The Mini System was my attempt to create a tabletop RPG that was friendly to newbies and brief in time scale. My buzzline during development was “an RPG that could be run in 30 minutes or less,” but it’s still going to take a few levels of development and iteration before it gets that parsed down, and I’m not certain that the game wouldn’t suffer for it.
My first draft of The Mini System had very little in the way of roleplay, and if there was roleplay it was divorced from the rules, given that character strength essentially boiled down to balanced probability. These were my two largest mistakes; a lack of in-game support for roleplay and clever tackling of the narrative, and a completely balanced always-succeed-half-the-time model. Ironically, to make the game “feel” more like a roleplaying game, I had to add complexity, in particular increased randomness and multiple variable modifiers, to the encounters to throw off the game’s balance. In addition, I turned my very undefined “Wild Die” mechanic into a very specific mechanic to incentivize incorporating aspects of the narrative into gameplay. This also required me to completely rewrite the sample narratives I had to feature one or more “subjects” that could be caught upon and manipulated by the players, to contextualize the roleplay mechanic.
I am happy with the state of roleplay in the Mini System currently, but the balance will obviously require continuous fine-tuning, and I am currently working on simplifying it even further and lessening the amount of dice involved to make it more accessible for the UV/UG show. I found that playtesting the game with my family and non-gaming friends has helped me cut down on gaming jargon, but it’s still a frequent barricade, so this will also be parsed down for the show.