Games, Poorly Explained (Story Mode)

Ok. This came up. I see there’s already a “seven words or less” version that @Chewy77 dug up, but the prompting conversation was headed in a different direction. The seven words game is really about reductio ad absurdum and distilling a concept until it is barely recognizable. Here we were talking about how games tell stories. And we (or I) thought it would be fun to tell those stories and work backwards to the game.

Stories could come from:

  • The concept of a game
  • Session reports or things that happened
  • Gaps in the spaces between theme and mechanics where the imagination can fill it in (e.g., filling an enclosure in New York Zoo lets you empty it of animals…and as a reward you can place a hot dog stand…read between the lines)

Let’s see if story mode is any fun?


  1. So we basically get a bunch of cowboys horsemen. And they sit and stare at your cowboys horsemen until they are very uncomfortable. If I have more cowboys horsemen, I win. But the king hates this and you are in big trouble if he catches you bringing your dudes to stare down other dudes. So you have to bring all your cowboys horsemen when he’s not looking.

(edited to correct a longheld mistranslation between languages in my headcanon. It’s better as cowboys.)

answer from @Chewy77

Yep, El Grande. For some reason I’ve always thought Caballero translated to cowboy. Houseboy, cowboy, seemed credible. And I always delighted that everyone was casually called a cowboy. But that was wrong.

Caballero, it seems, is more “gentleman” which makes more sense but is less delightful. Still interesting how in English being a “gentleman” requires you to own land, while in Spanish you have to own a horse. Linguistic window I to cultural priorities.

  1. I conquered some genetic variants and put them to work mining an asteroid field. Until I found out there was more money in selling them for their genes. So… pretty much did that, then, for the rest of the night.
Answered by @Benkyo


We rarely stop to think that the Uplift are not having a good time in this race.

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2 sounds like race for the galaxy, or some offshoot from it (I doubt two planets would get you far in race, so maybe new frontiers?)

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I have a hunch 2 is Terraforming Mars or one of its expansions, somehow…

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Is number 1 El Grande?

  1. The game’s not over until @Lordof1 has flown into a star. (Easy but true.)

  2. So we were going through the house, being all methodical, then this dog showed up and dragged everyone out, game over.


4 is Flash Point


Yup, how a competitive player can still have fun in a cooperative game. (Being fair the rest of us enjoyed it too.)

Xia: Legends of a Drift in to the Heart of a Star?


Preferably from a blind jump

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I’ll put it in line as well but yes to both @Benkyoand @Chewy77

I think this is almost verbatim, upon finishing a game:

  1. “You did all the work, at this point it’s basically all forest except for my spooky corner over here. And even some of that is forest.”

Terra mystica?

Good guess, but not Terra Mystica.

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6- You half-ass build cities and fields in the Middle Ages, in the end nothing makes sense but the points you score.

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Castles of Burgundy?

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Could be Terraforming Mars if not for the spooky part …

Dorf romantik?


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Not Terraforming Mars; the “you did all the work” might give some clue as to the type of game.