BCM300 – Tavern Brawl

In the weeks since the end of the group presentations, I have begun brainstorming ideas for my personal project. At the beginning of the semester, I was dead set on creating my own Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition Campaign Guide, but have since decided to focus my efforts more on a board gaming experience. The inspiration for my prototype, which I have been calling Tavern Brawl, came from our BCM300 seminar in which we came up with games based on things we liked. Two of the things I wrote down were fantasy tabletop games (such as D&D, Pathfinder etc.) and drinking. To this end, I wanted to come up with a game that could provide both a fantasy role playing experience, as well as include one of my favourite past times. From this, the beginnings of Tavern Brawl were founded.

Tavern Brawl would be a RPG in which players create their own Taverns, coming up with its name, theme and signature drink, and then fighting to become the most successful Tavern in the city of (insert fantasy city name here). The mechanics of the game would include the use of various special ingredients that can boost the flavors of your brews, which can make your tavern more successful, as well as sponsoring famous adventurers to drink in your tavern and advertise it to the public. There would also be a way to send these adventurers on quests to collect exotic ingredients from enemies, wherein there would be some kind of combat system to figure out if they succeed or not.

I can foresee many problems that will need to be pushed through in the prototyping phase. One of these is the use of the ingredients, and what their boosts should. Should some be more powerful than others, what should the buffs actually do in regards to stats, and how hard should some of them be to find? These are the first problems I ran into whilst prototyping. I also need to find a way to use adventurers in a fun and useful way. In a turn, I can see each player having a tavern action and an adventurers action, in which a number of different things can be done, however my prototyping has not moved into that phase as of yet. One thing I have been told is to look into the game of Catarn, as it has many mechanics that may help me in coming up with rules about these actions. These include the way Catarn does resources, where players collect the resources from areas that are under their control, and then can either keep or trade with other players. Trade Routes could also come into play as ‘Adventurers Routes’, where the tavern can expand its influence by sending their adventuring parties on expeditions.

Role playing is going to be an important part of Tavern Brawl, as it is something that I find to be both personally challenging, as well as fun. The idea I had was that each player gets to create their own personalities for their in game tavern-keepers, and that the more they act like their character, the better their chances are of getting boosts or special items. I was thinking that perhaps if this were the case, that I would need to bring in a Dungeon Master figure to help run the game and give out these boosts, as in theory there would be problems with some players thinking they deserve a reward when others think they don’t. This means an overseer may be needed to ensure the fairness of the game.

In regards to adventurers, I was thinking that the players could hire different types of adventurers who would each have their own jobs in the game. For example, you could hire a thief who can steal ingredients from other players for you, and sow destruction by poisoning other taverns brews. The wizard is a scholar, and can help lead you to the most exotic ingredients, as well as help you as a brewer. Or the warrior, who leads other adventurers on expeditions that advertise your bar, allow you to collect ingredients and generally become walking, talking billboards for your business. This system needs to be thought out more however, and I hope to see more of the work on this completed in the coming weeks.

The game would fit onto the market as both an RPG and as a board game that could be used on anyone’s board game night. I had the idea that as it is a Tavern game, that there may be an opportunity to put in a drinking game rule set in for adults who wish to make the game either harder (as they get drunker), or just more enjoyable. This would mean that when certain actions occur, players have to take shots or at least sip at their drink. Furthermore, I want to try and add some functionality in making the game portable, with perhaps a version that relies only on playing cards or something similar in order to make it more available.

Overall, Tavern Brawler is still in its earliest phases of prototyping, and I hope by next week to be further into expanding this game and discovering the nuances and problems I have not yet faced. There are many things I will need to work on in the coming weeks to ensure the game is ready to show in week 13, which include balancing the ingredient system, working out how the adventurers can play a part in the game, testing the drinking game rule set and making sure the role playing element is fleshed out further.

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