GM creates narrative and presents challenges. Players overcome challenges and help shape narrative. Shuffle a poker deck. Reshuffle as needed. Players choose rank (and draw hand size): Captain, 5 Commander, 4 Lieutenant Commander, 3 Lieutenant, 2 And department: Command Science Medical Engineering Security To overcome challenges, players play cards and combine values. Redraw rank value when cardless. (Keep hands secret.) GM presents a challenge. Together, choose characters being challenged. Reveal one seed card from the deck (two if one character is challenged alone). Challenged players, in whatever order, narrate their action (use technobabble!), and must add one card, attempting to total 17-21 (like blackjack: aces are 1 or 11; face cards 10s). Narratively, consider black cards as “and...”; reds as “but...” 21? Direct hit! (Or whatever’s dramatic...) <17 or >21 fails! Another challenge escalates, and GM’s choice: a character’s injured (hand size -1; discard immediately), or system’s damaged. When systems (shields, weapons, engines, etc.) take damage, one player plays a card to its total. If >21, it’s destroyed. Healing/repairing is a challenge; remove one damage or injury. When challenges factor in departmental expertise, players may replace any played card (even the GM’s) with one of theirs of matching suit.
[TECH] is the result of a TNG bender and perusing many online discussions about how technobabble could be used in games. My goal was to tie the use of action narration to the resolution mechanic in a way that demands creativity and some tactical thinking. I think this concept is great for Star Trek, where everyone states what they’re doing before or as they’re doing it, but could easily cross into other genres as well.