Liu's Three Body Problem: creating character cards
March 1, 2017 7:07 PM   Subscribe

For personal fun and a class I teach I am creating a Three Body game based on the information in the Three Body Problem. It's a chose your own adventure game with limited options. You can either play as Da Shi or Ye Wenjie, and the game is different depending that choice, though there are consistent points (the pyramid, the initial plain, etc.), and I suspect the details are both boring and (hopefully) unnecessary. I'm trying to come up with succinct character cards listing both characters' strengths and weaknesses.

For example, Ye suffers from ill-health, which will cost her if she hits a chaotic era unless she has teamed up with someone earlier, and so forth, so that should be listed under weaknesses. But I keep getting stuck and scrapping what I've got down as being too complicated or too brief. So I turn to the collective wisdom of Metafilter for suggestions. How much information should I put on such a card? And if you had to play such a game what would you like to see on this card?

(Students should have read the book, but a certain number of them will not have cracked the spine.)
posted by lesbiassparrow to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (2 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: From a gameplay perspective (I've not read the book but I've played a lot of boardgames) - you don't need a comprehensive explanation on the card (that part should be in the rulebook), but you need enough to remind the player of the function. So e.g. for
Ye suffers from ill-health, which will cost her if she hits a chaotic era unless she has teamed up with someone earlier,
the card could say:

Ye Wenjie
Ill Health - Penalty if Ye has not teamed up when Chaotic Era arrives.

The rulebook would be the reference for the specific mechanics (what's the Chaotic Era, how do I team up, etc). The only thing I might add is what the penalty is, if there's no one generic Penalty effect. E.g. "-2 Health if Ye has not...". Icons indicating health or money or (some other thing you keep track of in the game) can be useful to use instead of the words "health" or "money".

Bold words that have specific gameplay effects, to make it obvious that word means something, e.g. "-2 Health if Ye has not teamed up when Chaotic Era arrives."

If space on the card allows, a bit of flavour text is always nice - put this at the bottom and make it distinct so players understand it has no gameplay effect.

Here's an example Netrunner card. Note the use of money and energy symbols, and flavour text (in italics at the bottom). Another example that bolds the meaningful terms.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:29 AM on March 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks! That was very helpful; the game went well until the team playing Da Shi decided to kill Miss Marple...
posted by lesbiassparrow at 7:54 PM on March 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

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