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BackStory & Characters

A place to give your suggestions, ideas, etc.

BackStory & Characters

Postby Brannagyn » Sat Dec 18, 2010 3:53 pm

First off, don't get me wrong, I really like the setting and theme of the game. Its the reason I'm eagerly awaiting my copy to be shipped to me here in Japan.

That said, reading through it is a little bit tough in places due to some less than inspiring name choices that might make the game come across, to an English speaking audience, as a little more juvenile that it should.

Colonel Nick Bolter - stepping straight out of a time machine from a 1980's buddy cop show.

Lieutenant Vasquez - no, not the one from Aliens, this is another stereotypical, half-dressed, feisty Latino tough-girl.

Franck Einz - hmm, now that's nice, a subtle reference to Franken... no, no, don't go there...you don't have to hit us over the head with it!

Jack Saw - escapee from his own direct to DvD horror Movie.

I don't think any of these are inherently bad characters but for me at least, the names given to them suggest certain stereotypes that are more cheesy than cool.

For my own game I’m going to re-label each of the above and while existing characters can't be changed perhaps future additions might benefit from a little constructive-criticism now. As such, my own games will feature the above 4 chars renamed as:

Captain Tavish ‘Taff’ MacDuff
: although raised in the shelters he came across a rare book that described the culture of the Scottish highland clans and he’s embraced his heritage with a passion.

[Given the greatly reduced population size having colonels seems excessive. Smaller units need only certain levels of superior rank.]

Specialist Gabrielle ‘Gabby’ Lagardère, a member of the ‘Eden’ sect, which believes in seeking a return to nature, she aspire to develop her body and mind to their peak and as such also engages in study of biology and genetics and has a disinclination for clothing beyond the requirements of necessity.

Einz - like Madonna or Pele, he’s too cool to need to use his first name.

Kilgore MDK – while he can’t remember his name he knows it was in Kilgore, Texas that he was executed for homicide.

Similarly, the historical factions in the background fluff are a little simplistic and a few things I’ll alter for my own game, though minor, help me savor the flavor a little more. China would, growing in power, form an East Asian Union rather than simply remaining as China, it might be labeled the Asian Prosperity Sphere (ASP) in a nod to WWII Japan. The influence of the Greenpiece group is a little silly, to the extent it damages the believability of the (fantasy) setting. Instead my game world will be the result of a disagreement of the wealthy elite of the 21st century over how to control the poor masses. One half (the Gaian Union) decides to use the threat of environmental destruction to get many countries to submit to extreme left wing policies. The other half (The Combine, now including the ASP) uses the threat of terrorism to get other countries to agree to extreme right-wing policies. In all countries the poor end up either even more impoverished by the environmental left or treated as violent terrorist by the right. Fighting back against two opposing but equally elitist and dictatorial state systems the various militia, guerrilla forces and terrorist groups of the disenfranchised form a loose coalition that becomes known as the Helot Rising.

I could go on, and would enjoy doing so, but my point is just that the game could benefit from having a second draft done of the background fluff. The core ideas are all good, but compared to the quality of writing on many other games out there (e.g. the setting and characters for War Machine) it comes across as a little stale.

Other than that, great job so far and keep up the good work!
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Re: BackStory & Characters

Postby El Cuajinais » Sat Dec 18, 2010 5:03 pm

I think you made insightful observations on both your posts. I find it interesting that you compare this game to War Machine (a table top game) rather than other boardgames. In that context, the story could be deeper. However when compared against other boardgames, this game has story to spare and spare.

This game walks a thin line between tabletop, boardgame, and RPG brilliantly. (RPG becuase you can pick up loot from dead bodies and search rooms for treasure). In my opinion it is in a genre of its own. I think it has strengths of the three types of games, and like that it is already being compared to tabletop games. It has just as much depth, but requires a lot less preparation, storage, playing space, and time to play. Keep in mind this is just the beginning; with the way this game is selling it is sure to get expanded. (I’m told you’d be lucky to find a French version of the game).
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Re: BackStory & Characters

Postby Chris » Sat Dec 18, 2010 8:05 pm

Oh well... I guess we cannot please everybody...

To inform you on why some names and looks, I like to have characters to bring some references to books, movies, or comic books that have inspired me my whole life :

- Nick Bolter :
Reference to Nick Fury (Marvel), and Snake Plissken in Escape from New York

- Franck Einstein
self explaining
Einz (kinda of joke for the Ketchup, blood colored)

- Monica Vasquez
Vasquez is a very current name for latinos. The girl who has playtested this game the most during design, is a latino girl, she was portuguese. She had to have a character looking and sounding like her. Without her, no tutorial will exist. I'm sorry, I had to do an homage.
Now Vasquez because I love Aliens II, and without Aliens II, Space Hulk wouldn't even exist, since it is totally based on this movie and cam out right after it.

- James Woo
Link to John Woo's action movie. And I loved the idea of a stealth ninja type spy.

- Jack Saw
Self explaining, but also a reminder of Tom Sawyer from the book, Jack Sawyer.

- Jeff Deeler
Death Dealer ;)

- Mammoth
A reference to the age of dinausors and their extinction. Close the almost extinction of the human race in ER
Ludicalement,
Chris
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Re: BackStory & Characters

Postby Chris » Sat Dec 18, 2010 8:06 pm

Now one last thing : the game might seem and presents quite a "serious" side to its background.
Only through the names of characters I wanted to show that all this is more like a joke and nothing really serious ;) :D
Ludicalement,
Chris
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Re: BackStory & Characters

Postby Brannagyn » Sun Dec 19, 2010 1:24 am

Chris wrote:Oh well... I guess we cannot please everybody...


Don't get me wrong, you've pleased me quite a lot! :D

I guess I'm just a perfectionist and for me some (not all) of the names struck me as a little unoriginal. I understand the desire to make a nod to inspirations and your own favorite characters (my counter-suggestion of Gabrielle Lagardere is itself a reference to a character from a beloved book/movie, though perhaps more obscure to non-French audiences).

With characters like Vasquez and Einstein though, linking their names with preexisting iconic characters prevents them, in a way, from becoming unique characters in their own right.

In Jack Saw's case it is more a desire not to see a future character with a pneumatic hammer for an arm called "Dr. Hammer" and so on.

And with Nick Bolter's, apart from being a little 80's, the verb 'bolt' generally means to run away in a bit of a panic :?

Please don't take think I am complaining just to be negative. I like the great work you've done with the setting, background and factions :) Naming conventions are an important part of setting the flavor of the game and giving it an appeal to new players. And, as I want this game to do very well and become extremely popular, I simply wanted to add my suggestions.

Congratulations on everything you've accomplished so far!
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Re: BackStory & Characters

Postby Brannagyn » Sun Dec 19, 2010 6:45 am

Just an addition, as I hear the names more often and begin to focus more on mechanics and gameplay, I find the initial complaints above matter to me less and less. I'd still prefer the game avoid an overtly tongue-in-cheek approach to its sci-fi setting but I'm sure I'll enjoy playing it either way.
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Re: BackStory & Characters

Postby Chris » Mon Dec 20, 2010 12:58 pm

There will be no Doctor Hammer,
But Maybe an MC Hammer !!!
Cause I like Rap :)
Lol

Just kiding...

But I used to have a character carrying a flamer named Johnny Storm ;)
Sorry, can't help it ;)
Ludicalement,
Chris
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Re: BackStory & Characters

Postby Brannagyn » Mon Dec 20, 2010 1:12 pm

Well, if he had a flaming hammer and was called 'MC Storm' that's a character I'd love to see :D
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Re: BackStory & Characters

Postby Chris » Thu Dec 23, 2010 2:05 pm

Ok if I nedd that type of character one day I'll remember to call him or her MC Storm ;)
I'm saying her because her full name would be Mariah Carey Storm :) LoL
Yes I love Mariah Carey too ;)
I know I'm just a stupid White Pale sufer with a black heart and attitude :) LoL !
And don't want to change :)
Ludicalement,
Chris
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