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Author Topic: still not clear on several of the rules  (Read 3446 times)
woodelf
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« on: July 31, 2006, 05:04:47 AM »

Ok, we're starting a game of With Great Power…, and i have a few bits of the rules that i haven't figured out yet. I think i've read all of the relevant threads here (which answered some questions and clarified a couple points), and these are the questions i have left.

Let's start with the card decks:
  • So, we apparently have a discard pile for each deck. Though, while i can find a couple references to that fact, if it actually *says* that anywhere, i missed it. What do we do with the discard piles?
  • Closely related, what happens if we run out of cards in a deck? Do you just no longer have anything to draw from in that deck? Or do you reshuffle the discard pile?
  • For that matter, if the point of keeping the discard piles separate is not just to make clean-up after the game easier, but because the cards get reused (the fact that it's a big deal that a card placed on the story arc is unavailable, implies the discarded cards eventually coming up again), when do you reshuffle, and how? Do you wait until the deck is used up, then reshuffle the discard pile? Or do you reshuffle the discard pile on a regular basis (say, after each conflict scene) and place it under the deck? Or maybe shuffle the discard pile in with the rest of the deck after each scene?
  • What about between sessions? Everybody just hold on to their cards, or simply record how many cards each person has and re-draw next time? Or do the 'starting conditions' in the introduction apply to each session (as opposed to each story)? My guess is the first option--the rules know nothing about sessions, and whether 5 seconds or a week passes between two consecutive scenes is irrelevant, and the logistics of keeping track of the cards between sessions are just the problem of the players, not of the rules.

I may be tryingt oo hard, but I'm also a little fuzzy on the hands of cards.
  • This one is just confirmation: you don't draw any cards for an enrichment scene, right?
  • In a conflict scene, you draw N cards, and are limited to X. Am i right in reading it that the cards you draw are added to those you already had in your hand, or do you set your pre-existing hand aside, and only use those you've drawn for the conflict scene, during the conflict scene?
  • Assuming that the cards you draw for a conflict scene are added to your pre-existing hand, what is the mechanism: Draw N cards, add them to the M you already have, then discard down to X? Draw N cards, discard from those down to X, then add them to the M you already had, starting the conflict scene with X+M cards?

Which gets us on to the actual rules of play.
  • First of all, how do we know if something is/should be an enrichment scene or a conflict scene? As you point out, conflicts need not be physical. But both scenes involve conflicting stakes, and several of the example enrichment scenes seem to be about conflicts between people (such as between Debris and her brother). Why are these enrichment scenes, and not conflict scenes? Is it simply a matter of whatever the player(s) declare it to be?
  • Setting the stakes. You at a couple points say that your stakes should be "one thing". But then at least one of the examples includes "get away with the girl". How do you break that up? "Get away" makes perfectly good sense as stakes, but "with the girl" sounds a bit weird. In any case, is the 'one thing' limit an absolute part of teh rules, or simply a guideline for how to set good stakes?
  • A devestated aspect is under the GM's control. What does that mean for scripting/pencilling/inking? If Debris' brother is devestated, can Debris' player still bring him into a scene at all? Ink things regarding him once someone else has brought him into a scene? Ink anything at all involving him?

Finally, conflict itself is a bit confusing to me.
  • First of all, either a GM or a player may pick a fight. But, no matter who picks it, the GM goes last in each panel. So that means that if a GM picks a fight, the play will be GM-player-GM, and then move on to another page. When they come back to that page, does the GM again go first (so, another round of GM-player-GM), since she picked the fight? Or, once the conflict is under way, do we then do player-GM for each panel, regardless of who initially picked the fight?
  • If the latter, should the player still place his first card in the 1st panel spot? Or should it be GM (panel 1), player (panel 2), GM (panel 2), so that in subsequent turns the player and GM are playing into the same panel?
  • Similarly, is it a continuous back-and-forth, or a series of one-way reactions. That is, the player plays in panel 1, and then the GM reacts by playing in panel 1. When the player next plays in panel two, is it a response to the GM's card in panel 1, or the initiation of a new action? It looks to me like it is mechanically a reaction--i.e., escalate, change style, or cancel--rather than a new action (since you can't just play any card you want to). If that's the case, am i right that the first card of panel 2 can cancel the 2nd card of panel 1 [in the same page of conflict]? What happens if 2b is a 10 of hearts, 3a is a 10 of hearts, and 3b is a 10 of hearts? Do you cancel the cancelling, or does the first cancel take place and the 3rd card [of this exchange] is a 'new' action?
  • To play cards (escalate or change style), you only have to beat the highest card your opponent has in that suit, right? Not beat the ranking card in the suit? And, in fact, you don't have to beat the just-played card at all, except in so much as it should be the ranking card of its suit--you have to beat the highest card in the suit that your opponent has showing, right?
    [li]Since the ranking card looks back at the entire page, the only way to ever play a card that is lower than an already-showing card of the same suit, is if all cards in that suit that are higher than the card you want to play are on your side of the conflict, right?
  • In the first panel, the GM plays a King of Spades. Several style changes later, the King of Spades is still the ranking Spade on the page, but the current ranking card is the 10 of Hearts. Can the player play a King of Spades on the 6th panel (with a wild card for the suit change, of course)? If so, does this count as a cancel? What does that mean--does the just-played action get cancelled (even thought it was a 10 of Hearts), or do we retroactively cancel the action associated with the original King of Spades?

I think those are all my questions on the rules. Overall, it seems like a really awesome game--we only made it through chargen last week, and then did a couple throwaway scenes, just to get everyone familiar with the mechanics. We'll play our first session tonight, and i can't wait! It'll be even better if these questions get answered before then--i went to post this Fri and, well, we all know how that went.



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woodelf
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Michael S. Miller
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« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2006, 08:54:21 AM »

Hi, woodelf. I'm glad you're taking the game for a spin. I don't have a lot of time, but I'll try to answer everything as best I can. I also don't have a copy of the book with me, so I can't provide page references.

Questions about discards
• Always wait until the deck is used up, then immediately reshuffle the discard pile and start using that. Between sessions, I generally hand out envelopes that everyone can store their cards in. Of course, that means not being able to use those decks for other games between sessions, but that's never been a big hurdle.

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*   This one is just confirmation: you don't draw any cards for an enrichment scene, right?
Yes and no. Unlike a conflict scene, you don't draw any cards just because you're starting an enrichment scene. However, if you're voluntarily increasing the Suffering of an Aspect, you DO get to draw cards for that. This includes the enrichment when you Prime your Strife Aspect. Moving from No Suffering to Primed normally gets you no cards, but your Strife Aspect always involves one additional card, so you can draw one. Likewise, if you're voluntarily decreasing the Suffering of an Aspect, you MUST discard the cards for that.

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*   In a conflict scene, you draw N cards, and are limited to X. Am i right in reading it that the cards you draw are added to those you already had in your hand, or do you set your pre-existing hand aside, and only use those you've drawn for the conflict scene, during the conflict scene?
You only ever have one hand of cards, so the conflict cards get added in. Because of this, the choices you made in previous enrichment scenes impact your standing for the conflict.

ALSO NOTE: That "X" you put there (7 for players, 7 + 4 per player for the GM) ONLY applies at the begining of conflict. Once a conflict starts, you can hold as many cards in your hand as you want.

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*   Assuming that the cards you draw for a conflict scene are added to your pre-existing hand, what is the mechanism: Draw N cards, add them to the M you already have, then discard down to X?
Yes. The above is correct -- I didn't quote the wrong way.

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*   First of all, how do we know if something is/should be an enrichment scene or a conflict scene? {snip} Is it simply a matter of whatever the player(s) declare it to be?
Yes. When you want the detail and action of conflict scene with lots of card play and important things happening, say "I'm picking a fight with you."


Quote
*   Setting the stakes. You at a couple points say that your stakes should be "one thing". But then at least one of the examples includes "get away with the girl". How do you break that up? "Get away" makes perfectly good sense as stakes, but "with the girl" sounds a bit weird. In any case, is the 'one thing' limit an absolute part of teh rules, or simply a guideline for how to set good stakes?
It's a guideline. The Stakes need to be all of a piece. They need to hang together. They need to hold to a single concept: "This is what my character wants to achieve in this single scene." To me, "Get away with the girl" is a single thing because he's trying to kidnap the girl: That's what all his effort is focused on. If the player yields their page, the girl gets kidnapped. The Stakes need to be a single concept that the opposing side (be it palyer or GM) doesn't want to happen. Thus, "get away" is rather weak Stakes. The opposing side will likely concede it too easily.

Quote
*   A devestated aspect is under the GM's control. What does that mean for scripting/pencilling/inking? If Debris' brother is devestated, can Debris' player still bring him into a scene at all? Ink things regarding him once someone else has brought him into a scene? Ink anything at all involving him?
Debris can request, but the GM has the right to say "no." Inking rests with the GM, but remember that it's perfectly okay for the GM to allow Debris's player to play out the scene with the brother however she wants, and have her full inking input be "okay, that was good." It's also legit for the GM to decide who plays the brother in enrichment scenes and give that player direction, since the Aspect now belongs to the GM. The buck stops with the GM.

Quote
*   First of all, either a GM or a player may pick a fight. But, no matter who picks it, the GM goes last in each panel. So that means that if a GM picks a fight, the play will be GM-player-GM, and then move on to another page. When they come back to that page, does the GM again go first (so, another round of GM-player-GM), since she picked the fight? Or, once the conflict is under way, do we then do player-GM for each panel, regardless of who initially picked the fight?
The second option. Playing a panel (except, of course, the very first one) is always a reaction and then an action. The GM can't play again, she has nothing to react to.

Quote
*   If the latter, should the player still place his first card in the 1st panel spot? Or should it be GM (panel 1), player (panel 2), GM (panel 2), so that in subsequent turns the player and GM are playing into the same panel?
As long as you are reacting to the last card your opponent played, put it on whichever panel makes the most sense for you. I just fill them from one side to the next. ALSO, if the fiight lasts longer than six panels, just keep going. The conflict mat is an organizational tool, not a straightjacket.

Quote
*   Similarly, is it a continuous back-and-forth, or a series of one-way reactions. That is, the player plays in panel 1, and then the GM reacts by playing in panel 1. When the player next plays in panel two, is it a response to the GM's card in panel 1, or the initiation of a new action?
It's a reaction followed immediately by an action. Mechanically, your options are always based on the last card your opponent played.

Quote
What happens if 2b is a 10 of hearts, 3a is a 10 of hearts, and 3b is a 10 of hearts? Do you cancel the cancelling, or does the first cancel take place and the 3rd card [of this exchange] is a 'new' action?
I usually play it as follows:
Player: "I do X."
GM: [cancelling] "No, you don't because of Y."
Player: [cancelling] "Oh, yes I do, because of Z."

Quote
*   To play cards (escalate or change style), you only have to beat the highest card your opponent has in that suit, right? Not beat the ranking card in the suit? And, in fact, you don't have to beat the just-played card at all, except in so much as it should be the ranking card of its suit--you have to beat the highest card in the suit that your opponent has showing, right?
Precisely. If you've got the King of Spades on your side, but hearts is active, you can play the 4 and 5 of Spades to change it back to Spades. Now your opponent has to beat the King of Spades, not the 4.
 
Quote
Since the ranking card looks back at the entire page, the only way to ever play a card that is lower than an already-showing card of the same suit, is if all cards in that suit that are higher than the card you want to play are on your side of the conflict, right?

Quote
*   In the first panel, the GM plays a King of Spades. Several style changes later, the King of Spades is still the ranking Spade on the page, but the current ranking card is the 10 of Hearts. Can the player play a King of Spades on the 6th panel (with a wild card for the suit change, of course)? If so, does this count as a cancel? What does that mean--does the just-played action get cancelled (even thought it was a 10 of Hearts), or do we retroactively cancel the action associated with the original King of Spades?
Yes, it counts as a cancel. Steal a card from the GM's hand.
I play it that the just-played action gets cancelled. Retroactive Continuity is nobody's friend. It's too much work for too little reward. Keep conflicts immediate

Thanks for the questions, woodelf. I look forward to reading how your game goes.
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woodelf
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« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2006, 01:20:44 PM »

Hi, woodelf. I'm glad you're taking the game for a spin. I don't have a lot of time, but I'll try to answer everything as best I can. I also don't have a copy of the book with me, so I can't provide page references.

Thanks for the quick response. Of course, Murphy was paying attention, so one of my players came down with a high fever, and we have to cancel tonight. Grrrr...

Quote
Questions about discards
• Always wait until the deck is used up, then immediately reshuffle the discard pile and start using that. Between sessions, I generally hand out envelopes that everyone can store their cards in. Of course, that means not being able to use those decks for other games between sessions, but that's never been a big hurdle.

Is this rule actually in the book anywhere? I'm wondering if i accidentally read past it, or it just is implied.

Quote
Quote
*   This one is just confirmation: you don't draw any cards for an enrichment scene, right?
Yes and no. Unlike a conflict scene, you don't draw any cards just because you're starting an enrichment scene. However, if you're voluntarily increasing the Suffering of an Aspect, you DO get to draw cards for that. This includes the enrichment when you Prime your Strife Aspect. Moving from No Suffering to Primed normally gets you no cards, but your Strife Aspect always involves one additional card, so you can draw one. Likewise, if you're voluntarily decreasing the Suffering of an Aspect, you MUST discard the cards for that.

Right, that's what i meant: you don't draw for the scene itself, but might if you increase suffering. Just so you don't think that the rules are unclear on that point--it was crystal clear to me.

Quote
ALSO NOTE: That "X" you put there (7 for players, 7 + 4 per player for the GM) ONLY applies at the begining of conflict. Once a conflict starts, you can hold as many cards in your hand as you want.

That's what i thought, but it just wasn't clear. It seemed to make the most sense that you simply had a continuous hand that fluctuated, but i don't think it ever actually says that, and something in the conflict chapter (i forget what, now), made me question that. Likewise, the bit about it only limiting hand at the beginning of a conflict was clear. Out of curiosity, why implement a hand limit for conflict, but not for enrichment?

Quote
Quote
*   First of all, either a GM or a player may pick a fight. But, no matter who picks it, the GM goes last in each panel. So that means that if a GM picks a fight, the play will be GM-player-GM, and then move on to another page. When they come back to that page, does the GM again go first (so, another round of GM-player-GM), since she picked the fight? Or, once the conflict is under way, do we then do player-GM for each panel, regardless of who initially picked the fight?
The second option. Playing a panel (except, of course, the very first one) is always a reaction and then an action. The GM can't play again, she has nothing to react to.

By 'reaction and then an action', you're referring to the play of a single card, right? (Because of the way that single card involves both reacting to the previous action, and stating how you act in turn.)

Quote
Quote
*   If the latter, should the player still place his first card in the 1st panel spot? Or should it be GM (panel 1), player (panel 2), GM (panel 2), so that in subsequent turns the player and GM are playing into the same panel?
As long as you are reacting to the last card your opponent played, put it on whichever panel makes the most sense for you. I just fill them from one side to the next. ALSO, if the fiight lasts longer than six panels, just keep going. The conflict mat is an organizational tool, not a straightjacket.

Right. I understood that the # of panels wasn't limited. It wasn't so much the conflict mat itself that had me questioning such things as play order and whether the GM goes again, it was the rules themselves, which several times refer to a card being 'directly across' from another, and use the # of the panel to determine such things as assessment. Speaking of which. when the GM picks a fight, the entire first exchange is one panel, right? That is, the GM plays two cards before she has the opportunity to assess, which occurs prior to her play of her 3rd card, right?

Quote
Quote
*   To play cards (escalate or change style), you only have to beat the highest card your opponent has in that suit, right? Not beat the ranking card in the suit? And, in fact, you don't have to beat the just-played card at all, except in so much as it should be the ranking card of its suit--you have to beat the highest card in the suit that your opponent has showing, right?
Precisely. If you've got the King of Spades on your side, but hearts is active, you can play the 4 and 5 of Spades to change it back to Spades. Now your opponent has to beat the King of Spades, not the 4.

Quote
Since the ranking card looks back at the entire page, the only way to ever play a card that is lower than an already-showing card of the same suit, is if all cards in that suit that are higher than the card you want to play are on your side of the conflict, right?

Quote
*   In the first panel, the GM plays a King of Spades. Several style changes later, the King of Spades is still the ranking Spade on the page, but the current ranking card is the 10 of Hearts. Can the player play a King of Spades on the 6th panel (with a wild card for the suit change, of course)? If so, does this count as a cancel? What does that mean--does the just-played action get cancelled (even thought it was a 10 of Hearts), or do we retroactively cancel the action associated with the original King of Spades?
Yes, it counts as a cancel. Steal a card from the GM's hand.
I play it that the just-played action gets cancelled. Retroactive Continuity is nobody's friend. It's too much work for too little reward. Keep conflicts immediate

That is one of the least-clear elements of the rules--i don't think i would've figured it out if not for a couple threads here that addressed it. Just so you know.

Still, despite my several questions, the rules seem to hold together quite elegantly. Unlike some other games i've played, there don't seem to be any actual holes in the rules themselves, just poor explanations of them in a few places. And, to the game's credit, even before i read the threads here or asked you myself, it didn't feel at all like the rules themselves were incomplete--it reads well enough that i assumed from the start that they were complete. Hmmm.., i'm saying this poorly. What i'm trying to say is that if you just read the book, it doesn't feel like 'oh, crap, he forgot some bits', it feels like 'well, clearly the game's all been worked out, but it isn't explained clearly enough to get it all across to me'. And, other than a few strange organizational touches (why is the 'no nemeses' sidebar in the Villains section, rather than the Origin/Relationships section? It would be easier to figure out the rules if the # of decks and their setup, as well as the initial hand, were somewhere in with the scene rules, rather than in the introduction, before chargen.), it is very well written. I like the tone of the writing.

Oh, one other thought: it would've helped us immensely to see at least one character completely written up, both hero sheet and scratch pad. Ideally, all 3 of the example heroes. It's really the only part of the game without examples in the rules--all the other aspects of play have examples, and even all of the of the parts of a character, but nothing that brings a whole character together. I'm particularly interested in seeing what level of detail you use for aspect descriptions on the character sheet, vice the level of detail on the scratchpad, and what the other proto-aspects on the scratchpad look like. [I'm not particularly *worried* about the level of detail--i've been playing Over the Edge since '92, and our own Four Colors al Fresco uses freeform traits in a very similar manner to With Great Power…, so i'm not uncomfortable with them--i'm just curious how you do it.]
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woodelf
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Michael S. Miller
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« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2006, 08:58:15 AM »

Rushed again today. Sorry for the curt replies.

Out of curiosity, why implement a hand limit for conflict, but not for enrichment?

Conflict is where players really have a chance to drive their Suffering down--they can do it every panel. But will only likely do it if they NEED more cards. If a player starts a conflict with a dozen or so cards, they're never going to be tempted to assess. And that temptation is central to the game.

Quote
By 'reaction and then an action', you're referring to the play of a single card, right?
Yup
Quote
That is, the GM plays two cards before she has the opportunity to assess, which occurs prior to her play of her 3rd card, right?
yes

Quote
I like the tone of the writing.

Thanks. Thor and I worked very hard on hammering it into shape last summer.

Quote
Oh, one other thought: it would've helped us immensely to see at least one character completely written up, both hero sheet and scratch pad. Ideally, all 3 of the example heroes. It's really the only part of the game without examples in the rules--all the other aspects of play have examples, and even all of the of the parts of a character, but nothing that brings a whole character together. I'm particularly interested in seeing what level of detail you use for aspect descriptions on the character sheet, vice the level of detail on the scratchpad, and what the other proto-aspects on the scratchpad look like. [I'm not particularly *worried* about the level of detail--i've been playing Over the Edge since '92, and our own Four Colors al Fresco uses freeform traits in a very similar manner to With Great Power…, so i'm not uncomfortable with them--i'm just curious how you do it.]

My wife is working on writing up a complete scenario that will be available for free download. Look for it in  a few months.
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woodelf
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« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2006, 03:43:45 AM »

Two things we ran into last night:
  • Any reason we can't do a multiple-character enrichment scene involving 1 villain and 1 hero? Perhaps by a GM suggesting a villain enrichment scene that involves one of the heroes?
  • Can a non-primed aspect have its suffering increased during conflict? My reading of the rules is that you can not prime an aspect via assessment--you have to use an enrichment scene to first prime an aspect, and from then on can use either enrichment or conflict to change its suffering. But it is not clear to me whether a non-primed aspect can become primed as a result of yielding a conflict.

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woodelf
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Michael S. Miller
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« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2006, 06:15:40 AM »

Two things we ran into last night:
  • Any reason we can't do a multiple-character enrichment scene involving 1 villain and 1 hero? Perhaps by a GM suggesting a villain enrichment scene that involves one of the heroes?
No reason in the world. Plus, because another participant at the table is involved, both the hero's player and the GM get a +1 on their card.

Quote
[li]Can a non-primed aspect have its suffering increased during conflict? My reading of the rules is that you can not prime an aspect via assessment--you have to use an enrichment scene to first prime an aspect, and from then on can use either enrichment or conflict to change its suffering. But it is not clear to me whether a non-primed aspect can become primed as a result of yielding a conflict.[/li]

The way it's written and the way I run it is that you can only Prime an Aspect during an Enrichment scene, never a conflict scene. My wife uses a variant rule that you may Prime an Aspect during an Enrichment, but you must DISCARD a card (at random, until space #2 on the Story Arc is filled) in order to do so. It's been working pretty well for her.

Hey, if you're going to be at GenCon, stop by booth 1237 and say hello!
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