My dear Eberhardt,
I hope this letter finds you in good health. It is with great joy that I write to tell you that your dear brother has distinguished himself at the Front. He has also betrothed a girl from a good family. I hope you find as much happiness in this as your Father and I do.
Work hard with your studies at the Academy so that you may taste success in your life too. I have complete faith in you. Your Father sends his regards.
Your loving mother
This weekend I did a playtest of my new game The Cadet Game. It’s a low prep and GM less RPG that lets the players tell exciting stories about youths at fantastic boarding schools.
I have been working on this game for a while, and did a round of playtests a few years ago. But I put it aside as I ran the Game Design workshop/challenge on Rollspel.nu in 2009 and wrote While the World Ends. Now I have picked up everything where I left and tweaked the rules to make it easier, faster and to incorporate ideas I have gotten in the last few years.
The playtest showed me that I’m on the right track, this is still a very fun game. In the three hours of play we did we built Grimwards, a Prussian 19th century academy for officer sorcerers destined for the Kaiser’s army, and we followed five boys during their first two years at the school.
We saw Eberhardt bullying the other cadets, Maximilian revealed his affinity for healing magic when a friend was in dire need and Sigmund’s battle of wills with the one eyed teacher of magical history Herr Braun touched our hearts. Eberhardt, Sigmund and Voldermars were involved in a constant struggle for the top position in the pecking order in the Himmelsfeuer dormitory. And we learned of Franz-Josef’s internal strife when he was confronted with his memories of that fatal and fiery first display of magical talent.
There is still some work left to do with the game before I can head into proofreading, editing and layout and all the other tasks that result in an actual product in player hands. But the general mechanics are in place and much of the first draft of the game text is written. And while I tweak the game balance and polish the details the brilliant Daniele Poma draws the awesome art that will be used in the game.
I’ll post updates here on the blog as my work progresses. The next major event will be playtests in the Indie Gaming Lounge at GothCon XXXV.