Nathanael Cole / Alliterated Games

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Cannibal Contagion: Revitalizing the Agsomafa

After a lot of mulling around the design board, inspired by playing a handful of survival horror games and watching some more zombie flicks, I think I need to give the Agsomafa finishing blow mechanic a bit of a revitalization. As it stands now, it’s a once-per-session Instant Win that each player has in their possession as an Ace in the Hole. But the implementation of it is kinda clunky, and I think it needs some work. One of the major weaknesses of the mechanic is that it is pretty easy for players to hold onto these trump cards until the final scene and then just chain them on the Big Bad, making the last encounter a joke. I’ve seen this happen four times already, which means it is definitely a problem.

I’ve been developing a handful of proto-ideas for changing up the Agsomafa to something more manageable yet without impacting its value. Here are some bits of these ideas, collected for musing and discussion.

One idea I had was to have an inherent mechanical threshold that must be reached before a player can use their Agsomafa, based on their Threat (their steadily increased measure of how long they’ve been alive) and their Awesome tokens. Say, a player couldn’t call upon the Agsomafa until their Threat multiplied by their Current Awesome reserve was 20 or more. At that point, they would become eligible for using it, but it would blow their entire Awesome reserve, and drop their Threat by half. This would also open up the possibility of the player being able to potentially call upon it a second time in the game. Currently, this is the idea that is getting the most ponder-time.

Another idea I have is to have it based on a card spread, maybe one card drawn per point of Awesome blown. Spread the cards, and then base the outcome by a combination of pairs, matches, flushes, etc. That idea hasn’t really been touched upon at all.

Another idea is to have it based on an Awesome token “flush” so to speak. The player dumps their entire awesome reserve for just as many cards, and that’s the amount of Hurtin’ they do. Should there be a joker, perhaps the Hurtin’ is doubled.

The main thing to consider is that I want the Agsomafa to remain in the game. I like having that power attack, last-ditch effect, the FF7 “Limit Break” that gives the character an extra edge. But if it is going to remain, it needs to be refined.

Ideas, anyone?


  1. Julian - July 29, 2008 2:05 am

    I know precisely nothing about game design, but I just thought I’d comment to say “Hello” to a fellow Portland RPG blogger and Savage Worlds fan. Just moved here a couple weeks ago from NC (a.k.a. the other side of the Earth). If any slots in your gaming group open up, I’m always looking to roll some dice.

  2. NPC - July 29, 2008 3:13 pm

    Nice to meet you, Julian! Thanks for dropping in. My gaming group is pretty fluid, and tends to morph frequently. We should get a beer sometime.


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