Relationship Twister

3 11 2007

I wasn’t going to post about this until after I got a playtestable draft of Addict up, but Shreyas challenged me to write the Pushing Daisies game (which I’d already been thinking about), and then some folks asked me about it, so I thought I’d give you a preview of the guts under the dysfunctional relationship game I plan to make after Addict. (Note: I’m not separating out the relationship dynamics from Addict, I’ve decided– they’re a huge part of what makes the game compelling to me, personally. This is just something a little more lighthearted and convoluted.)

Thanks to Alex from #indierpgs, this game is tentatively titled “Perfectly Dysfunctional,” however, I like to call this social engine..

Relationship-Map Twister

There are spots on a board in two lines. These represent the two main traits: Dysfunction and Oddity. Dysfunctions are social issues– things which affect how the person interacts with the people around them– whereas Oddities are personal issues and secrets. The sky is the limit when it comes to how odd of an Oddity you can have, but I’d encourage players to keep a good social contract and discuss the type of game you want to play beforehand.


The first person goes. Since one of the big inspirations for this game is the uniformly excellent TV show Pushing Daisies, and that is what Shreyas wants to play with this, we’ll be using examples from the show. Chuck goes first! Her Dysfunction is “Sheltered,” and her Oddity is “Used to be dead.”


Ned goes next. His Dysfunction is “Fear of intimacy,” and his Oddity is “Brings dead people back to life.” He has two choices; he can either touch Chuck– share one of her two traits– or he can cross Chuck. When you cross someone, you declare a relationship with that person. You can only declare your side of the relationship! How the other person feels about you can be explored in play. Ned chooses to cross Chuck, and declares that he is in love with her.


Olive goes next. Her Oddity is “Bursts into song when emotional,” and her Dysfunction is “Wants what she can’t have.” She chooses to cross Ned, and declares that she is in love with him.


Emerson goes last. His Oddity is that he loves to knit; his Dysfunction is that he, too, has a fear of intimacy. He decides not to cross anyone, since he is sharing a Dysfunction with Ned.


So yes. R-maps aren’t very revolutionary, I realize, but I like how this bases everything off of one-sided emotion and shared issues, which seems to be the hallmark of dramedy entertainment these days.



4 responses

3 11 2007

Do Chuck and Ned have to go back and declare their relationships with those whose lines cross theirs after their turn? What is Chuck’s relation to Ned and Olive? What is Ned’s relation to Olive? If for some reason we shouldn’t be backtracking for the people who went first, why does Olive get to have two relations? Is there some significance to going earlier that justifies less relationships in exchange for more (something else)?

I really like this sort of layout, and am in favor of (especially if you’re allowing people who went first to update their relationships) adding many more circles so that by the time Emerson goes, it’s not impossible for him to get in a relationship with Chuck or Olive (as it is in the pictures above.) This problem does lend weight to being able to go first, but it doesn’t feel right to me; having a relationship with someone when they don’t have one with you should not be so common, imo.

This map is awesome! I just had a few concerns.


3 11 2007

Right. I didn’t place people as well as I should have on the empty map; as I was afraid of, actually explaining my ideas for this game has me concentrating on it instead of Addict. I’ve got a lot more I’ll post later, but essentially, there are turns. You don’t declare the relationship someone else has with you unless that’s what you want to spend your turn doing, instead of moving or branching out.

3 11 2007

Cool! I will duly shut my trap 🙂


3 11 2007

Just so you know, I’m going to update these pictures with better charts, and so part of your comment won’t make sense. But to future readers: the initial graphics were somewhat clumsy. 🙂

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