After a year or so of playtesting with friends, and having other people pick up the game and play it without my supervision, I’ve done some rewriting and redesign. Feedback on the previous version was very positive (i. e., people had a lot of fun playing it). From the new version of the game:
About the game
Archipelago is a story/role-playing game where each player controls a major character. Player take turns directing and playing out a part of their character’s story, leading them towards their selected point of destiny, while other players interact with and influence that story.
Who is this game for?
If you like the story-telling part of games, and enjoy the creative challenge and inspiration that comes from working with others, this game is for you. If you like tactical mechanics, resource management, or player-vs-player competition, there are other games that might work better for you.
The vibe I’m aiming for
I wrote this game trying to capture the feeling of Ursula K. LeGuin’s «Earthsea» books. I wanted a game of grand destinies, that at the same time had time to dwell on the details of plants, words, everyday lives. I wanted a game that was about great conflicts, but at the same time treated its characters’ stories with respect. I wanted not a steel framework, but a spider web of thin threads creating subtler stories.
This game works best if you play it slow. Sometimes, the best thing to do is wait a little and see how things unfold. Ged stayed with Ogion for years, learning about the old language, the names of flower petals and bugs. There’s time to let the characters evolve.
Breathe in. Breathe out. Take your time.
Changes from the previous version
The wording of the ritual phrases has been changed; some phrases have been added; and the effect of some of them is different. Yes, that means you need to re-read them all if you’ve played the game before.
Fate and resolution cards have been added. Fate cards make ownership more active, and get the map more into play. Resolution cards are more fun than just red vs black cards.
There are a lot of little clarifications and expansions – on creating characters, creating destiny points, using the map, active ownership etc.
I’ve included a section on group dynamics from Wikipedia, along with my comments relating to Archipelagoan design.