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Author Topic: [City of Brass] No cannibalism yet  (Read 9199 times)
jrs
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Posts: 373


« on: March 27, 2006, 01:05:23 AM »

Sunday: After many weeks without gaming together, we have not the stamina to reacquaint ourselves with our Polaris characters.  A brief inspection of a number of deserving games including a smattering of Ronnies leads us to seek instead the City of Brass.  For any who might follow in our footsteps, I write to warn and illuminate the folly ahead ...

We are facing the last obstacle of Act Two: The Mountains.  It’s the Natives and Missionaries with the Priest (Ron) as leader and his companion the Native Guide (Tod).  Our leader is persistent in setting the challenge level against the Baptist missionaries and their village of converted natives at 4 QP which we are seemingly incapable of defeating regardless of the care in which the companion evaluates and selects appropriate pairings of party members to confront this heinous obstacle.  Strangely enough the tortuous all-night Baptist prayer and revival returns Reason to The Doctor (Tim) and being thrown from a cliff revitalizes the Native Guide’s Health.  Still the party despairs that our resources are slowly and futilely squandered in this episode.  We bicker about strategy and rules and what was the designer thinking when devising the distribution of resources in this game.  When Ron expresses disbelief and disappointment that none of the party is dead yet, the party forces a vote of leadership confidence with the result that the Priest retains leadership but the companion is stripped of rank and the Explorer (Maura) takes on his duties.  We try yet again to overcome the obstacle before us.  Unlike Tod before her, Maura does not insist upon a camaraderie induced offense and permits the Naturalist (Julie) to confront the Baptists with reason alone.  I roll 4 dice needing a 4 success:  5, 5, 6, 3.  Three successes and a re-roll, half the party is out of their seats, I re-roll the 3 and get another 6!  I roll another die and get a 5!  Cheers erupt-- this challenge has been met and we are hopeful that it will soon be overcome. 

That was one of my favorite bits from the game, especially since I rarely have the satisfaction of amazing dice rolls.  We ended after Act 2 and will continue next week with the remainder of the game.   And a noteworthy point, Ron was the 3rd leader of the expedition.  I was leader for Act 1 and then voted out; Tim was leader for the first two obstacles of Act 2 whereupon Ron used a special card to take over the leadership role.

Two questions for Clinton:

1. I want to make sure I understand correctly the abilities/resources listed after an obstacle.  Is it the case that if a party member wins, he or she has the opportunity to regain the resources listed after the “/” (if they appear in the post-challenge card draw), and if the party member loses, he or she may lose points in the abilities listed before the “/” (again, only if the corresponding resources appear in the post-challenge card draw). 

2. Is it correct that any resources that are drawn that do not correspond to obstacle threatened abilities (if undefeated) or obstacle gained resources (if defeated) are immediately discarded?

For example, after “Natives and Missionaries” there is “Nobility, Reason/Food, Honor, Wine”.  A party member loses and cards are drawn:  Honor (1), Wine (2), 2 special cards.  The loser loses a point of Nobility and gains the 2 special cards; the Wine card is put into the discard pile.  This is how we played, is that the correct interpretation of the rules?

Julie
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2006, 05:53:27 AM »

Two questions for Clinton:

1. I want to make sure I understand correctly the abilities/resources listed after an obstacle.  Is it the case that if a party member wins, he or she has the opportunity to regain the resources listed after the “/” (if they appear in the post-challenge card draw), and if the party member loses, he or she may lose points in the abilities listed before the “/” (again, only if the corresponding resources appear in the post-challenge card draw). 

2. Is it correct that any resources that are drawn that do not correspond to obstacle threatened abilities (if undefeated) or obstacle gained resources (if defeated) are immediately discarded?

For example, after “Natives and Missionaries” there is “Nobility, Reason/Food, Honor, Wine”.  A party member loses and cards are drawn:  Honor (1), Wine (2), 2 special cards.  The loser loses a point of Nobility and gains the 2 special cards; the Wine card is put into the discard pile.  This is how we played, is that the correct interpretation of the rules?

Julie -

That's right on. The first list is the things you risk, and the only ways you can confront the challenge - so you lose one point just by confronting, and then more points if they're drawn from the deck. The second list is the rewards you may receive.

About that distribution of resources - are you guys finding it too tough, or too easy to make it?
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
jrs
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Posts: 373


« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2006, 07:33:33 AM »

Thanks Clinton for confirming our understanding of the card drawing rules. 

As for the distribution of resources, we realize that resources are supposed to be limited and most of us are expected to die, but we found it frustrating to have cool special cards that require resource cards to use but no resource cards to hand.  We were wondering if it would make sense to start the game with some amount of resource cards distributed amongst the party. 

We're also a little surprised that no one is dead yet.  I had a good chance to kill off the Priest back in Act 1 when as the leader I abandoned him to an obstacle; he survived though and managed to reunite with the party.  I think I could have been more harsh in assigning the QP challenges for him.  We are still sorting out how everything works together, and we are committed to finishing up the game.

Julie
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2006, 07:37:20 AM »

We're also a little surprised that no one is dead yet.  I had a good chance to kill off the Priest back in Act 1 when as the leader I abandoned him to an obstacle; he survived though and managed to reunite with the party.  I think I could have been more harsh in assigning the QP challenges for him.  We are still sorting out how everything works together, and we are committed to finishing up the game.

I'm surprised you guys are going to finish it. I had a fun time playing it, but I always have fun playing my games when others seem not to. It sounds like you guys are having a pretty horrible time, so I'm baffled why you'd keep going.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
jrs
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Posts: 373


« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2006, 07:43:13 AM »

Uhm, Clinton -- does not the game state quite clearly that we are expected to die a horrible death alone in darkest Africa?  I don't think we are getting anything that we were not expecting from the game, although some of the mechanics remain mysterious to us.  I'm actually enjoying City of Brass; I usually don't write-up actual play if I dislike a game. 

Julie
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timfire
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« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2006, 08:34:43 AM »

That's right on. The first list is the things you risk, and the only ways you can confront the challenge...

Waitaminute... so in "Natives and Missionaries", where it says “Nobility, Reason/Food, Honor, Wine”, does that mean we can ONLY use Nobility and Reason to confront the obstacle? There was some debate about this, but we thought we could select ANY ability to confront ANY obstacle. For example, at one point we rolled on Strength to confront the Natives and Baptists.
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--Timothy Walters Kleinert
Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2006, 08:42:12 AM »

That's right on. The first list is the things you risk, and the only ways you can confront the challenge...

Waitaminute... so in "Natives and Missionaries", where it says “Nobility, Reason/Food, Honor, Wine”, does that mean we can ONLY use Nobility and Reason to confront the obstacle? There was some debate about this, but we thought we could select ANY ability to confront ANY obstacle. For example, at one point we rolled on Strength to confront the Natives and Baptists.

Tim,

You're right. I was recalling that from memory, which was wrong. I looked it up, and it doesn't say anything about that. In an earlier iteration of the rules, it specified you could always use those, and you had to convince the companion if you wanted to use anything else.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
timfire
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« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2006, 08:53:46 AM »

Thanks Clinton. BTW I think we're all really enjoying the game. That last obstacle was definitely the most fun so far. The only kink, like Julie said, is we felt that there should be more currency both coming and going.

I wanted to mention that even though we're all still alive, we're hurting at this point. No one has any Comradarie left, except maybe the Leader Priest (Ron), I don't remember. We had also gotten to the point, if I remember correctly, where noone has any 4's left in any of their abilities, with most of them being at 1's or 2's. I believe we were at the point where had Julie not won that round, we would be mechanically unable to continue fighting the level 4 obstacle. Ron would either have to lower the level or adandon someone. I highly suspect that people will start dying next Act, UNLESS we get some much needed resources.
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2006, 09:19:43 AM »

Tim and Julie,

Cool! I misread the beginning of Julie's original post as her, instead of her character.

I talked with Ron, and came up with an elegant solution to the resource problem:

When you have to throw away non-applicable cards, put them face-up in a separate discard pile. Let's call it the scouting pile - you know what's in there. When you win a challenge, you can choose where to draw from: either the resource pile or the scouting pile. You need to keep the scouting pile in order, though - that is, when you draw resource cards, throw them in the scouting pile in the same order you drew them.
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Clinton R. Nixon
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jrs
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« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2006, 09:44:40 AM »

I misread the beginning of Julie's original post as her, instead of her character.

Heh, I wasn't really writing as the character, but I was trying to evoke the game setting.  I should have thrown in something obvious like hearing the sound of drums beating in the distance.  I can see now that what I wrote could be misinterpreted.  Sorry about that. 

Oh, and in case you're wondering, we have as yet to use any of the player-assigned character names.  We are quite happy to simply go by the generic qualifier's of the Doctor, the Explorer, etc.

Julie
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timfire
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« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2006, 09:50:14 AM »

When you have to throw away non-applicable cards, put them face-up in a separate discard pile. Let's call it the scouting pile - you know what's in there. When you win a challenge, you can choose where to draw from: either the resource pile or the scouting pile. You need to keep the scouting pile in order, though - that is, when you draw resource cards, throw them in the scouting pile in the same order you drew them.

Would this work for losing obstacles, or only for winning? I think maybe... once someone took an extra hit on their abilities from drawing one of the "damaging" cards after losing. Ron in particular thought we should be both gaining more resources and taking more damaging cards in general.
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2006, 09:58:31 AM »

Would this work for losing obstacles, or only for winning? I think maybe... once someone took an extra hit on their abilities from drawing one of the "damaging" cards after losing. Ron in particular thought we should be both gaining more resources and taking more damaging cards in general.

Ron said the same to me. I think that you could make this work for losing obstacles, but it'd be a bit wonky - why would even the Leader want you to lose more ability?

An alternative - placing the unused cards back on top of the resource deck each time, thereby giving you foreknowledge of what challenge it makes the most sense to challenge next, but also letting you know what will be in the most danger next.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2006, 02:03:40 PM »

Hi there,

I wanted to toss in some thoughts about the voting, which I think worked exceptionally well.

We voted for a new Leader after the first chapter, mainly because Julie's Naturalist was, of course, unscathed, having been the Leader, and the rest of us were sucking wind on most abilities.

If I'm remembering correctly, Tim's Doctor became the new Leader and my Priest became the new Companion; later in the second Chapter, I played the "Overthrow" card and forced a vote for my Priest as new Leader. What's interesting is that I lied through my teeth regarding the vote, saying I'd won when I emphatically, totally, thoroughly had not, and the Companion did not accuse me of lying. So my Priest became Leader, and I took Tod as my companion.

As Leader-player, I was determined to kill people. But strangely, considering how battered we'd been in the first chapter, people just seemed to keep makin' it. Part of it was the trade-in with Julie's Naturalist's relatively untouched abilities and high Camaraderie; regardless of who the Companion chose as principal character for the situation, the players found some way to get combined rolls into play.

I did manage to get the drop on them during the last obstacle of the second chapter, and as Tim rightly says, by the time my Natives & Missionaries were done poisoning them, praying at them, dropping them over a cliff, setting the brush on fire, and (finally) setting Sister Bethunia on them with a shotgun*, only a vastly lucky roll by Julie kept someone from getting abandoned or someone from being driven to zero in three abilities. But no one did.

Before Sister Bethunia, though, Tod (my own Companion!) called a vote against me as Leader, now that they realized I meant no good, and this time ... glory be! It was a tied vote, and so I broke the tie as Leader to stay in place! Tod accused me of lying, and for no reason I can understand, I hadn't had to lie, it really was a tie and so my claim was valid.

We saved all our sheets and even our individual card-hands, paper-clipped to them, so we can start up chapter three with a will, next time. I'm still Leader. Someone's going down.

Best, Ron

P.S. Irony struck when all my efforts resulted, net, in one crazed character becoming sane and one character regaining Strength. In other words, the freakin' Baptists' freakin' prayers and abuse apparently worked.
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jrs
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« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2006, 05:48:28 AM »

When you have to throw away non-applicable cards, put them face-up in a separate discard pile. Let's call it the scouting pile - you know what's in there. When you win a challenge, you can choose where to draw from: either the resource pile or the scouting pile.

An obvious question:  The Leader controls the cards, so it is the Leader who will choose from which pile to draw.  Yes?

Julie
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2006, 05:50:47 AM »

When you have to throw away non-applicable cards, put them face-up in a separate discard pile. Let's call it the scouting pile - you know what's in there. When you win a challenge, you can choose where to draw from: either the resource pile or the scouting pile.

An obvious question:  The Leader controls the cards, so it is the Leader who will choose from which pile to draw.  Yes?

Julie,

Correct. This continues to enforce the duality of the Leader and Companion. The Companion can see that fat Food card sitting there, ready to be grabbed by confronting a challenge that rewards with Food, but the Leader determines which pile to draw from.

- Clinton
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
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