I’m thinking about Medical Hospital again, specifically how to structure the sessions to milk as much fun out of the game as possible. I spent some time looking at how soap operas are organized and see some promise there. The plan now is to organize the game into arcs. Assuming a four-player game, a season arc consists of:
- One A-plot. The A-Plot lasts for four sessions, and each character has a scene related to it in each session. The A-Plot introduces a couple of NPCs. It is the arc’s basic framework and must be meaty and touch each character.
- Two B-Plots. Each B-Plot lasts for two sessions, and each character is involved in one B-Plot per arc. Each B-Plot introduces a single NPC. These can be lighter or in contrast to the A-Plot.
- Four character subplots. These are spotlight scenes for individual characters, designed to initiate or amplify A- and B-Plots. There is one per session, so each character gets one per arc. These are very broad scenes and can serve a variety of purposes.
- Sixteen surgical procedures, evenly divided between trauma and scheduled. Four per session appear on the surgical board and can be taken by anyone at any time. The assumption is one per player per session.
So every character gets:
- One A plot scene per session.
- One surgical procedure per session.
- Two B plot scenes per arc.
- One Character subplot per arc.
This means a session will include 11 scenes, four of which are tactile. I figure that’s about two hours of play, so if you have more time you can completely resolve a B-plot in an evening. You can expand or contract this formula for three or five player games easily. To author an arc, you need to write up a catchy A-Plot description, briefly outline a pair of B-plots, name the extras, and create titles for the character subplot scenes. You can choose procedures in advance (ideally tied to the plots) but it isn’t required.
Here’s an example. Let me know what you think.