Investigation Game Mechanic
Posted by Nathan P. on December 22, 2007
I had a dream about a game mechanic, and when I woke up, I (a) actually remembered it and (b) it didn’t turn out to be totally incoherent.
It’s pretty simple, and I’m sure someone has something like this in one of the bevy of investigation games that are out/coming out around now.
So, the GM (or whoever’s in charge) has a whole bunch of plot threads going on, and he or she writes down a number of discrete clues and/or information that has to do with finding out whats really going on. Either each clue has multiple levels of potential detail, or the clues themselves are ranked by how important/detailed they are. These levels have some kind of number associated with them.
When the investigators make a roll, or accumulate evidence points, or whatever they’re doing to actually get clues, they’re trying to meet or exceed one of those thresholds. If they do, they get the clue! Hooray!
Next time they’re making a roll (or whatever), they can do it like normal, or they can risk, and thus build on, their current clue(s). If they do this, the threshold of the clue they risk is the new floor for the roll (or whatever), but if they don’t make it to the next threshold, they lose that clue. The witness clams up, the evidence disappears, the investigation deadends suddenly, everyone has a case of amnesia, whatever.
I see this as being Agon-y, with the GM having a Strife-like budget that he or she divides among clues initially to set thresholds, and then can use to make things more difficult during the game as well.
Hrm. Maybe this would be a neat Agon hack.
Anyhow, I like the idea that you can be losing some clues as you gain others in a nonsequential manner, making finding everything out much less linear. A critical component would also be keeping clues on physical cards, and not allowing anyone to take separate notes about them. So, as the game progresses, there’s an effect of trying to fill in holes from memory.