What’s interesting about Harbor so far is the idea of a “conflict resolution / fallout” system that is present but should only be usable once – at most – during the game. Gameplay is balanced about the threat of incurring fallout and the desire to avoid it. It should be a core component of the game. Here’s just the relevant bit of that, with the specifics filtered out.
Your father came here from the old country and used his old connections to create a prosperous shipping company. You return after a long absense to find that your people’s way of life is beset at all sides by dangers. The harbor is in peril.
The game is for two players. One player (“player”) portrays the character returing to the harbor after an absence; the other represents everyone else (“GM”).
GAMEPLAY: MOVING TOWARDS ENDGAME
Once every Threat has left the game board, proceed to endgame. It is possible that all threats will be voluntarily removed from the board, and both parties should consider this outcome.
However, it is possible that the player or GM will call of a Resolution of Conflicts. This will drive the game definitely towards the end.
GAMEPLAY: RESOLUTION OF CONFLICTS
This stage is more limited. Each round proceeds as follows:
1. The GM selects a Threat and sets a scene with those NPCs who would be working towards achieving this threat, as well as other NPCs who would be present otherwise. The player is probably present, or may be acting through other NPCs and proxies.
2. The GM will either choose to (a) abandon on the Threat or (b) attempt to achieve it.
3. In response to (b), the player may either choose to step aside and let it come to pass, or she may reveal the cards she has bid against it and inflict fallout. This will block the Threat from occurring. See the “Fallout” section below to see how that is narrated
4. If the Threat was blocked or abandoned, the player narrates what comes to pass. If it is achieved, the GM narrates the outcome. In either case, the Threat is removed from the board.
5. Repeat these steps until all Threats are gone from the board.
The suits determine how success can occur. If the suit appears, then this method must have been involved in your success.
* Hearts: an appeal to guilt, love, shame or loyalty.
* Diamonds: an appeal to self-interest or greed.
* Spades: the threat of violence or legal action.
* Clubs: the use of actual violence; actual physical harm occcurs.
The player narrates how the action took place.
The highest card of each suit determines the kind of fallout that occurs as a result
* [low] 2-4: They give in, your actions work against you in other ways. The GM will select a different Threat and remove a card that you bid against it.
* [medium] 5-10: They buckle to your show of force and suffer personally.
* [high] JQKA: They leave the game, either through exile, death, imprisonment or some other fate.
* If there are any paired cards, an additional character receives the highest level of fallout.
* If the highest level of fallout occurred, the GM may introduce an immediate followup threat if appropriate.
The GM narrates the above.