Luke Crane, John Wick, and Jared Sorensen came up with the Big Three questions of Game Design. Then, Troy Costisick came up with the Power 19, a way to elaborate further on the intent of the original three:
1.) What is your game about?
Super powered humans standing up and making a difference. This is a world where there have always been supers (Hercules was real for instance). Not in the shadows, but in the open. Like rock stars, there are thousands of them, but the chance of encountering one of them is about the same.
2.) What do the characters do?
Face Challenges that threaten the heroes or the people that they care about.
3.) What do the players (including the GM if there is one) do?
The GM Plays the Villains and initiates Challenges for the Players and reacts to the Challenges that the Players make.
The Players play super powered humans and try and make a difference in the game world.
This is done through Challenges, which involves picking an Arena, Scope, selecting and narrating Traits of all characters involved, rolling dice according to Scope and then the players and GM buy game world effects with the points generated by the dice and traits.
4.) How do the various parts of your system reinforce what your game is about?
There is no result of "nothing happens" and the results are defined by the players as the results of their actions.
5.) How does your setting (or lack thereof) reinforce what your game is about?
The setting should enable the characters to stand up and make a difference, and not force them to hide in the shadows.
6.) How does the Chargen of your game reinforce what your game is about?
Character generation involves coming up with the a concept for your character, then enables you to make that EXACT character. The only character concept that is not supported is making a character that doesn't have any problems.
7.) What types of behaviors/styles of play does your game reward (and punish if necessary)?
Unlimited creativity is supported by chargen, and this extends into the story told at the table. The game should support traditional play, with a GM, character build strategies, solid resolution mechanics and predictable/manageable mechanics.
8.) How are behaviors and styles of play rewarded or punished in your game?
Challenge resolution is defined by how the players change the setting/game world then backed up mechanically by allowing the players to substantively change the setting through their character's actions.
9.) How are the responsibilities of narration and credibility divided in your game?
Credibility is defined by the Tags of the character Traits and the Effects purchased through the resolution mechaanics.
10.) What does your game do to command the players' attention, engagement, and participation? (i.e. What does the game do to make them care?)
Even though the GM has a central role, player participation and narration is mandatory. And this is reinforced through the rules.
11.) What are the resolution mechanics of your game like?
You narrate to explain what Traits are in play and then buy changes in the world with the points generated.
12.) How do the resolution mechanics reinforce what your game is about?
You don't have to roll for the little things, like "Does Batman make his Driving Roll?" You roll when you think you can change the world!
13.) Do characters in your game advance? If so, how?
Advancement is not a focus of this game. You could use the Effect rules to produce advancement-like Effects in your own character though.
14.) How does the character advancement (or lack thereof) reinforce what your game is about?
If the effect of a challenge is to make yur character stronger, buy it with the appropriate Effect points. Otherwise, spend them to make the world a better place.
15.) What sort of product or effect do you want your game to produce in or for the players?
I hope that the mechanics (and not some settimgs prose) will make the players really care about this setting.
16.) What areas of your game receive extra attention and color? Why?
Creativity. A poster asked me how to make a character with Eyeball Control and we hashed it out in 3 posts that would have been less than a 5-minute convo face to face. And that is what I want for this game. Not to force the players to jigger their ideas into a rigid system, but to make the heroes they see in their mind's eye.
17.) Which part of your game are you most excited about or interested in? Why?
No laundry list of poers, templates, effects, advantages, disadvantages or any such thing.
18.) Where does your game take the players that other games can’t, don’t, or won’t?
Their imagination. With my game, you never have to say, "OK, my character has X, but it has no mechanical affect"
19.) What are your publishing goals for your game? Who is your target audience?
I'd like to do small press if I can line up a decent cover.
I hope this will be enlightening. Please feel free to leave a comment.
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