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The Garden of Argument

May 15, 2007

The garden of argument - a gameboard

Click the thumbnail to get a bigger look. I think it’s neat that, without planning it this way, Jon and I are both working on games with strong board-game paraphernalia. It’s I think a refreshing and attractive departure, and a good way to anchor games in a ritual and a visual atmosphere. You can see that this board doesn’t match my character sheet, so one of them will be changing pretty soon, just to align visual styles.

This—the garden—is the last piece of nonspecific mechanical foundation material for Story of the Seed; the rest will be specific pieces that explain details of this stuff I’ve already set out or make it specific for the setting. For the moment, let me try and explain how the garden works.

You see that there are seven banners on the left. These are the stars-of-war meters for seven characters. You can mark their stars simply by moving a token along the appropriate constellation, starting at the tip of the bowl and moving inward to the handle. If you’ve got enough markers, then consider using two markers for each character – one to show his place in the garden and one to weigh down the fringe of his banner, so you know which are his stars.

The garden itself is divided into five important places—four plazas and one fountain. Each plaza is the home of an argument, while the fountain is a centre of rest and peace. Each of these places has room for four characters. In the centre of each plaza, there’s room for a stack of coins. You use these to track the cost of making a decisive statement in an argument. (You’ll see a revision of the stars-of-war rules in reference to this new tracking method soon.)

The way you use this is that you have markers for the characters, which inhabit one of the twenty indented-square chambers of the plazas or the fountain. By some system as yet undetermined, characters move from place to place (that is, from a plaza to the fountain or another plaza), and when they enter a place where other characters are present, those other characters set a scene for them. You can always cut away from a scene temporarily to play at another scene for a bit, but no one can leave a plaza or fountain where a scene is going on, until the scene is over.

The topic of a plaza scene is an argument. I’ll talk more about that later, and about the topic and importance of fountain scenes. But first, tomorrow, we’ll talk about what exactly an argument is.

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One comment

  1. It’s interesting to see some Mridangam elements pop up here, including the base cost for doing something in a specific room.



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