Chapter & Verse
Many of you might remember a rant I posted about Mormon games a few months back. Some of you even posted some really cool thoughts in the comments area. At the time, I said that there were some real challenges that face someone designing a game in the spiritual arena.
The quote at the end of the blog entry was: “So, out of all this comes: A good Mormon game would be something fun, that’s quick to play, and relatively easy to learn. It would relate directly to the Gospel in its play, and not have a ‘good guy’ player and a ‘bad guy’ player.”
As I also mentioned in that blog entry, I’ve been working on a card game which I hope will meet those criteria. I’ve tentatively called it “Chapter and Verse”, because it’s based on the scriptures. I’m open to suggestions for a better name, BTW…
Well, I finally got a prototype card set made and cut out, and my son and I have tested it a few times already. I’m very excited by it. The possibilities are there, and our first few games have gone really well. We’ve found a few flaws, and we’ve fixed them. I’m sure that the more we play, the more flaws we’ll find and fix. That’s the whole point of playtesting, isn’t it?
One of the first things I did was to make it totally abstract and non-representational. Let me clarify what I mean by that.
In Magic and Yu-Gi-Oh, each player represents a wizard summoning monsters and sending them to fight each other. In Pokemon, each player represents a trainer working and guiding his team through a battle. In a typical wargame (be it a board game or a miniatures game), the player represents the general of the army in the game.
In C&V, the player doesn’t represent anyone or anything. The game and the cards are all abstract concepts. Each card is a verse of scripture, and the numbers on the card show how they relate to one of five overall principles. The players try to assemble verses into books. The first one to three books wins!
Of course, most cards have some sort of effect that changes the game somewhat, which opens it up for multi card combinations and strategies.
My hope is that by making it abstract, it removes the whole concept of “Good player” verses “Evil player”. We’re just two or three players all trying to make books out of our scriptures.
Making the game directly relate to the gospel is trickier. I’ve tried to do that by basing the numbers and the effects of the cards directly on the verse that is on the card. So, for example, “Gather the Sheep” (John 10:16) allows me to find three cards from my deck and add them to my hand. “The City of Enoch” (Moses 7:18) allows me to gain points by giving cards to other players. How well that all works remains to be seen.
So, now that I have a rough of the rules that I’m (for the moment) pretty happy with, the next step is to get some other people playtesting it. What I’ll do is set up a site where people can download the prototype cardset as a pdf or something, and the rules as well. Then, I’ll announce that and ask people to give it a try, and give me feedback.
I’ve started with the Seminary Scripture Mastery verses as my first testing deck. I’ve got a lot of cool ideas for future sets as well.
So, stay tuned and see!