I'm launching a System Reference Document that describes the mechanisms which I've used for some of my highly regarded story games. I hope that other people will be able to take it and make fun, interesting and challenging games using this mechanism.
I've enjoyed creating and playing story games such as A Cool and Lonely Courage and Love & Barbed Wire where playing cards are used as a mechanism for guiding the emotional content of the stories.
With A Cool and Lonely Courage I took the decision to start the game near the end of the story, and for all of the scenes to be told retrospectively. This means that each player character has a degree of script immunity in their own story, but the important thing is their relationships with other peoples which can be nurtured and grow, or be damaged and die.
There are two games I'm working on at the moment which are based on this basic approach:
- Expect Three Visitors which is inspired by Scrooge from A Christmas Carol, but allows the spirits of Past, Present and Future to attempt to redeem someone captured by any of the seven deadly sins.
- The Long Road Home which I've not written about publicly yet, but represents heroes who are on their way back from an astonishing adventure, and remembering the highs and the lows of their experiences. It's inspired by the idea of four hobbits returning towards the Shire, wondering about the adventures they had, and with one last challenge ahead of them.
As well as these, there are some other ideas that I'm researching for "Retrospective Games" - but I'm only one person. I think that there are lots of potential stories which could be told with this game approach. That's why I want to formally release a System Reference Document (or SRD) here and on itch.io, to encourage other people to take it up and create marvellous new games.