Brownie Battles: Appropriation + Mechanics = Microgame

by | Feb 9, 2015 | Artwork #2: Appropriate, Projects

The following is a link to a Google Doc of Brownie Battles, a dice and roleplaying-based microgame relying on giving “stats” to everyday household objects.

Brownie Battles


Artist’s Statement

In creating this microgame, I wanted to think not only about mechanics, but about what it means to “appropriate” something. A dictionary definition reads as, “the action of taking something for one’s own use, typically without the owner’s permission.” The important part here is that one is taking something for their own use, in this case, play.

When thinking about how to make a game out of appropriated objects, I considered the intrinsic meaning of those objects to be a key design piece. We all give meaning to small items around us, whether this is simply “like” or “dislike,” or something as large as, “the most cherished item I have from my relative.” When appropriating something, you’re stripping it of that meaning, and so that left me with a question: what is the meaning now?

To answer this question, I decided to make a game about giving new meaning (through mechanics) to an appropriated item. Brownie Battles derives combat statistics and abilities from these appropriated items, thus giving players a new way to look at items they may have around. No longer is a small cup just a useful tool to have around the house; now it’s the purview of a smart, aloof house sprite wielding a sword and shield. This addition of meaning to appropriated items drives Brownie Battles, and I hope you enjoy playing it.