*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
March 27, 2017, 08:28:58 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4284 Members Latest Member: - Nicholas Mizer Most online today: 135 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: [Shab-al-Hiri Roach] Dark Goddess Regina  (Read 8387 times)
Jason Morningstar
Member

Posts: 1428


WWW
« on: December 22, 2005, 06:59:02 AM »

Another game of the Roach last night.  In case you were wondering, there was a wonderful conflict over who, among the 100% Roach-infested PCs, got to sacrifice Regina Sutton to the Dark Gods.  Would it be the off-kilter football coach and his death squad of mind-controlled tight ends?  The horribly burned Hindi mathematician?  The orientalist aesthete with the co-ed cultists?  She ended up ritually murdered, but that didn't stop her from finishing up the semester as some kind of undead priestess on the honor roll.  Then it got a little weird. 

We had three players familiar with the game, one experienced gamer (and college professor), and one guy who hasn't played anything but D&D, and that long, long ago.  I was very interested in his experience and interaction, and was pleasantly surprised.  He took to the free-wheeling style of play pretty well, although he struggled with involving his PC in other player's conflicts a bit.  His own conflicts were pretty cool, although inwardly oriented - over multiple events, he managed to get his Roached-up drama teacher to kill and replace the Chancellor, then lose his mind and try to turn Pemberton into a feudal kingdom straight out of Shakespeare's histories.  It was pretty funny. 

Anyway, I saw some mildly unsatisfying play emerge that seemed worth commenting on.  I am not sure if these are bugs or features, and it is a little late in the game to make massive rules changes, but it's interesting to think about.

First, one player (the sensualist Asia-phile with the adoring cult), through sheer luck, gained a commanding lead in Reputation that never faltered.  He started Roached, powered through, and drew a Roach card to shed the thing in the final Event, winning handily.  No one ever had a chance, even though we ganged up on him.  This was an unlikely turn of events, and thematically appropriate, but the game lacked the endgame uncertainty that is usually so fun.

Second, I experienced again the tooth-kicking that results from trying to stay Roach-free.  It just isn't a great option - again thematically appropriate, and I want the temptation to invite a Roach in to be there constantly, but in several games I've tried this strategy and it seems like a certain recipe for failure.  Bug or feature?  Hmm.

I'm testing the game with three 100% non-gamers tomorrow, so expect another Actual Play report on that soon.

--Jason
Logged

Clinton R. Nixon
Member

Posts: 2624


WWW
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2005, 07:49:28 AM »

Anyway, I saw some mildly unsatisfying play emerge that seemed worth commenting on.  I am not sure if these are bugs or features, and it is a little late in the game to make massive rules changes, but it's interesting to think about.

First, one player (the sensualist Asia-phile with the adoring cult), through sheer luck, gained a commanding lead in Reputation that never faltered.  He started Roached, powered through, and drew a Roach card to shed the thing in the final Event, winning handily.  No one ever had a chance, even though we ganged up on him.  This was an unlikely turn of events, and thematically appropriate, but the game lacked the endgame uncertainty that is usually so fun.

Second, I experienced again the tooth-kicking that results from trying to stay Roach-free.  It just isn't a great option - again thematically appropriate, and I want the temptation to invite a Roach in to be there constantly, but in several games I've tried this strategy and it seems like a certain recipe for failure.  Bug or feature?  Hmm.

Jason,

From my experience playing it, I've seen a few issues that tend to come up.

1) Flunkies. I pulled this one in both games of the Roach so far, and the Asia-phile did last night from the beginning. I think part of his commanding lead had to do with the fact he controlled an entire bevy of people from the beginning of the game. Now, this is great fun, and I think it should be encouraged, but perhaps it should be explicitly made the stakes of a conflict before a player's allowed to command NPCs? I dunno, though - that goes against a large part of the Roach's current design, so ignore if it doesn't make any sense.

2) Commanding leads and points. I really support rethinking bidding. My personal feeling is that you should have to risk at least half of your reputation on every scene that you start. Yes, this allows you to gain tremendous amounts of rep. It also forces you to risk losing it once you have it.

3) The getting your butt kicked for not getting Roached thing - I like it. When you finally pull through Roachless and winning, it'll feel even better.
Logged

Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Jason Morningstar
Member

Posts: 1428


WWW
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2005, 08:15:40 AM »

2) Commanding leads and points. I really support rethinking bidding. My personal feeling is that you should have to risk at least half of your reputation on every scene that you start. Yes, this allows you to gain tremendous amounts of rep. It also forces you to risk losing it once you have it.

Thanks for the feedback.  Bidding is problematic - Eric's pointed this out, too.  I'm open to suggestions for balancing gain with risk of loss to avoid:

--some dude with a huge lead from being stingy and shepherding his reputation, making it impossible to knock him down a peg
--somebody with nothing to lose betting a huge amount on a whim and unbalancing the game
--punishing people who play smart and aggressive, which in the Roach should equal fun

"On your Scene, you must bid half your Reputation" seems unbalanced.  Losing half is great, but gaining half again is problematic.  Think of Joel, our winning aesthete - he won, I think, 90% of the conflicts he was in, and all the ones he framed.  So this rule wouldn't fix a situation like that, if it even needs fixing. 

The current rule is "bid from 1-5 reputation in your scene" and was intended to keep reputations within a constrained range, really the opposite of your proposal.  It sort of works, but isn't perfect.  What about upping the minimum?  "bid 3-5, or all of it if you have less" or a fixed number (like 3)?  Those seem sorta boring.  Just thinking out loud. 

--Jason
Logged

Eric Provost
Member

Posts: 581


WWW
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2005, 08:29:54 AM »

It seems to me that it isn't getting yer ass handed to you that's an issue.  What is an issue is when you get your ass handed to you and you can't imagine any way to turn the tables.  Especially when you have that feeling early on in the game.

An idea just popped to mind.  And it's kinda drastic, which means it's probably way to late to implement, but I'll fire it at you anyway.  What if you don't want your reputation to be too high?  I propose; At the beginning of any Event where your Reputation exceeds X the Roach takes notice of you and inhabits you.  Period. 

So, let's say that you set X at 10.  If you begin any Event with 10 Rep or better then you start out Roached if you weren't already.  This would create a balancing act of sorts.  It would create some interesting stuff towards the 5th Event where players are actually trying to -shed- Rep to get under X for the beginning of the final Event.

-Eric
Logged

Jason Morningstar
Member

Posts: 1428


WWW
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2005, 09:13:54 AM »

Oh my God Eric, that's crazy.  In a good way.  It would add a huge level of tactical complexity to the game. I adore the idea of actively playing to lose conflicts, like throwing the cannons off a sinking ship.  Also could be worked into the theme just fine.  The key would be to peg the cut-off number perfectly - not too high, not too low.  You'd have to remove the "take the Roach any time" rule, I think - you'd have to draw it randomly or earn it by being a powerful bastard. 

Must consider.
Logged

Valamir
Member

Posts: 5574


WWW
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2005, 09:21:49 AM »

A variant on that idea that would probably be easier to implement but might not give you the game strategy you want is to simply say that at the end of the game the roach automatically inhabits the player with the highest rep...so you'd be essentially playing to come in second place on the rep scale.  The solution then to someone with a run away rep would be simply...let them go...they're losing.

That wouldn't necessarily help if you routinely had games with 2 or three runaway players (although there would be tensions between them)
Logged

Mark Woodhouse
Member

Posts: 121


WWW
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2005, 09:28:25 AM »

I'd hate to see the voluntary Roaching go away, though. In the game I played on Sunday, I was brutally de-reputationed in the first Event, left with 0. Taking on the Roach to get my revenge was SO much fun. I ended with 12 Rep, but Roached, at the end. It was totally worth it.

(AP coming. The Holidays ate my life.)
Logged
Jason Morningstar
Member

Posts: 1428


WWW
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2005, 09:59:08 AM »

Good ideas all around.  Mark, if I changed the rule to disallow voluntary Roaching, you'd just have to work like a craven dog to build up your Reputation until the Roach noticed you, which could also be fun.  Delayed gratification and all that.  But I see your point - it should be easy to submit to the Roach.  Bring on the actual play! 

Valamir, all the "winning" is sort of a polite fiction to spur innate competitiveness.  As written, highest Roach-free rep = game winner (bragging rights).  Highest overall rep, Roach or not = epilogue narrator.  I want multiple fun goals regardless of Roachy status.  So I'd have to change the win conditions somehow if highest reputation = Roach to make it unappealing.  Hmm.



Logged

Jason Morningstar
Member

Posts: 1428


WWW
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2005, 10:03:33 AM »

1) Flunkies. I pulled this one in both games of the Roach so far, and the Asia-phile did last night from the beginning. I think part of his commanding lead had to do with the fact he controlled an entire bevy of people from the beginning of the game.

Just a note on this, Clinton - I was totally OK with it, and I think we were weak not to oppose him more aggressively by introducing more and more NPCs and groups to get in his way.  He basically had a free D10 most of the time, which we could have countered by bringing in the cops, the campus newspaper, the disaffected ex-cheerleaders, concerned parents, etc until he called bullshit.  Entirely our fault. 
Logged

Clinton R. Nixon
Member

Posts: 2624


WWW
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2005, 10:05:05 AM »

Oh my God Eric, that's crazy.  In a good way.  It would add a huge level of tactical complexity to the game. I adore the idea of actively playing to lose conflicts, like throwing the cannons off a sinking ship.  Also could be worked into the theme just fine.  The key would be to peg the cut-off number perfectly - not too high, not too low.  You'd have to remove the "take the Roach any time" rule, I think - you'd have to draw it randomly or earn it by being a powerful bastard. 

Must consider.

Let's try this next week, guys! The Christmas holidays are a perfect time to throw down a 3 hour Roach game.
Logged

Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Myrmidon
Member

Posts: 19


« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2005, 11:16:56 AM »

Just encountered the game yesterday and really enjoying the concept.  One question - if Player A is controlled by the Roach, and Player B voluntarily allows the Roach to take control of him, is Player A no longer controlled?  Since the Roach is described as "living in your sinus cavity," can multiple people be controlled by the Roach at the same time?  Thanks.
Logged

Adam Flynn
Jason Morningstar
Member

Posts: 1428


WWW
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2005, 11:44:53 AM »

Hi Myrmidon,

The Roach has a posse.  Anybody and everybody can be controlled simultaneously, including (if your game goes that way) NPC's. 

--Jason
Logged

Valamir
Member

Posts: 5574


WWW
« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2005, 02:55:41 PM »

Valamir, all the "winning" is sort of a polite fiction to spur innate competitiveness.  As written, highest Roach-free rep = game winner (bragging rights).  Highest overall rep, Roach or not = epilogue narrator.  I want multiple fun goals regardless of Roachy status.  So I'd have to change the win conditions somehow if highest reputation = Roach to make it unappealing.  Hmm.


Would you really?  Seems to me that the only difference is that the "game winner" player would never be the same as the "epilogue narrator" player, since the epilogue narrator player (highest overall rep) would automatically have a roach and thus couldn't be the highest roach free rep.  Otherwise...wouldn't it work out just the same. 

You'd simply lose the situation where the same player would be both...at most maybe you reverse the two depending on whether bragging rights or narrating rights is perceived as "better".
Logged

Jason Morningstar
Member

Posts: 1428


WWW
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2005, 12:29:14 PM »

Sometimes I am slow.  Actually, Ralph, that's sort of elegant, because it guarantees the separation of those two "winners".  Usually in play they are different people, but not always - and when it is the same person, that's kind of a drag.
Logged

Clinton R. Nixon
Member

Posts: 2624


WWW
« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2005, 05:48:34 PM »

The only down side I can see to high rep = the Roach is the hope (and really, the fiction) that one can remain Roach-less and get the highest reputation. I think this hope might drive the game - I know it did for me the first time I played. For four acts, I tried my hardest to remain free of the Roach and still remain successful over the Roached professors. In the end, I failed, and I think you will almost always. But that false hope sure is fun.
Logged

Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Pages: [1]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!