Skip to Content

Pro Wrestling Game (Maybe Not So Much "Board" Game)

8 replies [Last post]
jpneok
Offline
Joined: 01/31/2009

"Hey, I just had an idea to make a game about (spatu... er, pro wrestling). What do you think? Anyone want to help me brainstorm?"

Seriously, though. I'm thinking and hoping this is the right category, though I have ideas on some mechanics and other design aspects and elements, and unfortunately, no one else to really help with bouncing ideas, etc. Apoligies if this isn't the right place (either this category or this forum in general).

I'd like more here to get some broader perspectives. Apologies if this is "yet another" wrestling game post, and feel free to skip it, as it is somewhat lengthy, though I've tried to break it up some.

INITIAL THOUGHTS

First off, I used to be registered at BGDF through one or two site changes but it appears I had to sign up again, but my point is, I know this site is about board games primarily, and I'm not sure where my type of game fits anyway, as I'm not entirely certain the format I want.

I would like it to be mainly dice-based, with wrestler character sheets/cards that list moves (probably on random-die-roll charts) and some stats that allow players to more or less carry out the majority of the game with just dice and their wrestlers, without relying on much miscellaneous additions.

My reasons for this style are:

primarily, to keep the game simple and "portable" for kids/adults that want to quickly pick up and play, including throwing the needed game and components into a case or such and taking it with them without the need for lots of prep-work, sorting, separating, etc. Wouldn't hurt to have less production costs either.

Secondly, in keeping with the idea of (usually) fast and simple to understand wrestling matches, the less extra residual necessary materials, the quicker and cleaner it will seem (and hopefully BE) - basically streamlined or slipstreamed or some descriptive word with stream in it, denoting making it fast and sleek and solid.

CONSIDERATIONS

All the above said, I've considered the idea of a "board" (consisting of the ring and probably the surrounding arena area), but to be honest, I can't see that as being all that helpful, as each player/wrestler "turn" is likely to involve some "transition" (moving from one position to another) and the main move, and possibly a reversal, etc.

I've also considered the idea of using cards, which could help in some ways with some issues I've been having with mechanics and probability, but in others, it creates a logistical nightmare, as you can't come up with cards for every move for every wrestler, there are literally thousands of wrestling maneuvers, and each individual has, on average, easily 20-50 each, which also effectively eliminates the idea of static "universal" charts for all but the most basic steps.

HISTORY and INTENTION

I have looked around on the net and bought a handful of different people's wrestling games myself and have seen a number of different approaches, each with their own merit, as well as way of looking at wrestling (some take it as a realtime competition between wrestlers, some take it as more a management of stats like fantasy football, etc).

I'm at the point that I want to emulate real-time wrestling, allowing single, tag-team, battle royals, etc, and make use of some nearly RPG-esque stats and resources such as Defense/Counter, Skill levels for move, Momentum, Fatigue and special Main Event Points (or something to allow special rules/events) and provide "normal" grappling as well as throwing to the ropes, climbing the ropes, fighting outside, etc.

NEXT STEPS?

If I get any/much interest here I might post some stuff in the Machnics or Design forums if anyone would be willing to share some ideas and opinions there (unless I should post them now to help people get a better idea?), but one thing I'd ask of any wrestling fans, and any non-fans that might still try a wrestling game if it looked good, is what kind of mechanic do you like, for something like this, or sports in general (forgetting for the moment pro wrestling isn't a sport)?

Most of the other things that are coming to mind involve questions or advice on dice, probability, cards and such and all belong in another category so I'll close here. Any advice and thoughts are appreciated.

Willi B
Offline
Joined: 07/28/2008
Believe it or not....

Outside of D&D scenarios, a wrestling game was my first true game design. I worked on it throughout the last two years of high school and a couple of years thereafter.

I'll still get it in to playable shape someday, but it will be along the lines of the WWF game that came out in the '90's game, i.e., an "adventure" game. I pretty much stopped working on my version when that game came out because I got disheartened, but that game had many flaws and it never took off despite having the source material of the #1 grossing professional license at the time (lack of promotion in the right venues?).

Several things that come to mind from what I believe from observation:

1) Professional Wrestling games like you and I are discussing fall into a unique category called "adventure games"... part RPG (but not a full RPG), part board/strategy game. The fact that these two things are married make them a harder sell for the people that like those two genres without much liking the other.... plus Professional Wrestling is a real niche market amongst people that play board games and will have a tough time selling. Board gamers aren't into "acting" mechanics and RPGer's want a more full RPG experience for the most part with more long-lived story lines. Many RPGer's might now want such a rules-heavy experience. The solution is to probably leave all role-playing elements out to avoid the potential embarrassment of "macho" guys that are trying to just bash one another in the game.

2) Even with a license, it would be a tough sell.... even with promotional money, doing it for love is probably the only feasible thing you could hope for because most wrestling fans aren't going to be into paper and pen/card/board games because....

3) The video games are taking most of your market and will continue to do so. The games are immensely popular and hit every demographic you want to hit, with a bigger budget. I think once they latch on to the concept of creating your own wrestler (like Madden does for football), they pretty much will kill the long term potential for any "adventure" Pro Wrestling game. Pro Wrestling is a "D" genre in the hobby games industry.

All this being said, I'll probably finish my game at some point in time when I get the time to rededicate myself to it because some of my gaming friends enjoy the genre.

"Adventure" games can be tough to design because you have to serve some role-playing needs while having a great fighting system that is balanced (i.e., not WWF) and yet allows for character growth. Seeing as 99.99% of RPG's can't even do this correctly, I'd say that is a tall order. Sadly, as wrestling games seem to be the only inhabitant of this unique "adventure" game genre, there isn't a lot of people making these games to learn from either.

I plan on making the game out of love for the things of my earlier days (I haven't watched wrestling since the late 80's).... I might try to get it published when it's done, but I won't be holding my breath if publishers pass on it.

Good luck!

jpneok
Offline
Joined: 01/31/2009
Thank you for the thoughtful

Thank you for the thoughtful reply. I think I'm with you on pretty much all of your points as well. I do, first and foremost, want to develop this for my own enjoyment/achievement/satisfaction, and if it turns out good enough that it might be marketable, that's terrific, but I'm not deluding myself into thinking it would be a breakout border-crossing hit - I don't have any real problem in it being a PDF (I know I can at least do that).

Like Willi, I think, though I may not be totally invested in the game all the time, it's always there, waiting, years worth of ideas and charts and such - a personal labor of love, which I think a lot of games and just pastimes in general are, or started out.

I'm somewhat unclear on the "adventure game" aspect mentioned, however, that phrase you use doesn't seem to be ringing the same way to me as I understand it, in regards to the mechanics and scope of my game - could you elaborate on your concept of "adventure game", and maybe how it differs opposed to a dice game for example?

I haven't, for example, seriously entertained the notion of a full-on career emulation that would involve generated storylines or such (other than whatever ideas the players come up with), so my idea seems to me to be much more match-based, though the idea of rankings/rosters and some possibly meta-game mechanics such as heat or popularity of matches has occurred to me.

My idea is more to follow the flow of the "realistic" wrestling (read kayfabe) match, starting with weaker maneuvers and eventually progressing into more powerful attacks until usually a finisher or other opportunistic method is achieved to get the three count - then points for the match (and wrestlers) can be calculated, spent, improvements made, etc.

I only created (just in amatuer pdf form) a few other games over the years, one was a zombie board game (not realizing at the time that it is apparently mandatory for everyone to make one of those), and a few other more dice-based games, such as one where you run a wrestling federation (though with very generic stats/resources) and one where multiple players make movies, etc. Although I'm a big fan of normal tabletop RPGs and have a want to release one of those too, the wrestling game is sort of my all-time project.

The Magician
Offline
Joined: 12/23/2008
Willi B wrote: 1)

Willi B wrote:

1) Professional Wrestling games like you and I are discussing fall into a unique category called "adventure games"... part RPG (but not a full RPG), part board/strategy game. The fact that these two things are married make them a harder sell for the people that like those two genres without much liking the other.... plus Professional Wrestling is a real niche market amongst people that play board games and will have a tough time selling. Board gamers aren't into "acting" mechanics and RPGer's want a more full RPG experience for the most part with more long-lived story lines. Many RPGer's might now want such a rules-heavy experience. The solution is to probably leave all role-playing elements out to avoid the potential embarrassment of "macho" guys that are trying to just bash one another in the game.

"Adventure" games can be tough to design because you have to serve some role-playing needs while having a great fighting system that is balanced (i.e., not WWF) and yet allows for character growth. Seeing as 99.99% of RPG's can't even do this correctly, I'd say that is a tall order. Sadly, as wrestling games seem to be the only inhabitant of this unique "adventure" game genre, there isn't a lot of people making these games to learn from either.


These are some vary interesting points about "adventure" games. Heroquest falls under this category right? What about having an adventure game that is not battle centered? I want to explore other flavors of game, and hopefully create my own flavor. I like battle games, and I don't. I find them fun, but they seem overdone to me. It's a little boring to me to create a battle games because their so common. Plus where is their a medium or inbetween. I know there are many games that are big and not about battle. However, where is their an adventure game with some RPG that battle isn't what the game is about? Maybe battle is so favorable because gamers minds are cloistered and can't think anything other than war and battle. Just a guess. I mean I see the practicality of having battle when it comes to competition. I just think games don't have to be like that and still can be exciting and addictive. Of course my nature is to always create something that fulfills a desire that I can not find in the world. So I am creating the game I want.

I remember in High School my buddy would come up to me and rave about some RPG and then his RPG buddys would come up to him and talk about there game. And I remember thinking something like "Of course you love this game, it's about fighting and their all about fighting and everyone plays RPG's about fighting." It just seemed boring to me on some level. Are gamers tasts and what they consider "fun" that predictable and/or trivial? Perhaps I'm overgeneralizing RPG's, I haven't looked at them much. However, it is true, whenever I think about an RPG and gaming, "fighting" and "battle" tend to be synonimous in my mind with RPG.

What I got from the games that I grew up enjoying, were adventure, exploration, discovering something new. Plus most of them just had an aura or just something I can not describe that caused me to keep coming back and to think about them a lot. Here is a good example, "Zelda" may not be a board game, but it has always been a favorit game of mine that has the qualities I described above. I have contemplated endlessly about what gives games these qualities that I love. There are eliments in the game that conjure up for me the "Mystery and can't stop thinking about it" factor. The "all-seeing-eye" symbol appears throughout the games. This is an important and sacred symbol in human history. "The Eye" has profound spiritual meaning. No wonder subconsciously this created that "mystery factor" for me as a child. There are other things in Zelda. The "magic mirror" that takes the player to the dark world. The magic mirror is real, in my basis of understanding and knowledge. This is not the place to get into that but the point is, the game has all kinds of subtle elements that create a deep emotional effect on the player. I could write a volume about that game.

Willi B
Offline
Joined: 07/28/2008
What I perceive as "Adventure Game"

"Adventure Game" was the self description on the WWF game book. The only difference from the Adventure Game as defined by that book (not to take away from any other definition) and used by myself is one that has rules that mandate some role-playing and, like all RPG's has some strategic play elements, but the role-playing is severely limited in scope.

The only other game that comes to mind is the RPG for Battletech.... there was some role playing, but mostly it was about playing the character inside of the 'mech.

I'm sure there are others... but Pro Wrestling is firmly in this genre if people choose to include both elements.... the role playing is pretty much limited to the interviews, match antics, and history made up during creation.... nobody wants to role play what the character does pretty much outside of the stadium. I guess you could say this about a dungeon crawl in a sense, but there is just an immersion gap that is never desired by players in the Pro Wrestling genre.

jpneok
Offline
Joined: 01/31/2009
Thanks for the input! I think

Thanks for the input! I think one of my main concerns is the idea of the moveset for wrestlers, and even before, or concurrently with that, should move determination/choice be random (roll a dice on a wrestler's move chart, which are maybe divided up between levels of Impact) or (and I like this) allow the player to choose moves? The problem with the player choice is that in order to allow for true strategy and make the choices meaningful, the moves would have to have enough stats and differences that I fear it would complicate and overburden the game by having to do mental calculation every single turn, which would almost be better suited to computer type moderation - not my idea of streamlined, simple and fast.

Secondly, I don't know if it is better to have, for each wrestler, multiple move charts of varying levels (corresponding to how Fatigued the Defender is) or one longer set which could allow the possibility of a super powerful move early - and that's to say nothing of the idea of Irish Whips, High-Risk (top rope) and Outside Ring moves, which could technically each have their own levels of Impact, etc.

It's hard not having people to help playtest and bounce ideas off of in real-life, I don't know how some folks do it, you know, get to a workable design stage so they CAN go find people and have them try out the working alpha model or whatever it's called.

rodney_rankin
Offline
Joined: 02/03/2009
Your Wrestling Promoter Sim

I would be interested in seeing the pdf for your wrestling promoter game.

I've developed and discarded about a dozen design concepts for a wrestling game in the past 25 years. It's a tough assignment, trying to mix authenticity, playability and marketability.

I still take a stab at it now and again, even though it makes my head hurt.

I've purchased and played many of the sims that have come out over the years, but nothing has felt quite right.

I wish you the best of luck.

Rodney Rankin
Frustrated Gamemaker
rodney_rankin@yahoo.com

hoywolf
hoywolf's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/27/2009
Card Style Fighting System

Im really into card games and know a lot of them as well as the mechanics. So my ideas are very card heavy, I'm not a huge fan of dice either.

There was been a WWE (WWF) TCG before, but your looking at a more board game intensive idea, but you still can get some ideas from it. There are other fighting games like UFS too that uses a good system for combat, such as difficultly of playing a card and if it fails you "miss" their is also attack directions to block (up, mid, or down). There is also a really old card game i used to play (it used the same up, mid, and down attack system), Mortal Kombat, it had a pretty good video game to card game translation, it had horrible art though. They used opening cards to start a combo, then you can follow up by playing another card before you opponent can react, the card itself can be played alone, but when played together makes a much harder counter.

Another good card game with direct combat is Rage, which i think fits your theme the best, each plays have a rage threshold hold on the character card. Each player then hold out a card face down, then you both count to 3 and simultaneous flip the cards, there are two things that will happen you have the rage threshold and your card play is legal, or you dont and your card played illegally. Then using a truth table you determine the outcome.

legal-legal = both cards are played and both attacks go through
legal-illegal (illegal-legal) = only the legal attack going through the other fails (misses)
illegal-illegal = both card are played and both get attacked (this is like a fluke hit)

In addition a player can choice too pull back his card instead of flipping it over when you count to 3, in case he thinks the opponent will play a dodge move, this is all so called a bluff, when you do your action is considered illegal, so on the truth table, if he played a dodge move with the correct threshold he hits you, but if its an attack you get hit, and you dont hit him. if you bluff and your opponent plays a card that he doesnt have enough rage for, then he scores a hit on you (in the illegal-illegal case).

If you follow this type of play you can make the rage like a fatigue bar. A player can keep bluffing and let his opponent get some free hits on you, then when you start to play you card, his fatigue will be low and will either bluff himself or try to play a card illegal, in which you dont and you pound him to the ground. You can add combos and follow up moves or different stances like "grounded" or "on the rope" or "tap-out hold" and during the next selection of cards, only such type of cards can be played, for example you and your opponent both legally play a card, yours is a takedown and his is a punch, during the next selection you opponent cant play drop kick, and if you play a follow up like an arm-bar you get bonus damage or another effect.

Hope this gives you some good ideas. =)

jpneok
Offline
Joined: 01/31/2009
Thanks all for your thoughts,

Thanks all for your thoughts, there are some good ideas worth considering, and of course, that means TIME, again, eugh, but you gotta have it to make anything worthwhile (unless you're just one of those rare people that can sneeze good products). I still on the side am thinking about either a card aspect or going almost totally to a card format, but I just don't know yet - BUT - Lot of options and mechanics to go over! Kudos!

Syndicate content


forum | by Dr. Radut