I’m looking for feedback on a little story game I’ve been developing on and off since last summer, called Keep it Weird, Beach City. It’s based on the cartoon Steven Universe, which I really enjoy. Familiarity with the show will help, but I am also interested in seeing if the rules and instructions make sense to people who don’t know anything about Steven and the Crystal Gems.
This is a rules-lite narrative story game. There’s no GM, and the “crunch” simply involves taking or spending tokens when you perform certain actions or narrate certain things happening. It’s based on‘s Keep it Sunny game, which made a huge impact on me. It really opened my eyes about how mechanics, even simple ones, can encourage a certain style of play in an attempt to emulate a specific character. This was before I had encountered either Fate or Cortex Plus and I think it was also the first GM-less game I read as well.
I’m not entirely sure what made me think of using the Keep it Sunny rules for a Steven Universe game. Maybe it was because the Crystal Gems have flaws that cause drama and drive narrative (though the Gems are generally good people, unlike the It’s Aways Sunny in Philadelphia gang). I’m not really interested in making it more complex, and if you only like tactical combat games I highly doubt you’ll like Keep It Weird, Beach City. Still, I’m interested in hearing any and all constructive criticism or critiques. I would love actual playtest feedback (you’ll need three to six players, some tokens, and the files below), but read-thru feedback is also appreciated.
Note: There are potential spoilers for seasons 2, 3, and 4 of Steven Universe here. So if that matters to you, you might want to avoid looking at these.
You can grab the files for the most recent version of the game by clicking on the image below. They’re meant to be printed out (they’re three sheets of letter-sized paper), cut up, and folded into double-sided cards. The cards are the same size as other typical CCG cards, 63mm x 88mm, and so can fit into those clear card sleeves. You’ll also need about 20 tokens (coins, buttons, dice, those clear glass beads, whatever) and two to five friends to play with. If you do play, or even if you just read the cards, I’d love feedback.