Cosplay Costume Combat/Gaiden! Initial Musings

Cosplay Costume Combat/Gaiden! Initial Musings

This weekend at PAX (I have another full post on that forthcoming), I came up with a random new game idea while in the bathroom looking at the crazy pictures I had snapped that day1. I’m giving it the working title of Cosplay Costume Combat/Gaiden. The premise: walk around the convention and take pictures of cosplayers2 and any other weird freaky shit you see. Meet up later with others who have done the same. Randomly pick photos from your camera, and then make those characters fight. Throughout the course of the weekend I mentioned it to several groups of other gamers and cosplayers alike, and all of them found it to be an interesting premise (the Rollerderby girls were especially animated in their ideas), so I figured I’d draft up an initial post for some preliminary design musings.

First and foremost, I want the game to avoid design pretensions and established indie considerations that are common with the current gamut of small-press RPGs. This should be a game for brand new players, a game I can actually get cosplayers to play on the spot just by walking up to two of them at a con. Simple to understand game terminology, with a focus on Kicking As and Dressing Awesome. Kinda the “Barbie Takes Mushrooms and Goes Shopping” of action-oriented RPGs.

I’m picturing two modes of play: Combat! and Gaiden! The first mode is quick and easy to demo, and played in one of two ways. You can either follow the format from the initial idea, and make up stats for random cosplayers you’ve photographed during the con, or you can approach two or more actual cosplayers while they walk around and convince them to play Real-Time. The latter format would also allow them to get more sweet pictures taken of them from bystanders, so it’s a win-win situation for cosplayers and game promotion alike.

The second game mode, Gaiden!, takes it much further. Again, two formats of play: digital and live. The digital format also involves scanning your cameras for cool photos, and then turning them into an epic quest to save the people of the convention from certain doom. Look over the photos, pick some heroes, some villains, and some points of contention, and then go with it, using the Combat! mode mechanics to resolve things. The other Gaiden! format stick with live-action cosplayers, leading the actual players across the convention on a LARP style of play to save everyone from certain doom. Quite certain to get lots of photographs, too.

Mechanics musings to come in the near future.


1 Yes. In the bathroom. Indeed.
1 I didn’t take these, but here’s a good mix of some of the awesome PAX cosplay this year.

4 Replies to “Cosplay Costume Combat/Gaiden! Initial Musings”

  1. I think this has a huge amount of potential. Games centered around the con itself have a huge sales potential I think. Nick and I came up with one at Kumoricon last year that was all about creepy guys bidding on dates with cosplay girls. It’s simple and easy, but much like your game and Sea DRacula it can be played on the spot, demands interaction and rewards creative cosplay.

  2. Years ago, I was working on an alternate resolution system for my LAEP “Streetwise.” The alternate idea involved eschewing dice/coins/cards/RPS altogether and just asking random strangers what they thought would be the coolest outcome. “The insane postal worker is quaring off against the slimy Pimp. Who do you think will win this one, and why?”

    It would establish a resolution mechanic that inherently advertises itself. I think I’m going to try and solidify something along those lines.

  3. Also I am reminded of an ongoing LARP at Dragoncon, called DarkCon. The premise every year is that the LARP takes place at Dragoncon itself. Works very well. Having that premise built into a cosplay game just makes sense, and could provide an awesome buy-in for random strangers.

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