Category Archives: Game Chef

Synanthropes, v. III

Synanthropes Version 3.0!

Another ruleset, this time complete with the sixth and final synanthropic species: the Gecko. Based on the house gecko which infests urban areas throughout Asia, they’re built to be the “rogue” class, in that they’re a society built on asocial paranoia, because they’re tiny lizards. Hopefully, they’re fun. I’ve also tweaked the Clue rules, enabling characters to stumble upon Clues even when they fail at tasks, which makes a lot of sense. Also, as previously discussed, the Hoard dice have given way to Hoard points.

I suspect (though I won’t know this for sure until after the next few playtests) that I have the rules where I want them to be. That doesn’t mean that the process of testing is over and done… rather, it’s the big issues that are dealt with: the central mechanical interactions should be functional and entertaining, and the remaining changes are going to be relatively minor: tweaking the composition of the Danger Oracle, for instance, and the specific skills of the different Synanthropes (for purposes of balance) and the precise cutoff for delineating success and failure. These are important, but these are going to be alterations to what is present on the page already. Tweaks. Revisions, rather than full resets. To put it another way, the next time I throw up a copy of Synanthropes, it’s proooooobably going to be version 3.1, and the changelog won’t mention anything being added, just being altered.

That’s of course assuming that I don’t see something completely fall apart in the next couple of playtests, requiring me to go back to the drawing board on a major concept. That’s a pretty major assumption, but it’s one I’m happily making.

Anyway, here it is! ENJOY!

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Synanthropes: Killing my babies.

Synanthropes, is now on the receiving end of several thoughtful reviews and a couple of playtests. I’m watching reactions and making changes and enjoying the process but saying to myself, well, it’s about time to start killing some of my babies.

(It’s the Cane Toads, to be honest. Can’t write about cane toads without wanting to kill some babies, amirite?)

Right, not actual infanticide, but some massive design alteration. Specifically, it’s the hoard dice, and how it fits into the central die mechanic as a whole. It’s… it’s not working so great, to be honest.

Why isn’t it working so great? Well, let’s start with what it’s INTENDED to be: It’s intended to be a mechanical way of making the different characters DIFFERENT, rewarding them for acting in a manner which is… for want of a better way to put it, stereotypical. It says some things about how the different creatures act, and gives two points of intersection with the narrative: gaining hoard dice and losing hoard dice.

And there… there is part of the problem. On the one hand, there’s a balance issue here: characters must be reasonable able to gain and spend these dice at a similar rate, they must be equally interesting, equally useful, and not only is that incredibly difficult (oh my, yes) but it’s also… well, redundant. That’s what Traits are for, and those are tied specifically into the synanthrope’s physical form (and can easily be adapted to include their social upbringing as well).

Additionally, the hoard is intended to be a pool of dice that can be freely added to rolls when victory is paramount, or in order to increase the odds of finding a clue. And that’s all well and good… if they can be put into rolls easily. It’s silly to think, however, that roaches will only find clues when they’re getting squished in doing so, and rats only find clues by exposing secrets and so on and so forth. Since I dropped “Roll to find a clue” (which is for the best, I think) in favor of semi-random stumbling across clues, it makes since that they can come up at any time for any reason, although you should still be able to put in a little extra effort in order to push the outcome.

That said, I like the idea of a hoard in the abstract… it’s the things that you are keeping away from the others, and that allow you to be unique. The hoards as they are now hit on “keeping something from the others” sometimes, and “unique” occasionally, but never really hit both, and… well. They just aren’t doing it for me.

So I’m going to kill them.

Or, if I won’t be a toad eating my own tadpoles about this, I’m going to burn down the Hoard Dice mechanic as it currently stands, and allow something to grow in the ashes. Something different, something new, something… dare I say brilliant?

Are you ready?

Hoard POINTS.

No, no, don’t run away just yet! Hoard points instead of hoard dice, represented by, oh I don’t know, pennies or whatever, physical tokens you pick up and put down (which is way better than jotted-down numerals or physical dice which you might want to share or use for other things).

What gets saved: unique methods of regaining hoard points. In deference to the fact that, seriously, some shit was totes esoteric, these will be greatly simplified and now refer to coherent events within the narrative–something that might happen as often as once per floor. The Crow is able to studiously examine an artifact is a good example… specific, coherent, relatively common. I’ll be shooting for one hoard point per player per floor as a reasonable clip, though they’ll still be events that need to occur.

What gets changed: they will be much, much more powerful. At a baseline, any player can spend a point to add a die to any roll, or to re-roll any die. So, that’s pretty boss. Use as many as you want per roll. Yes. Secondly, the unique instances of being able to spend hoard dice will remain in spirit, but they will be opportunities to spend a hoard point and gain TWO dice. Ooh, double trouble. Roaches may stumble across clues at any time, but the odds are even higher when they’re swarming mindlessly over something. That, that I’m fine with.

Additionally, and here is where things get potentially wiggly: each species will have a unique Power. That’s a thing that they can just DO, no roll, nothing, which is activated by a hoard point. A Raccoon can get a door open, no need to roll, if he spends a point. A Toad can cause an injury, no roll. A Gecko, when they come to exist, can disappear from sight, no roll needed, if he spends a point.

What does this do for me? Well:

  1. It gives the animals animal-based superpowers. Maybe one, maybe two, maybe two or more. Perhaps an innate, biological ability and an acquired, cultural ability. I like the sound of that, and at this stage, throwing in things I like the sound of and seeing how it goes is pretty much my task as a designer.
  2. It helps re-enforce the notion that these creatures are truly different from one another, if one has an ability that the others simply lack, especially one which seems almost magical.
  3. It provides a measure of resource-management… if you can spend a hoard point at any time, is THIS the best time to spend one?
  4. It is much easier to expand on and adjust, as need be.
  5. It can be more thematically consistent, if I’m able to keep hoard generation linked to somehow HOARDING things.
  6. It should be more intuitive. Even down to the language of points versus dice. Intuitive is good.
  7. When in doubt, I can add other abilities to a hoard point. Friggin’… spend it to redraw the danger, to seize narration, to reroll a clue, to etc. etc. etc.; I don’t think those abilities NEED to exist, but if it seems that they are lacking I have a convenient place to shove them. I can also allow hoard points to be spent as narrative currency asymmetrically… that is to say, the Toad can always spend a point to spawn a creature looking to fight, while the Rat can spend a point to spawn some surviving texts worthy of investigation. That is a weird but compelling idea.

Okay, I’m a bad cane toad. I’m trying to kill my baby, but I just ended up with a different baby who looks similar and now I want to raise it like some sort of goddamn mammal. Shame on me.


Synanthropes v.II

Hey all!

So, I was not the Game Chef victor (that honor went to delightfully ridiculous-looking Paper Tigers by Ashok Desai, but given that I would have picked that one if I weren’t in the running, I’m hardly bitter about it). BUT I am still working on Synanthropes. Enough to take it for a playtest, enough to incorporate some feedback, and enough to create a new version:

Synanthropes Version II!

Up-to-date as of June 19th, it is a much, much better version of what was submitted to the Chef, and includes, among other things, mechanics that have been made more intuitive, rules for direct conflict, careers, improved rules for finding Clues, and most importantly, the fifth Synanthrope (of a planned six): The Cane Toad.

The Toads are vile, unpleasant bastards. They are poisonous and cannibalistic with very little respect for life. I love them.

In fact, I love all of my Synanthropes, and when the next edition comes out, I hope to love my House Geckos as well.

 


Exciting news!

I’m a Game Chef finalist!

… which means I can break out this badge:

game-chef-finalist-badge

 

Woo! A massive “thank you” to the folks who voted for me, and congratulations, both to the other finalists and to all the other participants! And happy Game Chef to all!


Game Chef: Talking a bit more about Synanthropes

Hey, so, I was a bit quiet on Synanthropes when I posted it, because it was literally minutes before the Game Chef time limit was up for me, so… so yeah.

Synanthropes is a game about exploring humanity from the view of those creatures which live in our detritus. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for synanthropic animals; that is to say, those who dwell in ecological niches which were created by humans. Its sort of a catchall term for non-domesticated urban animals, and the borders are pretty grey–rats, for instance, would not exist as we know them without the presence of humans, whereas urban crows are just one little species of a large and more wild corvid genus, and raccoons exist in the wild just as well (if not as well-fed) as in the suburbs. Still, they are animals who dwell with humans, not because we want them to, but because, well, nature finds a way.

I’ve always felt that, in a way, synanthropes are more human than many of our closer relatives in the primate family. They don’t come from the same taxanomic family, but they demonstrate the sorts of qualities which make humans so… human. Curiosity, craftiness, a drive to explore, a willingness to dwell amongst the most dangerous predators in the world because the rewards are so good. And of course, they like human houses and human food, just like we do (regardless of the fact that they like human houses because of the spacious tunnels between walls, and human food is presented to them as massive, heterogeneous piles of slightly rotten garbage).

Humans produce waste like nothing else in the world–from literal trash to mere claimed but unused space–and the synanthropes are there to remind us that, no, it’s not really being wasted, it’s being USED. And that’s keen. It makes me sad when old buildings are demolished to make new parks, because of the arbitrariness in destroying several species’ natural-but-artificial habitat in order to make an artificial-but-natural habitat for some other creatures.

I used to keep rats myself… pet rats, not quite the same as the ones who dwelt in secret beneath my home but closely related. And I always wondered what they thought of me… they learned to recognize me as the big hand who brought the food and sometimes pulled them out of the cage to go for a ride on my shoulders or explore the desk. Was I something like a giant rat to them, recognizable as a person? Was I a god, or a titan, or a mystical figure who knew the secrets of opening peanut jars? Was I a series of disconnected images… a hand, a shoulder, an ear, some shouting about how I had a rat nose in my ear, never quite coalescing into a whole? Who can say?

So I wanted to do something with synanthropes, which led me to this game. When humanity is gone, they will remain, or something like them, moving through our leftovers, because the world contains a lot of human leftovers. If left unchecked, able to blossom and make the most of the human ruins they live in, what would they think of us? What will they become? Will they try to be like us, adapting to life in the big rooms, rather than between the walls, and creating rather than scavenging? Will these little protohumans turn into something more human?

And what, I wonder, would they think of us?

Anyway. That’s the stuff that was going through my head as I made the game.

While my sources of inspiration include literally everything I’ve ever seen/played/done, special props go to Ocean, by Jake Richmond, which is great at allowing the exploration of something unknown and mysterious without A) the need for a GM to pre-assemble the mystery, and B) the mystery being a sort of canned, procedurally-generated mess. I pretty much stole clues from that. And the character sheets are heavily inspired by Apocalypse World and its ilk, with the playbook-style sheets that help re-enforce the notion that these beings are truly unique from one another by literally giving them unique rules right there on the sheets.

As for what’s lacking, if I’m going to do a game chef post mortem, I would say that it’s the combat and confrontation rules, which ended up being sacrificed because they were ever-so-slightly too long for a game which is already two thousand words over the limit (albeit with those extra words being “optional.” I could justify optional oracle and fluff… suggesting that a major form of interaction could be optional would be one toke over the line).

Beyond that, while it’s obviously in need of playtesting and tweaking, it’s received really positive feedback thus far. I’m pretty excited, and thinking about what I can do after Game Chef season is over to finish and finalize. I feel like this year that really is something I’m interested in, more so than I was for last year’s Game Chef–not that I wasn’t fond of my game last year, but its flaws were fundamental enough that it would take an almost complete rewrite before I would be happy with it, and that takes a lot of energy to dive into when I have other, sexier projects right in front of me.

Some minor mechanical tweaks, and some playtesting to see if there need to be major changes to the pacing. Legends and mysteries could use a little re-jiggering, if only because some of them are a little too silly, and some are not quite silly enough. I’d like to give everyone a fourth set of Traits, to further connect them to their species, and a Career, to help keep them more individual. I’d like to invest in a fifth species as well, perhaps something reptilian and definitely something that doesn’t begin with “R”. Doing some research into geckos and skinks.

And pictures, pretty pretty pictures of animals.

Speaking of pictures, I’ve earned a badge, and that’s really quite exciting.

game-chef-participant-badge

Happy Game Chef, everyone.


Game Chef: Synanthropes

So, I’ve been Game Chefing. It’s not done yet, but I’ve made a bunch of progress on Synanthropes, the game about evolved descendants of urban animals exploring human ruins.

Since the in-progress document is freely available on the Praxis forums, I thought I might as well make it public here as well, for those who are interested. Warning: It’s an in-progress document, and isn’t very well organized at this precise moment.

Here you go!

Enjoy!


Game Chef Brainstorming V. II

I’ve been having some problems with Game Chef.

Now, admittedly, that’s not unusual. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve given up on an idea jam or other creative challenge only to get a new idea and run with that until the end, I’d have about a nickel for every idea jam or creative challenge I’ve completed. But it does frustrate.

Mad scientists killing one another through a game of Hearts gone awry is what I got last time, but I’ve got no steam in working with it, so I want to keep thinking and see if something else comes forth.

Elements that I want to keep:

  • It should be a Story Game. In part because, historically, those are served well in this contest (as opposed to what I’ll call Setting Games for the moment… games in which the rules allow for interactions but don’t create inherent narratives), and in part because, well, that’s what I’d like to make.
  • It should be fun. What I think of as fun, specifically. I should want to play it, because that will make me care.
  • It should do something new and strange mechanically. At least something unusual.

So. With those in mind, let me again consider the elements.

liftThe uppy-downy person. I still like this as “Human but not quite human,” an indication of distance, be it physical or metaphysical. Scientists, sure, but what else? Anyone who might be considered an “Observer” would fit in just fine. A superhero. Or perhaps a mutant… a post-apocalyptic post-human.

apple-maggotInsect. Corruption and mutation, but maybe a positive spin. Something new, emerging. Discovery.

brain-freeze

Face. Snow. Hell if I know.

mail-shirtCoat. Mail. Protection. Protective gear. Jewels. Riches. Suit of Diamonds as in cards. Magic. Don’t know.

paper-lanternLantern. Darkness. Shadows. Discovery. Exploration! Light and darkness, combing through the unexpected and unexplored and so on and so forth. Combing through ruins in search of the answer.

Thoughts.

The world ended. The apocalypse came and went and humans with it, and all that survive are the mutated remnants of what came after. Ah, sounds fun already!

Let’s take a similar tack, with a sci-fi twist. We’re on a spaceship, a billion light-years from earth. All the occupants died long, long ago. All the human occupants. But where humans go, they bring rats. Rats, which reproduce and overpopulate and die off and find the grain stores and sleep on the nuclear pile and mutate and change and create a rudimentary system of agriculture.

Maybe it’s not on a spaceship. Maybe it’s on Earth, and all the animals that are human but not quite are there… rats, crows, and roaches. City-animals, synanthropes, folks who emerge from the trash into a world with a huge legacy.

And maybe some of them are explorers.

And maybe some tall buildings have survived.

And maybe the explorers… the anthropologists… are seeking out information on the human legacy… discovering what the past was like, and sharing the legends of humanity from long ago.

We arrive at the remaining skyscraper. A team of creatures, the Resource War only recently over. Rat-folk, Crow-folk, Roach-folk and some others. Raccoons and foxes, pigeons and gulls. The creatures that once relied on humanity’s existance, but not their care… cattle and chickens died off, and domesticated dogs and cats just went feral. It was the synanthropes who gained sentience, emulating the now-missing humans.

And where are the humans? Well, that’s the question, isn’t it? The answer is at the top of the tower. We just have to get there. Every floor is a scene… a challenge, a discovery, and a legend. We find an artifact and consider it not as humans do, but as rats and crows and roaches do… as cultures that don’t know what this technology could be.

Every player represents a different species, each sees the humans differently. They are like gods to the rats, demons to the roaches, but powerful to everyone. Much of the game will be about this interpretation. And every species is different, and the dangers that do crop up (though they will be fewer indeed than the artifacts which must be studied) will be handled differently when, for instance, one explorer can fly and the others can’t. Will there be arguments? Fights? Will someone be left behind? More importantly, will they make it to the top, and when they get there, will they discover where the humans went?

Feeling good about this one.


Game Chef 2013 brainstorming!

Game Chef is upon us.

Let’s brainstorm.
We’re doing this in pictures this year, which is keen. The theme:

lift

A person in an arrow that goes up and down. The arrow is interesting enough, as it can be a lot of things… physical movement, as in an elevator, metaphorical movement as in hierarchies, some combination of the two. It might not even be movement, simply an awareness or focus on verticality, or feeling somehow in the middle. The figure within it is, in my mind, ominous; the square, white eyes call to mind the blank glasses of an anime villain, lurking in the shadows but for the glare. The shape also sells me on the idea of glasses, rather than eyes… that said, the closest thing to a defined feature on this fellow is his/her/its eyes, which could be something to focus on. Sight, looking, seeing, searching… visual metaphors in general.

What I most get from this is a certain sort of person… I can see a scientist or academic here, with the glasses suggesting (fairly or not) intelligence and interest but distance and dispassion as well. He’s looking at me, but not because he likes to see me, just because he wants to know what happens next. Factoring in the double-sided arrow emphasizes the “distance” element… he doesn’t necessarily consider himself to be above humanity, but he DOES consider himself to be somehow apart from it. Doctor Manhattan from Watchmen would be a good example… interested, distant and, yes, forboding.

That’s a rich bit of theme to mine. The elements to include:

brain-freeze

A… snowflake in someone’s head. Huh. So, this is the strangest of the four elements, and the one I’m most likely to ignore at first blush, but I’m still going to think about what it can contribute. Offhand, the face has a certain skull-like smile to it… it’s an omen of death, one which has been touched by frost. Or at least, a mental conception thereof. The snowflake is a bit of a paradox, like winter itself… both ordered, still, predictable (winter is a time of stasis and all snowflakes take a recognizable form) while chaotic, changing, and unknowable (winter is a massive change, snowflakes are fractal and unique). It could represent a more generalized “Death stemming from knowledge” for which the snowflake is just an example… but that’s a bit lame to me.

apple-maggot

A bug bursting from an apple. Easy mode: the game features an insect. Alternate thoughts include corruption and decay, the presence of something alien (that doesn’t look like an earth worm to me), and impossible physics (that worm is way bigger than its apple). ALL of those send my internal Lovecraft sensor buzzing. Cosmic horror meshes very well with my interpretation of the theme… it suggests that the observers are alien, posing as human while being distant both in their outlook and their actual, factual nature. Of course, mundane corruption also flies high in scientific and academic arenas.

It also makes me realize that at this point I could pretty much reverse-engineer The Shab-al-Hiri Roach… academics and hiererchies, knowledge and things in your head, corruption and insects. Huh.

mail-shirt

A shirt (robe? blouse? jerkin?) decorated with random diamonds. It can be considered to be mail or some other armor if you so desire, or with the diamonds indicating the shine of a cloth-of-gold or actual jewel-encrusted outfit of great value, or something else entirely. Motley, such as a fool should wear. Diamonds also bring to mind the suit in cards (and indeed, one could call this a part of a suit of diamonds). The garment is not modern, and makes me think wizard first and jester second, though one could make an argument for cultist, taking us back into Lovecraftian territory. Whomever wears this outfit is somehow marked as Other, distanced from those wearing normal clothes. More tangentially, it can indicate the pursuit of riches, or an identity which is somehow dependent on one’s outfit.

paper-lantern

Finally, a figure barely illuminated by a lantern. Ah, stealth. Well, other options… shining a light to ward off the darkness, the lantern of truth, a lantern indicating discovery, all of these meshing really quite well with scientists in general. But I’m seeing stealth here, or at least a sharp distinction between what is seen and what must not be seen. The nature of the illustrations means there is no shadow… there is LIGHT and there is DARK and there is no room to maneuver in between them, and that tickles the amoral scientist center of my brain.

Initial conclusions: amoral scientists is golden and worth sticking to. Cosmic horror I’m a bit iffier on at the moment… but I do like the idea of corruption, secrets, and death, which all combines to suggest that if the players are indeed portraying folk of science, then they are conspiring to kill one of their own.

No, they’re conspiring to experiment upon one of their own. One of them is a madman, one of them is a victim, and the players might not know who is who at first… as time goes on, one player will grow madder than the rest as he/she/it gazes too far into the abyss, until it’s time to pull a Re-Animator and invest in a human test subject.

OH. Oh, I have a half an idea. Scenes played out in brief hands of cards, with the winner growing steadily madder… perhaps it’s a trick-taking game like hearts, each trick is a scene. When all hands have been taken, the tricks become narrative tokens, giving the maddest player the most power over the remaining scenes.

I think there’s a start here.


Turn out the lights.

Hey there. Been quiet for a week, and likely to be for another week, because we’re about to move cross-country to Seattle.

(Incidental note: anybody out there living in Seattle want to hire a guy who’s pretty okay at writing to do… anything? Just let me know.)

So the lights here are dimmed for a little while, which…

… huh. Light.That’s interesting. Light is important; we use it to see, and sight is pretty keen. Sight takes up a lot of the brain’s processing power. Light is one of those metaphors which cross cultural boundaries… light is good and knowledge, dark is evil (or at least suspect) or ignorance. But how often is light used as a gaming tool, beyond the obvious “make sure there’s enough to see everything”?

Offhand, I can think of exactly one: Jackson Tegu’s delightfully nutty Game Chef contribution: Handle With Care. Takes place in the dark, in a city of cardboard boxes, where the players are giant monsters or a municipal light truck and just read it already.

Done? Back? Okay, well, I haven’t played the game… I don’t have the space or the boxes… but I’m keying onto the interplay of light and dark and the power structure it creates. The holder of the light is empowered, literally, because his output can destroy monsters. That’s great! There’s an emotional impact tied to a literal force! That’s one of my favorite things, the overlap of the physical universe and the game narrative. It’s not tactile, technically, but it’s got the same benefits of tactile game interactions… narrative being re-enforced at a gut level.

What else could this be used for? My heart is suggesting a crime and punishment angle… more specifically, a vigilante justice angle. Perhaps one with mechanics that center around the manipulation and trade of cards, which are invisible in the dark and only revealed when the lights come on, freezing the narrative. RIGHT, we have narrative that occurs in the dark and mechanics which occur when the lights are on, that could be interesting…

… oh wait, I’m supposed to be talking about how I’m not going to be posting for a week or two. Right. Turning out the lights for a little bit… I’ll try to have something fun to say when I get back.


Game Chef Review: Snowy Mountain Syndrome

Snowy Mountain Syndrome by Jason A. Petrasko
Trapped in a storm, facing death, in the old west: Who will survive? and more importantly, can you stop the Coyote from doing so?

By a large margin, not only the prettiest game that I’m reviewing, but the prettiest that I’ve seen browsing the other entries as well. I know, I know, graphic design isn’t meant to be a factor in the judging, but still… snowscapes, yeah. And the design is indicative of the work that went into the game as well; the first thing I noticed is that, to misquote Gertrude Stein, there’s a heck of a lot of there there. I mean, it’s brimming with character pages and scene lists and all kinds of goodies. From the character list alone, it’s obvious that a lot of love has been thrown into the game, and I’m especially delighted by the character sheets… quotes and assets and breakdowns and questions, all atmospheric and compelling, more than worth the price of admission.

Oh, and while we’re talking about atmospheric, I might as well mention that the incorporation of the theme and ingredients is absolutely spot-on. Thumbs up.

That said, I’m finding some aspects of the rules themselves terribly unclear, which I imagine has much to do with the tight word limit and, perhaps, my own unfamiliarity with this sort of highly-narrative genre. I’d like terms to be defined a bit more clearly… it took me several reads of the rules to realize that things don’t necessarily Go Horribly Wrong every time someone rolls above a four (although even with the fallout role, it still seems like thing will Go Horribly Wrong very often, though I suppose that is rather the point). I’m also not confident about provisos… I must follow their directives or I may suffer harm to wits, but I’m not sure what you mean by “may” here. Is it as simple as losing a point if I break a proviso, or do I get to roll to avoid the harm? You suggest I can roll to avoid being harmed in any way, but is that only physical harm in-game, or any loss of vitality, or does spirit loss count too, and if so can I roll to not take the spirit loss from a crisis, and if so can I roll to not take the gain in illumination which would cause me to have a crisis in the first place?

So, I’m left with a lot of questions, to the point where, as much as I enjoy the setting and the characters you’ve thrown into it, I wouldn’t feel comfortable trying to play. I don’t intend this as an insult, I simply mean that this is a big project you’ve created, but the richness of the details are outshining the fundamentals of play.

Related to clarity, I should mention that there are some issues of flow and grammar in the text itself; nothing egregious, but enough small errors that it gives me as a reader pause. For instance, the first word of the game proper, “its” should have an apostrophe, and later in that same paragraph, that phrase “in a vain and futile way” is redundant and could be trimmed down to just “futilely” or “in vain.” There’s enough of this that it became distracting to me as I read, so I’d recommend a hefty round of copy-editing.

Oh, but that makes me sound petty, which I don’t want to do! As I said, there’s a lot of love here, and a lot of good ideas, probably too much to be crammed into one Game-Chef-sized document. With some clearing up (perhaps with examples) and sprucing up, you’ve got yourself a very impressive game indeed.