Tell us a little bit about your game. What is it about? What will the players be doing?
Gerrit: Atitlan Riders is a tuk fast tuk furious coming-of-age Powered by the Apocalypse (PbtA) game located in one of the largest indigenous communities of Central America.
Players will explore the transition of young people into adulthood in Santiago Atitlan, a Mayan rural town in Guatemala. Expressing individuality isn’t easy in day-to-day life. But all characters are secretly tuk tuk racing drivers and their tuk tuk (three wheeled taxis) expresses many things for them: love, passion, rebellion, faith, friendship.
In contrast to other PbtA games, Atitlan Riders is not built on a well-known genre and its tropes. Instead, it relies on the global understanding of growing-up and it's rooted in its unique setting.
What are some of the major design goals of this game?
I'm not from Santiago Atitlan but from Germany. But I have been living in Santiago now for two years and the original design goal for me was to reflect on the my experiences. How is growing up different there? How is it similar? But moreover, I want to design a game with a take on family and friendship through the lens of a racing game as in films like the Fast & Furious franchise. Playing this game shall bring the emotions of coming of age literature together with releasing tension through seriously fun racing action.
The setting shall allow players to learn about the place and its people and become curious abou a different world than theirs.
What mechanics do you currently have in the game that reinforce your design goals?
An integral part of character creation is drawing the front of your tuk tuk. This way you inform your fellow players who you are or who you want to be. Whatever happens in play, you can show it on your tuk tuk.
In play, major conflicts are solved through tuk tuk racing. This is a moment of magical realism. You don't want your brother to report to the police? You want to win somebody's heart? Let's have a race. The race is a mini story game focusing on racing fun. A variant in German, English and Spanish exists to play it standalone.
Your longer character goal is to strive to live an independent life and realize your dreams. For that, you need to free yourself from manipulative influence others have over you and you over them. This is the main currency which can only be resolved through scenes of personal intimacy in which both involved parties let the other go.
Setting creation guides players through a process of getting familiar with the town of Santiago Atitlan while still having an influence on where the story goes.
Where are you at in the development cycle?
The game exists in a playable and complete edition but keeping the most exciting elements less explored than in the current design state. That edition has been playtested at Metatopia and on the Gauntlet Hangouts calendar. The current design state is to test some of the more innovative elements one by one and then bring another round of playtests to the next version in Autumn.
Finish the sentence: “People are going to be excited about this game because…”
...drawing, racing and growing-up is a globally valid combination of fun, and Atitlan Riders provides a unique setting outside of the Western Hemisphere and TV tropes.
Reference Sheets (Basic Moves, playbooks etc):
Online Character Keeper:
(also contains links to tuk tuk front creation and racing template)
Tuk tuk racing stand alone game:
Tuk tuk racing stand alone game (Spanish version):
Interview by Rach Shelkey from the +1Forward podcast
A tuk tuk race from one of the online playtests: