Over the last few years I have slowly but surely uncovered my inner Gamist. I'd previously considered myself primarily a Simulationist -- I love designing intricate, self-consistant worlds. I'd secondarily considered myself a Narrativist -- I like knowing what the story we're telling is About when I play an RPG.
But over the last few years, I've rediscovered the fun of a good-old dungeon crawl. First there was Ben Lehmen's reference to the original Moldvay Red Box, then there were the various hacks (such as the Red Box Hack) that showed up at Story Games. I got excited, got some people together and tried them out...
And found something lacking. The combat was too much rock-'em sock-'em robots. There was too much emphasis on which weapons and armor we had to get. Character creation, while brief, was still too complex and too long. These games felt detailed where they should be vague and vague where they should be detailed. Why couldn't we abstract the parts I found boring, while still having an interesting game where players had to make important, tactical decisions?
Riskbreaker was my attempt to answer these questions.
Since I first started on the game, the 4th Edition of Dungeons and Dragons was released and it's been interesting enough (When you fight, you break out a German-style board game! It's all exception-based powers, like in a Collectable Card game! It has roles straight out of a MMRPG!) that I've let Riskbreaker slip to the side, since 4E seems to be satisfying this particular itch well enough, for the moment.
But I have the feeling I'll come back to this at some point in the future, and see if I can come up with something truly interesting, yet abstracted enough that it can be picked up like a card or board game. We'll see.
Here are the original Story-Game posts that I discussed my design on:
And here are the three versions of the game that are currently available. Please note that these are very much the early stages of design, but they should get across some of the process that's gone on and what I'm trying to accomplish.