Had a minor crisis of something last night as I was rounding out some parts of the combat system. Of course, I say crisis and it was just me inclining my head, and weakly uttering “why?” toward the heavens, but I like to work on a smaller scale than a lot of people. Crisis for me is when I don’t have enough butter for my English muffin.

…I just add a bit of salt instead and that is completely off-topic.

The problem I realized was that much like Dungeons & Dragons, I had poured a lot of effort into the combat system, and the rest of the game just seemed to pale by comparison. Where was the interaction? Where was the exploration? Where was everything else that goes into a good fantasy adventure story?

Well, I had to take a step back and think about it. Combat is usually one of those things can make or break a game in the eyes of a lot of players, especially veterans of miniatures wargaming of Dungeons & Dragons. It’s important to give players enough options to feel satisfied when it comes to combat — the success or failure of it.

Anyway, I realized what I had was okay. The crisis was a Sanity check on the process. Yes, combat is an involved system that necessitates a lot of depth and detail, but I also have a good system for the “Everything Else.” Plus, I’ve implemented a turn-based system so every player has the opportunity to direct some of the action.

That’s actually what most of my idle natter about Elder Sign and Arkham Horror has been about. Making a cooperative skill system that enables players to both work together and feel special at the same time. “Hey, I was able to help my buddy,” should be an easy thing to recognize, acknowledge, and appreciate.

…But it’s also okay to have the things be a bit more abstract than combat, because they’re only needed to a certain point. Also, there aren’t a whole lot of games that get those sort of things right. Combat is well-covered by lots of games, and building a good system is challenging, but doable.

There are significantly fewer references for good dialogue mini-games.