[19:01] <+ArcanaGames> I’m Eugene Fasano, the lead designer at Arcana Games. ((Link: http://www.arcana-games.com/)http://www.arcana-games.com/)
[19:01] <+ArcanaGames> My current project is a storytelling game called Blade and Brush
[19:02] <+ArcanaGames> (Now live on Kickstarter: (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/arcanagames/blade-and-brush)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/arcanagames/blade-and-brush)
[19:02] <+ArcanaGames> Its a haiku based Storytelling Card Game — Inspired by Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Legend of Korra, and the works of Hayao Miyazaki.
[19:02] <+ArcanaGames> Players take on the roles of unique, self defined characters such as wandering monks, plucky adventurers, and questing warriors.
[19:03] <+ArcanaGames> Throughout the game, as the characters journey, they encounter a series of dilemmas. Using poems to solve problems, help people, and get into trouble, the players must collaborate and compete to weave the most entertaining story.
[19:03] <+ArcanaGames> It’s built for 3-8 players, ages 8 and up, and takes 30-45 minutes to play. All you need are the cards, some tokens to keep score, and paper to write your poems.
[19:04] <+ArcanaGames> That’s it in a nutshell, lets dive into questions.
[19:04] <+ArcanaGames> (Done)
[19:04] <~Dan> Thanks, ArcanaGames!
[19:04] <~Dan> The floor is open to questions!
[19:05] <~Dan> So let’s see…
[19:05] <~Dan> Is this an Asian high fantasy setting?
[19:06] <+ArcanaGames> High fantasy is not the way I’d describe it, but we certainly drew on Asian inspiration, both their animation styles and, obviously, traditional poetic forms.
[19:06] * ~Dan nods
[19:07] <+ArcanaGames> The setting itself is largely constructed through the Dilemma Cards (in haiku form) that present problems for the players to solve
[19:07] <~Dan> Ah, so there’s not a fixed setting?
[19:07] <+ArcanaGames> While most of these problems are mundane, a few certainly contain fantastical elements, such as spirits and mystical happenings.
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[19:08] <~Dan> (Howdy, Heckboy!)
[19:08] <+Heckboy> Hello!
[19:08] <~Dan> (Heckboy: Topic: (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/arcanagames/blade-and-brush)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/arcanagames/blade-and-brush )
[19:09] <+ArcanaGames> The setting is less of a defined world than a defined series of locations. This is, of course, only half the picture, as the players solutions to these Dilemma help to shape the world over the course of the game
[19:09] <~Dan> Can you say a bit about how that works?
[19:10] <+ArcanaGames> Sure — so I mentioned the Dilemma Cards that present problems for the players, let me take a step back and mention the other type of card.
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[19:10] <+ArcanaGames> All of the fantastic art (done by Pip Reyes) that can be seen on the kickstarter page is from the Character Cards.
[19:11] <+ArcanaGames> Each player receives on creation whether through choice or randomization, and begins the game by defining their identity or backstory through an initial haiku.
[19:12] <+ArcanaGames> Each round a Dilemma Card is revealed, and the players must describe how their character solves, or doesn’t solve the problem at hand.
[19:13] <+ArcanaGames> So the narrative and thus the world, is constructed in two parts, the problems or dilemmas, and the players solutions.
[19:14] <+ArcanaGames> Bear in mind, this is meant to be a 30-60 minute stand alone party game. Thematic elements are more important in giving the “setting” coherency than other more concrete facets.
[19:14] * ~Dan nods
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[19:15] <+ArcanaGames> Did that answer your question well enough, Dan?
[19:15] <~Dan> I think so, yup!
[19:16] <~Dan> What is the core mechanic of the game?
[19:17] <+ArcanaGames> Well, the example I use when describing it to folks is usually Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity
[19:18] <+ArcanaGames> They are alike insofar as every round one player takes on the role of a judge (the Guide in our game) and it is their job to present “problem” (Dilemma Cards) and select a “winner” or who to award a “victory point” (Token)
[19:19] <+ArcanaGames> Of course, unlike CaH or Apples to Apples, the solutions players posit to the presented “problem card” is not scripted
[19:19] <+ArcanaGames> I enjoy games like CaH but feel that their entertainment value is limited past a point, as all the interactions are effectively a series of prewritten jokes.
[19:20] <+ArcanaGames> In Blade and Brush, the open ended resoltion mechanic i.e writing haiku enables the game to take different directions each time it is played
[19:20] <+ArcanaGames> and who it is played with…
[19:21] <+ArcanaGames> It can be played as a family game with kids, or as a late night party game, focused on humor and debauchery.
[19:21] <~Dan> To what extent do characters matter in the game?
[19:22] <+ArcanaGames> They’re one of the elements that I feel makes it decidedly a story telling game and not just another card game.
[19:23] <~Dan> What elements make up a character?
[19:24] <+ArcanaGames> three direct parts. The picture prompt on a Character card, the initial defining haiku, and a closing haiku at the end of the game.
[19:24] <+ArcanaGames> But, ideally, each haiku written during the game will play on this concept of the character, or at least the best poems do
[19:25] <+ArcanaGames> Consequently, they are often the ones to be awarded points, thus a strong sense of character leads to a better narrative, a more fun game, and ultimately often directly contributes to winning
[19:26] <+ArcanaGames> If I were to play a fat and drunken monk, and play humorously on those troupes, and make them a reoccurring part of my solutions to amuse the other players, my chance of having my solution be award the point increases
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[19:27] <~Dan> (Howdy, Lin_Chong!)
[19:28] <+Lin_Chong> (Folks. Been a while.)
[19:28] <~Dan> (Lin_Chong: Topic: (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/arcanagames/blade-and-brush)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/arcanagames/blade-and-brush )
[19:28] <~Dan> (Haiku-based game.)
[19:30] <~Dan> How familiar does the game assume players are with the source material?
[19:30] <+ArcanaGames> By source material do you mean haiku?
[19:31] <~Dan> Well, no… I was referring to the inspirational materials, rather. Miyazaki, etc.
[19:32] <+ArcanaGames> Its more of a selling point than requisite background knowledge. Anyone with no prior knowledge of say Avatar could enjoy our game as much as anyone else, the inspiration just gave us direction in terms of art and thematic elements.
[19:33] * ~Dan nods
[19:33] <+ArcanaGames> I feel that players who are familiar with our inspirational sources may have a deeper appreciation of the game, but simply insofar as being pleased with its reminiscent aesthetics
[19:34] <+ArcanaGames> Certainly no requisite knowledge (other than the ability to read and write) is needed for a full enjoyment of the game
[19:35] <~Dan> During play, does the action taken by the player who wins the point become what officially happened?
[19:37] <+ArcanaGames> All the players “actions” occur, but the winning player’s is the one that determines the official outcome of the problem, as far as the narrative is concerned. Though such an interpretation has no mechanical impact on the game.
[19:37] * ~Dan nods
[19:38] <+ArcanaGames> Players are free to reference each other or past events in their responses if they so wish
[19:38] <+ArcanaGames> while staying within the loose structure of the medium, of course.
[19:39] <~Dan> How big is the actual rulebook?
[19:40] <+ArcanaGames> So tiny as to be non existent!
[19:40] <+ArcanaGames> The game comes as a deck of cards. Two of the cards, back and front, describe the rules of play.
[19:40] <+ArcanaGames> Its all contained very neatly in one card box.
[19:41] <~Dan> Cool. 🙂
[19:41] <+ArcanaGames> Some of the higher rewards on the kickstarter offer it to come with a puch of tumbled malachite stones to help keep score
[19:42] <~Dan> Can you give an example of a Dilemma Card?
[19:42] <+ArcanaGames> Sure thing!
[19:42] <+ArcanaGames> I can give a couple, if you’d like
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[19:43] <+ArcanaGames> wind howls as we climb
[19:43] <+ArcanaGames> up the sheer rock face, fingers numb
[19:43] <+ArcanaGames> poorly sewn supply sack strap
[19:44] <+ArcanaGames> So that’s an example of the haiku on dilemma card a guide might read on their turn.
[19:45] <+ArcanaGames> crowded bustlingcommotion and jostling a cry — pick pocket
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[19:45] <~Dan> (Howdy, Frankto!)
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[19:45] <+ArcanaGames> Thats a little less nebulous, let me throw in line breaks to keep with tradition
[19:45] <+ArcanaGames> crowded bustling
[19:45] <+ArcanaGames> commotion and jostling
[19:45] <+ArcanaGames> a cry — pick pocket
[19:46] <+ArcanaGames> There are about 50 in the set, only a fraction of which see play every game.
[19:46] <+ArcanaGames> Coupled with the open ended nature of responses, it leads to high replayability
[19:47] <+ArcanaGames> Assuming haiku are your cup of tea, of course.
[19:47] <~Dan> Well, yeah. 🙂
[19:47] <~Dan> How do you end up with an actual story, though? I’m not clear on that part.
[19:47] <~Dan> Rather than a series of unconnected events, I mean.
[19:49] <+ArcanaGames> Well, its very episodic, granted, but the narrative is lent cohesion by each players character. They begin the game with a problem:
[19:49] <+ArcanaGames> Are they disgraced and struggling to regain their honor? Are they an exile bent on revenge – a questing warrior or wayward monk on a mission?
[19:49] <+ArcanaGames> At the end of the game, before points are tallied,
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[19:50] <+ArcanaGames> Each Player writes a Haiku related to the conclusion of their character’s journey.These poems focus on their adventures, lessons learned, and goals left fulfilled or unfulfilled. It exists to give a sense of narrative competition and closure to the character.
[19:50] <+ArcanaGames> Here, I’ll give an example of these sort of bookend poems.
[19:50] <+ArcanaGames> Wen Chen, a strong name
[19:50] <+ArcanaGames> a proud warrior by trade
[19:50] <+ArcanaGames> til he lost his sword
[19:51] <~Dan> Nice.
[19:51] <+ArcanaGames> This gives us a good idea of what kind of character this player wants to play: a warrior, who will probably fight things, strong, but maybe foolish, or somehow duped. he has a problem, the loss of his father’s sword
[19:51] <+ArcanaGames> This might be his capstone poem:
[19:52] <+ArcanaGames> Wen Chen wore a smile
[19:52] <+ArcanaGames> weighing less than father’s sword
[19:52] <+ArcanaGames> a lover’s soft touch
[19:52] * ~Dan nods
[19:53] <+ArcanaGames> His player didn’t have him end up where he might have initially expected — maybe he worked getting or not getting the sword into one of his solutions. maybe he saved someone (the lover) in another poem.
[19:53] <+ArcanaGames> its this exact type of play that should garner points.
[19:53] <+ArcanaGames> In a way, everyone embarks on thier own parallel narratives. The structure of the game is event driven, but the narrative is character driven at the end of the day
[19:53] * ~Dan nods
[19:55] <~Dan> Hmm… Ordinarily, these run for two hours, but I’m not sure I’ve got another hour’s worth of questions, to be honest. Is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
[19:56] <+ArcanaGames> Its a small game! I’m content with a small interview. I think we’ve covered all our bases.
[19:57] <~Dan> Alrighty then! If you’ll give me just a moment, I’ll get the log posted and get you the link. 🙂
[19:57] <~Dan> Thanks very much for joining us!
[19:57] <+ArcanaGames> Great, thanks Dan!
[19:57] <+ArcanaGames> Always a pleasure.