While I was playing the Battlestar Galactica board game the other day (in a brief break from DMing ^^ ), I realized:
Wizards needs to make a D&D-branded version of the Battlestar Galactica game.
Hear me out. Battlestar Galactica is, after all, basically just an expanded and science fiction (“SyFy”) branded version of Shadows Over Camelot, so you could just as easily say “Wizards needs to make a D&D-branded version of Shadows Over Camelot.” What I mean is, D&D should make a boardgame which mixes the D&D tactical combat gameplay (as seen in the existing D&D beginner boardgames like Ravenloft et al) with the Galactica/Camelot “one or more players is likely going to betray the other players, and you don’t know who it is” gameplay.
How would this be done? It’s simple — alignment!! ^o^ And not simplified 4th edition alignment, but delicious, oldschool 3rd-edition-and-earlier alignment. The way the game would work is, the players are going on a dungeon raid, like in the Ravenloft and Wrath of Ashkardalon boardgames. They can choose certain character race/class combos, etc. But each player also has an alignment which is drawn randomly at the start of play, and there are victory rules associated with each alignment, as well as decision points (like the Crisis Cards in Battlestar Galactica) during which players have to make certain choices which may reveal their alignment choice. The players may suspect that there is an evil or chaotic person or two among their midst, based on their behavior, but that person won’t necessarily be revealed until later in the game. And yet, unlike in BSG/Camelot, there isn’t necessarily a *single* evil side, the evil players may just be out for themselves and (if there are enough players) different evil players may even end up fighting each other. Perhaps Lawful Evil players would have rules which reward the different evil players banding together, and Chaotic Evil players would only get rewarded for helping themselves, for example.
I’ve never liked the 4e alignment simplification and I think this would be a good way to reintroduce the many exciting shades of alignment to D&D. Because let’s face it: based on the success of Battlestar Galactica and Shadows Over Camelot, people *LIKE* boardgames where there is an option of doubt and treachery, rather than just shiny happy cooperation. “Should I work with these people, or should I compete against them? Can I trust my fellow party members?” So, I command Wizards, GO FORTH AND MAKE THIS GAME! I know this game must be made, and oldschool alignments reintroduced, for one simple reason: if I experience more actual role-playing while playing the Battlestar Galactica game than I do while playing D&D, something is seriously wrong. >_>