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Author Topic: 24 Hour Games: Nine Games Open for Critique  (Read 10969 times)
iago
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« on: April 14, 2003, 10:14:39 AM »

A number of 24-Hour Games have been completed over the past weekend.  This thread is getting started separately in order to kick off the critiquing phase for those games.

You can find a list of the games at:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/24HourGames/links/

Please, have at!
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MPOSullivan
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« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2003, 12:16:11 PM »

okay, i've got the day off tomorrow so i'll be going through everyones and doing some reviews of the material.  then hopefully i'll be able to play them soon and get some playtest thoughts in on them.

  -michael

    writing here because the thread looked lonely with no replies yet.
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Michael P. O'Sullivan
--------------------------------------------
Criminal Element
Desperate People, Desperate Deeds
available at Fullmotor Productions
iago
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« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2003, 12:19:42 PM »

Quote from: Zathreyel
okay, i've got the day off tomorrow so i'll be going through everyones and doing some reviews of the material.  then hopefully i'll be able to play them soon and get some playtest thoughts in on them.


Man, that'd be fantastic.  The chances I'm going to have of playtesting stuff locally are nil.  If someone else can... woot.
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Simon W
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« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2003, 01:18:47 PM »

I just have to say I love the dreamy non-violent quality of Troubadours of Verticaille (I was drawn to read this one first, because of the mention of Jethro Tull as one of the inspirations for the game - one of my all-time favourite bands). - well done John.

I'm not sure I've got the Destiny-Dice -Pool thing quite yet, but then I'm still suffering from my own efforts and I gave up after 16 hours, 'cos I realised I ought to get a couple of hours sleep before work!

After looking through T of V and then seeing the layout/art for vs Monsters (i'm envious Phil!), it makes me want to have another shot!

Look what this has done to me!

Gideon
http://www.geocities.com/simonwashbourne/Beyond_Belief.html
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anonymouse
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« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2003, 06:42:49 PM »

Ack. I'm up there? I guess I should take some time this week and at least finish it up. ;)
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You see:
Michael V. Goins, wielding some vaguely annoyed skills.
>
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2003, 08:59:43 AM »

1940

Very simple "what if" alternate history concept. This one being "What if the Germans had successfully launched operation Sealion, and had taken over England." I like the subject matter. I was on a team that playtested and demoed the Europa series of games, and one of the ones I never got to play was Operation Sealion. So I was instantly intrigued by the concept.

It's a complete game, in terms of having all the standard elements. That is, a player familiar with other RPGs could play it. There are some small missing parts, however (which could have been filled in with the author's remaining 8 hours). For example, there is a game effect for "Kill" as the result of an attack with a weapon, but unlike all the other entries, this one has no description. One can assume that this means that the character is instantly dead, but even that's not true in all RPGs. Further, even if it is true, there's no discussion of the ramifications of PC death.

Similarly, there are no rules or even suggestions for handling healing time. The penalties for wounding exist until the GM decides that the PC is well again, apparently, though no guidelines exist. Actually, it's not entirely clear what effects a Heavy wound are. Do you halve and then reduce by two as per a light wound? I'd assume not, but then what does "As light plus" mean? Could use some clarity here.

If a PC takes Opportunity Fire, is he considered to be able to shoot so even into the next round? Or only for the current? Does the character choosing this option automatically interrupt other characters? Or go after? Or a roll?

Also, apparently PCs get one Hero Point ever. There doesn't seem to be a rule for getting more, nor any reward mechanics whatsoever. This isn't automatically a problem, but if you're going to have Hero Points, why not have some reward mechanic associated. Seems another omission.

The other thing that would have been nice would be to expand on ideas for what sort of operations the characters would be likely to take on. Some adventure seeds, perhaps.

As a historical note, machineguns, especially WWII machineguns jam a lot. In fact some are just expected to jam after firing them for a while. Certain designs resist this (I think the Bren gun was actually pretty good), but the entry is for all MGs. A neat rule for belt fed ammo is to reduce the chance for jams based on having an assistant gunner.

Neat idea, with d20 skills, and Paranioa damage making for a rather standard system. Truthfully I'd probably swap out the system for GURPS leaving very much only a neat Alternate History idea.

Mike
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Simon W
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« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2003, 09:22:00 AM »

Yes, Mike you are quite right. There are missing elements, some of which I was aware of and others (like explaining a kill result, I didn't really give much thought to).
I was going to include lots of different weapons - Webley revolvers, Lugers, Brens, Stens and so on, but thought I would address those later, if I had time. Better to get something in there than nothing at all!
I really wanted to shove in some adventure seeds (ideally a whole starting adventure, which is in my head) but I also wanted a character sheet so I plumped for a character sheet. I agree those extra 8 hours would have seen the game looking much tighter but I realised that I have a life too and if I hadn't have started as soon as I had my idea, I would have had to have come up with another one later in the week and I couldn't guarantee when that would be or even whether I still had a full 24 hours available. Still, it was fun and I might do another over the Easter holidays!
Incidentally, I am still working on 1940-England Invaded and when I have put extra skills in, written up the adventure & scenario seeds, dealt with the weapons of WW2, chucked in a few tanks and other vehicles and dealt with wounding in more detail I'll put it up again.
Personally, I can't stand GURPS. I'd rather you play my system as intended, so I will go some to make it something you would prefer to play.
Thanks for taking the trouble
Gideon
http://www.geocities.com/simonwashbourne/Beyond_Belief.html
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2003, 09:40:34 AM »

Criminal Element

This one reminds me a bit of Chalk Outlines, and other games that have attempted the genre. Right down to the Vices that, IIRC, are also in Chalk Outlines and have similar effects. This version incorporates a blackjack mechanic, and as such reminds me of Jake Norwood's game in design, La Famiglia. Jake, check out this one for some ideas on what sort of effects stats can have on blackjack.

For tied draws are the aces considered high or low (1, 11, 14)? Are face cards considered tens or their traditional values? What happens if the high cards are themselves tied? What about logistics like shuffling?

Interesting that winning a contest only gets you a .5 payoff unless a Collapse is involved. Collapses, where a character has some serious episode in relation to his Vice, are not well detailed, unfortunately.

I like that to introduce a newly created character that he the player has him tell a story about himself in character.

The combat system seems serviceable, though nothing special. Interestingly, it's somewhat difficult to kill a character, even with a shotgun. This seems to play right into some sub-genres, but not others. No discussion of PC death.

The Drama Point mechanic is fairly straightforward, and reminiscent of Adventure!'s Dramatic Editing. Given that rewards are given at the end of play I think that they might not be all that powerful. Why not give them in play for inspired stuff?

Overall, serviceable, but doesn't seem to have much that would move play to emulate the genre selected. Rules like Collapses, and such might do so if tweaked a bit.

Mike
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2003, 09:46:45 AM »

Dragon

Dragon is an incomplete game with an interesting idea or two. The breath concepts, and the way Personas and Dragons are associated seem interesting. Hopefully it will get expanded at some point.

Mike
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2003, 10:08:06 AM »

Mutant Space Cowboys: A Time Travel Game

A sci-fi western, MSC seems like it could have been inspired a bit by the TV show Firefly. Thematically the characters seem to be old west archetypes, but the trappings are sci-fi elements named such that they have a western feel. The game claims that characters are undifferentiated in system terms, but from what I can see this just means that there is no open skill system. Characters are defined by a set number of ablities like in InSpectres, but then are very customizable with mutations.

The "roshambo" resolution mechanic is simple, and reminiscent of Minds Eye. The combat resolution is simple, and perhaps redundant.

A weird twist (as if the game needed another) is provided by the  time travel rules that are included as part and parcel of interstellar travel. This is presented, and then the ramificaitons are totally left unstated. Which is novel, at least. It des beg the question why the western mode is so prevalent. But then, I think one isn't supposed to ask difficult questions in this game.

The whole is inspired by such stuff as The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and as such, all of it seems to exist merely to be free with the imagination. I'm tempted to buy into this, but I'm afraid that in actual play that a lot of pointless meandering will occur. Still, what is there looks like fun...there's just not a lot of it.

Mike
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2003, 11:21:18 AM »

Pace

Pace is very similar to all other resource allocation "fortuneless" games. For another more extensive example, see Active Exploits from Politically Incorrect Games.

All these games involve having some traits, and being able to burn some resource (often represented by the level of the trait itself) to boost standard success. In Pace it's Pips. The level of success is determined by the amount spent, generally, limited by traits (which is different, but seems to make the traits often pointless; they effectively become Karma scores for those with lots of Pips)). Pips are gained by failing or GM reward (candy reward, cool). This game like most others also allows a player to deficit spend giving each other pips to be spent later. I looked around, and it would seem that the players don't start with any pips, having to accumulate them by good play or failures.

Some of the currency issues in Pace are ones that we encountered in Universalis (like players deficit spending to bump each other's pools). The game only has caveats to handle this, though I wouldn't think it a huge issue with a good social contract. The game unnecessarily apologizes for the lack of an advancement rule, but personally I think it doesn't need one. The reward mechanic that it has suits it just fine.

The section on adventure creation is a well thought out addition. It doesn't give any genre details, but instead focuses on, well, pace. Which is very useful. In the end, with careful play, the winners will be the characters with the highest pertinent scores. This is functional but extremely simple. Which may be just what a game with the name Pace needs.

Mike
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iago
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« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2003, 11:26:24 AM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Some of the currency issues in Pace are ones that we encountered in Universalis (like players deficit spending to bump each other's pools).


Yeah.  One of the notions I'd had about this, honestly, was that deficit spending always goes to the GM, but I didn't want to over-reward player-to-player cooperation and preclude player-to-player conflict.  But I'm still mulling that one over.  Maybe something that goes 'halfsies', with half the pips going to the GM and half going to the opposing player.

Still thinking about other points of the analysis.
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MPOSullivan
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« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2003, 11:35:46 AM »

Mike,

yeah, some things suffered from a lack of a good editorial comb-through on the posted version of CE, things that i'm fixing now in the new write-up but to anser all of your questions:

are aces considered high or low for tied draws?
  aces are considered whatever the player has used the ace as.  if it was drawn and used as an 11 in the draw, then it is used as an 11 to break a tie.  Face cards count as 10s, just like in blackjack.  if the cards themselves are tied then follow these rulings:  Spades always come out on top.  red cards beat black (fire burns coal from spades) and diamonds are better than hearts (it's better to have a hard diamond than a soft heart).  clubs are always at the bottom of the pecking order.  if a card is still tied then go on to the next highest card.

collapses will have a lot more to them in the new release of CE.  and i figured that since it's harder to succeed in most actions when suffering a Collapse, it would be a nice throw back to the player to give 'em more DPs if they bet on their actions.

i agree with you on combat.  i didn't want any crazy rules, just ones that got the job done and got out of the way.  i also agree that the weapon damages aren't high enough, a problem that's rectified in the new CE.  i'm not trying to handily kill the characters but i do want to make combat deadly.  i also discuss character death in more depth.

I also agree with you on the DP award mechanic and have changed it.

I've worked on some of the rules in the hopes that they will help evoke the game setting a bit more.  a new version will be posted up soon.

thank you very much for the critique.  all of your complaints were definetly weak points in the game and areas that i hope to strengthen up.

i hope to have some reviews up later today for everynoe to read and please, everyone with a complaint about CE post it here and i'll try to answer it.

laters

    -michael
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Michael P. O'Sullivan
--------------------------------------------
Criminal Element
Desperate People, Desperate Deeds
available at Fullmotor Productions
iago
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Posts: 863


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« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2003, 11:40:42 AM »

Quote from: Zathreyel
i hope to have some reviews up later today for everynoe to read and please, everyone with a complaint about CE post it here and i'll try to answer it.


I am not clear on how margin of success is counted if someone goes bust (over 21) in an opposed contest.

Let's say I have a 17, and my opponent goes bust with a 23.  Is this just a simple difference, so the margin of success would be a 6?  That's fine, and proposes an interesting 'defensive move' of turning your lower-number failure (13 vs 20) into a higher-number failure (23 vs 20) in order to cook that margin down.
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MPOSullivan
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« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2003, 11:54:15 AM »

that's exactly how it plays.  good eye man.  i have included examples of this in the new version.

oh, also wanted to mention that all players involved in a draw pull together their selected cards before revealing them. This is to ensure that a player doesn't see that he has failed and pads the MOS by changing his hand around.

laters!

  -michael
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Michael P. O'Sullivan
--------------------------------------------
Criminal Element
Desperate People, Desperate Deeds
available at Fullmotor Productions
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