Wednesday, June 29, 2005

[RPG] Last Night's Game

While central.rpg.net continues to go crazy, I thought I'd post about the play test last night. I had a lot of fun, was pleased Wayne grasped the rules better than I did and have made a lot of notes for rules changes. What about you? What did you think?

*Jenni, I just saw your comment in the post below. Rock!

3 comments:

Svend said...

I enjoyed the game we played, but I'm not sure it was the game you wrote.

For example, the way that people found it difficult to keep track of who had what role, with people who were meant to be the Knock jumping in with narration, for example. This was especially noticable with the Family Scene segments, where people seemed to have problems working out who the Knock should be applied to. Maybe you need to have something for the Knock and the main PC to hold or something?

We got the hang on the success/failure thing relatively quickly, but there were some things that seemed peculiar - like, if a Family Scene meant that other PC gets the roll and to advance or retreat on their track, how come the Knock is directed at the main PC? Maybe the only problem is that I'm expecting the success/failure track to reflect the character's situation, whereas the causality could just as well go the other way, or not really be linked at all. Let me see if I can explain - if a Knock roll advances me on the Success track, then I'd assume my character should have just had something happen that moves them closer to their goal (or further away from the goal, if I'm advancing on the Failure track). But as we played it, this wasn't the case for Family Scenes - since the Knock was focused on the primary PC, but was successful or not based on the "guest" PC (and advantaged or disadvantaged the guest PC), I didn't have a good feel for what the mechanics were trying to represent here, if anything.

The Level 6 problem seems like it can't be achieved. Assume there are five players, a scene takes five minutes, and person in question rolls a six each time - it'll take a bit over two and a half hours play for the level 6 goal to be achieved, without family scenes. Even if they get to guest in family scenes for every scene after the first round (meaning that no-one else gets to advance at all, as well as assuming five-minute scenes and always rolling well), it's still going to take 55 minutes. Whether or not this is something that needs fixing depends on your design goals.

It's mildly interesting that there's basically little or no skill involved in the mechanics - once the level of challenge is selected, there's nothing much that the player can do to influence whether they successfully meet their challenge. (I don't think that the "give your chance to roll to someone else and get +1 for your next roll" really counts as a tactically interesting choice; if the +1 is important, you probably can't afford to pass on the chance to roll.)

Hmm... is the motivation to play interestingly and well that this will encourage people to have scenes with you, and thus give you more chances to roll? And you could argue that players are motivated to present the Knock with lots of opportunities, since more scenes -> more chances to roll. No, wait, maybe chasing after success is the wrong game to play, since whether you succeed or fail is no more skill-based than snakes & ladders...

Do you have any design notes on the game?

hix said...

Hey dude, my hands are pretty tired at the moment so I'll just deal with a little bit of what you wrote and respond to the rest later ...

I think the issue of tactical choice starts to become more relevant in the second game you play. That's when you can start to apply any bonuses you earned to the dice rolls. Also, you can have more than one family scene for your character, so you can stack bonuses for a single critical roll.

As for the unachievability of 6s ... the Knock is entirely responsible for pacing. I think part of the challenge of the game is realising that, and realising that if you don't keep the scenes flowing rapidly then you're going to run out of time. Sort of an 'everybody's got to work together to keep the momentum up' thing.

I'll write more later (and don't let that stop anyone else commenting) but I did love how naturally you achieved your Want: "To be a spaceman."

hix said...

1 other thing:

Family scenes need to operate differently. I hinted at that last night (and I'll expand on it later) but the role of the Knock needs to be different here, just moving the scene along rather than providing a set of options.