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Author Topic: [Mars Colony] On the Edge of Success  (Read 5922 times)
Gregor Hutton
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« on: February 11, 2011, 11:00:37 AM »

Hey, everybody. As my original thread has now tumbled down page 2 of AP I thought I'd start a new one and link to the old one.

So, [Mars Colony]' was the original thread (bizarre thread name as I was fumble-fingered on the keyboard) and despite being sidelined by winter and me being out of the country we are ready to finish the game off. Shona and I are meeting up on Tuesday and we should be able to play it through to the end.

Kelly Perkins currently has 9 Admiration, one fully stabilized colony health marker and 2 good progress colony health markers. Yet Kelly's mood is fearful. His success has been beyond his wildest hopes and Shona is portaying Kelly as a man on the edge of the abyss.

Will Kelly get over the finishing line intact? Whatever happens the colony won't blame him if he isn't fully successfully, but crucially for me: will Kelly forgive himself?

We'll find out on Tuesday. AP to follow shortly after that.

(And hopefully I can talk about success not always bringing the mood of a character up, which is something that was on my mind when doing my Ronnies entry.)
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Gregor Hutton
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« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2011, 06:41:59 AM »

Wow.

I'll put a more detailed breakdown of the scenes tomorrow when I have a bit more time. For the moment I'll post a very brief review of the game last night.

We got it finished. The four remaining progress scenes and six other scenes were done in about a couple of hours. The result was in the balance right up until the final roll of the final progress scene.

Kelly's plans continued to go well at the start. Tackling Corruption first Kelly nailed a solid 20 Health Points before moving on to Air Quality. That was solved with a final Health Point total of 46. This meant that Kelly had two progress scenes to get a third Colony Health Marker fully completed: Poverty was on 26, Corruption on 20 and Education (a new one) on 0. The penultimate scene is where Kelly choked. A failure straight out the box on Corruption yielded a Contempt which Kelly lied into a Deception (for no Health but also no Contempt). One scene left and Kelly left Corruption alone. The final progress scene was on Poverty, and amidst the backdrop of interference from Earth and doubts on Mars that Kelly was going to walk away from the Colony, we got resolution. Kelly got Poverty up to 34 and rolled one more time...

... I think we were both pretty fearful of the outcome ...

...6 and 5. Success. Glorious, slam dunk, Poverty solved and Mars gaining fiscal and some political independence success.

So Kelly finished on Poverty (45), Social Unrest (42), Resources: Air Quality (46), Corruption (20), Education (0). Admiration: 9, Contempt: 0.*

The two last vignettes were:
(from me) Yellow Party, no longer a single-issue party, in power under Winston Drake's son, with kids going to University at the thriving "Perkins Colony", the second colony on Mars (Halliburton didn't come up with the money for naming rights after all) in addition to the main Mars Colony.
(from Shona) Kelly living on Mars in a high-rise building (a low status position because of the low-quality air) with husband Dave, living a humble life and content to leave the arguing and worrying to other people now.

Shona rolled THREE 1s all game, two on the same roll for a Scandal (the Ares Park massacre) and a one when tackling Corruption. Wow.

Quick question
...about solving a Colony Health Marker, noted above with an *.
When Kelly solved Poverty he had 8 Admiration, 1 Deception and 0 Contempt, we figured the Deception token could then move to Admiration. So Kelly ended up with 9 Admiration. Was that right?

Kelly had no Contempt to move back to Admiration at the time, so I figured that was OK. The rulebook said that only Contempt could move to Admiration, though, and we wondered in that case whether Kelly would have let himself get Contempt on the previous scene rather than lie, so that he could win his Admiration back in the end. (That's the sort of Kelly this Kelly was.)

Great game and a lot of fun. I really was worried that he was going to blow it in the end. I figured anything less than a crushing success after what Kelly had been through would have been slightly bitter. In the end the dice rolled majestically through as if guided by a greater hand.

Oh, and more on specific scenes and Fear cards to follow. The one Fear card I revealed this week was pivotal: Government is in the pocket of big business.
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Gregor Hutton
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« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2011, 11:01:27 AM »

We recapped the previous session (it was a while ago) and then set up all the tokens, Fear cards and play sheets.

So, here were the scenes:

1 (Opposition): I pull a Fear card to give me some inspiration "Government sits in the pocket of Big Business". Oh boy! I'd forgotten that I'd written that way back when. So Kelly is distracted by the strange behaviour of Alice van der Beek (Security Chief Lloyds' replacement) over a week. While Kelly's staffers are keeping tabs on vdBeek it turns out that the Colony Council are quietly rolling through a plan on Air Quality. Haliburton Mars (Air) Inc. almost get a bill with the support of the Red and Green parties, and it just needs Kelly's signature as Governor. Now that Kelly has successfully lowered air quality in rich areas to give to the poor Haliburton see opportunity to privatise air, lower the general quality further and sell the good stuff commercially. When Kelly pulls the offending (and sparse) porposal out of the pile of papers to be signed we switch the Shona's turn...
2 (Progress): Tackling "Corruption" Colony Health Marker. Kelly investigates this deal which leads her to Sydney Fane (injured at the Ares Park Massacre -- not particularly on speaking terms!) who was a witness to an unminuted council meeting (Blair's "sofa government" was in my mind!). Kelly checks in a coin-operated sex motel to keep a low profile (!) and meets Fane at a pseudo-misery tourism style of cafe near Ares Park. Some successful rolling 11 + 9 (no ones) leads Kelly to pass the info to Fane and the Blue Party (Soviet Communists) on Earth (since Kelly can't trust the Reds or his own Greens!). It all blows up into a media storm and Kelly puts the Haliburton Air plan on hold, and launches a Colony Commission into the affair. [Good Progress of 20 Health Points!]
3 (Personal): Richard and Suzanne (two staffers) ask Kelly to marry them (a power the Governor has), Kelly sets the date at next week (which was Shona's call). I hadn't realised at the time how I would use this later!
4 (Personal): Kelly looking out on to Mars thinking of Taiwan, California. Patterns in the past.
5 (Opposition): Yellow Party start a campaign about a poor district having air problems. They're down to one pipe at 50% and the air company want to switch it off for 12 hours to repair it to full capacity. Everyone is getting gnarly!
6 (Progress): Kelly tackles Air Quality. Gets Haliburton to re-activate pipes to cover the close down of Pipe A for 12 hours. Kelly rolls a 9, then a 7 when promising Council Member Robert that it's a personal priority, then an 8! No ones! Haliburton get the Air Quality resolved without backing down. An accomodation is made all round. Air Quality solved with 46 and I throw up Education as a problem.
7 (Personal): The Wedding of Richard and Suzanne happens. I ask Kelly who pays for husband Dave's ticket from the north pole? The press are trying to find out. Kelly and Dave pay half each. The scene ends at the post-wedding drinks with Dave waving the receipt of his ticket triumphantly to much Perkins staffers chanting and laughing.
8 (Progress): Kelly takes on Corruption. As soon as Shona said Kelly was taking an "Ethical stance" we knew that a 1 was coming. It nixed the late Robin Cook here in the UK too ("Britain will have an ethical foreign policy" -- and Blair ends up invading Iraq and allowing extraordinary rendition -- Cook resigned). Anyway, the Earth Council are putting around rumours that Kelly is going to Siberia back on Earth to solve a crisis there. Kelly tries to brush off the constant questions about how long he's staying on Mars. Rolls a 1 and a 5. D'oh! "Why did you marry those kids in a week? Where will you be next week?" and the classic line from Shona: "Are you going to Siberia? If not, why not?" asks Fane. Kelly uses a Deception and says he is staying on Mars "for the time being". Ouch.
9 (Opposition): Faced with 1 progress scene left and handed the possibility that Kelly leaves under a cloud I tore into to him! The top story in the media was that former Chief of Security Lloyds is coming back as Governor! Suzanne and Richard come back from honeymoon into a shitstorm about their wedding being "a rushed affair as Governor Perkins is soon leaving". Oh dear!
10 (Progress): Now feeling under pressure from the Mars Colony Kelly looks to the big plan: solve Poverty. Try and get that done before I'm done. Time slowed down in this scene by Shona. 11 months pass on the first roll (an 8) as everyone forgets about Siberia. India then crops up as a crisis on Earth and Kelly is still on Mars. Making the big changes happen. Then it's a year. The staffers have on buttons "Kelly's For Staying" and the Health Points are sitting on 34. Kelly stands up to the Earth Council and says that to deal with India they need to stop funding Mars so much (but in reality if they need Martian stuff they can't just keep taking it), let it stand on its own feet, etc. Kelly tries negotiating a deal out for the Colony and rolls... 11. Mars gets to stand and with the new market they beat Poverty. They start building a second Colony on the other side of Mars. It's to be Haliburton colony if they can come up with the money. [Poverty: 45]

And that was us done.

Point that I noted down at the end from Shona:
Shona found that laying seeds that could be used for failures really helped. Some like the coin-operated motel didn't get used against Kelly as he didn't fail, but Shona felt that having that "danger" there helped. On the Failed roll against Corruption Shona had put Kelly in a difficult press conference to start with, which allowed her to go either way (success or failure) depending on the roll.

I still can't, days later, believe Shona's luck.
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Tim C Koppang
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« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2011, 09:47:22 AM »

...about solving a Colony Health Marker, noted above with an *.
When Kelly solved Poverty he had 8 Admiration, 1 Deception and 0 Contempt, we figured the Deception token could then move to Admiration. So Kelly ended up with 9 Admiration. Was that right?

Gregor, I just saw this as I'm at the end of a very bizarre week. No matter.  I'm working through your re-cap and wanted to at least answer your question right away.  You should not have moved the Deception token back to Admiration. Deception tokens never go away except after a Scandal.  You can only turn Contempt into Admiration.  As you said, this can create some interesting decision points for the player.  With an idealist Kelly Perkins, the choice is usually Contempt over Deception.  But the temptation for Deception is always there if only to save face.
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Gregor Hutton
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« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2011, 10:30:14 AM »

Cool!

That makes total sense, since once you've lied it's always sitting there waiting to give you Scandal on a 1,2 (and 1,3, and so on depending on how often you've lied your way out of failure).

The only times Shona rolled ones were on initial rolls so all of her Kelly's Health Points were real. Crazy.
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Tim C Koppang
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« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2011, 06:10:14 AM »

Gregor,

Right. Exactly.  Your public failures you can correct.  Your lies, on the other hand, you have to make public first before you can regain the public's admiration.  That's why, after a Scandal, all the Deception points move over to Contempt first.  From there, if Kelly isn't kicked out of the Colony, she can begin to regain some of the points by solving problems.  In play, Deception is a much more permanent decision than it may at first seem.

Shona was very lucky from the sounds of it.  But two things make me happy.  First, the game still seemed to work.  You both had fun.  Second, is this:

Quote
One scene left and Kelly left Corruption alone. The final progress scene was on Poverty, and amidst the backdrop of interference from Earth and doubts on Mars that Kelly was going to walk away from the Colony, we got resolution. Kelly got Poverty up to 34 and rolled one more time...

... I think we were both pretty fearful of the outcome ...

...6 and 5. Success. Glorious, slam dunk, Poverty solved and Mars gaining fiscal and some political independence success.

You both still felt the tension generated by the dice -- maybe even more so because you didn't want to break Kelly's near perfect record.  I played in a game where Kelly could do little else but fail.  1s were expected.  The tension in the game then had to come more from the fear of rolling Scandals.  We were both asking ourselves, "Can Kelly hold her web of lies together just a little longer?"  But in your case, any failure at all would have been disastrous because you were so very close to actually stabilizing the entire colony.  That's pretty cool if I do say so myself.
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