The Killweed Report: For Chrissy

mkapolk's picture

Merry Klikmas Chrissy!!

This was designed as a pen and paper game, but for shareability it's in browser game form. You get to drag the cards around and interpret the rules, just like in a real game, neat! I was trying to go for a kind of procedural narrative kind of thing, where the way you play changes how the story goes. It's set on an island nation that's embroiled in a clandestine power struggle between factions. It's set in the Full Speed Kiss universe, but the connections are pretty loose. Sorry it's so late. I hope you are staying healthy and sane.

Made For: 
An event


Capt_hastings-Chrissy's picture

So far

This is amazing. I love the backstory, the characters, and the idea in general. It's a format I've been trying to figure out for a long time, and I love how you approached this. I'm still trying to figure out how to play using the tutorial, and will return after I've played a full session. I just wanted to first express my my gratitude for this and how fun this story is. Spoilers: Looks can be so deceiving, I am afraid to put all the nefarious stuff to the eye patch guy, but eye patch guy is so totally guilty looking.

mkapolk's picture

I'm glad you dug it so far

I'm glad you dug it so far :) When you say, "a format I've been trying to figure out for a long time," I'm curious what you mean- the pen-and-paper-diy-mechanics-yness of it, or the connecting the dots mechanic, or something else?

Capt_hastings-Chrissy's picture

PLayed whole game!

So I had a snow day today and had time to read the directions again and play through to the end. The thing that hung me up last time and I am still a little confused about is the part where you go fishing for information. I put the card down on one of the factions and it automatically applies to that faction? I’m not sure about that part. I get to pick the faction I think it goes with, right? And then I leave the card down there? Another thing I am a little confused about is the putting heat on 2 people and drawing a card for one. It sounded like in that case the card pertains to an interaction between the two of them, but I drew a card that only had one action, so it felt like I spent a heat on a person extra. Or I spent a heat to be able to decide who gets the card? Maybe you can tell that I am a little stingy with the heat haha...
Something about going through a whole set is that I found out that I’m a card mover. Like it kills me that I only have enough heat to move two cards. I want to move them all!
This is a really fun game. I’m concentrating so hard to find logic between the cards and the story and the people, and the fact that they are all so well balanced for working out the narrative is really well done. I'm trying my hardest to make connections and start imagining a backstory for everyone, the story just writes itself. I’ve never actually played a storytelling randomized game before (I don't think), or a pen and paper game, which I’m not even sure what that is. One time Clyde found out me and my sister never played any role-playing games (like D & D) and tried to make one up for us, and it was sort of successful but we had no idea what we were supposed to do and were just trying to figure out the rules the whole time haha. But anyway, this is as close as I got to seeing a randomized story play out, and when I flipped the cards over at the end, instead of choice confirmation, I received more story it was amazing! Didn’t see that coming and I wasn’t exactly sure what was happening until then, but then I could go back and follow the story to the end. I didn’t use all the cards so I’m interested in seeing how it will work when I play it again. I still have no idea what happened with that balcony assignation attempt.
Another thing I have to comment on is how well the “setting” worked. Having the intel pictures and the redacted cards in that typed print and that old yellow paper color and the music going worked really well in creating a setting. I’ve been planning and brainstorming a play recently so I have been thinking a lot about settings and about how the limitations of having one setting means it becomes a lot more part of the story, but I struggle with this sort of thing because I’m always more focused on a story than where it is set. But having just the simple theme with this game play added so much visual flavor that it is making me rethink how to include the visuals more. It felt like it wasn’t outside the story in this case, but part of it, and it was great to see an example of it.

So when I say a format I’ve been trying to figure out for a long’s probably easier to give a backstory. While I am at my job(or driving long distances) I listen to Agatha Christie audio books. I’ve listened to them all so many times by now, because there are so many I usually don’t remember what happened. (Highly recommended, Hugh Frasier is a great reader). So these books are a lot like a game. I’m listening and trying to figure out who did the thing like it’s a puzzle. So when I make mystery games, I am trying to create what this is like for me to listen to the books. However, I don’t actually like playing mystery games. I get focus disease and it feels like i am just going from character to character, mining the info needed and just sort of “gaming” it. Like, I get so focused I forget there is a story. It’s sort of like when I found out in word math problems you just look for the numbers and the word that tells you what formula to use and then the rest of it is useless. That’s what I do with mystery games and that is the problem I’m always trying to solve when I make them. It felt like your game was a successful attempt at this because the format skips the whole asking questions from a list until you run out kind of thing and focuses more on the information itself and how it relates to the characters. I don’t think I’m doing a good job explaining, but I’m totally stealing this format.
Last, I tried to replay full speed kiss, but I hate driving games, but I did get to where you find out who Jessica is. Who is Racer X??

mkapolk's picture

I'm so glad you got around

I'm so glad you got around to playing a full game :D

Cards applied by fishing for information are meant to be applied to that agent, whoever they end up being. So "The Monarchist" is the person who stole the iridium ingot, for example, rather than Mr Mauve. If Lady Lilac ends up being the person with the plans to the iridium mining operation, then it might make sense that she's also the Monarchist.

Choosing two agents lets you decide which agent to assign the card to, it's not meant to imply that the card applies to all the agents you picked. It's probably not worth the heat cost... Maybe it would have been better to only allow you to assign cards to one person, but have the "move card" option add heat to the person you moved it to, or something. It's interesting that you're a card mover, I pretty much never used that feature at all when I played. I saw it as more of an escape hatch in case you wound up with a bunch of cards that absolutely don't make sense for one person. Heat is overly precious too, partially becuase there aren't many cards (16 if I remember correctly), so I had to limit how many cards you can draw total. It would have been nice to allow a max of 3 heat per round. Adding more cards is tough, because you need to draw a few cards from a storyline to start putting the pieces together. There's quite a bit of balance that goes into designing good cards. It's a very fun challenge, I hope you'll give it a shot!

I find setting so much easier to reason about than story, I just can't get the momentum going to write the words. Originally I was going to do a twine-style game, but the propsect of writing not just one story, but all the branching paths was just exhausting to think about. Writing little glimpses of events, though, and playing around with the alchemy that happens when you mash them together is much more fun. Settings and plays have an interesting interaction- whenever I see a Shakespeare performance they give it some kooky setting, though it never feels like it gives it changes the underlying plot that much. I think you're right to focus on the story, but sprinkling in just enough visual intrigue to evoke a genre is powerful.

I definitely understand what you mean by the format. I remember playing Return of the Obra Dinn (another game about deducing peoples' identites, come to think of it (and really spectacular, if you haven't played it yet)) and once you figure out the structure of how the puzzles work you stop seeing the characters as characters and start to see them as little nodes on a chart. I went back and forth on trying to implement the rules of the game in code, rather than having it be a simulation of a card game. I wonder, if you knew that the computer knew which character you assigned a card to, whether you would think that there was some logic behind which cards appeared on which characters (rather than it being completely random). You might think their identities were fixed and it was a game about following clues and deducing, rather than conjuring up that narrative.

Originally Racer X was going to be your character, but I couldn't quite get all the narrative bits to line up. There were going to be representatives of the different factions in the game, so Jessica is the princess, Lt. Gastropol was the head of the police, and Song Joon-ki would have been the C.I.A representative. They had some game mechanics tied into them, but once I cut those mechanics they weren't really in the game anymore. I thought it raised too many weird questions about your character's involvement with the C.I.A, and it didn't go into the history of Racer X and Joong-ki really, so I just cut it. Game making is a chaotic process! BTW you can use the "0" (zero) key to skip the racing segments in Full Speed Kiss.