Card Invaders In Cube D

June 26, 2016

This weekend got ridiculous.  I was on a business trip until Friday morning.  Flew back.  Went out Friday night and talked possible CCG, played A Game of Thrones CCG, played Star Realms, even talked about Card Invaders and how it brings up solitaire issues.

Wait, Card Invaders??

I was going to do this as a separate post, but I have too many other posts to get to.  Can skip past to get to V:TES stuff and the like.

Card Invaders (R, TM, P, Q, W, Ltd.)

I did a brief search on the name Card Invaders as I thought for sure that someone would have used it, well, I’m using it.  The original, no cards unshuffled game that I invented is:

Take a 52 card deck.  Deal out three stacks of 5 cards.  Deal yourself a hand of 5 cards.  Draw a card.  Begin.  Begin by flipping over the top card of any stack that does not have a face up card.  When you get through the three stacks each round, draw a card.  An existing face up card either has to be removed or it depopulates the Earth.  Aces and twos are tiny little scout ships while queens and kings are mighty battleships or carriers.  You remove a face up card by playing a card from hand that is the same value or one value higher/lower.  If you do not remove a face up card, it goes into a discard pile and you discard from the top of your draw pile that many cards (11 for jack, etc.) *and* you also turn up the next card in the stack (I put them sideways) so that you have to deal with it sooner rather than having a free round of turning a face down card face up.  When you have to “take damage” from your draw pile and can’t, you lose.  You don’t have to draw a card every round when the draw pile is exhausted (because that’s an even more bleak game).

This is the base game.  It is really hard to win.  I don’t like hard to win solitaire games.  The one I think is best is one that you are supposed to win about twice out of three plays.  So, of course, I made an easier version.

In the variant, any ace or deuce in your hand you can discard to draw the top card of the draw deck.  You basically sacrifice small “anti-ship guns” because you don’t really care if scouts decimate some of the world’s population to get massive cannons to blow up the tens, jacks, queens, and kings of the enemy.  This is my most commonly played variant.  It’s unlikely to win.

While the game has decisions, which I think is essential to any meaningful solitaire game, it’s still rather random.  An unblownup king will pretty much wipe the Earth’s population, for instance.  So, why do I play it?

I invented this years ago when I was trying to figure out how to play solitaire games that took up very little space but still had decisions.  It’s also fast.  The lesson with games is that your game can be less good if it plays faster.  If Magic took, on average, 15 more minutes to play, it would likely be nowhere near as popular in comparison to other CCGs.

I started coming up with other variants, like that you could play multiple cards from your hand to add up to the exact value of a larger card.  This makes aces and other low cards more interesting and provides a decision point if you use the discard rule for aces and deuces as well.  It doesn’t seem to help much.

The “I really like winning solitaire” variant is that you get to once per game ignore a ship raining death upon your people.  I call this the superscience version of Card Invaders.  You cobble together an experimental superweapon or supershield to just stop a ship’s attack run.  This vastly increases the chances of winning.  I’m often one card away from winning in the normal version of the game.

V:TES & Friends

Saturday, had 7AM online HoR-Nightmare War mod.  Saturday afternoon, had BBQ game day.  Could have gone to a second BBQ game day that night.  Sunday, V:TES, mostly cube draft.

Let’s start with the last.

We used the same cube we had before.  We had more notes to make on adjusting it.  It uses one copy of each Jyhad vampire and a variety of library cards, probably too many with not enough things like skill cards.

But, I’ll come back to building a cube, which I’m now much more interested in both because V:TES really needs such things as Sabbat cubes to see certain cards actually played, while Saturday involved a Shadowfist draft where a cube would have made more sense (though doing my first Shadowfist draft is a thing to get into in another post).

We had six players.  That didn’t make drafting a problem – two packs of 9 vampires, five packs of 11 library cards; 30 card libraries with one recursion, five minimum crypts.  It did mean playing two six-player games.  Six player games were okay.  I had a path to 6 VPs in the first game, settling for 5 when … okay, this requires some explanation.

I had 1 VP.  Andy calls a Con Ag to do 3 to me, as his predator.  I play Poison Pill.  He has 2 pool.  I can’t get the vote to fail.  Why would I want the vote to fail when it gives me 2 VPs and net 3 more pool?  I had Political Backlash!!

I cleaned up after that.  As we give the cards back to Brandon, I don’t remember precise contents, but here are some contents:

1x Legendary Vampire (first overall pick)
1x Sudden Reversal (same pack! came back to me!?!)
1x Society of Leopold
1x Sermon of Caine
1x The Barrens (first pick from pack)
1x Haven Uncovered
1x Dominate Kine
1x Deflection (first pick in pack over Wake with Evening’s Freshness)
1x Pulling Strings
1x Telepathic Counter
1x Forced Vigilance
1x Claws of the Dead
1x Faceless Night
1x Forgotten Labyrinth (with draft text)
1x Veil the Legions
1x Into Thin Air
1x Changeling (for Animalism bleed)
1x Camera Phone (first pick from pack)
1x Raven Spy
1x Dodge
1x Backstep
1x Fake Out
1x Neonate Breach
1x Instinctive Reaction
1x Sense the Savage Way
1x Political Backlash
1x Poison Pill
1x Arson

Two more cards.  I know I didn’t have my two Lucky Blows or Harass in, originally.  I did change things up for the second game to be far more combat oriented as I thought that would be interesting.

My first game crypt was:

1x Sebastian Marley
1x Sylvester Simms
1x Roland Bishop
1x Dancin’ Dana
1x Anastasia Grey
1x Normal

I did not play Gilbert Duane in either game, my first overall crypt pick.  I did not play Masika + Aching Beauty, though I thought about it.  Animalism was just too important, so Sebastian and Sylvester were possum.  Dana didn’t come out game one, every one else did, with Roland coming from a decrypt.

In the second game, I went combat, so I went with Wynn, Badger, Sebastian, Sylvester, and Roland.  I started on Wynn but gave up on him as I got a much worse start.

In the first game, Marley was Legendary for two turns of bleeds of three before Lucian said “um, stop that”.  So, Marley went Raven Spy with Anastasia Camera Phoned.  Limited may not be about bounce, but bounce made both my games much easier.  Only wake was Sense the Savage Way, which was a later pick after I saw nobody taking Animalism, which isn’t shocking as Animalism’s awesome often gets obfuscated by all of the stealth bleed that one can do with later sets and draft text.

I had a good number of Potence cards to change into for game two:  Decapitate (no POT, though), Pushing the Limit, Thrown Sewer Lid, Sacrament of Carnage.  These were either hate drafts or stuff I was stuck with.  My plan to go Thaumaturgy didn’t go anywhere.  I didn’t even bother with Rutor’s Hand due to Astrid just not being as awesome as Sylvester.

I felt like I struggled hard with building a deck this time around and what crypt to actually play – weenieish, Sebastian + Sylvester + weenies, olderish.  That’s not a bad thing.  I felt like the first time we did this decks were too good and the play environment was not sufficiently limited to feel like usual drafting.  This time, it felt far more like other drafts and I was more into my deck, even without double King’s Rising, Leverage (had to pass it this time), or a WwEF (had to pass it because Deflection).

Comments I can recall about this cube:  too many Protean cards, especially aggropoke; two few skill cards; too many unplayable cards (Legion, Cull the Herd, etc.); too much combat in general; discipline balance out of whack (this draft, two of us never saw an Auspex intercept card, I saw like one Dominate bleed card besides Dominate Kine and two Presence bleed cards); not enough presses (Thaumaturgy blows without lots of presses to continue).

So, it’s up to me to build a Sabbat cube or maybe more than one.  I think Third Edition makes the most sense to start out with as I don’t play most of my Third cards even though I’ve probably opened up more boxes of the set than anyone but a hand full of players.  Third has multiple wakes.  Pool gain cards.  Variety.  Possibly too many disciplines, but oh well – I’d like to see Obtenebration and Vicissitude get some action.

Speaking of specific disciplines, here was my thought for a Cammie Cube:  1x Protean/Thaumaturgy to 2x others in ratio (yes, 2x even for Auspex, Dominate, Presence); 2x skill cards for common disciplines, 3x skill cards for Protean/Thaumaturgy.  I’ll use that as a principle for my Sabbie Cube.

Some day, I’ll get around to the contents of my first cube.  In the meantime, plenty of other stuff to talk about … like how to do a Shadowfist cube.


Introducing L5R

June 19, 2016

I ran a one shot yesterday to introduce the RPG to people who had only played the CCG.

I realized while I was writing things up that it seemed very HoRish.  That wasn’t bad, but I didn’t want to just be HoRish, as the module structure is often constraining both in terms of activities and in terms of character ability relevance.

For instance, one of the four PCs I built was a Miya Herald since the player didn’t care about combat and I have constantly wondered what drugs the designer was taking who designed this school since its techniques do nothing.  Knowing that this would be a PC, I threw in a couple possible situations where someone would stop a combat nonviolently.  Something that pretty much is never going to happen unless you go out of your way to engineer it.  Adding Fire Ring to Horsemanship rolls would be a far more useful technique than anything below the R-5 technique in this incomprehensible school.  Of course, it’s not like Otomo or Seppun are suited to PCs, either.

So, I had this very HoR-module-ish adventure put together with a ton of back story elements that were going to be difficult for the PCs to find out about and maybe some openendedness that a module wouldn’t have.  Did I say module?  I mean two modules.  The next most HoR experienced player gave feedback that it came across like playing a combination of two common HoR mod archetypes.

Play.  In terms of actual play, it was even more HoRish than I was aiming for.

For a one shot, having court activities drag on with the absence of any sort of plot goal, then having a linear rescue mission abruptly begin had dissonance.

More feedback.  It was suggested that the order of things should have been inverted.  As an introduction, start with the linear activities to give time for a player to get a feel for the character, then move in to openended activities.  I think I have a hard time envisioning a way to do that coherently because I’m so used to HoR mods that start at court then move to combat.  But, trying to understand how to do this would make me better at writing up adventures.

Introducing …

What did the players have the most problem with?

Names.

Structure of society – roles.

How to penetrate the reticence of NPCs.

Caring?

Mechanical options.

Names

I don’t have a problem with names other than spelling them right when people speak them.  I just assume it will get figured out fast.  Maybe having some real world experience with family name first helps.

So, I don’t realize how hard names are.

Until it gets repeatedly pointed out to me and I blog about how hard names are.  I’ve run into at least three cases where people have said that they just can’t track who is who because of names.

I don’t know what to do about it other than print out a list of family names so that they can all be seen side by side.  Sure, Kitsu and Kitsune seem similar, but, if you know the clans involved, they are incredibly different thematically.

One player suggested avoiding alliteration.  While plenty of names can be made up, when I go to names websites to use actual Japanese names, there are lots of similarities.  Actually, we had two NPCs in the Princess Police campaign that were Hanahime, which is the worst of all worlds, though it didn’t bother me as one of them was important and the other not so, so it was easy for me to distinguish once I clarified which one was being talked about.

Anybody have good suggestions for helping new players with names?

Society

I’d say most of the frustration in L5R play will come from status, including legal proceedings.  Though, it’s not just status.  L5R is what it is because of the rigid society that it provides.  If you are just roving ronin, well, that’s not anything I’ve ever played with this game, maybe never played ever.

Who does what.  Who speaks of what.  Who doesn’t do what.  Who can do what and get away with it versus hoping it’s not seppuku time.

This is not easily explained in one session.  Which means that an intro session should have a set up that makes it easier to learn or avoid.

One suggestion was having the PCs be the only samurai.  I’m not fond of this.  Ordering around peasants does not remotely prepare you for abasing yourself before kuge.  A better idea, as I’ve played in mods where this happened and it was cool, is to have the PCs be working for the society dude in the background.  PCs run around and Commerce their way to victory, while the evidence is handed over to their Kolat boss at the end of the session and the Kolat boss gets some schlup eviscerated by the hideously lethal legal system.

Just like it’s not good to put newbs into a role of being authoritarian assholes, it’s not good to have them be nobodies who should not be heard.

Reticence

In D&Desque play, I find that PCs just are brutally blunt.  “Give me the info or I murder your soul.”

Rokugani society has some allowances for this when dealing with lessers, but it’s still crude and crude is anti-Honor.  Being difficult is often not intentional with NPCs.  They have no choice because the standard is to be indirect, unemotional, modest, and, yes, even secretive (in a “need to know” kind of way).

As a GM, I find it painful when PCs are struggling to get basic information.  I was playing a servant NPC who could have given info in a simple, informative way because he wasn’t trying to hide anything, but the player kept asking questions in a way that made it difficult to give the answer he was looking for.

Take Commune.  Commune is all about asking the question you want to ask in such a way that the GM can’t screw you over with a vague answer.  Of course, the only reason a GM wants to wiggle out of answering is because Commune is stupidly broken and makes investigations dumb (as well as other stuff, like trying to find something/somebody hidden).

Unless you get to torture phase, which itself is an annoying aspect of L5R, everybody is naturally less helpful than they could be.  That’s not interesting.  It’s also much more work for people not used to this than those of us who are used to this.

Caring

Samurai have specific responsibilities, unlike a lot of adventurers.  At times, I get the sense or someone flatly proclaims that a PC isn’t interested in pursuing a plot point.  Trying to get someone to care is tiresome.

Even something as simple as a competition or opportunity to show off can lead to player boredom as a PC ignores the event.  Now, I don’t think everyone has to do everything.  But, why care about +.2 Glory?  Glory doesn’t do anything.  It’s going to be 10.0 or 10.9 in two ranks, anyway, unless you go out of your way to not spiral up.

What’s the payoff?  In the Princess Police, Winter Court had the Emperor around.  Any event had massive rewards, which wasn’t remotely clear until people like me went “Wait.  What?!?  That 8 person polearms event sees the winner gain what??”  You don’t want massive rewards for newbs.  That skews play.  It’s also not going to be like mods except in rare circumstances (winning Topaz Championship, for instance).

But, it’s not just “fun stuff”, it’s also things like NPCs dicking with other NPCs.  In HoR, you have to care about anything that seems related to gaining the fourth XP for the mod, so you are on the lookout for plot hooks.  But, to achieve my goal of making it clearer what one NPC was angling for in yesterday’s session just required too much time and effort.

Sure, this is something that can be more easily fixed with “your daimyo told you to do this” or whatever.  But, it’s a feature of society in that society dictates what you care about where many a world it’s the PCs who drive what they care about and/or something is trying to kill them.

Mechanical Options

I actually was much better than usual about overexplaining mechanics.  I didn’t go into the movement rules much.  I only pointed out combat maneuvers when combat actually occurred and one of the PCs was expected to commonly Guard.

I find highly experienced players really suck at using the options available to them.  I put some of this down to how L5R appeals more to thematic types than mechanical types in many cases.  Some of it is just that people aren’t good at math and/or good at understanding mechanics, something I run into with much crunchier play, like D&D.  I, myself, keep forgetting to use Knockdown more, though most of my PCs are Strength-deficient.

One thing I find odd falls under this topic but has little to nothing to do with new players.  I find it odd when players don’t try to use abilities.  I’ve often had the case where a player tells me that they didn’t know how to pursue something they wanted to do, and I just start rattling off using different skills that could have been used.  I don’t know what produces this problem.  Is it being used to games where you are constrained by lack?  In L5R, you can even roll things you are unskilled in.  But, I always want to roll obscure skills, so I often try to think of some way to shoehorn in a skill use to achieve something, no matter how trivial, like getting +.1 Glory for random P: Biwa play.

Lot of learning tactics is through observation and experience.  But, I don’t find L5R complicated.  I find it rather intuitive, I guess, in that I don’t recall fighting the system like I find myself fighting RuneQuest or Fading Suns or various other systems.

Boreyteller

There are things I think I do well.  I think my soap opera inclinations produce interesting back stories.  I think I can mechanize thematics well.  I think I can envision things to write up scenes.

But, the players often don’t find out about my back stories nor do I convey the images in my mind to a compelling degree.

I also suck at bringing life to my NPCs.  I have problems with scene transitions.  My combats aren’t as interesting as I would like.  I have lots of problems with player motivation.

So, what does this have to do with new L5R players?

I need to have set ups that are better for motivation.  One idea I had but didn’t try out was giving everyone a 3×5 card with three goals and have the player choose one or more goals on the card to pursue.  I just struggled with having that many things going on at once.

I need to focus on what is interesting.  I had lots of elements I cut from yesterday that were subtle court things to try to portray what was going on with the NPCs.  I keep saying it, but it affects how I perceive things so differently from my players – I care more about NPCs than pretty much anything else.  I want to relate to them.  Because of that, I would end up doing stuff in my own games that never happens when I run.

(I also don’t mind watching other people do interesting things and tend to try to make my PC relevant to what’s going on even when I’m not good at resolving a challenge, which helps my enjoyment of play.  The former bores some people a lot, while the latter is something I’m surprised more players don’t look to do.)

Violent is interesting.  I’m not talking about combat.  I’m talking about jarring events.  Prominent.  I do subtle.  Subtle is so bad, made even worse for new players who are just trying to figure out what their dice pools are.

Force action.  The linear opening, maybe not a four hour wolf fight but like a four round bear fight that TPKs, does make sense to me.  Get dice rolling.  Get clear objectives and clear resolution.  Then, optionally, change gears.  Or, not.  Keep having clear objectives and clear resolution.  Just don’t fall into a trap of making it generic FRPGing, though a veneer of L5R is possibly fine for new players.

The two mods I always think of as good intro mods for HoR are Secluded Village and Harsh Lessons.  Not because they are perfect but because they both have straightforward activities.  In the former, you wander from town to town trying to get a piece of the plot resolved.  In the latter, you take up full attacking bamboo as all great samurai do.

There’s a spiritual element to both.  Adding the spiritual elements to an otherwise straightforward preindustrial game gives it that “this is fantasy but not ‘fireball fantasy’ like those other games”.

I’m fond of the fantasy aspects of L5R.  Why don’t I think of focusing on those in an adventure rather than the shogi tournaments?  Why?  It still provides a distinctive angle, even if it doesn’t provide the court stuff that some may love with L5R.

Oh, by the way, for the players, the Crane Magistrate hated the fiancee because she blamed the older sister for getting the magistrate’s intended killed.  Yup, more back story that would have taken another half an hour to find out about.


Treasure Split

June 11, 2016

See if I can tie everything into a theme.

I played a recent RPG session.  In that session, almost all of the time was spent on things I disdain in a role-playing game.  However, I was often entertained.  I can do roll-playing.  It wasn’t like my expectations were different as it’s a group I’ve played a lot with, just forgetting how obsessed some people can be by such things as treasure allocation.

Actually, treasure allocation can be pretty funny.  There are so many cartoons or just insane [from a modern perspective] explanations in actual published books about D&D style treasure splits.  It’s like you are metaing on a parody of a parody or something maybe not that many levels deep.

It’s the unenlightened selfishness that can be entertaining.  After all, if parties do what makes sense, that’s much less of a subgame.  The whole subgame of “I want this, but if you get it, I should get that” does actually still exist in this decade.

I wanted one magic item.  For thematic reasons.  Its only good ability had nothing to do with those thematics.  Its only good ability is something I don’t expect to hardly ever use, not that its other two abilities are likely to see much use, either.  I would have gotten it for nothing if it lacked the good ability.  I did end up with it.  I couldn’t spend my share of the treasure to power up (since this is a game where your stuff and randomly determined attributes/special abilities are far more important to making you distinct than anything you try to become accomplished at) because everything else expensive went to other people.  Now sitting on a bunch of cash that, sure, just pays for the next resurrection.

I really have my own subgame going on of being ready to whine at any moment about how the party and random die rolls perpetually screw me.  Come on, you know this is fun.

Two games of Shadowfist, Thursday.  I won half of them.  That’s the split.  What’s the treasure?

I played the first game really badly in terms of two specific plays when everyone was close to winning.  Nevertheless, just because people stopped the player to my right, I did end up winning with two $10,000 Mans, two Buffalo Soldiers (completely shut down a Carnival of Carnage + Final Brawl board near-wipe), and some other 2-F dude.

I really like that I can play $10,000 Man with no Jammer resources.  I just need to figure out the right Classic Tech deck to run them.  Probably a factionless deck, since Architects, Syndicate, Dragons all have other hitters while Jammers defeats playing them in a non-Jammers deck.

$20,000 = win.  Treasure.

Oh, Syndicate won the other game.  We don’t play the right decks to just make Syndicate cry, which is always what happens when I play Syndicate – you know, decks that do well at stopping characters from taking sites.

I’m really overdue for some more meaty blog posts, some philosophical thing on how gaming should work or some deep dive card analysis on Promise of 1528 or something.

I was looking at a tournament winning V:TES deck recently and noticed some pretty amusing tech.  I’m totally going to steal that tech to play one of the clans I’m still allowed to play.

You see, part of the treasure trove that was my looking at my TWDs last month was realizing that my personal banned list had to expand massively.  I’m now unable to play Gangrel, Malkavians, Nosferatu, Giovanni (other than Augustus), and maybe some other crypt things (!Ventrue??).  Should be obvious why if you read one of those posts, but it occurs to me that what is obvious in my paradigm is not obvious in other people’s.  Like, people keep wondering why Scouting Mission is on my personal banned list when it seems obviously obvious.

The split is that I have such a large amount of the card pool I’m cut off from in standard constructed tournament play that I have to rethink what I will actually play in future tournaments.  Unfortunately, the next local tournaments appear to be ones I can’t play in due to the timing of trips.  With SoCal not providing anything in the way of opportunities for Hall of Fame advancement, getting to be like those middle years when tournaments were few and far between and others had risen up to unseat my peculiar perch.

I can, for instance, play much more Ravnos.  Except, I’ve won every tournament I’ve ever played playing Ravnos, which means I can’t play Ravnos, even though I want to murder wusses like Lambach with Spleen as is this nature of all things Ravnos.

I haven’t done a real !Trem deck in a long time.  Even with my limitations, I’m sure I can generate middling levels of bleed.  I got to get back to Laibonism.

Name:  Buffalo Dime
Faction:  Jammer
Size:  50

Jammer Cards (38)
Characters (21)
5x $10,000 Man
4x Buffalo Soldier
5x Dump Warrior
2x Napalm Addict
5x Portal Rat

Edges (1)
1x Payback time

Events (15)
2x Anarchy in the HK!
1x Disco Inferno
5x Scrounging [yes, terrible art version … that can’t be Salvaged]
1x Stick it to The Man!
1x The Underground
2x “Trust Me, I’ve Got a Plan”
3x Turbo Boost

States (1)
1x Homemade Tank

Generic Cards (12)
Events (3)
1x Salvage
1x The Algernon Effect
1x “We Can Rebuild Him”

Sites (9)
4x Dockyard
3x Manufactured Island
2x Mobius Gardens

Time to retire this bloated monstrosity, this mountain of filler, this Bugbear of the Bayou.  I never put a Portal Rat in play even with a bunch of edges that deserved nuking.  Just too much value in 10 grand worth of Man and Rasta Rebels.


Flurry Of Woes

June 4, 2016

Addendum to KublaCon 2016:

In one of the V:TES games, I played Taunt the Caged Beast at superior.  Two vampires went to torpor.  I am the king of the world!!

I did play two pickup games of Shadowfist.  I got a Marauder Lord up to something like 11 with a Disintegrator Ray.  Two of us had Wall of a Thousand Eyes as our first FSS.  In the other game, the Hand Monkey deck kept having monkeys killed by two of my decks.  The fourth deck won, even after I spent one power to smoke four of his Dragon characters.

I played Flip City.  We did not get to the point where someone won off of 18 Convenience Stores.  It’s like a parody of deckbuilding games.  I have no idea if it’s fun.  Just seems overly chrometastic, which appears to be my latest general observation turned complaint.  Looking nice does not make for an appealing game.  You need an agreeable personality, too.

We are still playing Shadowfist regularly when people aren’t traveling on Thursday nights.  I’m not sure the game descriptions are that compelling.  I didn’t do a whole lot in any of our last three games.  In one I Wrath of the Monarchsed away a Mobius Gardens – apparently, have to run five Wrath in every deck, now.  In another, my Accupressure Masters just kept getting taken out and a couple got put into play with “We Can Rebuild Him”s.  In the third, my zenith was attacking with a Maverick Cop and an Old Uncle.  Game didn’t last much longer.  We were done by like 9:30PM after starting around 7PM.  Just quick games where not as much happened.  Other than the Fractured Soul on Zheng Yi Quan (Master of the World version) where the spirits were the only thing to stop me from winning with “mooks”.

I lost a really bad game the week prior when I saved a power in my pool and attacked with a bunch of “mooks” into a Blessed Orchard only to have that be the one additional power for a Thermobaric Explosion to go off.

Woe #1

I don’t know.  We seem to be having a fair number of bad games.  Maybe I need to put more control cards in decks, like removal, which is something I was saying week after week months ago.  I just don’t really care about stopping people from doing things, being more interested in putting funny characters in play.  But, that might be failing the social contract of playing to win.

Woe #2

So, the TV season ended.  It’s pretty sad when you are more into the ending of Legends of Tomorrow’s season than Flash’s or Arrow’s.  Wonder how Supergirl will fare on the CW.  But, I still have a lot of agreement with criticisms of the shows.  They all have similar problems.

A problem with Arrow and Flash is having the stakes be too high.  And, this is where we enter the relevance to gaming.

As a player, I want to care about what happens.  With a TV show, I have to relate to the stakes.  I can’t relate to what could have happened in Arrow or Flash within the contexts of those shows, so I didn’t care about the challenges.  With a game, something has to draw me in.  Sure, this ties back into caring about NPCs or locations or other aspects of the world, but it could also just be caring about what the villain(s) have done.

One of my weak points as a GM is getting the players to care about what is going on.  I think there’s quite a difficulty I have with building investment.  I too much swing from none to lots when I play.  Progressive investment building while still having fun stuff going on like blowing up mountains to burn off some extra energy is something it would be nice to figure out.

I don’t know.  I’ll have to spend some time thinking about how I develop caring about things to try to draw upon that to give my players things to care about.

Woe #3

Because of finalizing pledges for the Modiphius Conan Kickstarter, I have been looking at some of the old Conan fictions I wrote.  I really like some of them.  But, it’s Conan.  Dark has a time and a place.  I suppose a good number are publishable, though I don’t know how much anyone would care besides those who played and already saw the fictions.

Woe #4

Speaking of Kickstarters, I’m feeling overwhelmed with all of the gaming stuff I’m getting.  That’s amusing.  There are so many downloads from some of these things that I don’t know where to start.  Besides, I hate reading .pdfs for games – I find it unpleasant and slow.  I already stare at a computer screen all day at work.

When am I going to get hard copies?  Well, I don’t read those either, anymore.  I still haven’t read through Of Dreams And Magic, which I didn’t Kickstarter (and didn’t notice the last Kickstarter).

I want easy to read stuff.  When I’m watching TV or trying to fall asleep.  Quick, easily digested, entertaining.

… I guess I should go back to reading my RPG fictions.