Posted By Lankira on June 2, 2012
In order to fully understand Level 7, one of the terms that needs to be defined is “transmedia”. Transmedia is, in its most basic form, multiple media types being used to tell a single story. In the case of Level 7, so far, we, L&L attendees have seen a few types of media, but more may come. The goal is to have all of the forms of media, including games and films, come together to give the viewer/player the full story and experience.
Level 7 itself deals with modern UFO mythology and government conspiracies. Matt Wilson stated in the seminar that part of his goal with the original feature film script (more on that momentarily) for Level 7 was to give additional motivation to the aliens. Why are they here? Beyond, of course, the simple, one-dimensional explanations from existing mythologies: water, brains, kill us because they can, etc. So far, to tell this story, we have the text-based document from pages 10 and 11 in No Quarter 42, a short film (which was politely requested not be spoiled, as it will be available in a little over a week online), and a website that includes an audio interview.
The Level 7 concept started with a feature film script that Mr. Wilson is currently trying to get made (he said that he hopes it will get made, but is realistic that it is more than likely not to). He handed off the script and a world bible (basically, a big document about the setting that all properties in the same family should follow) to Oz. After figuring out what experience they wanted to give to players, Oz set about creating the game, Level 7 [Escape].
Level 7 [Escape] is a semi-cooperative survival horror game. What this means to players is that they may work together to achieve the goals of the game or may throw one another under the bus in a self-serving kind of way. The game is played with a board, cards, and standees (no minis, to help keep cost and price point down). The board itself is made up of tiles in a classic tile-placement kind of way, but with an addition. Rather than the tiles being connected only by doorways, the tiles may be also connected by ductwork. Some enemies rather prefer moving by duct, so a well-laid tile could both provide an exit and lead to impending doom, working towards a player’s advantage and disadvantage simultaneously.
There are two resources that player must control. The first is a fear track, which can help determine how physically or mentally adept a character is at any given time. The more scared a character is, the easier it is to do physical tasks, such as fighting, but, there are times that a character would rather be perform a mental task, such as unlocking a door. In addition to fear, players also have skill cards that may adjust stats, including tuning the fear track.
A GM does not control the “AI” in the game, and instead the enemies will target players based on threat rather than the GM’s preference. This allows for actions including “kiting” enemies into other players. Additional cards, called adrenaline cards, allow players to dump threat or fear onto one another. The enemies are both human and alien, and the game is designed in such a way that the player may exploit the interactions between the two types of enemies in order to survive.
In addition to the overall goal of escaping, Level 7 [Escape] offers seven scenarios that change the style of game play and requirements to escape. Each scenario offers a chance to experience a different part of the portion of the story told by this game. Each scenario is also built to allow for maximum replay value with event cards that may come into play at different times and the difference of play styles between groups of players.
When players finally get the chance to purchase Level 7 [Escape] this fall, they can expect to find 44 standard tiles, 2 special tiles, 27 standees, and about 100 cards of varying types packed into a 12×12 box. Look for more information here as the weekend goes on and the release date gets closer.