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[Age of Gods] First Ever Session of AoG

Started by Bret Gillan, October 30, 2005, 05:27:43 AM

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Bret Gillan

Previous thread: [Gods] First thread - basic concepts

Myself and my friends Tom and Jeremy got together to playtest what are currently what I've called my "alpha rules" - rules that I realize are flawed, but feel as though I won't be able to hammer out solutions to until I do some actual play. The game session was brief - we only played the Creation Myth, the First Age, and the Age of Shards, and as it stood this took a long time. We were all pretty juiced about what we were creating, but it was late and what Jere called the "busy work" was really making the game drag. Still, the game was enjoyable as I imagined, and Tom and Jere seemed to think it was pretty cool too, which just makes me more determined to iron out the wrinkles and make this a tighter, more playable game.

The big problems I bumped into:

+ As it stands, my game involves a LOT of writing - scratching out Keys on scrap paper, modifying them through meddling, and then copying them into the Mythology takes a lot of time. A possible solution we hammered out in the course of play was having each individual keep a mythology and just not worry about how "clean" it is, and then have a master index of Keys that players can refer to. This will probably be advised in my next modification of the rules. It's also becoming apparent that a web-based game is probably the best medium for AoG, which isn't something I really intended.

+ We found a bit of a "cheat" when Tom Meddled in a Key Jere had created, and then added one of GodKeys to it. The reason why this is a "cheat" - because even though it's my GodKey, I can't really do anything about it. I'm considering saying GodKeys can't be added in Meddling.

+ In order to restrict conflicting narratives springing up in the same turn, we were thinking that once a Key has been referenced by a Key created that turn, it cannot be used by anyone else, making previously created Keys - especially the more popular ones - a resource to be competed for.

+ Meddling - what it means to Meddle and what the limits of Meddling are - needs to be more clearly defined. As it stands, I just say that you have to keep the original Keys (plus or minus one). The rest is up to the Social Contract. I'm not sure if this is wise, and I think maybe there should be a conflict resolution system in place. One neat strategy that emerged during play that I had never anticipated - pre-emptive Meddling. If Tom created a Key that I like, but that I think Jere might change, I can Meddle in it and basically do nothing and leave the Key unchanged. Jere is then powerless to do anything about the Key. I thought this was pretty neat, and either Tom or Jere thought this was potentially very frustrating ( I can't remember who).

+ As someone in [Gods] First thread - basic concepts said, Boredom is really weak, and nobody will ever, ever fall victim to it. It needs some more oomph.

Overall, I think the game so far is fun and has a lot of potential, but I really need to make the system tighter and more streamlined. The token system currently in place is pretty fast and loose, and it needs some tightening to help drive the game. Nothing that hasn't been suggested to me already, but I didn't feel right coming up with some solutions without some Actual Play tucked under my belt.

Anyhow, feedback and suggestions are always welcome.

Josh Roby

Bret, I considered saying something previously, and now seeing your AP report, I'd highly suggest that you ditch the Chronology/Mythology record.  Creating that artifact of play that can be referenced later sounds like a good idea, but it shifts the focus of gaming and slows it down with bookkeeping.  Consider any other RPG -- do you write down the events of the story as they happen?  Of course not -- the players prefer to be in the moment rather than chronicling out the events for some later review of how things happened.  And then after the game is over, nobody will want to read the official chronology; they'll prefer their own recollections way more than the rather staid and neutral chronology.

I ran up against something very similar with CtH: after the game's over you have this record of everything your character discovered... and it doesn't matter in the least.  The only thing people care about is "And then I said X, but you countered with Y, and she came in and said Z, and so I had to go the Q route..."  You will not ever get that onto a piece of paper.  And gaming shouldn't be about creating a product; it should be about create an experience.

I think you could very easily port the bookkeeping of the game onto index cards, and reduce the amount of data being needlessly recorded.

Also, I'd find people Meddling with their own Keys, thus precluding me from Meddling in them, very frustrating, as it circumvents the whole point of the game, which is sticking my finger in your pie.
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Bret Gillan

Hey Joshua,

The Mythology was definitely more trouble than it was worth. I think in online play it would be easy to use and maintain because of handy copy-and-paste technology, but I want this game to be playable in a tabletop session with a group of friends, so I want to keep the writing to minimum. And I think you're right, I'm letting my own obsession with note-taking creep into the game and make it unplayable. There is a definite need for a master list of Keys, however, so that much writing needs to stay.

What you said in reference to the game being about an experience and not a product is correct, though. If people are really that concerned about it, they can play it online or bring a laptop to game. Most people probably won't though.

Also, I think you misunderstood me about the Meddling. Individuals weren't meddling with their OWN keys to prevent others from meddling. What I meant was this:

Tom creates a Key. Jere likes the Key and fears that I might Meddle in it and alter it. His turn comes before mine so he Meddles and chooses to leave it the same, preventing my Meddling since a Key can't be Meddled with twice in an Age.

Though as it stands, there's nothing preventing someone from Meddling with their own Keys in the rules. I need to change that.

Josh Roby

Why can't a Key be Meddled with endlessly?

I mean, you see how Jehovah and Allah won't let that monotheism Key rest, right? ;)
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Bret Gillan

The only reason I put a limit on Meddling was because I was worried that in a larger game Meddling could continue on and on and on and on.

Josh Roby

Is Meddling going on and on and on antithetical to the goals of the game, though?
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Bret Gillan

Not necessarily, though I could imagine it being antithetical to actual game progress on occasion. ;p

I'm beginning to rethink the game rules though with these concepts in mind:

- Power generation being tied to Key creation.
- Meddling having a conflict resolution system ("You want to Meddle, I don't want you to. FIGHT!")

Power would fuel this conflict resolution system, so Meddling *could* go on and on. Until you run out of Power, that is.

The biggest muddy area (for me) right now is what Meddling with a Key entails, how Meddling affects a Key, and why you would want to Meddle.

Josh Roby

If Keys generate Power and Power is used to Meddle, I'd think Meddling with Keys attempts to manipulate the way in which the Key generates Power -- either increasing it, decreasing it, or shifting who it gives Power to.
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