One mechanic that is used in a lot of games, old and new, is the concept of imperfect information, that is, information that is concealed from the player either at the beginning of the game or any other time throughout gameplay. Taking away information from a player is an extremely good way to change how a player plays a game.
The game of Clue probably uses the concept of imperfect information perfectly. For those unfamiliar, the game is a classic “who-dunnit” game which pits players against each other in order to find out who murdered Mr. Boddy, the games murder victim. The players roam from room to room of a big mansion in order to scope out clues as to who committed the murder, where the murder took place, and with what weapon.
At the start of the game, all of that info is put in a classified file that is only revealed at the end of the game, after everybody has made their connections. The remaining cards that contain the different players, rooms, and weapons are distributed to players evenly. The players play the roles of the suspects, who will deduce and take notes on the different clues that they find. They can only make accusations in the rooms, not in the corridors, and the weapon in question is moved to their room. The other players can disprove the accusations because they may have a card that contains some of the information that the player poses. The point of all this madness, is that it pits the players against each other, to accuse each other of information in which they have no knowledge of.
A murder mystery like this one would be no fun if the player knew all of the information before the game even started. It would probably just end up with the other players cornering Mrs. Peacock in the Dining Room and killing her for killing Mr. Boddy. It would be a horrible mess of a game. Keeping the important murder information from the players keeps the game grounded and it in general makes it more fun and meaningful.
With that being said, lets relate this example of Clue with a Led Zeppelin concert. Now, your probably wondering how the heck these two things are even remotely related. However, when you really start to think about the possibilities that can arise from a mix of the two, you can see why this may be a good idea.
Lets go back in time to January 1975, back to a time where Led Zeppelin was performing at Chicago Stadium. It is a big night for them and the concert is going to be huge. Lots of people have bought their tickets and it looks like it is going to be a sold out concert. The atmosphere is going to be amazing. But, the big news surrounding the event is the sabotage that has taken place the day before the concert. It turns out that someone on the crew has destroyed all of the sound equipment for the show. This could end up being a disaster considering there is no point to a concert if there is no sound.
Can you see where I am getting at? This situation could be the background behind a new video game. The game will put the player in the position of a private detective that has been hired by Led Zeppelin to investigate the situation and quickly solve the mystery before the big night. The answer to the mystery will be withheld from the player as they go around talking to people backstage and around the stadium about the mystery.
You can interview people, asking them questions about where they were during the time of the destruction, or a plethora of other questions. The player can also snoop around for objects or specimens that could somehow be related to the mystery. This would continue up until the point of the concert.
By this time, the player would be asked for their accusation. They will have to give their insight as to who destroyed the equipment, where it was destroyed, and how. If the player gives the correct information, the sound equipment can be fixed and the concert will go on just as planned. But, if the player accuses the wrong person, the concert will be successfully sabotaged. And most likely the blame for the disaster would be put on the master detective, you. You don’t want a stadium’s worth of angry fans after you, that’s for sure.
Additionally, to improve the replay value of the game, the information can be changed up every time. Not only would this game provide the players a chance to go back in time to the golden age of Led Zeppelin, it would allow you to learn the history behind them and what went into making the Chicago Stadium concert a reality.
When you think about a game about going back in time to a Led Zeppelin concert, a game based of Clue is probably not what you expect. But the mechanics that make Clue work so well would make for an interesting game about Led Zeppelin, one that is totally unique from anything else out there.