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August 16, 2018: $210K Stretch Goal - Three Heretical Variants

As the $210K stretch goal, here are three heretical variants for The Fantasy Trip . . .

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In any game design project, some paths are not taken. This essay will present three paths that I considered, but did not take, for the new edition of TFT. In each case I decided that the “shock” of the change would outweigh its good points. But they all had possible benefits to the game! Here, then – knowing that these ideas may be considered heretical by some – are three directions TFT might have gone, and didn’t.

Square Movement Grid

TFT and its younger cousin GURPS are vastly in the minority in their use of a hexagonal play grid. D&D,  the granddaddy of them all, uses squares in those editions that have tactical combat. Most games follow the lead of D&D. I could have gone there too. It would have taken considerable testing to decide which combinations of adjacent squares were “front,” and which ones “sides” and “rear.”

Advantages: It would have made the game compatible with a lot of already-created maps from dozens of publishers. And human buildings have square walls, which map poorly onto hexes.

Disadvantage: The hex movement is a signature element of TFT, and I decided that too many people would miss it. It also gives much more consistent movement rates, since on a square grid a diagonal move is half again the length of an orthogonal one. I’m not sure how I would have gotten around that problem.

Solution: Don’t go there.

D20 Rolls

I very seriously considered making skill rolls, such as the to-hit roll with a weapon, on a single d20 roll. It still would have been “roll your skill or less.”

Advantages: Slightly faster play. Makes the transition from (for instance) DX 15 to DX 16 as meaningful as that from DX 10 to DX 11.... (more)

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