The Big Rub-Out Button Game… progress


Take Dat, you dwitty rat…

I’ve been contemplating doing a game design inspired by the Button Man idea that Cheapass has had some success with. This would be a freebie to be given out at the next TriaDCon. My initial concept was “We’ll make a game, see, where everyone will have buttons made up in advance, and if you show up at TriaDCon 07 we’ll give you this button and you can play each other, with the winner of the most button fights would get something nice.”

The initial “theme” I cam up with was snipers.. World War I trenches or World War 2 or something. A discusion with Otto convinced me to change the idea to a more universal (less military) and more “fun” theme of Depression Era gang wars in the Great American Midwest, which makes a nice tie-in with the phrase “button man” (too bad we can’t use it, alas..).

Otto suggested something more like the game of Cluedo than a wargame. You were given “hits” which read like “Rub out Liver Lips Louie in the BoardGame room”, and you had to walk around finding that person and have a button fight with him or her. It sounded vague to me.. more like LARP than a wargame. I know these guys.. wargamers want to roll dice. So I tried designing something really far more complicated than it needed to be. I wanted to use six siders, which would be simple enough to grasp, and I wanted the buttons to have “Stats” in gangster-like qualities.. melee, shooting, intimidation are current choice. So I started wout with a range of 1 through 4 six sided dice being a range of “quality”.. a 4D6 stat was the best you could get. Unfortunately that played merry hob with probability:

pale blue=chances shared by all three stats, darker blue = only by two stats, darkest blue = only by one stat

It’s hard enough to figure a range of chances for success here and 4D6 made the curve so asymptotic that it was getting kind of ridiculous.
I seemed to be going off base again. Attendees aren’t coming to the con to play just the button game, and if we have to hand out a sheaf of Combat Resolution Tables and such, the mechanics will seriously take away from dedicated gaming time, and nobody wants that, get me, dollface?

A discussion with Dave Markley (the less shy Markley brother) suggested going back to basics. A simple I beat you you beat me roll off, but the guy with the better stat rating can roll more times, but one at a time. (roll once for a rating of one, twice for two, etc.). This can be trumped with an initiative table roll (see illustration) which will allow for a guy with a poor stat to get an action off before the attacker with a good stat rating.

There’s also the idea of Rankings and Locations (some of this was suggested by Otto). We have Gunsels, Dons, Molls, and Capos, all of varying stats. We have Locations in the convention (Dining Hall, Boardgames, Dealers, Front Desk, Miniatures, Gazebo Room). The Player will be handed three things: A HIT card (reading like this: “A Don in the Gazebo Room“), A rules cheatsheet, and a button.

The player puts on the button and takes the hit card. If he/she is successful in a challenge, the victim of the hit surrenders their button and the victor goes back to the registration desk for a new hit card. If the victim isn’t where the Hit card states he should be, the hit doesn’t go down.

Finally, we have “Family” rating. We come up with faction names (maybe five or six of them). If there is a “family” member within a table of you, you can borrow that person’s dice for the contest (this is summoning your goons to assist).

That’s where we are at right now. IF A BUTTON MACHINE ISN’T TOO EXPENSIVE, we hope to have this available for TriaDCon 07 as “The Big Rub-Out: The Game of the Convention!”

Suggestions are always welcome!


Bahhhhhhh… too complicated!

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