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General Forge Forums => Playtesting => Topic started by: Darcy Burgess on February 05, 2006, 11:22:16 AM

Title: [Domus] - Second Playtest & Situation
Post by: Darcy Burgess on February 05, 2006, 11:22:16 AM
Back about a month ago, we got together and ran Domus through the wringer again.  After the good times of playtest #1, I was all ready for some smooth sailing.

Boy, was I set for a rude awakening.

Sidebar: if you're interested in a history lesson, check out my Domus Index (

There wasn't anything bad about the session -- things progressed well, and everyone had a good time.  However, it just lacked the ephemeral "spark" that characterized the first playtest.  And I've had a good while to mull things over -- real life hasn't allowed me to sit down at the gaming table again -- but that hasn't kept Domus out of my brain.

I've come to the conclusion that in addition to focusing the game even more on facilitating competition between players (which essentially amounts to some easy mechanical twiddles), what the game really needs is:

  • to shed the GM role and distributes its powers between the players
  • to help the players generate situation

And that's what I'm trolling for: ideas on how to help players generate situation at the table, in the moment.  What have you done in the past that helps this along?  Are there any games out there that do this really well that I should be reading?  Threads 'round here (I've searched "generating situation", and got butkus useful...)

My current idea leans towards giving the players some purposely vague tools (in the form of a deck of "proto-ideas") to use as springboards for creativity.  But if there's a more elegant solution, I'm all ears.

Title: Re: [Domus] - Second Playtest & Situation
Post by: Bryan Hansel on February 06, 2006, 10:26:35 AM
Hi Darcy,

I came up with a deck of cards with proto-ideas for Waitress and it works, but the better solution, in my mind, would be to have all the players come up with ideas before the gaming season and assign each player to be responsible for another player.  That way they could be better geared towards the player and that player's PC and my theory is that by giving the players some responsibility to prepare before play they would then become more invested in the game.


Title: Re: [Domus] - Second Playtest & Situation
Post by: Darcy Burgess on February 07, 2006, 09:25:31 AM
Cool!  Thanks for the idea Bryan.

I tried to download Waitress, but I couldn't get it -- I think it may be a connection speed issue.  So, let me ask you a couple of questions:

1) is waitress competitive?

2) if so, is it between the players?

the reason I'm asking is this: the player-generated ideas seems appropriate, but I'm not necessarily on-board with "assigning" players to each other -- that prevents ganging up on the leader, which is an integral element to levelling the playing field.

Title: Re: [Domus] - Second Playtest & Situation
Post by: Bryan Hansel on February 07, 2006, 09:51:43 AM
Hi Darcy,

The server that my provider put this site on is flaky, so it's an issue we're addressing.  I just tried it and got it, you might have to do a SAVE AS.  The newest version is much different than the download version.  I need to get typing.

Yes, the new version of waitress is competitive, the old version wasn't really.  And it is between the players, although, I'm not sure if the current system is 100% yet, because I haven't had a chance to play it with a larger group yet.  What I'm trying is that during the Active Players turn, the person to the left of that player gets dibs on running NPCs and setting certain scenes as play progresses.  The person who does this, doesn't have the opportunity to have their waitress involved in the current scene, but by creating a tailored made scene to the Active Player, they can create a conflict that will provide a harder choice for the player.  The other players get to choose: a) Play a NPC or b) Have their character in the scene.  If they do a) they gain some free currency (Vacation Days), and if they do b) they have a chance to steal evidence points from the Active Player during the scene.

I see your point about preventing ganging up on the leader, and I just don't know right now how it will come together in waitress.  But my thoughts are that because the players are competing, they'll come up with ideas that will help to level the playing field or, at least, with ideas that will make it harder for the player they're responsible for to win. 

Maybe have the players responsible just for X number of ideas (more than will be played during a session) and throw them into a hat?


Title: Re: [Domus] - Second Playtest & Situation
Post by: Darcy Burgess on February 08, 2006, 09:25:31 AM
What I think I'm going to try implementing is a different variation:

The players collectively build the proto-idea deck during character / game creation.  The same deck is also used collectively.

I just need to work out a procedure (likely similar to the current procedure for generating the Prophetic Term list) for guiding the creation of the idea deck.

Another, funkier idea would be to do away with the Prophetic term list and fuze the functionality of both the "list" and the "deck" (ie: terms and proto-ideas) into one mechanical device (likely a card deck) and reduce the apparatus necessary for play.

But I think that I'll back-burner that one for now.

Thanks for the input, Bryan.  Anyone else have any divergent suggestions?