Category Archives: Showdown Development and Playtest

Now, a playtest version of Showdown

I finished my beta of Showdown today, as I discussed earlier. If you’re interested in playtesting it, leave a comment, and I’ll be in touch.

Soon, a playtest version of Showdown

My next project is getting together a beta release of Showdown. Um, after the Go Play Peoria fall minicon tomorrow. Hmm, I should probably make sure that I have stuff for Showdown at GPP.

Anyways, Showdown is my two-player RPG of socially violent personal combat. You will play a character in a duel to the death with another character. But this isn’t just a random combat. It’s personal. So, while you fight, you will also reveal the shared history of these two characters, discovering what led to this fatal conflict.

The game takes between 60-90 minutes to play, so it fits neatly into a boardgame timeslot.

I’d like to release in February or March, if possible, so I really need playtesters. Readthroughs might be helpful, but I’ll need people to play. So, understanding this, if you’d be interested in checking out the playtest version when it’s ready, leave a comment. I’ll send a PDF to that email address, when it’s ready.


Welcome back to my mind. You’re about to get a tour of how I think. Ready? Here goes.

So, I’ve been working my way through a questionnaire evaluating my spiritual state. (The reasons why are unimportant. Suffice it to say that it’s something that will be read and considered by others.) And, I have to say, it’s been a rough experience for me emotionally. I have to answer honestly, and sometimes, I’d really rather not. I’m finding myself poking into various nooks and crannies of my life, and I don’t always like what I see. And, of course, I’m thinking, “I’m writing all this down, and then I’m going to give it to other people, and then we’re going to have to talk about it.”

And I’m not really feeling up for that, you know?

Smash cut to….

My newest game Showdown is coming along really well. Like, I’m dangerously close to putting out a blind playtest copy for review by others. (When I do, I’ll announce it here!)

For those of you who don’t know Showdown, here’s the basic idea. It’s a two-player roleplaying game, where you play two characters locked in a final epic battle to the death. You play out that final duel and simultaneously play through a series of flashbacks, starting from the first time the two characters met. At the end of the game, one of the characters will be dead, but you will also have filled out the story of how the two of them came to be fighting in the first place.

The design was pretty good to start, but I’ve been able to hone it better since I figured out what the game is actually about. On the surface, the game is about winning the duel. But I discovered that the real conflict is over the reputation of your character. We both know that we are fighting, but why are we fighting? If you’re not careful, you might win the duel, but your opponent got to define why you were fighting in the first place.

The major revision to the game mechanically reinforces this idea. Each character starts with four Qualities, which are things that he thinks about himself. Those Qualities are constraints on narration. Both players must respect that those Qualities are true. However, over the course of the game, your opponent can earn the opportunity to change those Qualities, which now act as constraints on narration.

So, you start off with a Quality that says “brave”. But then your opponent reaches across the table and changes that to “foolhardy” or “cowardly” or even “lazy”. Guess you weren’t really as brave as you thought you were, huh?

It can be a brutal game, especially if you identify closely with your character. Of course, I find this quite appealing. Because, of course someone is never as good as he thinks. We fill our lives with self-deception, telling ourselves that we’re better than we really are. And then, sometimes, you have an experience that pulls away some of the lies and lets us see ourselves like we really are.

You know, like answering a series of self-evaluation spiritual questions.

Yeah, my self-discovery really shouldn’t have been a surprise to me, but there it was. Just like in Showdown, I discovered the truth about some of my Qualities.


Thankfully, God didn’t leave me with just this revelation. Otherwise, I’d be really depressed right now. Instead, He reminded me of two things.

First, this is part of how He is giving me the gift of humility.

“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you[.]

(1 Peter 5:5-6)

God apparently loves me. Therefore, He is poking at all this stuff so that I’ll remember it and not get big-headed. Because, it’s better for me if I remember who I am.

But, even more than that, God pointed out this passage while I was reading it during family devotions:

Then you shall bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance of the tent of meeting and shall wash them with water and put on Aaron the holy garments. And you shall anoint him and consecrate him, that he may serve me as priest. You shall bring his sons also and put coats on them, and anoint them, as you anointed their father, that they may serve me as priests. And their anointing shall admit them to a perpetual priesthood throughout their generations.”

(Exodus 40:12-15)

Yeah, you’re not really “supposed” to be encouraged by the description of how the Israelites were supposed to set up the tabernacle. But did you see what happened?

Aaron was washed. He was anointed. He was dressed in beautiful robes. He was made part of a perpetual priesthood.

God says that I’m his priest. So, that means that I was washed, and I was anointed, and I was dressed in beautiful robes.

That hasn’t changed.

God apparently loves me. Therefore, He gave me this passage. Because, it’s better for me if I remember who I am.

I still have to finish that questionnaire. And, yeah, it’s still emotionally difficult. But, at least now I’ll remember why I’m doing this. And I’ll be better able to look at who I really am.

A little bit about Showdown

I had been planning on posting those Gamism/Narrativism definitions for about a week now. Seemed funny at the time, and I thought that I’d share.

But then, last night I had a small realization. Essentially, my mini-RPG Showdown is all about making the transition from “two people fighting” to “two brothers fighting” in play.