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The Berlin wall, escape the east

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Lerius Doman
Joined: 01/06/2018

2-4/5 players.

So I have an idea of a game I have started working on, “The berlin wall.” Yes according to google there already is a game with that name. I have not played it, not even read about it yet, but I will.

My premise however is that one needs to evacuate ones family from east Berlin to west, actually more precisely all the way to an exit point out of west Berlin. As the KGB has spies in the western part.

So, there are of course others that want to evacuate their families as well, at any cost! Now one can cooperate with other players, however at great risk. How far can you trust them when things go bad?

Basically a semi coop game against the KGB (the game), with backstabbing elements.
Optionally with a mode where someone plays as the KGB against the other players, this however would break the mechanics I am working on.

The family members have different pros and cons. (Like Grethe Bodmer 78 moves at half the normal rate.) So in this case it would be better to evacuate her with a vehicle.

You would need to cross the wall several times, to acquire items/intel from the western side. Obviously each crossing would be risky.

The winner is the one with most family members escaping. Ending the game when the fist player escapes with the minimum amount of family members allowed. The other players remaining family members standing on the west side at the end of the game, would count for half the victory points as a fully escaped family member.

So one can rush out the minimal amount of family members, if other players are taking their time to get everyone out.

The play/story would be different each time due to a pool of different family members, items/intel. The wall it self would also have different holes, guard levels, checkpoints and so forth each time one plays.

Could this be fun?
Has anyone played the existing game “The Berlin wall”?

Joined: 01/28/2017
this topic creates a bit of

this topic creates a bit of an odd feeling for me - I used to live not very far from the wall location in Prenzlauer berg. I spent time reading the stories of that time, and the trauma it brought to people (separating families, people getting shot trying to cross etc) and I'm not sure (for me) its a good topic for a game.

So I wouldn't play this - but I would play a game based on Colditz - so might just be me and a weird personal association.

Mosker's picture
Joined: 03/30/2014
Thoughts on exposure, and gameplay itself.

1. Given what's going on all over the planet (e.g. today's news regarding status of 200,000 Salvadoran refugees in the U.S.) your game might get some extra traction, publicity in the non-hardcore gamer world, in the same way Arthur Miller's "The Crucible", a play exploring Salem witch trials was about McCarthy's HUAC as well.

2. As for the game, your biggest conundrum will be the second play. I had prototypes that players were deeply engaged with, they thanked me for the experience, and clearly would never play again. That works well in the RPG world. So:

a. Consider a product where you know there is little hope of replay, but concentrate on one extended experience. How much might a booklet with thick paper inserts (cut up the counters with scissors) cost?

b. Or, if you want the replayability, you're going to have to create more distance between players and characters. Players can't be too emotionally attached. Think of the Underground Railroad games, no mechanics for rape and mutilation of recaptured slaves. In this case, players need to assist the families, not be part of them, because separating children from parents, creating hostage situations--it's ugly. (Sophie's Choice, anyone?)

The traitor mechanic could be developed more this way: rather than a specific traitor, you could create gray areas. Perhaps have the traitor have an attachment to the yellow cubes and be willing to sacrifice the red, blue and black ones for their safety.

With this gray area in morality and goals, and your suggestions for replayability, you may have a legacy game here. Are you up to the extra work for a risky theme--knowing that the final result could be a real advancement in the field, regardless of sales?

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