Experiments in Ontological Relativism

and Other Brain Farts

  • Leaving the Past Behind

    February 2012
    M T W T F S S
  • Time Travel

  • Your Words, Not Mine

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Archive for February 10th, 2012

Jason’s Wiki Game That Needs a Better Name: Background

Posted by Jason on February 10, 2012

For a while now, I’ve been kicking around ideas for an asynchronous, collaborative, semi-competitive worldbuilding game played using a wiki. At this point, I suspect you’ve either gone cross-eyed or else have gotten really interested. For the non cross-eyed among you, I’m going to take a stab at creating just such a game. I’ll put the rules in my next post, but first let me talk a little bit about my inspirations and goals–because I know how much the ladies love that.

To put first things first, I should give credit where it’s due. I’ve been intrigued by the idea of using a wiki as a gaming platform since I stumbled onto Lexicon¬†years ago. For those who are not familiar with it, Lexicon involves the players taking the role of scholars writing an alphabetical encyclopedia on some fictitious topic. Each round is indexed to a letter of the alphabet, and the entries for that round must start with that letter. There are also rules for linking back to other articles and adding “phantom entries” for others to fill in. I’m not going to go over those in depth here, largely because I will be stealing¬†adapting some of them for my own game.

Perhaps even more influentially, I found a competitive variant called (I believe) Smacktalk that since seems to have disappeared from the web–or at least which my Google-fu is not strong enough to find. As I recall, after each Smacktalk round, the audience voted for their favorite entry of the round, and the player with the fewest votes was out. This was repeated until there was one person left, who presumably then took a victory lap around the wiki.

The last major inspiration came when I stumbled onto Microscope. Microscope is a game of collaborative worldbuilding, where each turn a player adds something new to an existing timeline. It’s essentially an elaborate variation of “Yes, and…” but with a focus toward developing a fictitious history. One of the things that particularly struck me is its non-linearity; on your turn, you can expand on any point in the timeline, leaving you free to jump around in your chronology at a whim. The things you create can vary in scale from an entire era down to a particular scene, which is role-played by the group.

Each of these games is great in its own right, but still not exactly what I was looking for:

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