I’ve been thinking a lot about challenges recently. I thought I’d see if the community had any ideas on the topic.

A ‘traditional’ SN game has a handful of basic abilities that are tested to gain success/failure results. How might one go about making a game where this was not the norm? That is, where branches were locked or unlocked by qualities, and the player simply chooses the branch they want based on the branch-text without any consideration of how likely they are to get a ‘good’ rather than ‘bad’ result? I’ve observed in myself and others a tendency to weight branches based on %-chance of success over character choice. It’s not a universal trait I know, and in some games it’s great but in others I’d like to think about how I might move away from it in other areas.

So far I’ve come to three conclusions:

Without tests I think I would need more text and more branches - the player is going to see the same text more often; the minor feeling of achievement that comes from a success rather than a failure needs to be replaced with cool words and quality changes.

I think I’m going to need more qualities, so that each choice can have a more significant effect on the character or world - perhaps more use of things equivalent to the Quirks in Fallen London to reflect the kinds of choices the player is making, with an option to use them to unlock more choices later. This seems to be the kind of approach the Night Circus takes.

I think I may also need more cards in general - a choice that is repeatable is less significant than a choice you get to make once and then live with the consequences of moving forwards.

Has anyone got any thoughts?[li]

[color=#009900]As a historical note, the very first alpha version of Fallen London took this approach. Alpha-testing suggested it felt like something was missing - without the leap through uncertainty, it felt flat.[li][/color]
[color=#009900]But this was a very different kind of game in a very different version of StoryNexus with a much, much more primitive approach to using qualities to drive story. So I don’t want to discourage anyone from trying this approach. Historical note, only.[/color]

Yeah. Experiments have already shown me the risk of it turning out like a choose-your-own-adventure book. I wonder if a halfway house might be tests without advancement - so the choices you make early on directly flavour the path you take through the story or some such

Many people do work this way. You can create a CYOA where instead of qualities you just direct the player to the next card via the results. What Alexis said is true though, it makes a very speedy game that StoryNexus players will tear through pretty quickly.

I recently developed a game like you describe and am currently having it play tested. We’ll see how people react to it. If you want to take a look at how I set it up there is a link below. Id love to hear your thoughts on this approach.