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Author Topic: [Carry] Burdens  (Read 2966 times)
Nathan P.
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« on: August 09, 2005, 02:37:31 PM »

Carry was my Iron Game Chef 2005 entry. You can see the .pdf here and the first playtest thread here. I'm responding to some comments from that thread on this one.

First, Doug Ruff gave me some great feedback (thanks Doug!):

Quote
1) I really think that there needs to be more focus on establishing what is driving the NPC members of the platoon. Because the players are going to be the last members alive, they should literally be "carrying" the unfinished business of the NPCs with them as they progress through the game. For example, one of the dead soldiers has a girlfriend he wanted to propose to, l but didn't get round to asking her before he left home; who's going to tell her? I think that defining and playing out what drives each of the squad is key to running this game successfully. You don't have to agree with this, but if you don't, my comments are going to be a lot less helpful to you than intended.

I want to focus on this first, because it's spot on. Let's call the unfinished business and such "burdens" for now. My first thought is having perma-dice that you don't give away for conflicts, that are linked to each soldiers burden. One thought is that players can frame conflicts in order to earn or take on the non-played characters burdens. Another is that a result of Action scenes is to take on the burden of a dying soldier. A fairly straightforward rule would be that you can't roll your burden dice in a conflict unless you bring in that soldiers burden. Perhaps you can only use burden dice to push, or maybe even only if you have no normal dice in your pool.

One problem is that perma-dice complicate the base system by essentially creating two pools of dice for each player to keep an eye on. Another is that building a pool of 4 or 5 perma-dice makes Profile transitioning mechanically pointless. Though you could be restricted to only using one burden dice per conflict, or something like that.

More stuff to talk about, for sure. But are there any thoughts on this, so far?   
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Nathan P.
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My Games | ndp design
Also | carry. a game about war.
I think Design Matters
xenopulse
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« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2005, 09:18:45 AM »

Nathan,

First, I am having trouble understanding endgame; in the example, only one soldier survives, but that's not necessarily the case, right? They could all just get along? There seems to be no requirement that they are inflicting anything on each other.

When you wrote in the beginning that the endgame would "determine their fate," I figured that we'd find out whether they survive the war in the long run, whethe rthey turn psychotic, whether they manage to reintegrate into society when they get home, etc. That would be infinitely more interesting to me, personally, than a last group conflict where people may or may not shoot each other.

I also agree with Doug on the burdens, as they give the characters something to care about. But they are still burdens... in your suggestion, they seem to become motivations to overcome, not things that drag them down. But if you want them as motivations, I don't think making them permanent is a good idea, for the reason you mentioned. If that's what drives them, it's what keeps them alive. The player characters stay alive anyway, until endgame; so they should probably only figure into endgame, not conflicts against other players.

My humble suggestion, therefore, would be to figure out at endgame whatever became of the characters and their burdens. Maybe players can take on burdens either as something that allows them to push on but makes them more scarred (less likely to integrate into society), or they hold on to them as part of their humanity, but that might make them more likely to get killed.

Of course, I don't want to take over your game :) So if you leave the endgame as that final scene as it is, I'd just suggest saving up the burdens until that moment. Maybe players can bid for them at the time an NPC dies; thereby they spend a die then, but if they win, they gain a larger one for the endgame.
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Nathan P.
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« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2005, 08:19:21 AM »

Hey Christian,

Good stuff. I see what you're saying about endgame, and it's definitely the most up in the air part of the game.

Mmm, I like what you're saying about burdens dragging them down - heres an idea. Burdens have a negative effect during the main game, but a correspondingly good one during endgame. Maybe burdens correspond to Profiles, and having burdens in a Profile make it more difficult to transition out of it (though that would mean I need to retweak how Profile transition works). Or for each Burden the players have, the GM gets an extra dice. In endgame, each Burden gives you an extra dice of some kind.

I think actually acquiring Burdens is going to have be a conscious choice, and if multiple players want a Burden then they'll have to have a Conflict about it.
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Nathan P.
--
Find Annalise
---
My Games | ndp design
Also | carry. a game about war.
I think Design Matters
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