So yesterday at, like, I don't even remember when, I had one of those lovely experiences where an entire game design tried to shove itself into my brain all at once. I spent the next few hours hastily scribbling down notes and refining them and relating them, and cursing at them when they didn't immediately work right or when the game design shoving itself through my ear was, like, 95% of the design and wanted me to just come up with the missing 5% spontaneously.

Anyway, it's the game where I get to play Alpha Centauri, and maybe a little Battlestar Galactica, and maybe a little World of Warcraft the way it should have been implemented. You play a faction and its apotheosized leader; your stats are Ideals, Loyalties, Followers, and Resources. It kicks you in the face and demands that you defend what you believe in. Assuming, of course, it works.

Here's the introductory flavor text that isn't so much about the game itself as the setup for the game:

There was a War. A War of ideals and the lack of them, of loyalty and treachery, of ethics and economics and political necessity. The War raged until civilization was in tatters, its infrastructure ravaged, its heart broken.

The last battle of the War was fought over Agora, a planet that had been hidden and preserved as a protected wilderness, unaffected by technology's touch or civilization's tread. Its strategic value attracted limping cruisers of the various fleets, and they battled in the skies of Agora. As many ships fell from poor maintenance as from enemy fire, their last shuddering act to bring their crews to the surface of the planet.

Then word of the Peace came from far away. It came in two parts. The War is over, the first part said. Do not return home was the second. The message bore all the validation codes to prove that it was official, but before it could continue the message jerked and spasmed and died, no power left to push the transmission out into the stars. Home was dead.

There was nothing to return to, for most; for others, their return would only add to the hunger. With hostilities ended, nothing but starvation at home, and a world of plenty below them, the choice was obvious. Weakened, strained, and damaged beyond repair, the battleships descended to the planet's surface to colonize Agora.

Cut off from their homelands and looking forward at an untouched wilderness filled with former enemies, the crews must ask themselves: how shall we live?

Agora: how shall we live? is a roleplaying game for three to eight players in which you play leaders of refugees crash-landed on the surface of an untouched world. Together, you will struggle to survive and pit your ideals against former enemies, the hostile world, and each other. Throughout the course of play, you will interpret your characters' beliefs, stand up for those beliefs, and become those beliefs' exemplars in the world. Each character will shape the development of the world.

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Nifty. Except this wasn't

Nifty.

Except this wasn't coming from outside. It was cooking for a long time, wasn't it?

Ideas from outside come in

Ideas from outside come in and roll up some of the bits of ideas inside until it's a big indistinguishable mess. ;)

Very cool. I just stumbled

Very cool. I just stumbled on this and thought, "I want to play."

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