Programming - The Board Game
Programming, The Board Game!
Head of Programming for Penguicon is my favorite job ever. What it amounts to is "Minister of Fun." I am in charge of:
1. Staying in touch with lots of people whose job it is to be fun.
2. Supervising the design and Imagineering of the fun.
3. Playing a board game of my own design.
People think scheduling is the difficult and frustrating part of the job, and I can sympathize with that. But this task has discrete play elements. It's all in how you organize your knowledge, and I know of a knowledge organization structure that causes geeks like me to memorize scads of information.
I'm making a board for this game which is a map of the hotel on posterboard to exact scale, with paper playing tokens (also to scale) representing all the tables and all the rows of chairs that the hotel owns. Step 1: Roll the dice to see if the elevators break.
I will use HeroClix figures to represent characters (program participants).
- If both figures possess the "2006 Hugo Nominee" feature, they augment each other's powers. I'm not sure how many of those figures I can collect. I have one so far. Gotta catch 'em all!
- The "John Scalzi" and "Nick Sagan" figures possess "Wisecrack," causing them to earn bonus points whenever they are in range of each other.
- Special limited-edition Hero characters (Guests of Honor) possess super point-scoring powers all by themselves.
The characters must recharge their stats in the eating and sleeping zones of the board, and only have a small number of events they can be in all weekend before they run out of endurance stats. Long rests regenerate their stats, sometimes, if they possess that power. Certain combinations of characters must be kept apart unless you have the "Moderator" character who nullifies their combat with each other.
Each event card resembles Magic The Gathering. The ones that go on the game board take up a certain amount of physical space. These have stats, such as Minutes and Seats. Each event card has weaknesses and special rules.
- "Computer Lounge" needs to be placed by terrain features such as Power Outlets.
- "Evil Stevie's Pirate Game" has a Dollars negative value, and a vast amount of Minutes, but earns fantastic points. It's only playable because I've collected the Steve Jackson figure, but I might not be able to collect the card.
- Concert cards possess the "Music" power, which shoots a blast of Sonic Waves.
- "Panel Discussion" has a weakness: being hit by Sonic Waves from event cards that possess "Music". You have to be sure to play those cards in rooms on the game board so that they are out of target range of Sonic Wave, or in such a way that terrain features such as solid walls block the firing of Sonic Wave.
The counterpart of each card goes on a grid of rooms and times which is drawn on another posterboard. But that version of the card is sized in such a way that it takes up a certain amount of time. The grid works like Robo Rally, in which you move the events and characters around on the hotel game board according to the moves you plan out on the grid.
|Comprehension Convention Engine.|
Helping manage an aspect of convention planning discussed in the adjacent text is a feature of CCE.
| Supported Feature:|
Attendees will be small chips. Different primary colors of chips represent different interests, and secondary-colored chips represent attendees with two signifigant interests. As the events move around according to the plan on the grid, a point is scored for each chip sitting in an event in a given time slot. (This includes getting fed. The hotel restaurant will symbolize all the restaurants in the area, so that chips gather in there when the attendees are given time to eat.) There will be 48 solid back-to-back hours of programming (Friday 3PM to Sunday 3PM) so if I switch to 1.5 hour-long timeslots this year there will be 32 rounds of play. If I stick to hour-long timeslots there will be 48 rounds of play. Don't look at me like that! A game of Civilization takes ten times that long.
See? Programming is just like gaming. Who wants to play? Feel free to edit this with comments below to suggest character powers or scoring rules!-Matt Arnold