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Dispatching the Dungeon Master » Blog Archive » Rehabilitation: Exquisite Corpses
 
 
Rehabilitation: Exquisite Corpses

My last dynasty on BlogNomic was not really a success. Amid the reasons for this is that the central mechanic - that players collaborate to draw monsters one-third at a time - was never tied into a game formula that functioned in any real way.

This is a shame, as I quite like the idea. I’ve always found exquisite corpses to be a bit of a let-down - you have fun drawing them, but when you’re done all you have is a pile of slightly nonsensical scribblings, which you can titter at for a couple of seconds before setting aside. What I’m looking for is a game that has the Exquisite Corpse system as a base, but then uses the drawings (not necessarily monsters, obviously) in a workable game structure. My own thoughts kept flitting to Dvorak, largely because the principle of drawing your own cards seems to fit, although it may not have the same spontaneity that an exquisite corpse game might have.

Any ideas?

Perhaps “game with drawing” and “game with constructing monsters” are being unfairly conflated, and they require games of their own.

A monster-construction game would be easy enough: you’d get a hand of cards including heads, torsos and legs, that you’d fit together to create monsters which then do battle. With the cards designed in advance it’d be much more possible to make them look pretty when pieced together.

A collaborative drawing game is trickier. Perhaps we could try a variant of Exquisite Corpsing where instead of drawing something at the bottom, you add a new Photoshop layer? Each person would see the layer that preceded their work, construct a layer that looks good with it, and send their layer to the next player. Obviously the layers would have to have a smaller and smaller opaque area, so that the player at the end would leave theirs 80% transparent.

Before the BlogNomic dynasty was derailed into Google results, I was thinking of a Prisoner’s Dilemma type game. Each player would have the ability to include pre-defined monster components in their sections (”fiery breath”, “glowing radiation”), but the effectiveness of those components would - according to pre-defined rules - depend on what other people drew. (So multiple copies of a component would be bad, or some components would cancel out others.) Players would have to leave hints and clues for those drawing after them, so that nobody trod on their toes.

I don’t know what form the game itself would take, but perhaps two teams of three players, each of them drawing a monster each, then seeing which one wins. (There could also be some paper-scissor-stone type interaction between the battling monsters; fire breath gets +1 against ice creatures, ice creatures get +1 against water dwellers, etc.)

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