The Game Players of Titan

with apologies to PKD

Nine and Half Foot Pole #2: Fictional Titles that would be Great Games

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Or, get on this cool, indie designers!

We all have read a book or comic book and thought to ourselves “now that would make an amazing game.”  Of course, there are a variety of reasons why a game might not be made and in most cases, it ends up being just too much of a niche product to actually work.  Still, that doesn’t stop me from dreaming though!

Batman: No Man’s Land

The Story: Those of you who are comic book fans might already know this storyline, but this is a classic of the recent Batman storylines.  After an earthquake destroys most of Gotham, the US government has declared it off limits and asks all the residents to leave.  However, some people stay and the city gets carved up by most of the major Batman villains.  Batman, along with some friends, takes the city back block by block.

The Game: I see this game being played out in two parts.  The first would be a risk-style game, with various factions trying to take over the neighborhoods.  It might almost play out as an old school “Napoleonic wars” miniatures battle game that Gary Gygax used to play.  I’d also love to play out individual fights between super heros, with their power and force determined by the results of risk-style battles.  A friend of mine has suggested a modified Heroclix, which could work really well to represent these


The Story: Another comic book, this comic book written by Brian Wood, tells of a near-future where a civil war has split the US in two.  NYC becomes ground zero (literally, at one point) for the battle between the US government and the revolutionary forces.  Matty, a young journalist, is the only journalist embedded in the DMZ that NYC has become.

The Game: I could see this fitting really well as a modification of Apocalypse World, a game designed to play post apocalyptic games.  Each player chooses a playset (Apocalypse World fo character class) that gives them certain benefits.  This would be a good way to introduce the different roles the characters play in the comic book.  The playsets also do a good job of balancing characters who have a whole gang behind them and characters who are more loners, which is an important part in DMZ.   Trust is a big part of DMZ as well, with the various characters never sure of other’s allegiances and Apocalypse World has a really interesting mechanic that could be adapted to work.

Old Man’s War, by John Scalzi

The Story: Humans have a chance for rejuvenation, so long as they join the Colonial Defense Forces, and go out into space and fight the many many different aliens that threaten humanity.  Similar to The Forever War and Starship Troopers, the main characters find themselves jumping between world to world fighting where ever they are needed.

The Game: I could see the players playing as a squad of “super-soldiers”, where each week you land on another planet and .  I think a really strong randomizing mechanic could add the humor that underlies most of the book, possibly through a deck of cards.  Also, there needs to be intense, and somewhat random, death. Perhaps at the end of each characters action, they draw a card that explains what the enemies do in response to the character, scarring or otherwise affecting the character.  Each player should definitely come prepared to replace their character with other squad members, similar to the start of DCC RPG. It might end up playing a bit like Paranoia, with lots of laughs and death around the table.

What fictional worlds do you wish you could adventure in?

Person, Place or Thing

Each week I’ll include my post with a quick person, place or thing, in the spirit of “old school” gazetteers.  It will be system neutral, it’s meant to inspire your gaming, whatever game you might be playing.

The Black Cube.  Thing.

The black cube is a simple cube hewed out of black meteorite.  Of course, how it was cut is unclear, as nothing man made can seem to cut it.  It doesn’t seem to do anything to anyone not in possession of it.  Those in possession of it who figure out the key word realize that it takes the user to a parallel world.  This parallel world is virtually the same, except for a very small difference in the immediate vicinity.  Only the holder of the black cube is aware of this difference.  Maybe a compatriot is left handed instead of right handed, maybe a character’s sword hilt is broken or maybe all the copper pieces in the players’ possession has turned into gold.  Some feel the parallel world is random, others feel there is a malevolent, or other, power at work with the black cube.

Do you think the black cube would be ultimately helpful or harmful for the characters?

Blowing up on the Blog-o-sphere

Another regular feature here each week will be a highlight of a recent blog post or conversation that I found particularly interesting.

This week, it’s David Guyll over at Points of Light, who has been reviewing each D&D Next playtest packet.  I’ve enjoyed every one of his analyses, and this last one doesn’t disappoint.  I haven’t had time yet to really delve into Next yet, but by reading his comments, I feel like I have a good sense of the direction of the next iteration of D&D. Thanks David!


Author: Bill MK

A writer, an avid consumer of soccer, music, media, books and games, a poorly self-taught handy man, a nom de plume.

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