I participated in the last LD31 (with The Screening, made with Gaetano Leonardi and Luigi di Guida), but for this LD32 I am way too busy, so I’ll have to skip it. Still, I just came back home to check the theme:
An Unconventional Weapon
Then gave me the usual 15 minutes to come out with a game design idea. It’s fun and always a good exercise. In the end, I had a couple ideas, but I’m in a rush and I’m gonna write only the first one. So here it is.
Some kind of future. After a long history of wars, the whole world (and I really mean the whooole world) has now signed a global “no-weapons no-wars” treaty since almost a century. That obviously doesn’t mean that there’s no war anymore, since the powers-that-be will always be egotistic lying assholes. It simply means that wars are fought in different ways.
You are a small rising nation, a mix of [here the player will have to select at least 3 minority/ethnic/culture groups]. You are presented as some kind of good force, almost as a vague metaphor of the French revolution, before everything went to shit and the freedom fighters inevitably became a different type of monster (which, by the way, is the direction where the game will lead you in the end).
This is a turn-based game, and you have to fight this new war. Which means developing and deploying the correct unconventional weapon against a given adversary. The game is divided between a War Map and a Laboratory.
On the War Map you can see all nations, their relationship with each other, their needs, their beliefs, and their sanity (which is a sum of a lot of things, when concerning a nation). When a nation adjacent to yours reaches a sanity that is less than 50% your own, you can click on it and gain control. You can do that only once per turn. Also, each turn you will discover a new secret weakness regarding one of the nations adjacent to yours, which you will exploit, among other things, in your laboratory.
Now, the Laboratory. Here you will combine elements (with options to research new ones) to exploit the weaknesses and conditions of other nations, in order to attack their sanity. For example, if a nation believes that chickens are sacred, combine “suicide gene” (please cut me some slack here) + “chickens” and send them there. Or if a nation (which, I don’t know, we might call Gamergatestan) is afraid of gamedev women, combine “big office” + “gamedev” + “women” and place it there. It’s all very generic, considering it would need to be done in two/three days, but you get the idea.
Each turn you will be able to do one, and only one, of the following actions:
- Gain control of an adjacent nation with less than 50% your sanity (this will make you lose an amount of sanity equal to that nation’s)
- Develop a new unconventional weapon (this will cost you a given amount of sanity based on the number of combinations and the choice of elements)
- Deploy a developed weapon (these can be deployed even in non-adjacent nations, since all nations influence each other and you might want to reach your objectives from a different direction)
- Research a new element for future unconventional weapon combinations
- Do nothing and regain some sanity (unless you’re attacked in the same turn)
Each turn, other nations might also try to attack your own sanity. But no, there is no way to research possible defenses against that, for a good reason.
Some elements that you will be able to research/combine/use as weapons
Chickens, behavioral genes, buildings, beliefs, actions, concepts, advertising forms, blahblahblah.
Obviously, the more you grow, the more you go from a nice sympathetic nation to an asshole power-that-be, among other things. On a cheerful note though, the more you expand, the more there’s a chance that your territory starts growing new antagonist groups/nations from its center, in some kind of political ripple effect.