Author Topic: [Cold Soldier] Grim, grey, great  (Read 1698 times)

Ron Edwards

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[Cold Soldier] Grim, grey, great
« on: July 20, 2012, 12:33:59 AM »
Without further ado, Cold Soldier.

I'm posting mainly to ask some questions for Bret. All of my play of the game so far was based on the original Ronnies entry, as described in [Cold Soldier]"Upon horror's head, horrors accumulate." and [Cold Soldier] "... every scheme of his heart's devising ..."; see also [Cold Soldier] The soldier who wouldn't. Its published form looks great and easily deals with all the concerns or questions we had in those threads.

Since I like to summarize and diagram RPG systems, I mapped out a turn in Cold Soldier as follows:

GM draws 3 cards - highest value sets the obstacle for the task
Player (me) draws 1 card

If the soldier does not resist, then I compare  my card to the obstacle
(optional) Memory - I put my card in my hole, draw new card
     the soldier succeeds in the task, END.
     or
          the soldier does not succeed in the task, END.
          Uses Weapon - I put the GM's obstacle card in the GM's hole; the soldier succeeds in the task, END.

If the soldier resists, then I ignore the drawn card and discard a card from my hole which must be high enough to defeat the obstacle
The soldier resists; whether the tasks succeeds or fails is up to me, END.

I only have a few questions, written from the perspective of slightly game-the-system reading. In each case, my interpretation is positive, i.e, I'm not pointing out flaws, but rather hoping that my understanding is correct.

1. I decide whether to resist right off the bat, right? Corresponding to the most direct moment of accomplishing the Dark Master's command, and also to the moment the GM lays out the cards. What I'm really asking is whether I can switch over to resisting well after I'm embarked on, but have not yet finished, the "ordinary" resolution sequence.

2. Based on the sequence above and asssuming I'm right about #1, I don't get to add to my memories if I resist the command - I have to have a card in play to do that, and resisting the command doesn't replace the card in play, rather, the hole card is simply discarded. Is that right, i.e., I'm asking whether I can do the Memory step in the same sequence in which I resist the command, and I'm pretty sure I can't.

3. I can't use the Weapon for no gain, right? That is, if more than one of the GM's cards beats my card, I can't use the Weapon. I recognize that doing so in that case would be tactically stupid anyway, but the point is that I'm reading the rules to mean that I only use your Weapon to succeed.

4. In a mirror-image to #3, am I correct in saying that I can only use the Weapon once in a scene? So if the GM has two cards higher than mine, I can't buzz the Weapon twice and knock both cards into the GM's hole.

5. Am I right in thinking that I can choose to gain a Memory (and replace my card) no matter what the relative values of the two opposing cards are?

I'm looking forward to playing again as soon as possible.

Anyone else who's played the game, or for anyone who has any questions about it at all, go ahead and post too.

Best, Ron

P.S. Here's the image I typically use in my handout for the game. I'd provide the handout but its final form is pending the clarifications I get here.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2012, 12:36:16 AM by Ron Edwards »

Bret Gillan

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Re: [Cold Soldier] Grim, grey, great
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2012, 12:32:12 PM »
Hi Ron,

I'll answer each of your questions in turn. I'm sure you'll let me know if I create any confusion or I'm unclear.

  • The decision to resist happens at the moment when you choose to play a card and compare it to the dark master's obstacle. If you play from your hand you pursue the task, if you play from your hole you resist. You may introduce a Memory or use your Weapon prior to resisting.
  • The soldier and dark master's cards are considered in play once drawn, so once cards are dealt for both sides they are in play. This means that once we go to the cards for a task you may introduce a Memory, use your Weapon, resist, or resolve the task. Introducing a Memory and using your Weapon are optional, and resisting or resolving end the scene. You may introduce a Memory taking the card in play, use your Weapon to knock out one of the dark master's cards, and then resist using the card in your hand even if it was the card taken in that same scene.
  • This is as you say. You could technically use your Weapon when it would not cause you to succeed but there would be no point and it would be disadvantageous.
  • The Weapon may only be used once per scene, and in later sessions should you have multiple weapons you may still only use one Weapon once.
  • This is also correct. Whether the current card in play is greater or less than the obstacle you may still replace it.

Ron Edwards

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Re: [Cold Soldier] Grim, grey, great
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2012, 12:05:06 PM »
Thanks Bret. That shows me I had one thing wrong: the soldier's capacity to resist is retained throughout the process, all the way up to any time the player says, "OK, these are the final two cards to compare." So if I'm playing the soldier, I could (for instance) have him/her/it obey the command, see that my card doesn't beat the obstacle, get a memory, and use my weapon - so the soldier is about to succeed in the task in this case ... and at the last second, say, "No, I resist," relegating all my cards in play so far to the discard along with my hole card, and resisting.

To be absolutely sure, is that right? I have everything else in place now, this is the only question remaining.

If that is right, then it does raise the tricky question of when and how resistance ceases to make sense - if I've already gone to extraordinary lengths to obey the command, then at least conceivably, resistance becomes moot even when it's mechanically possible. But that is very much a fear talking, not born of real play, because we always set "resist or not" at the outset of the player's response to the command. What do you think based on your experiences?

Best, Ron

Bret Gillan

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Re: [Cold Soldier] Grim, grey, great
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2012, 01:39:19 PM »
Ron,

You are correct. Technically nothing is set until the moment when cards are compared and at that point a commitment is made to resist or obey.

I have not seen any situations arise where the soldier has fictionally rendered the decision to resist or not moot, and cannot think of any. The Weapon can be used in pursuit of the command, the Memory can put a new light or perspective on the situation, and then at the key moment the soldier resists. Or, the player at the outset decides that the soldier will resist and the use of the Memory and the Weapon demonstrate the sort of inner thrashing of the soldier's unwillingness to obey the command prior to the final outcome. I'd be interested in hypotheticals, though, where this breaks down.

Here is the flow of the scene as I see it.

- The task is given. Cards are drawn.
- There is a back and forth of player and GM regarding the circumstances. I think this is called "free and clear" in some other games.
- Either Memory or Weapon or both are invoked by the player, usually in pursuit of either the task itself or resistance of the task. A Memory may be used to introduce reasons why the soldier resists, or strengthen the soldier's motivations. The Weapon may be used to open up outcomes that run counter to the dark master's task (claws that can cut through anything are used to create an escape path for an intended target, etc.).
- Cards are compared, and based on which of the three outcomes are accomplished the GM narrates accordingly to find the soldier's or dark master's desires thwarted, or both.