*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
June 24, 2022, 02:04:58 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 86 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: [Contenders] Brief experimental play  (Read 3161 times)
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« on: November 28, 2005, 07:46:41 AM »

Threads to check out first:
[Contenders] Ronnies feedback
[Contenders] First playtests (and muchos beer)

We played Contenders too! Bear in mind, we didn't really get into it in the sense of playing out every scene to their shared conclusion, but we did make characters and run a Thug scene, a Fight scene, a Training scene, and a Connections scene.

We did like the fighting, quite a bit. It worked well for two difficult things in combat-detail games: initial advantage following through later bits, and turnaround-comeback options. Neither can be discounted, and neither fully determines the fight's outcome, which I wasn't sure about - I'd worried that the Dominate step would spell the outcome. As it stands, it's excellent, a real boxing combat system.

Connections and their story are clearly the core of play, but are sadly lacking in climax. As I anticipated, the key to this, and the roughest part of play concerned GMing one another's scenes. People had a hard time stepping up to take over NPCs in others' scenes, especially, and that's crucial. I'm facing this issue myself on Adept Press' major project at the moment, and I've learned that it has to be formalized in some way, even ritualized.

The most obvious current example is Polaris, but in the case of Contenders, I recommend that you use physical objects to represent the NPCs, especially Connections, and have people actually pick up and "own" those objects, so we all know who "has" any given NPC at any time. Whether the objects can be transferred around, and how, is up to you.

Joe, I'm afraid you don't get what I'm saying about the setting. I'll say it again: you'll do better to provide one. Your own experiences emphatically do not count, because you are the writer and ipso facto GM at the social level. That means you did provide a setting, simply through GM/author leadership. One of the most valuable skills a designer can develop is to recognize, during playtesting, when his or her own leadership is substituting for rules that aren't there, and assuming therefore that the written rules work. It's a common problem.

If you provide the right information about the setting, and don't overload the text with detail, then what you've really done is provide a model for others to use for other settings. It works perfectly. I did this to some extent with Sorcerer, but since then, games like My Life with Master and Dogs in the Vineyard have perfected the art of the "single sketchy setting." People are always enthusing about how they could easily adapt the rules to other settings, in some weird belief that it's a profound act. In fact, it's easy - if the author shows you how with one punchy, usable, effective setting that inspired the original group's play.

We ran into some trouble regarding what scenes must or must not follow other scenes. Saying a fight must follow a promotion is a little tricky, in two cases.

1. When a PC boxer is scheduled to fight an NPC, does their fight follow immediately, effectively giving that PC two turns in a row? Or does that simply mean that that PC's next turn must be the fight? The latter makes more sense to me, especially since that boxer might be included in others' scenes before that happens, which seems like a good thing.

2. When two PC boxers (A and B) are scheduled to fight on A's turn, then does the fight take place on B's turn, no matter what? If so, then this is a way for A to force B's hand in terms of what to do, perhaps getting that fight in before B can train or do anything else. Is this the way it's supposed to work? If so, then that's a good thing, but only if people realize how important Promotion scenes therefore become - and how they can play the NPCs (e.g. promoters, managers, etc) very seriously during those scenes in order to protect or favor their own boxer's choices of scenes coming up over the next round of turns.

I had some other notes about Pain, which I'll have to find, and I'm also interested in associating Endgame with NPCs rather than with the boxers. So far, so good, though - the game is bearing out my initial reading very well.

Best,
Ron
Logged
Roger
Member

Posts: 168


WWW
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2005, 09:57:37 AM »

How did the "Street Fighting" tactic work out in actual play?



Cheers,
Roger
Logged
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2005, 11:11:32 AM »

We used the rule that was hit upon in the Ronnies thread, that using Street Fighting entailed a loss of Reputation if you lost the fight. As I recall, the character that employed Street Fighting at one point did lose the fight, so was hammered by the rule. I think it worked out OK, especially since the Street Fighting did win that particular round for that character.

I could have it backwards, though. Julie, Maura, you two were playing the characters that were fighting; how do you recall it?

Best,
Ron
Logged
jrs
Member

Posts: 373


« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2005, 11:53:07 AM »

Well, that was a few weeks back, but as I recall, both of us used street style at some point.  My character won the fight and I believe he was successful in both rounds when using street style.  Early on, I resorted to street style because my character was at a disadvantage (that's when we discovered how devastating it is for one fighter to target Conditioning with VPs).  He was successful in that round and that pretty much turned the tables in the fight-- the narration included the ref spotting Maura's fighter for a bogus illegal move.  In the last round, we both used street style and again my fighter won the round and the fight.  That was the round where Maura's fighter ended up swinging at the ref. 

Jeez.  I feel bad that I don't even remember our characters' names.  I know very little about boxing, but I still enjoyed the fight mechanics. 

Julie

Logged
Joe J Prince
Member

Posts: 99

Putting the fun into dysfunction!


WWW
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2005, 07:57:58 AM »

Thanks for the feedback, it's great to hear about another group's play experiences.

I've just heard Clinton's podcast from ogrecave and one of the points raised regarding the Ronnies was that it's too hard to find the games being discussed - so here's a link to Contenders

Control of NPCs could certainly do with more clarification, maybe assigning picture cards to NPCs, like I suggest in The Dragon vs The Gun would work. Physical props would be really nice, but I'm not sure how practical they'd be.
Strangely NPC control was never a problem for the non-role-players who happily either narrated the NPCs in their own scenes, or took control of any NPCs that appealed to them. Both methods are perfectly acceptable given the mechanics, but this issue could clearly do with more formalisation. Maybe when a player introduces an NPC they could just nominate who they want to play them, that'd be fast and throw players straight into the role-playing. I'm keen to see how Adept Press handles it for Dr Chaos (I'm guessing, but I really want to play Dr Chaos, it sounds awesome).

OK - setting. Well I'll try and defend myself here first by saying for both the games I played I was acutely aware of the potential GM/author leadership problem. I don't really like GMing much, that's partly why I try to write GM-less games, to ease that particular burden. Anyway all I did was read out the setting section to the players and then just agree with whatever they said. Kickboxing in Manilla in the seventies - that was a bizarre choice which none of us knew anything about, but it was fun.

However, I'm not so stupid as to ignore advice from a highly respected rpg author so I'm working on a particular Contenders setting which is going to be based to some extent on Frank Miller's Sin City. Only thing I'm worried of is turning people off my game with a specific setting - I know players who won't touch Dogs because of the Mormon thing or MLWM because of the Gothic European stylings.

As for the Fight scene following a Promotion scene, I think that the confusion stems from my clumsy wording in the 24hr version - basically Ron is right about the way it's supposed to work.
1. A PC boxer scheduled to fight an NPC has the fight on the PC's next turn.
2. 2 PC boxer's have their fight on whoever's turn comes next (whoever didn't call for the Promotion scene).
Yes Promotion scenes are very important for everyone involved! I'd like to include the option of a PC turning down a fight with another PC, maybe gaining Pain for doing so. The other PC could then fight an NPC by default.

As for Streetfighting, it is pretty effective, I'm going to up the VPs for a warning to 2 instead of 1, this helps balance Streetfighting for NPCs and alongside the potential Rep loss for PCs it means dirty tactics are a calculated risk rather than a no-brainer.

I'm really pleased that the fight mechanics were enjoyable, especially to non-boxing fans. It certainly sounds like Julie and Maura's characters had an exciting and brutal bout!

Thanks everyone,
Joe.
Logged

Pages: [1]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!