Russian Dolls: Games in Other Games

So here's another thing I like to do in my role-playing sessions: Using non-RPGs as part of my RPGs. Gamers, after all, are gamers. If they like role-playing games, there's a good chance they might enjoy wargames, board games, card games, etc. If not as a regular activity, then at least once. Here are some exampled culled from my various gaming experiences:

In an In Nomine game, I had a big climax with some sewer spirits that entailed playing chess with a hive mind. But chess is much too long a game, so I tweaked the rules to make it more fantasy-ish and unusual, and played up the complexity available to a collective mind. Four fronts on the board and each of three players making moves in a four-way battle. I got smoked of course.

Games can be played as is too, and in a GURPS Vikings game, the fate of the Hall rested on a game of Hafaflefalflelfaffl...fll. Ok, I can't pronounce it worth spit. King-board, ok? It's an old Viking game akin to checkers and again, while it could have been done with IQ rolls or whatever, it's much more satisfying to present the game and its rules and let the players find the best strategy to win. Despite having learned the game beforehand, I again got smoked.

Wargames can also be inserted into certain RPGs. I'm not one to use miniatures very often, but sometimes it may be useful to really visualize a battle. In my GURPS Autoduel game, I would regularly throw an arena map on the table and open my beat-up second-hand Car Wars boxed set, for example. I'm sure a Supers game could run its battles with HeroClix, though you'd need to have custom Clix or your characters, or at least some kind of conversion chart.

Working in the RPG's mechanics can be as simple as allowing a player to "cheat" at a particular game, or you screwing up on purpose after a particularly good dice roll.

Just a few examples, but they've worked for me, and there's lots more you could do. I suppose a Wii is chock-full of physical tasks you might require a character/player to do. A car race might be a lot more visual on your Xbox. As I mentioned once before, I wanted to start an Illuminated game with the player's a Secret Master setting up on the initial conspiracies with a New World Order (the CCG) game. The Game of Life with replaced text for character generation? I've thought about it.
I guess I can't stand to have all this junk in my house and not using it.


Anonymous said…
You forgot to mention how you also got smoked in all the Car Wars races. ;P
joncormier said…
I, somewhat recently, traded HeroQuest on I loved that game but knew it would never see the light of day again. I also never finished painting all the minis.

If you don't want things gathering dust, it's worth trying to trade things via BGG for something you might actually play. Only costs postage. They occassionally have these things called Math trades that uses the science of math to shift a bunch of requests etc. Person A wants C, person B wants A, etc type of thing and occassionally it all works out without too much complaining over how much it costs to ship across the border.
Siskoid said…
Pout: I thought that was clear by now.

Jon: When I get rid of something, I invariably regret it. So I'm better off shoehorning it in whatever I'm doing at the moment.