I have been playing a lot of Battlestar Galactica, and thinking a lot about the cooperative genre in general. Last night Reservoir Dogs was on, and while watching it I was thinking about the BSG game, and how maybe Reservoir Dogs could lend itself to a similar game.
A group of thieves - different characters (Mr White, Mr Blond, Mr Pink, etc) each with some game ability. One of them is a rat. The game is about (a) getting the loot, (b) finding the rat. I guess this is more similar to Shadows over Camelot than BSG, as there would only be 1 rat. Also, in RD there wasn't a lot of action, just the one heist and some discussion about who the rat might be.
But it might be a good start. Maybe there are a series of capers the crooks could go on, and the sooner they're caught, the better the Rat scores... I dunno.
Something to think about, maybe.
I'd play it.
Have you checked out Ca$h 'n Gun$? There's a version/variant/expansion/rule where one player is an informant.
I have played Ca$h N Gun$... and that's an entirely different type of game (though the same theme as Reservoir Dogs). I was thinking more along the lines of a cooperative game.
Also, I'm really not a fan of the variants for Ca$h and Gun$.
In retrospect I don't think Reservoir Dogs would make a good, replayable game. That was the intent of this post, but I just thought of something:
The original idea was that the players really were a team of thieves, working together on the job, one of them a cop undercover. However, the scope of a robbery is so small, and either it happens or it doesn't - there's no real opportunity for a game there.
Any game of that type would have to be about PLANNING a heist, maybe the resolution of which is the finale/endgame.
In that respect, suppose during the resolution of the heist there was a deck of cards, which each player would have added to. These cards are flipped up one at a time and resolved, and if enough things resolve in the proper order, the heist goes off without a hitch and the group wins (escapes with the diamonds).
Each character could have a specialty, and therefor cards appropriate to their specialty. In addition there could be generic cards which everyone could have, as well as Cop cards. During the game the deck is built turn by turn as players put cards into it face down. Another deck would have challenges which will come up (alarm systems, safe combinations, etc) - one is revealed, then everyone (or someone anyway) adds cards to the deck, then another is revealed, etc.
During resolution, if a certain number of Cop cards come up before the heist is done, then the team loses and the rat wins. As a thief, you want to have enough of the correct cards in the deck that after a random shuffle, they'll come up before too many Cops show up.
My current thoughts on actual card play are that on your turn you reveal a card from the Challenges deck, then choose 1 player and tell them to add cards. I.E. the challenge is a time-lock safe. You could tell the Hacker to add cards, or the Safecracker. Or you could claim you don't trust the safecracker and instead add cards yourself. Perhaps after a complete round of this, the Resolution deck is shuffled and a "Trial Run" is performed... a resolution phase in which you see if the team would succeed so far. This would give some information as to how many Cop cards are in the deck, and might afford players an opportunity to figure out who might be playing them.
Individual decks would be made up of a high concentration of your specialty (the Safecracker would get a lot of Safe cracking cards), and a few of each type of card could be shuffled together and dealt out randomly. Each player would also get a number of Cop cards in their deck which they could play if they choose. Perhaps on your turn you draw something like 4 cards from your deck, and are not allowed to say whether or how much you can help (or, maybe you can, since the cop might want to add cop cards and should volunteer when it looks like he'd be likely to help).
I was going to say there would be loyalty cards, like in most games of his type... but perhaps better would be that any player could decide to rat out the group, effectively by adding cop cards to the deck. The game could be played in a series of rounds, and each round could be scored based on the number of Cop cards you have left at the end of the heist. The more cop cards you have left in hand, the more points you score for a successful heist, because you weren't ratting out your team. The fewer Cop cards you have left, the smaller your cut... but the more points you get if the heist is failed by the cops. If there's a variable value of each heist, that might make decisions as to whether to rat or not interesting, and it might also depend on what you draw (if you draw a lot of Cop cards in one hand, you might decide to rat the team out and play them all).
There might be a game in there after all... any thoughts on this?
This actually sounds like fun, which is something I don't usually say about cooperative games. In general I like the idea that any player might decide to rat out if he thinks the heist might go sour, but I see some problems with it.
First, if there's much doubt about the heist, most players would rat out. If there isn't much doubt about the heist, nobody would rat out. Not much game there.
Your notion that the heist proceeds in stages may help with this. Assume that there's more points in a successful heist than in a successful rat-out, so in the beginning everyone's in. As the heist progresses, bad luck might make some of the players start to doubt the outcome; only then might they decide that it would be more profitable to rat out.
But as players start to rat out, the heist will go more and more sour, causing more players to want to rat. Maybe that's okay, I dunno--is it okay for everyone to rat out?
Suppose there's a deck of loyalty cards. It has about twice as many "loyal" cards as players, and one (maybe two) "rat" cards. At the start of the game, each player is given a "loyal" card, and the remainder including the "rat" card are in the deck. On your turn, you are required to take the deck, and swap your "loyal" card for one in the deck. Usually the swap is for any other "loyal" card: you have decided to remain loyal. But if the heist is going poorly you may decide to take the "rat" card instead. When you do that, the next player on his turn will take the deck, see that there is no "rat" card, and know that someone has recently decided to rat. But (assuming a rule that you can't comment on the state of the loyalty deck) he won't know who took it.
At the end of the heist, you display your current loyalty card, and get points depending on the outcome of the heist and whether you ratted.
With enough players, I think there should be two "rat" cards. When the first one disappears, players will know that the heist may begin to go downhill: someone is already working against the team. That will put more pressure on to take the second "rat" card before someone else does.
There are still problems with this notion. It still seems as though the decision to rat or not is too easy to make, especially when ratting allows you to start impeding the heist. Perhaps the game should track when a player rats, with increased rewards for ratting late in the game: now there's a game of chicken where ratting early makes it more likely you can sabotage the heist, but gives even fewer VP for doing so. But that doesn't seem very thematic.
Well, there's some grist for your mill, anyway. :)
Although I have never seen Resevoir Dogs, I think this game would be great.
I think that all the decks given to each player should be identical, and cards should be played based on the strengths of their allies and themself.
When overcoming the obstacles, the players should draw from a Heist Deck, filled with cards deposited by players during the earlier rounds.
Oh, and will the card swapping be mandatory? I am not sure if that would be could or bad. Maybe a bit tricky, though, when Rat cards disappear and reappear each round. People who have been playing Cop Cards could get screwed in the end. :D
I think Rick-Holzgrafe's suggestion on swapping loyalty cards would be excellent.
The turn would go like this (in my humble opinion):
Everyone gets a Specialty. Everyone gets a deck of 30 Cards (Decks are identical). The Obstacles of the heist are chosen. Everyone is given a "Loyal" Loyalty Card.
First Half of the Game (Planning the Heist) Turn Actions
1. Everyone draws 3 Heist cards and places one in the Heist pile, face down.
2. Discard the other 2 Heist Cards, face down.
3. Search through the Loyalty deck and swap your card with a Loyalty Card of your choice, "Rat" or "Loyal"
The aim here would be to play cards beneficial (play safe-cracking cards if a safe is one of the Obstacles). If you are the "Rat" you should play non-beneficial Cards, or Cop cards when available.
Second Half of the Game (Doing the Heist) Shuffle the Heist Deck
1. Player who's turn it is flips the now draws the top card of the Heist Deck.
2. If it corresponds to the obstacle at hand, move to the next obstacle.
3. If it does not correspond to the obstacle, discard it and draw again.
4. If it is a cop card, you have failed once on this task. Fail three times and the heist is over!
5. If you succeed on the Heist, Loyal players recieve (just suggestion) 10 Points. Failure means rats get 5 Points instead.
Points could be earned through different actions in the game.
The one with the most points wins!
Those are just my suggestions. If you do go through with this game, I would love to playtest it (or buy it!).
I think this is a game that would be of interest to anyone. It would not be as boring as a strategy game. I love with what they did especially they gave the characters some specialties so that the play would be exciting. A deck would reveal alarm systems and safe combinations which we should look forward to also. alarm systems
I've designed (and will probably self-publish) a cooperative game about a group of adventurers in a lost planet trying to get a treasure.
There is a main difference with your idea. In my game, ALL of the players score for a common goal, but only the one that contributes more to it wins the game. So there is no traitor. Well, all of them are.
What happens here? When one of the players is doing too well, the rest try to kill him.
So, you would say... What if I just do nothing and see how my score raises. Well, there are enemies in the dungeon and the less you do the more chances to be killed.
You must 'balance' your strategy between doing nothing and doing too much.
The hardest part is to balance the player powers. By now, everybody wants to be the engineer or the security guard. So I must improve this.
I can't wait to play your 'Reservoir Dogs'. I loved the movie.
I think the "deck building" aspect is a really cool way to go here. And the mechanism clearly works, as in Dominion. Obviously, though, the trick is to set up the cards so that they can make meaningful combinations, rather than simply "contribute or don't contribute." The game should have two, possibly three distinct and strategically interesting phases: planning the heist and then executing it, with divvying up the loot / figuring out who the rat is an optional third part.
While I think it might work well for score/win oriented players (to accomplish a heist) it seems like it could be easily abused by social players (that want to sink other players).
Also, by including terms like "generic cards" it seems like you are fluffing up game play that is simply deck-building.
Design-wise, I could see some specialties balancing issues...
If challenge cards need X amount of specialties to resolve for the players, then you would need at least X amount of specialties available at all times. Based off of player payoff, you can assume that the rat player will do the bare minimum for his specialty role.
Also, let's say that your Safecracker player draws 4 cards but results in no safecracking cards. When the safe challenge card comes up, does he just pump generic cards in hoping that another player will have something to crack the safe? If so, then what makes the Safecracker special in the first place? He just has a higher safecracking card ratio than others?
I like the topic of the game. And it would have a snazzy soundtrack.