Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Drinking in the Color Pie

One of my goals in designing the Booze Cube was for drinking to feel like an organic part of the game. For this to happen, I needed to design drinking cards that not only worked mechanically but also made sense in the color pie.  And to do that, I had to answer a fundamental question:

How does drinking fit into each color's philosophy?

Black was by far the easiest to figure out: black drinks for power. Black will do whatever it takes for power, no matter how high the price might seem to the less ambitious. After all, great power demands great sacrifice. And if black is ready and willing to kill its own minions or even trade its very lifeforce for power, it certainly wouldn't hesitate to give up its sobriety for it.

This hunger for power at any cost gives black some of the most powerful effects in the cube, but these effects are coupled with some of the highest drinking costs as well.  
With all this heavy drinking, black is probably the color most likely to die of alcohol poisoning.  Fortunately, death isn't necessarily an obstacle to having fun.

White drinks to strengthen social ties. Nothing brings people together quite like booze. When you're drunk and celebrating, everyone you meet is your new best friend. White will raise a glass and toast to just about anything.  White will gladly buy the next round, and it expects everyone to partake.

White is also especially fond of playing drinking games with friends. Not only does their silliness strengthen bonds of friendship between the players, drinking games allow white to do something else: make and enforce rules. (If you've ever played Circle of Death or Presidents & Assholes, you know exactly what I'm talking about.)

White is also the color most associated with hierarchy and conformity. White therefore naturally lends itself to being the color of fraternities.

Red, on the other hand, doesn't give a fuck about rules. It just wants to party. When hedonistic red goes out, it has no idea where the night will take it. It drinks with passion and gusto, following only its whims. And when red gets drunk, it has no inhibitions; it just goes wild.

There's no question that red always has a good time. Red acts on impulse and doesn't care what others think.  Consequences be damned - as long as it's having a fun, all those prudes and naysayers can go fuck themselves.  This attitude, of course, can lead to some seriously reckless behavior.

Red, as the color of elemental earth, also has one of the most criminally underused tribes. If there's any fantasy race that appreciates a hearty mug of ale, it's the dwarves.

Like its ally red, green is a color that wants to party. But where red gets reckless, green gets rowdy.

Green uses booze to lose its self. Like white, green drinks to become one with his fellow revelers. As the color of raw animal instinct, however, green doesn't bother with social niceties; it sees those constraints that civilization imposes on its behavior as confining. White drinks to make friends; green drinks with its pack.

Society is pretty demanding. Don't smash this. Don't pee on that. Green doesn't want to think about what it does; it wants to just live in the moment. When green drinks, it breaks the shackles of society-imposed inhibitions and acts on pure primal instinct. Its sense of individuality dissolves into unbridled Dionysian revelry. Green wants to just let go and just follow the ebb and flow of the party's energy. Green is about satyrs and nymphs having an orgy in the forest. It's about pissing off a hotel balcony to mark the world as its territory. And, of course, it's about that yearly fertility ritual we all know as Spring Break.

Finally, since green is the "creature color," it should probably get some solid dudes.

Blue was by far the hardest to figure out.  How does the color of intellect approach a beverage designed to dampen its higher brain functions? It seems like blue would sooner avoid the stuff altogether.  

Then I remembered that blue mana comes from islands.

Islands are awesome places to drink. That means that blue is the color of rum, all-inclusive Caribbean resorts, piƱa coladas, and pirates.

Like a certain telepathic planeswalker, booze can also do some serious mind sculpting. Drinking messes with your memory and fucks with your sense of time. It makes you an expert in disciplines that you first heard of ten minutes ago (or perhaps just made up). Blue may not drink to get smarter, but it certainly thinks it's smarter after it's had a few.

Fundamentally, however, blue is the color of cunning. Sure, blue will throw back a few frozen concoctions on the beach of an island paradise... but this is often just a subtle ruse to lure its opponents into complacency so blue can take advantage of them. Blue knows that alcohol weakens the mind. If blue's opponents have more to drink than it does, it follows that its opponents minds will be relatively weaker and easier to manipulate. Mechanically, this aspect of blue is expressed through cards that encourage (or force) one's opponents' to drink and abilities that trigger when they do.

Well, there you have it. Booze and the color pie.

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