Idea for a game (RPG). Players are charged to design the best possible spaceships for an upcoming war. Basic RockPaperScissors on weapon vs shield (red>green>blue>red), and on size of craft. (capital ships outfight cruisers, cruisers outfight fighters, fighters outmanoeuvre capital ships) Each player starts with a ship and a couple of alternate parts. If players fight each other, then they can copy one new part from the ship that they fight. The GM walks around generating extra fights. Winner of the fight is given a bonus piece they can use (a neutral weapon, shield or size, or a single extra tie-breaking shield point in a specific colour) One player can win in the end, and bring along a couple of friends - but those that lose have a terrible fate awaiting them. The end of the game (and players are warned of this) is a grand melee. So players need to politic and MetaGame to build a (team) that has a decent chance of winning.
Mechanic: can take 8 points of damage. Guns deal 2, doubled if they win against shields, doubled again if they win on size. (For a one-shot kill) They deal 1 if they get a single mismatch, and 0 for a double mismatch.
The real interest of the game, of course, should come in the politics of teaming up and trying to work out what the enemy has without giving away too much of what YOU have, to pick the optimum stuff for the final fight.
Most rounds also featured a 'basic' ship (pretty much all of them were just 'ship with electro and lasers', some had missiles) and I made disparaging remarks about peoples performances. As expected, people started to equalise quite quickly.
After each round of fights, extra technology is awarded. The techs were mainly 'neutral (whatever)' followed by 'neutral piercing' weapons. Neutral guns are, obviously, useless. Especially when compared with the druge guns. An important tech was 'one extra hitpoint' which I arbitarily decided was incompatible with fighters, in order to introduce a deliberate asymmetry.
The last few rounds incorporated a player suggestion that ships only be allowed to evolve one component at a time, rather than radical redesign.
A 'plot' was inserted when the ruler declared that all possible technologies had been invented, and fired the R&D labs into the sun. They later returned as an enemy which had lots of hits and did damage to everything nearby, but handed out the neutral-piercing weapons.
Ok, ran it. It mechanically worked but wasn't too interesting.
Things to fix: Give each character built in reasons to trust (and betray) each of the other characters - they ended up too antagonistic from the beginning.
It was suggested that this game would work in a paranoia setting, and it really really would. The colours of lasers are just an obvious thing to work in. You've also got the option of making ship designs go via the computer - and giving an explanation of why they have to steal bits of ship design from each other. ("A plasma shield? Certainly friend citizen. Please enter the 65 digit code, or step into the termination booth in 5... 4...")
Better props would help, too.
The characters have been stolen half-heartedly from random sci-fi and webcomics. There's nothing critical in there (though there need to be)
Weapons: Plasma, Laser, Missiles. Shields: Cloud, Electromagnetic, Stealth. (Cloud beats plasma, loses to missiles, average against laser) (Electro beats laser, loses to plasma, average against missiles) (Stealth beasts missiles, loses to laser, average against plasma) (Capital ships > Cruisers > Fighters > Capital ships)
Prof. Dewalzy, MSCBT, DJURFN (GIT)
Snobbish professor from a prestigious school, he deigns to lower himself to actually design ships for the present emergency.
Tips for playing Dewalzy: A brilliant designer of spaceships, Dewalzy is somewhat highstrung and prone to panicking when his designs are put to the test. He loathes his rivals with a passion, but can easily be swayed with flattery. You'll want to leave big hints lying around about that.
His current prototype ship: The blackness-X4 This ship is designed with one simple principle - a mainline cannon firing a plasma of exotic matter which is actually more effective against ships mounting standard electromagnetic shielding than unshielded ships. Combine this with a stealth system intended to evade missiles and you have a black patch of space which hides, eliminates its opponent in a single shot and then fades away again. A medium sized frame was required to mount the desired systems. While that means that this ship is not the fastest in space, it mounts a large enough weapon to handily swat down smaller ships.
(Ship stats: Strong against electro, Strong against missiles, Strong against fighters, Weak against Laser, Weak against Cloud, weak against capital ships)
A group mind with a sense of mischief, Unity likes to make things go boom.
Tips for playing unity: Unity likes to press the edges - it's not worth doing something with a little bit of overkill if you can do it with a LOT of overkill. Contingency planning isn't in her vocabulary. She loves to show other people up.
Her current prototype ship: Doom cloud.
This ship is large. Cunningly camoflaged as a small nebula, it packs enough lasers to swat just about anything else out of space - and since lasers are light speed, it can hit whatever it can see. Its nebula camoflage also works as a strong shield against plasma weaponry. This ship was designed and built solely to annoy the HECK out of professor Dewalzy.
(Ship stats: Strong against plasma, strong against stealth, strong against cruisers, Weak against electro, weak against missiles, weak against fighters)
Small cute fuzzy 'popple' alien, famous for accidentally destroying the population of two planets whilst trying to buy processed meat. (See /Phagocyte )
Death technology is like playing with duplo blocks for this alien. He may not make much sense, but he makes a lot of death machines.
Tips for playing the Tormal: Be happy. Be friendly. Lack grammar. Pepper your sentences with phrases like "Oh happy friends death bringing time! Can we all kill now? Party!"
His current ship: Space Unicorn.
This ship appears to be a standard atmospheric fighter with a hyperspace engine strapped on the back. It's small, it's very very fast and it's got some missiles. A normal electromagnetic shield leaves an almost perfectly standard ship design. Can the rainbow and unicorn patterns really make that much difference? This ship might be surprisingly effective.
(Ship stats: Strong against laser, strong against cloud, strong against capital ships, weak against plasma, weak against stealth, weak against cruisers)
An unfortunate who shares a name with a ship designer. Must have a good set of assistants, or maybe it's just easy to make these things.
Tips on playing Mike: Think 'flash Gordon' (film version) - doesn't know what he's doing, but dang it, he'll give it a hearty good try. Thinks the best of people, even when they're building death machines and giggling.
His current ship: Meccano. ("It's like building meccano sets")
Small, shielded with a cloud of exotic matter and packing a range of missiles this one man fighter breaks every known design principle. (Starting with "you need a crew" moving on to "so it's weak against its own weapon?" and ending with "You didn't use any duct tape?!") Still, its creator stands by it. Probably.
(Strong against cloud, Strong against plasma, Strong against capital ships, weak against missiles, weak against stealth, wreak against cruisers)
The Druge are one. The Druge come from beyond. All shall become Druge.
Tips on playing 'The Druge': Make up deep sounding statements, that could be taken as philosophical. Hint at a greater knowledge than anyone else. Be slow and methodical. Act as though you don't care what happens. Speak of yourself in the plural.
The durrent druge ship: A statement upon the balance.
A simple design philosophy this. Build it big and pack in as many weapons as possible. It lacks a little something... what is it, oh yes. Shields. The Druge have no shields.
Huge, unshielded. Packs both lasers AND missiles. (Strong against clouds, strong against stealth, average against electro, strong against cruisers, weak against EVERY kind of incoming attack, doubly so if it's from fighters.)
Owner of 'the duck', one of the most feared private luxury yachts in space; this Melonponian has yet to learn that 'slap on whatever you last stole from a pirate' might not be the best way to build military equipment. then again, it's an unusual edge...
Tips on playing Mayhews:
Act Worried, scared at being forced to participate with your life on the line, but proud of your designs. Be willing to change your design around often. Easily distracted.
Mayhew's current ship: The flying duck (mark 26)
Seemingly small, with an exotic particle cloud shield and a plasma cannon - this ship's main attraction is a solid gold bathroom and well stocked minibar. Well, that and cramming an olympic sized swimming pool into a ship which is externally the size of a one-man fighter.
(Strong against plasma, strong against electro-shielding, weak against missiles, weak against cloud shields, strong against capital ships, weak against cruisers.)