Posted by: Jason Stevan Hill | Comments (26)
Hello world! My name is Jason Hill, and my old friend Dan recruited me to join the Choice of Games team earlier this Spring. Being between jobs as I am, I’ve had plenty of time (some might say too much!) to devote to our next release, Choice of the Vampire.
While our audience hasn’t expressed overwhelming desire for a vampire game, my personal interest in the genre lead me to write this. So, I know that you’re all looking forward to Dragon II and God and some of the other games we’re thinking about, but I hope you’ll deign to enjoy this one in the meantime. Right now, we’re almost finished testing the first portion of the game, and we estimate that we’ll release it by the end of the month.
CotV has some radical differences from the other Choice of Games to date. First, it has a very different relationship to history and our world. This is not set in Albion and Gaul, nor a world of dragons, but rather in the Antebellum South. Thus, while you can certainly play a woman or an African American, the rest of the game-world does not change for you. Instead, the character will have to confront the very real forces of tribalism and discrimination that have defined so much of America’s history. (I will discuss the philosophical and aesthetic choices behind this in a later blog post.)
Another immediate difference is that, put simply, being a vampire sucks. (Sorry, it had to be said.) Being a vampire is something tragic… perhaps Romantically so (specifically big-R “Romantic”, not little-r “romantic”)… but still tragic. The way I’ve drawn vampires, they’re miserable, back-biting monsters who squander their immortality by making the lives of their fellows miserable. Some of our early testers have criticized the game for setting up a “heads I win, tails you lose” situation, but hopefully, if you trust in the narrative, the longer arc of the game will justify any early feelings of frustration.
But that brings us to one of the great things about the game: its scope and breadth. Vampires don’t die of natural causes, and that leaves me with two hundred years of rich history to play with. Of course, that’s also meant that I’ve had to do my research. (Uncovering the antebellum street names of the French Quarter was no easy task, let me tell you!) Really, that’s a large part of what made creating this game so enjoyable: the history of these times and places is rich with moments ready to be mined for drama.
I’ve designed this game with expansions in mind. The first portion spans 1815-1863; later installments will feature Chicago in the 1920s and Boston in the present day. I’ve already sketched out parts of these future installments, and we’ll try to release them on a regular schedule over the next few months. In theory, the game can tolerate any number of expansions, and I hope that I will have an opportunity to continue adding to the game for some time into the future.