced by the style.
The Ace Attorney series is one of them. The wacky characters, the general art style and the sound effects are all heavily influenced by japanese animation style. But still I like it, for it does one thing extremely well: It makes argumentation feel like combat. As it should be.
I read an article about diplomacy in role playing games. It made valid points; Diplomacy either depends on the player, which penalizes less eloquent and assertive people, or mechanics, which is usually based on a few skills that can be re-used all the time without running out of resources.
So inspiration arose. I am going to expand upon the idea the writer started; A gameplay mechanic to handle diplomacy for Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition. Since the game is based around combat and kicking down doors, I claim that the social situations that would require mechanics are confrontational. The players probably want information or favours out of someone, with stubborness, disbelief and lies standing in their way. So the players are overcoming obstacles. That sounds like the Skill Challenge mechanic, which I will cannibalize a bit. Continue Reading