A Final Update & A Look To The Future

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As the public playtest for ScreenPlay winds to a close, the latest version of the Rehearsal Edition has been posted on our ScreenPlayers Guild G+ community. If this game has kept you up late at night or you’ve been itching to read through and give it a try with your group but don’t know if you’ll be able to do so before January 29th, join the community today. (Version 1.5 of the rules will NOT be provided through DriveThruRPG/RPGNow.)

Now work progresses on taking ScreenPlay to the next level and after careful consideration, we’re turning to the public once more to make its official launch bigger than ever. Yep, we’re crowdfunding it! (Either Kickstarter or Indiegogo are on the table and a final decision has not yet been made.) The response from playtesters has been fantastic and it feels right to try and give this game a fighting chance to rocket out of the gate with more than our original plans. Expectations are to launch the campaign in Spring of this year and we’re working on building up some stretch goals to make the offer even sweeter than ever. If this sounds like your cup of tea (or coffee), stay up to date right here on brokenrulergames.net or through the ScreenPlayers Guild.

Where No ScreenPlay Has Gone Before

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An actual photo of an actual game of ScreenPlay in progress. Every game designer’s dream come true. 

They say, “Be careful what you wish for.” Then again, sometimes you get exactly what you were hoping for in the craziest way possible.

This past Thursday, I had the pleasure of running a ScreenPlay demo in a downtown Ottawa pub for six players, including ENnie Award winner, Jason Pitre (Spark, Posthuman Pathways). This was part of Cardboard Kingdom’s #beersnboardgames night and a big thanks to Kat for helping to set this up.  Rather than walk into this demo with a preconceived treatment or genre in mind, I wanted to see how the game would hold up against any possibility and have the Writers devise the genre, setting, plot, everything. Let the chips (and dice) fall where they may. What I did not count on was an experienced bunch of story gamers who love to let the mayhem fly when the GM doesn’t clip their wings and while it initially sent a wave of panic through my chest, it ended up being the greatest game of ScreenPlay to date.

Here’s what they came up with: a deep space romantic reality show (akin to The Bachelorette) where aliens of all genders attempt to win the affection of Captain Kirk’s preserved head in a glass jar (a la Futurama style). Yep, you read that right. Now the main thing to take from this is “romantic” and this is actually the most definitive element to the story. There was never going to be physical violence (maybe some face slapping) and all conflict rolls were going to be rolled against other lead characters to complicate their aspirations of winning Kirk’s affections and wearing down his Stamina until he could no longer resist one of the competitors. Oh, and those competitors included Kirk’s gorn ex-wife, a pure energy being, a cyborg who thought it was still human, a vulcan going through the full effects of pon farr, a half-Ferengi bartender with a drinking problem, and the Klingon director of this show (titled “Where No Man Has Gone Before”) calling the shots from behind the camera.

Feel free to take a moment and read over that last paragraph again. I’ll wait.

How did it work out? Incredibly well. Aside from the numerous laughs and rounds of applause (especially after the half-Ferengi decided to create a wormhole into a parallel dimension and bring back young Kirk – AKA Chris Pine – as a means of cheating and causing a tie in the competition), the game managed to keep this madness together and flowing. While I’ll admit there were moments when the rules were tossed out the window for the sake of brevity, I’m rather proud that what may be the best attempts to break it only helped make it stronger.

Now if this is your first impression of ScreenPlay, rest assured this is not par for the course. Yet the fact that it is possible and could become the norm for your own group should they wish it to be gives this game a much needed confidence boost. And me too.

(This post was written by The Warden, creator and lead designer of ScreenPlay… actually he is the sole embodiment of Broken Ruler Games working with a team of talented freelancers to create games that break the rules.)

Talkin’ ScreenPlay: An Update From The ScreenPlayers Guild Community

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Use the #ScreenPlayRPG hashtag to help maintain the hype!

It’s been a couple of weeks since anything for the ScreenPlay playtest has graced this page and it’s not because everything’s gone quiet. Far from the truth, the finishing touches are going into Version 1.4 of The Rehearsal Edition with hopes to release it by early next week to everyone who downloaded this free PDF from DriveThruRPG and RPGNow.

600+ downloads later and we’ve collected a fantastic group of avid playtesters are not only giving this game a run for their money, they’re creating new stories, settings, and genres to play. Playtest surveys are still rolling in with two additional unlocked treatments putting it at over 100 pages. The shining crown of this playtesting is the activity going on in the ScreenPlayers Guild, our online G+ community. Here’s a sample of the most recent discussions and events.

  • Ironbound Play-By-Post: Already into its fourth scene, this rendition of ScreenPlay’s dark fantasy tale of witch hunters features Derya (the scout), Gareth (the blade), Drachen (the archanist), Philip (the shield bearer) and Lyonesse (their new commander). If you’re looking for an idea on what makes this game tick, be sure to check out the Ironbound PbP thread.
  • Necronomicon Stories: Based on an idea created by one of our playtesters, we’re experimenting with a Lovecraftian tale of monstrous terror… in the future! The ball has only begun to bounce on this upcoming story and with only two Writers currently signed up, there could be room for a couple more.
  • EscapeFromTheX_logo_CMYK_preview2Escape From The X: The third treatment recently unlocked from playtest surveys, this sci/fi-horror story takes place in Mystical Throne Entertainment’s Mercenary Breed. The short and sweet of it: mercenaries hired to deliver an alien prisoner to a secret installation find themselves desperately outnumbered when someone mysterious releases every inmate to wreck havoc and spill as much blood as possible. Look for it in Version 1.4 next week!
  • Optional Rules For Building Potentials: With many core mechanics locked down, some optional rules are being considered. Such as building your dice roll’s value based on the number of details you apply in a scene.
  • Kickstarting It Up A Notch: Finally, we’re also looking at Kickstarter to help elevate the finished version of this project. With playtest surveys averaging a score of 4.6 out of 5 and ideas bouncing around for a small product line built using ScreenPlay, all options are on the table right now.

This and more is taking place at the ScreenPlayers Guild. Join us and see what all the fuss is about before the cool kids see what we’re doing and want to make it a crowd.

ScreenPlay Playtest Report (Week 1)

ScreenPlay_Rehearsal_GoogleForms_banner_v1p2What a brilliant, crazy week it has been! Our first week of playtesting for ScreenPlay has now moved into the second week and the results have been helpful, insightful, encouraging, and so much more. There’s a risk in throwing out something unfinished to the void and hoping that most of it will stick to the wall. So far, it seems those of you who have decided to help us out have really latched onto it.

Here’s a brief bullet point update on what’s transpired over the past week.

  • Version 1.1 of the Rehearsal Edition is averaging 4.4 out of 5 on our surveys
  • A lot of terrific comments have been shared on the same surveys, as well as some constructive feedback. On Tuesday, October 26th, Version 1.2 of the Rehearsal Edition was updated to everyone who has downloaded the original PDF on DriveThruRPG and RPGNow. The primary focus was a revised approach to Act Two: How To Play using a more traditional approach to mechanics presentation and character creation, along with some modifications to milestones and the additional of character hooks.
  • The current number of playtest points awarded sits at 11 as of the time of this writing, meaning we’re only 4 more points away from unlocking Nightfall, a modern day superhero story of multiple people acting as a single superhero/vigilante.
  • Page views to this site for October have tripled the previous highest month and the month isn’t even finished yet.
  • On the ScreenPlayers Guild G+ Community, we’re getting ready to start a play-by-post rendition of Ironbound, the dark fantasy treatment provided in Version 1.1 of the playtest. If you have yet to join the community, feel free to join in. It’s a great opportunity to see the game in progress and laying down the foundations for how Directors and Writers can set up their own take on a story.

Fifteen weeks remain and the wheels are turning faster than ever. Huge thanks goes out to everyone who has joined in the effort with more than just enthusiasm and has shown this tale is far from over. And remember to keep using the #ScreenPlayRPG hashtag to help get the word out and fill out those surveys to collect those playtest points. Now let’s close out this post with a trio of gracious comments from surveys completed this past week.

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