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Author Topic: [Secret Waitress] Power 19 and Setting  (Read 2002 times)
Bryan Hansel

Posts: 111

« on: February 12, 2006, 10:38:54 AM »

Power 19

1.) What is your game about?**

Itís about the struggle of deep cover agents or law enforcement who have to do acts that are against their sense of duty and motivations in order to accomplish their job of bring down the bad guys.  Do the ends justify the means?

2.) What do the characters do?**

  • ∑   The active character must do favors to gain enough evidence to expose the bad guys, which places them in situations where their motivation is in conflict with the favor. 
    ∑   The other characters attempt to help or interfere with the case when the active characterís conflict stalls the investigation.  They do this to help themselves look good and earn evidence without guilt.

3.) What do the players (including the GM if there is one) do?**

  • ∑   The players each create one character and use that character as a tool to confront what happens when motivation comes into conflict with what they have to do to gain evidence to catch the bad guys.
    ∑   They set the scenes and the conflicts that will occur in the scenes.
    ∑   The players also play NPCs that help or hinder the gaining of evidence.
    ∑   They players also compete against each other.  The winner is the player whose character gains the most evidence by the end of the session.

4.) How does your setting (or lack thereof) reinforce what your game is about?

Undercover officers, agents, spies have to face difficult choices that wander into the realm of morally offensive for the good of the whole.

5.) How does the Character Creation of your game reinforce what your game is about?

  • ∑   During character creation, the players build backgrounds and motivations that will be used during play to create and heighten conflicts.
    ∑   Character creation also gives the players tools to be able to effectively go against the motivations.

6.) What types of behaviors/styles of play does your game reward (and punish if necessary)?

  • ∑   It both rewards and punishes the Active Player when he/she gathers evidence by going against his motivation.
    ∑   It creates competition between the players because the Supporting Players can gain evidence without gaining guilt by making it hard for the Active Player.

7.) How are behaviors and styles of play rewarded or punished in your game?

  • ∑   The Active Players choice is rewarded and punished trough the use of Evidence.  If evidence is gained, guilt may be gained.  If the Active Player goes with his Motivation, he/she gains no guilt, but also no evidence.  Guilt reduces how effect a character is during conflict.  Evidence wins the game.
    ∑   Competition is supported, because players can gain evidence without guilt if they are able to divert the Active Player into a tough choice and he/she doesnít take the evidence side of the issue.

8.) How are the responsibilities of narration and credibility divided in your game?

  • ∑   The responsibility of narration is shared among the players with the person to the left of the Active Player serving as the main narrator.  Narrations is divided into scenes.  Supporting Players narrate NPCs or their characterís actions.
    ∑   What is said goes, unless a player disagrees, then stakes are set and Conflict Resolution is played out.
9.) What does your game do to command the player's attention, engagement, and participation? (i.e. What does the game do to make them care?)

  • ∑   It uses a characterís motivation, which comes in conflict with what they have to do for their job in ever Active Playerís scene.  This conflict provides an engaging choice for the player.
    ∑   It also uses competition between the players to keep everyone paying attention.

10.) What are the resolution mechanics of your game like?

Players disagree with narration, or a conflict arises, stakes are set, dice equal to the number of points in Charm plus any Adornments that apply or Duty plus Motivation if it applies.  Favor Points are added as extra dice.  Dice are rolled.  Results of one signify a success.  Successful player narrates and has his/her stakes played out.

11.) How do the resolution mechanics reinforce what your game is about?

Adding more dice via favors increase the chance of success and guilt, which is the factor that overcomes duty and motivation.

12.) Do characters in your game advance? If so, how?

No.  One session is one game.

13.) How does the character advancement (or lack thereof) reinforce what your game is about?

Because there is no advancement, players must give their all to win the game during the session.

14.) What sort of product or effect do you want your game to produce in or for the players?

  • ∑   The effect the gain should produce is the sense of making a difficult choice for undercover agents between doing their job even though it conflicts with their motivation. 
    ∑   And, of course, to have a fun competitive game that can be won.

15.) What areas of your game receive extra attention and color? Why?

Character creation, because motivations and family ties will be used later in the game as core conflicts.

16.) Which part of your game are you most excited about or interested in? Why?

The choices between duty and favors, because this is the core conflict in the game and that the game should invoke in the player.

17.) Where does your game take the players that other games canít, donít, or wonít?

Into the downward spiral of being overcome by a job that produces good results through questionable means.

18.) What are your publishing goals for your game?

Online pdf, and a Lulu edition.

19.) Who is your target audience?

  • ∑   Indie gamers.
    ∑   Spy, Undercover Officer fans

Any opinions on the Power 19 would be appreciated.  During the rewriting of this game, I'm questioning the main setting of undercover agents as waitresses.  I think that game could work in many settings.  What's the best way to address this in the text?  By presenting several settings or by not having a setting in the game or other ideas?

Also, I think I need a new title for the game.  I haven't been able to come up with any good ones.  Any suggestions?



Posts: 802

« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2006, 04:11:38 AM »


I think having a single, focussed setting like you do now is the way to go.  Keep that.  IMO, for games like this, a very focussed setting works best.  BTW, how did answering the Power 19 help you progress towards finishing your design?  If it helped at all.



Bryan Hansel

Posts: 111

« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2006, 09:03:43 AM »

Thanks for the suggestion Troy, I think I will keep the setting as is.

As for the Power 19, overall it focused my thoughts to help make the design tighter.  It helped me address some issues that I was overlooking in the rewrite.  Questions 8 and 9 really helped me think about the new GM-less system that I'm writing and that was used during the play test.  Questions 5 and 15 helped with character creation, which needed more focus in order for the game to work.  Especially, the motivation section.  Question number 4 made me think about the setting and wonder if other settings would work. 

I think that the Power 19 is very good tool, very helpful, and thanks for writing it.


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