Master Mines

We’re digging RPGs

Seiyuu: The Big Three

Crossposted from Ready, Fire, Aim!

What is your game about?

Seiyuu is about anime – Japanese animation – where the players take on the role of seiyuu or voice actors. Each player speaks for one main character and possibly additional supporting characters, as those characters journey through the story of the movie, OAV (Original Animated Video), or full anime series defined during the first session.

What do the characters do?

The characters strive to resolve their issues – goals, motivations, or other factors that drive them through the story – as well as attempt to answer the central question of the show, the premise. Successful characters are likely to gain the closure they desire for their issues, as well as possibly reach a happy (for them, at least) ending.

What do the players do?

Each player controls the action of one main character and may control the actions of supporting characters over the course of play. Each player is striving not only to resolve their main character’s issues satisfactorily but also control who gets the final word on that resolution. Equally, players are trying to resolve the premise of the show, as a group, and define its resolution, as individuals.

These may sound a bit lame, and that’s to be expected – the Big Three are harder to answer for a generic game than a specific one. (I’d love to read Matt Wilson’s answers for Primetime Adventures, the single biggest influence on Seiyuu.) However, I feel pretty good about the grasp I have of what I’m trying to accomplish, as will hopefully become apparent in upcoming posts.

Please feel free to criticize or deconstruct my answers or ask follow-up questions.


April 6, 2008 - Posted by | Seiyuu


  1. Is this GM-less?

    Comment by orklord | April 6, 2008 | Reply

  2. Maybe. 🙂

    Originally, there was a producer, with all others being seiyuu. Now, it’s looking a lot more likely it can be GM-less. So my answers to the Big Three are deliberately vague on this point.

    Comment by Matthew Gandy | April 6, 2008 | Reply

  3. It may not necessarily be a distinction you have to make. I think it’s easily within the realm of posibilities to have a game that has both.

    Comment by iamclyde | April 6, 2008 | Reply

  4. Clyde, I will try it both ways. It’s also possible that I will publish it with both options. I suspect it will be playable GM-less by folks used to being GMs, but I don’t want to mandate that if it doesn’t work flawless without a GM.

    Comment by Matthew Gandy | April 7, 2008 | Reply

  5. Crossposted question and answer from Ready, Fire, Aim!:

    Darren asked:
    Follow-up questions:

    What does your game do differently/better than other games of the same genre? In other words, why should I play Seiyuu instead of BESM, Tenra Bansho Zero (once it’s been completely translated and published)?


    What is you killer ap?


    I replied:
    BESM is just another trad game that adds anime trappings – it can be played without anime flavor, in the same way that Exalted can. It applies the anime trappings to the exterior of an existing mechanical system – it’s window dressing.

    Tenra is much closer to an anime game, but it has a very specific setting and its mechanics would extrapolate to other settings and genres less well.

    Seiyuu bakes the anime into the game from the start – with series and character creation. Series creation involves a bunch of group choices from anime-specific genres and setting elements, which then suggest what sorts of characters are necessary for such a story. Ultimately, anime is a medium, not a genre itself, so it shouldn’t be limited, but enough anime plays towards certain audience expectations that those expectations can be chosen as drivers for Seiyuu play.

    Currently, the killer app is character creation. The group decides on all the necessary characters for the show, each character has two of ten facets (like Fate’s Aspects) detailed by two different players, then players actually choose which character to play, and the rest of the character’s facets are determined during play.

    Comment by Matthew Gandy | April 7, 2008 | Reply

  6. BTW, when I first sat down to write Neoborn, I wanted a game that was in many ways very similar to what Matt is doing with Seiyuu.

    Then I played Seiyuu.

    Then I changed my plans for Neoborn.

    Matt, I’m glad you’re on board.

    Comment by commondialog | April 7, 2008 | Reply

  7. Actually, I have a similar vibe as Daniel, only from a different angle: Let’s say I want to play an anime game. What does Seiyuu do that I won’t get in playing PTA? You mentioned some of those tools above, but tell me what those tools will deliver for me that PTA’s tools won’t.

    Comment by Ryan Macklin | April 7, 2008 | Reply

  8. Anime-specific variation on PTA? Sure, I dig that. Out of all the games I could use for an anime themed game, PTA as is would be my last choice. But then, something kind of like PTA, but geared specifically towards anime sounds much more like it.

    I’m waiting till you have something more concrete.

    Comment by Filip | April 7, 2008 | Reply

  9. Ryan, Seiyuu has a lot more specifics in regard to series and premise. In PTA, you just talk it out, and it’s been my experience that this can be the hardest part of PTA because the book gives you the least guidance. In Seiyuu, you have specific choices to make in terms of genre, setting, expectations, and other features. This gives everyone a much stronger common understanding of what they’re playing, and does it much faster, as you’re choosing from options (for the most part) rather than making things up.

    Filip, I would agree that PTA as-is isn’t very good for anime; it’s best for soap-operatic melodrama. I wanted to take PTA as a baseline and add more detail and rigor in order to make Seiyuu.

    Comment by Matthew Gandy | April 8, 2008 | Reply

  10. Matthew,
    Good answer, this intrigues me. I’m currently running a PTA game and see how this can be a problem, the “losseness” of it.

    Comment by orklord | April 8, 2008 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: