these questions were posed to Fraser Simons, Keeper of the Neon Veil (@frasersimons), about his in-development game Never Knows Best.
Tell us a little bit about your game. What is it about? What will the players be doing?
Never Knows Best is a Powered by the Apocalypse game where middle school kids transform into robots to combat their own inner turmoil while dealing with the pressures and problems that come with growing up. Its primary touchstone is an anime called FLCL, or Fooly Cooly.
What are some of the major design goals of this game?
The entirety of the fiction is meant to be an allegory for the confusion of adolescence, the imagination of kids, and the absurdity of the adult world. To bind the fiction together in a cohesive way there are two major themes continually reinforced. The town itself represents the adult world, while the players and their transformation to robots are used as the counterforce, or counter culture to this. The absurdism at play in the fiction as a result does the rest.
What mechanics do you currently have in the game that reinforce your design goals?
Town creation procedure has the players insert motifs representing the adult world which will reoccur throughout play; conversely the player characters insert their own motifs representing their ability to say “no” to what is expected of them. Additionally, the players' modifiers and rolls stem from Traits and Labels. In other words, they use the fictional positioning of their subjective view of themselves (Traits), as well as external views placed onto them by others (Labels), to be able to roll at all and define their modifier. In this way I hope that the system helps them roleplay their character and also helps the player define their player character by way of exploring their Labels; ultimately moving a Label to a permanent Trait when they advance if it makes sense for their character.
Where are you at in the development cycle?
I just finished the alpha document for the first playtest!
Finish the sentence: “People are going to be excited about this game because…”
… they will be able to play kids turning into badass robots that allow them to beat the snot out of their own inner demons and problems.