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Thread: Buddhist Wheel of Life and Death - board game?

  1. #1
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    Default Buddhist Wheel of Life and Death - board game?

    So I had the most interesting visit to my shop this morning. A Buddhist regional bishop (?) approached me about the possibility of developing a board game (or other format) as a teaching tool to help people understand the process of achieving enlightenment and personal understanding using the process and states of mind in the Buddhist Wheel of Life and Death. At this point, though I know the games goal is achieving enlightenment, I don't yet fully comprehend the process or the various stages on the wheel - or even if there is a viable game in this proposed project. Despite that, its sounds interesting, and something to explore in pre-development. I happen to be the only person the bishop (she) knows in the game industry.

    Among the thoughts forming in my head at this point:

    • A cooperative game where all players win or lose - the path to enlightenment is a selfless journey
    • Multiple spinners on each (3) layer of the wheel for random progression
    • Multiple card decks to draw from depending where you land on the wheel, step by step
    • Random placement of steps of the wheel that change session to session


    Due to the complexity of the Buddhist Wheel of Life and Death concepts, there would need to be a detailed Instruction Handbook, thus I don't think this game would work as a phone app, rather a physical board game.

    I've never designed a board game before, so I will be recruiting help from various game industry pros, I know or will know as the process moves forward.

    Once I fully understand the game, and design the board itself, the project will probably become a Kickstarter project to fund it.

    Thoughts?

    Attached is a classical illustration of the Buddhist Wheel of Life and Death.

    GP

    Buddhist Wheel of Life and Death - board game?-buddhist-wheel-small.jpg
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      Carbus is offline
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    What a nice project, a challenge one too! Hope you best of luck!
    ps: I specially liked the idea of doing a cooperative game!

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      Meshon is offline
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    I'm going to subscribe to this because I am profoundly interested! Maybe I'll have a thought or two later...

    cheers,
    Meshon

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      madcowchef is online now
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    A few thoughts. At the most basic, though perhaps too boring, a morality game like the traditional chutes and ladders. A better model for giving up desires to attain enlightenment would be the classic card game where you win by emptying your hand of cards. Perhaps the card game model could be combined with the already interesting-and-map-like traditional image to impose more cards or allow you to remove cards as you progress? You could even include a few good cards in the deck to tempt people to pick up cards on occasion (which will be bad more often than not as a sneaky morality lesson?).

    For a more cooperative game, the goal would have to be universal enlightenment and you'd be working against traditional evils. It would be interesting to have peoples roles (and thus abilities) change as they pass through different incarnations to change the game dynamics as it progressed.

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      Meshon is offline
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    Do you know if there are specific stories or lessons associated with each section of the wheel? Some sort of narrative progression. This is a great thing to puzzle over and ponder, it's like a koan.

    Meshon

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    Quote Originally Posted by madcowchef View Post
    A few thoughts. At the most basic, though perhaps too boring, a morality game like the traditional chutes and ladders. A better model for giving up desires to attain enlightenment would be the classic card game where you win by emptying your hand of cards. Perhaps the card game model could be combined with the already interesting-and-map-like traditional image to impose more cards or allow you to remove cards as you progress? You could even include a few good cards in the deck to tempt people to pick up cards on occasion (which will be bad more often than not as a sneaky morality lesson?).

    For a more cooperative game, the goal would have to be universal enlightenment and you'd be working against traditional evils. It would be interesting to have peoples roles (and thus abilities) change as they pass through different incarnations to change the game dynamics as it progressed.
    I like the idea of emptying your hand of cards, and the changing of abilities, as one enters a different place on the wheel - great ideas! Thanks, Madcowchef.

    Quote Originally Posted by Meshon View Post
    Do you know if there are specific stories or lessons associated with each section of the wheel? Some sort of narrative progression. This is a great thing to puzzle over and ponder, it's like a koan.

    Meshon
    When the lady bishop was trying to explain the process of the outer wheel, she used a personal story of struggle she had been dealing with in the last few years - including a narrative story as one moves along makes perfect sense to include mechanically in the game. So your point is right on in this concept!

    GP
    Last edited by Gamerprinter; 06-27-2014 at 10:29 PM.
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    While I stated this might work as a cooperative game, it could also have some competitive aspects. If discarding cards leading to an empty hand is the process or mechanic of playing, what if whoever can empty their hand, no other player can have less than 4 cards in their hand to "win". In certain instances when one discards a card, other random players also get to discard on your turn. Those "losing" by not getting discard opportunities can be helped along by the other players, so that each individual player has the opportunity for a better ranked "win". Perhaps the perfect game ends with all players emptying their hands. Just some thoughts.
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      Seeria is offline
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    Update to this project?

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    I'm still waiting for the Buddhist bishop to send me information for each place on the Wheel of Life. I can't move forward without it, and since this is her project (technically) I don't want to impose my own interpretation - its got to be her, and I'm still waiting.
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