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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 158 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [With Great Power] Conquest SF 2006 Con Report  (Read 2173 times)

Posts: 54

Feeling Scairy

« on: September 05, 2006, 09:46:02 AM »

Heya Gang,

This last weekend I was in attendance at the aforementioned con, and had a chance to play WGP for the first time in a 6 hour slot. I have some positive and negative observations about the game, and what I'm interested to know is whether my experience was typical of WGP, or more a by-product of the convention circumstances.

First, the situation: It was a 6 hour slot from 6pm to midnight, and there were 6 players. The game revolved around a group of highschool students with super powers in a small town, battling other high school students with powers, vampires, and corrupt federal agents determined to bring everyone in for questioning. It was a campy Buffy The Vampire Slayer meets X-Files meets Teen Titans set-up. The GM mentioned he had some house rules in effect, but since no one playing had played before, he didn't explain what was different so I can't explain now the differences.

The People Involved: Besides myself, the other players included 2 people from my normal game group, 3 other players I didn't know, and the GM, a nice fellow named Paul. One of the unknown players to me is a Forge lurker (we had a small discussion about the Forge and Indie games) so maybe this AP report will get him motivated to sign up for an account and post his observations. At the end of the game, the two people in my regular gaming group said they had an immense amount of fun, and would be willing to try the game again, but were not impressed with the rules. A direct quote is, "It felt like we were trying to beat the GM at poker, rather than role-play." Another player rode with us in the elevator afterwards and said he had a lot of fun, but he wouldn't be playing WGP again. 

Curiously though, I wonder if the enjoyment of those three was because of, or in spite of, the rules. They expressed enjoyment of the game session, but a a disappointment in the rules.

The Positive: While I'm going to be brief here, I want it understood that it carries more weight than the negative. I don't have much to say except that I had an incredibly fun time. There was a lot of laughter, a couple of emotionally heavier (and rewarding to play) moments when we were setting stakes, and just a really positive, fun time. I am eager to play again.

The Negative: I'm going to put individual items in a list format.

1) As the game progressed, the players really started to game the card system by working strategies with the cards. In fact, it became apparent that the choices being made by the players were being driven not by character, but by the cards in their hand and what they thought they could get away with.
2) With six people playing, the GM would go round the table working the conflicts, but I observed in myself as well as other players, that by the time the action came back to us, we had trouble remembering what our characters were doing in the situation, but we all remembered what card strategy we were going to employ next. Related to the above comments, it really felt like the card play was the real game, and the role-playing was secondary.
3) In discussion with some players afterwards, it occurred to me someone could take any card game (Hearts, Go Fish, et al) and apply stakes to the results of rounds and make an RPG just as easily. Perhaps I'm wrong on this account, but it was my thinking at the time.

The Iffy: This is an observation I have, and I'm not sure where the fault lays...with the GM, or the game, or the circumstances of a con game (one-shot, finite time limit, etc.).  It appeared to me during the Enrichment scenes that as the players started to really get a feel for the scene, and their character in it, the GM would stop it, and start determining stakes. Really, there were times I would love to have seen where the situation was going, but it got cut short every time. Like hearing the music rise in a song before cutting out, it felt awfully truncated. The GM often suggested stakes to move the plot along, but we were free to ignore the advice in favor of what we wanted, although it was clear that scenes that were not pivotal to the plot were significantly shorter than the others.

In conclusion: I very much enjoyed my time playing WGP, and I'm convinced it's good game, despite the negative I've listed. I actually bought it, and am looking forward to running it for my group.  I'll post again in the future after I've had a chance to run it, and compare observations then with now.

Thanks for reading,

- Brent Wolke
Currently writing Scairy Tales for Savage Worlds.
Currently mucking with Animated Heroes for myself.

Posts: 642

« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2006, 03:28:29 PM »

Hi Brent, we just played a With Great Power story of our own, so it's interesting to compare and contrast.

I agree that the game is fun, and that scenes become very juicy when you've got some really strong stakes going.  Regarding the "play cards just when things get interesting" aspect, that's probably a style of play more than anything else, following cues from a GM who's never played with these folks before.  I actually like that style of play, but it's easy enough to adjust in conversation.  (Though I think something like it is encouraged by the WGP rules.)

Regarding the "it's just a card game with role playing attached" criticism: I experienced this as an anti-climax when we managed to turn the game around with minimal effort.  This might be a related phenomenon.  For my part, I felt like I was "really" role playing, because I cared about the stakes involved.  But perhaps the sheer number of players--I think WGP probably works best with 3-5 players, instead of 7--contributed to some of the lag and wandering attentions.

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