After-Action Report: Game Fu 7

Posted on January 12, 2010


In the middle of the holiday season, Game Fu 7 came and went. Once again I threw my hat in the ring, and the result is a game (and another incomplete project) called Qiangdao: Way of the Gun.

The primary ingredient focus in GF7 was the Genre Blender: take two genres, eath with a set of tropes, and combine them. Qiangdao (kludge Mandarin for “way of the gun”) combines the genres of Western and Wuxia. The characters are wanderers with amazing techniques, but instead of moving through a mythic-legendary China, they travel the trails of the American West. As usual, I spent far too much time dallying around and not actually working on the game. In the end I had to tighten the focus from a general game about those wanderers to a scenario-based game wherein the characters participate in the classic “clean up the town” story, common to both Western and Wuxia.

Character creation is simple and fast, with only four stats. Each stat has skills (“specialties” in this game) which are player-determined, and each character also receives items and Techniques. Techniques are the character’s powers, intended to be something like Charms from Exalted. They too are player-determined, along certain guidelines.

The mechanic involves a pool of d6s, but with a twist — it’s a “reverse” pool, where all dice must succeed. Any number on the die except “1” is a success. The number of “1”s showing determines the degree of complication or failure of the task, meaning most of the time, characters succeed in what their players wish for them to do. The more better the character is, the less dice the player has to roll. Penalties are assessed in added dice, bonuses in removed dice. Techniques often allow a player to ignore penalty dice in certain situations, as do items/tools.

Even though it’s more an idea sketch than a full game, it does seem to work well. It’s just begging for expansion, especially the setting details.