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Author Topic: [Cranium Rats]Personality Makeup, Boardgame Feel and other Questions.  (Read 12123 times)
Thunder_God
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« on: March 23, 2006, 09:51:21 AM »

I'm currently working on an RPG(if it can be called that) with a primary Gamist feel and seconday Narrativist feel; Sim is thrown right out of the window.

In the game players play the three Aspects that together make up a "person": Rat, Dirt and Water. The actual character doesn't exist except as a platform for the three Aspects. Now, that sounds highly esoteric, does it also sound like it may be enjoyable? It takes the weird format presented in Polaris and cranks up the metagame weirdness.

The game feel I'm working for is that of Unknown Armies on the in-game level and very much Munchkin or Settlers of Cattan on the Game level. Players are expected and rewarded when they work against one another, there is only one "Winner"(and the character loses) possible except in extremely rare cases of a tie(and character win).

I'd love if you'd comment on one of the above two questions or anything else at all regarding the game. What is written and written about the game thus far can be read here and here. Came here after realizing that's the best shot I have at generating responses. The beta is being written but I want some feedback on the alpha prior.
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Guy Shalev.

Cranium Rats Central, looking for playtesters for my various games.
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MatrixGamer
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« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2006, 12:46:55 PM »

I'm not certain what your questions are but I looked over your rules. So all the players are different parts of one character's brain? That's a nice twist. I've seen it before  (A Call of Cthulhu GenCon game, and a psychology education game I use in therapy) but not as the center piece of a rules set. What are the end victory conditions?

Looks like the players are out to get the character into deep trouble. "Let's see what you make of THIS!"

You are using the conflict resolution idea in the way I've seen it used on the Forge - but I'm not certain what the game is about. Is it just to get "Paul" in trouble, or dead?

Chris Engle
Hamster Press = Engle Matrix Games
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Chris Engle
Hamster Press = Engle Matrix Games
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Thunder_God
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« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2006, 01:39:51 PM »

It's a little bit more complex. Someone asked on RPG.Net "So what do I do with the game?", the answer was that the character action and world should be much like a Guy Ritchie film or an Unknown Armies session.

Each player plays all three Aspects, across three characters. These three Aspects make up a character, each Aspect has a certain pull and desires, out of the person it inhabits/makes up, out of a reality which is malleable to a certain degree(and semi solipsist). The character wants Enlightenment, which is in direct contrast with what the Aspects want.

The Aspects aren't there to put the character into trouble, they're there to further their control over him. The Aspects certainly don't want the character dead, dead they lose their power, they cease to be; imagine someone taking water out of the ocean. They may initiate further conflict in order to mess with the plans of other Aspects, raise future conflicts where they're the natural candidates, or just as a Meta-game tool for the Players to create a conflict heavy session.
It's "Let's see what WE make out of THIS!", since you don't know who will have to face the next challenge, I'm leaning towards one roll per scene as well.

An Aspect wins when it reaches 10, if you reach 5 Rainbow Scenes(where you end a scene with all Aspects being equal) then you reach Enlightenment, the character won, not the Aspects. In the Beta there will be rare NPCs, Magicians, who begin in Equilibrium, it gives them power but once they miss one step they can never regain their balance. If it feels like Munchkin or Settlers of Cattan, that is intended. The players are playing "Head-to-head", and they're out to win. Deals, backstabbing, manuevering, all is kosher and encouraged.
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Guy Shalev.

Cranium Rats Central, looking for playtesters for my various games.
CSI Games, my RPG Blog and Project. Last Updated on: January 29th 2010
David "Czar Fnord" Artman
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« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2006, 08:18:39 AM »

Just call me Mr. Matchmaker... I always feel compelled to introduce folks with closely-aligned designs.

Have you checked out this thread, which is currently only two or three above yours on the main page. :-)
The Uchtman Factor: An Overview

On the surface (i.e. with the details you both have so far provided) it seems to me you are making the same game--though yours may be a bit more Gamist- and Handling-oriented than TUF.

Just tryin' to help!
David
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Thunder_God
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« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2006, 08:47:41 AM »

Hmm, I've noticed it, didn't read it in full. "Handling"? I know Gamist, what is Handling? I will soon post the many differences between TUF and CR, it may help people understand what CR is and isn't. I suggest reading the RPG.Net thread for details as most are there. At first glance I can already see dozens of differences, I'll post them in a bit after I peruse the other thread in full.
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Guy Shalev.

Cranium Rats Central, looking for playtesters for my various games.
CSI Games, my RPG Blog and Project. Last Updated on: January 29th 2010
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2006, 08:48:50 AM »

I'm liking this a lot, and recommend a look at the game "apocalypse girl," which you can find linked in the Ronnies post in the Endeavor forum.

Here's my question - at one point, you talk about the character winning rather than the Aspects, but then later, you talk about the individual players playing to win, presumably as single-players (i.e. everyone else losing). Can you describe the conditions for the latter? If I'm playing, how do I win?

Best,
Ron
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2006, 08:51:51 AM »

Oh yeah. Consider the notion that when someone mentions another game for you to check out, they are not dismissing your design or suggesting that the idea is redundant. You don't need to list the differences between any particular game and yours; we are all capable of reading them ourselves. Instead, take the offered opportunity for what it is - a real opportunity to consider how your game works, or to find ways to explain it, through a useful contrast.

Best, Ron
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Thunder_God
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« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2006, 08:59:04 AM »

I'm liking this a lot, and recommend a look at the game "apocalypse girl," which you can find linked in the Ronnies post in the Endeavor forum.

Here's my question - at one point, you talk about the character winning rather than the Aspects, but then later, you talk about the individual players playing to win, presumably as single-players (i.e. everyone else losing). Can you describe the conditions for the latter? If I'm playing, how do I win?

Best,
Ron
You win if your Aspect reaches 10. He takes control of the Character, think of Morality 0 in various White-Wolf games. Since there's a finite and combined pool for all the Aspects you are in direct competition with the other Aspects to progress, not only do you have to go up to X, like in say, Munchkin, but you do it at the expanse of others.
The character just "Lost", he's more or less insane/personallity-less once an Aspect wins, the character wanted Enlightenment, to escape the Illusion, and now he's part of it.
When the character wins, it usually is in spite of the best attempts by the players, the Aspects, it's when equilibrium is reached time and time again.

About the second post, just to clarify, that is what I believe I was doing. I'm going to contrast them so people will have an opportunity to understand CR. I like the concept of TUF and will peruse it and keep tabs on it for itself. It is reminding of CR.
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Guy Shalev.

Cranium Rats Central, looking for playtesters for my various games.
CSI Games, my RPG Blog and Project. Last Updated on: January 29th 2010
Thunder_God
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« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2006, 09:04:36 AM »

One thing I want to make clearer, because I believe that's where Ron's question came from.
Suppose I have four players, one of them is GM. I have three Aspects per character.
Players are P1, P2, P3.
Characters are C1, C2, C3, each has (W)ater, (R)at and (D)irt.
P1 is W, C1; R, C2; D, C3.
P2 is W, C2; R, C3; D, C1.
P3 is W, C3; R, C1; D, C2.

An Aspect belongs to one player.
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Guy Shalev.

Cranium Rats Central, looking for playtesters for my various games.
CSI Games, my RPG Blog and Project. Last Updated on: January 29th 2010
David "Czar Fnord" Artman
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« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2006, 09:39:16 AM »

Hey, guys... I am "just tryin' to help." (Doesn't anyone remember poor Lando, in Chewie's clutches, anymore?)

No dig, spurn, critique, or dismissal intended. I figured you'd (a) see some stuff you could use or (b) see another Agenda's take on your design or (c) maybe even join forces and work together on such a game--maybe even one which allows for all Agendas, based on some preliminary choices by the players.

As for "Handling"--that's just a guess I made from the "board game feel" of your thread title. TUF--being quite Narrativist--has little in the way of handling that I have seen. Some dice pool fluctuations and rolls for narration control is about it. "Board games" (and CCGs and miniatures games), conversely, are know for having a good bit of handling techniques and rules. (Learn about these terms and more of The Big Model in Articles, above.)

Frankly, I thought it was down-right trippy to see TWO games pop up on the same day, BOTH with the "three players play one character" model, yet each with a totally different take on what Agendas they want to use to explore that Situation/Setting. It's GNS/The Big Model right in our faces. :-)

No matter what: Make Your Game. I'm not trying to be a player-hater... er, a designer-hater, that is.
David
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Thunder_God
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« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2006, 09:44:05 AM »

As I replied to Ron, no harm done. I just think that there are many differences and I think they should be noted. Cross-pollenation is optional and suggested, and I'm not averse to it. I just want to note my game is pretty close to Polaris(in my mind) on how the character is played, instead of the world though it is the character itself.

I meant, what "Handling" means, not what in my game is of-Handling :)

What I certainly like about TUF is that like my game I feel that he also has a "Constant Conflict" mood going on, but I'm a bit worried about the roles of the two "Dormant" personnas, it will drive them into constant conflict with the "Active Personna" however.
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Guy Shalev.

Cranium Rats Central, looking for playtesters for my various games.
CSI Games, my RPG Blog and Project. Last Updated on: January 29th 2010
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2006, 09:54:05 AM »

Hello,

Terms clarification: Handling Time

Glossary:

Quote
Handling Time
The real time required to process, calculate, and interpret a resolution Technique once its procedures have been applied. See also Search Time.

and to round it out

Quote
Search Time
The real time required to determine necessary values or information prior to applying a resolution Technique. See also Handling Time.

So David is referring to how much cognitive or other "work" needs to be done following the dice hitting the table (or whatever is being used in any particular game). However, since he is guessing rather than actually looking at your rules-set, I think we can set that entire point aside as non-substantial, until someone does check out the rules more carefully with this in mind.

Back to my question about winning ...

So the character Billy-Bob succeeds or fails in SIS terms, and I, Ron, playing (um) Rat, win or lose insofar as I play that particular Aspect successfully. Works for me!

Best,
Ron
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Thunder_God
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« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2006, 10:00:30 AM »

Yes :)

I believe my Handling Time is the same as that of InSpectres, it's just that there's a bit more Handling steps to go through, once you go through the actual Conflict, or if no one tries to wrest control from you, it's all easy peasy.
Thanks for the clarification.
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Guy Shalev.

Cranium Rats Central, looking for playtesters for my various games.
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Thunder_God
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« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2006, 10:19:17 AM »

While I'm unsure how Apocalypse Girl relates to CR, or at least how to put it into words, it certainly does ferment in my mind. That was a good read, that was a great read.

I feel one thing about AG and CR though, the text is short, mostly system only in this "Alpha" stage. But really, it doesn't need more. Anything more that you add is a bonus. Just like most games can be distilled back to their Beta version, anything more is bennies.

And aha! I do sense where our games meet. He is the Illuminati! card game to my Munchkin card game, what with the turns and resources. It also operates on a heavy resource management from an OOC position. I like it a lot :)
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Guy Shalev.

Cranium Rats Central, looking for playtesters for my various games.
CSI Games, my RPG Blog and Project. Last Updated on: January 29th 2010
Thunder_God
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« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2006, 06:30:11 AM »

Heck, I like Scene-framing, and I like Gamism(especially resource mini-games). I decided to combine both in order to keep the action rolling and furious. I keep returning back to IIEE and decided that going against my desires will only result in a weaker game. So what if I'm stealing liberally? I'm only taking the good bits :)

Quote
Scene Framing:

25/03/06
//Fuck, need this to be aggressive, need scenes to be switching like mad, need that a story such as a Guy Ritchie film could be told in an evening, max two. Also, had thoughts on how to turn this into another Resource Management mini-game, need to include zooming in shit and such, but to limit how often it is done in order to keep the dice on the table, to keep the Aspects fluctuating, end-game nearing and once more getting further away.//

Each player begins each session with 3 Tokens, the Enlightened begins with 5 Tokens. Each player has Tokens in a different colour, this is vital. Tokens cannot be hoarded between sessions, use them or lose them.
Scene-setting goes in a clockwise direction, beginning with the Enlightened. The Enlightened can set the scene, tell a short story that may or may not deal directly with the characters or Aspects, yet. Each player can only set the scene for his Rat or Dirt Character, and it should follow one of his goals(not necessarily that of the Aspect he controls).
No character may have two scenes run in a row.
In order to run a scene for a character for whom you play Water you need to give the Enlightened one of your Tokens.
In order to set another player's scene you need to give him one of your Tokens. He need not accept your offer. This includes the Enlightened.
When a Goal is resolved and you have no remaining goals, you may set a new one for free.
When you wish to set a new Goal you must give the Enlightened one of your Tokens. This must accompany something that happened in-game.
You may give the Enlightened one of your Tokens in order to gain +1 dice in a current Task or Bid.
When you get one of your own Tokens back it is removed from the game.
In order to “Zoom in” and move from Conflict Resolution two Tokens must be given to the Enlightened, though they may be spent by more than one Aspect. Only once per “Round”(Round begins with Enlightened setting scene and ends with the last player setting scene) may a Zoom-In occur.
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Guy Shalev.

Cranium Rats Central, looking for playtesters for my various games.
CSI Games, my RPG Blog and Project. Last Updated on: January 29th 2010
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