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Topics - Mark Plemmons

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brainstorming & development / MASHWorld (working title)
« on: March 20, 2015, 01:55:43 PM »
Hi everyone!

This post is first to say HI, and to throw my hat in the ring to let all of you know what I'm working on. I don't have much rules-wise that's ready to share publicly yet, but feel free to comment and advise in advance. I have a very busy work and home life schedule - that doesn't include game design - but I'll try to check in here at least once or twice a week when I can.

It's possible some of you may know me from other forums, or from some of my previous works, but this is my first PbtA project. It's an idea that I've had in mind for a while, but I didn't really have a good game system to do it with, and the last couple of years have been pretty busy with finishing up all the goals from the Corporia Kickstarter. Now that those are completed, I can finally spend my spare time on something completely different.

As you might guess from the working title (other draft titles include Meatball Surgery and Armed Farces), the theme of the game is the roles of doctors in Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals, in the Korean War. Gameplay and moves will be a lot like Night Witches, but with opportunities for both humorous situations as well as lots of drama. To avoid copyright and trademark problems with a certain television S*H*O*W*, the game will be based directly on the real-world MASH units in the Korean War, including the one that inspired the books/movie/tv show in question. If you want to use it to run situations from the popular media, you can. So, it will work with the media, but won't be based on it or licensed from it.

For stats, my draft notes use +skill, +nerve, +luck, and +fight, with points distributed depending on your rank (Lieutenant, Captain, or Major). There are four draft character types/temperaments (Head, Heart, Bones, and "Blood and Guts"), and several (yep, draft again) roles (Blueblood, Casanova, Dad, Egoist, Leader, Old Salt, Stickler, Trickster). Stress and burnout will be particularly important parts of moves and such.

Right now I'm still fiddling with these, as well as some other ideas about how mobile the MASH will be, and how/whether I use "Rotation Points" as a means of allowing characters to get leave or go home. Although real MASH doctors didn't get rotation points like the regular army did, I'm willing to bend reality where I need to service the fiction. That's one of my main rules concepts that I'm still having trouble with.

In September 1951 the Army had introduced a point system that tried to take into account the nature of individual service when determining eligibility for rotation home to the United States. According to this system, a soldier earned four points for every month he served in close combat, two points per month for rear-echelon duty in Korea, and one point for duty elsewhere in the Far East. Later, an additional category-divisional reserve status-was established at a rate of three points per month. The Army initially stated that enlisted men needed to earn forty-three points to be eligible for rotation back to the States, while officers required fifty-five points. In June 1952 the Army reduced these requirements to thirty-six points for enlisted men and thirty-seven points for officers. Earning the required number of points did not guarantee instant rotation; it only meant that the soldier in question was eligible to go home. Nevertheless, most soldiers did return home shortly after they met the requirement.

I'd love to get your thoughts on the points system or anything you think might work well (or be a problem) for the game. Happy to be here!

Mark Plemmons
Brabblemark Press

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