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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 58 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [Misery Bubblegum] Stakes, but FAST  (Read 7230 times)
TonyLB
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« Reply #15 on: March 03, 2006, 12:03:05 PM »

What if Sydney's goth girl and your Faerie King are in league?  Can they pool dice?

Not directly, no.  Sydney can give me resources (in various beneficial-to-him-and-me ways) in the phase before the stakes setting.  And he can even slant such things so that they are likely to make me want to jump the way he wants me to.  But to join in and give me resources only when he knows that he approves of the direction I'm taking things?  Nah.
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TonyLB
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« Reply #16 on: March 03, 2006, 12:15:20 PM »

I don't know if this system will produce something good, but it does avoid a long cycle of bids....which I am not totally sure would happen anyway.  What I like about this is it allows someone to express an interest and then not follow through.  That seems very high school to me.

Yes, but ... it's really not possible to be let down by somebody else on your side backing out, is it?

Like, it's not reasonable to expect:

Tony:  I want Ben's Soul!  4 Dice.
Eric:  No way!  I'll go in with 5 Dice.
Sydney:  I want to make absolutely sure that Ben's Soul is on the table, but Tony clearly has it, so I won't risk staking dice.
Tony:  Well, I'm folding.
Sydney:  But!  But!  I was counting on you!

Basically, there's no reason for Sydney not to put his dice in if it's something he wants.  There's no reason to ask him to predicate his actions on my actions.  Yes?

I'm almost tempted to say that people simply put forward the number of dice they want to roll.  The person who most wants to have Ben's Soul get bid upon takes the disadvantage of tipping their hand by saying how many dice they'll spend.  Then you get into a whole situation where you can have:

Tony:  I want Ben's Soul!  1 Die.
Eric:  You can't think you'll get it for one die.  I'm in with 2.
Sydney:  Cool.  Then I'm in with 3.
Eric:  You bastards.

I don't know which one of those dynamics would work better.  What do people think?
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Josh Roby
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« Reply #17 on: March 03, 2006, 12:32:47 PM »

I still forward my worthless vote for the dollar auction.
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TonyLB
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« Reply #18 on: March 03, 2006, 01:54:53 PM »

Y'know, the smartest thing would probably be for me to get some people together and actually playtest all three options in a sample conflict.  It'd probably take about an hour, all told, and generate a mound of practical information about how it makes people react.
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Eric Sedlacek
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TheCzech


« Reply #19 on: March 03, 2006, 05:27:50 PM »

Yes, but ... it's really not possible to be let down by somebody else on your side backing out, is it?

Like, it's not reasonable to expect:

Tony:  I want Ben's Soul!  4 Dice.
Eric:  No way!  I'll go in with 5 Dice.
Sydney:  I want to make absolutely sure that Ben's Soul is on the table, but Tony clearly has it, so I won't risk staking dice.
Tony:  Well, I'm folding.
Sydney:  But!  But!  I was counting on you!

Basically, there's no reason for Sydney not to put his dice in if it's something he wants.  There's no reason to ask him to predicate his actions on my actions.  Yes?

I suspect you are right.  Why not promise some dice since you can just back out anyway?

I'm almost tempted to say that people simply put forward the number of dice they want to roll.  The person who most wants to have Ben's Soul get bid upon takes the disadvantage of tipping their hand by saying how many dice they'll spend.  Then you get into a whole situation where you can have:

Tony:  I want Ben's Soul!  1 Die.
Eric:  You can't think you'll get it for one die.  I'm in with 2.
Sydney:  Cool.  Then I'm in with 3.
Eric:  You bastards.

The problem here is the inevitable waiting game.  I might have to take the plunge when I want an item in the mix, but beyond that, how do you keep the process moving?  I'm likely to wait and see if anyone else wants in first.  Now they are likely to wait too and maybe in this example I do end up bidding before Sydney, but I bet a bit of dead air goes by first as I see if he is chiming in.  Isn't this potential kryptonite for pacing?  Turn order is a good thing.  It makes you do your thing or pass the koosh and get out of the way.

The dollar auction could actually end up being shorter.

I don't know which one of those dynamics would work better.  What do people think?

I see potential problems with both methods.  I think there is another idea or mix/tweak of ideas that we just haven't come up with yet.
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Ben Lehman
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« Reply #20 on: March 03, 2006, 05:51:44 PM »

Tony: here's my worthless vote.  Everyone at the table, starting with the conflict's initiator, gets to put on thing on either side of the conflict.  Then, you're done.

I'd suggest not rolling to set-up stakes, because I think that's going to violate your FAST criterion.

yrs--
--Ben
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TonyLB
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« Reply #21 on: March 03, 2006, 08:52:11 PM »

I see potential problems with both methods.  I think there is another idea or mix/tweak of ideas that we just haven't come up with yet.

Yeaaah.  I'm gonna sleep on this one, at least one night.  I've about convinced myself that there's something else out there, and once I believe it's possible it's generally just a matter of jiggling the pieces around until they fit.
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TonyLB
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« Reply #22 on: March 04, 2006, 07:38:40 PM »

Okay, here's a thought ... sort of similar to TSoY's Bringing Down the Pain, in that you have a simple, dirty system that people can override with something more risky and painful. 

Whatever system you want, in order for original stakes to be set up.  Probably the "Everyone bids, one after the other," thing, because it uses the dice (and therefore helps keep the dice economy cycling) but it's fast.  It doesn't so much matter if this first pass ends up with uncomfortable results, because if a card that you don't like ends up in the stakes, your recourse is to roll to replace it with something else from your hand.  So it's:

Quote
Eric:  Ben wants one side to stake the safety of the kidnapped children.
Tony:  Done.  I want the other side to stake Ben's soul.
Eric:  Roll!  Dang, I lose.
Tony:  Now you must choose.
Eric:  I don't think so.  I want to trade Leila's Innocence in place of Ben's Soul.
Tony:  Ooooooh.  Go for it.  I do not contest.

Y'know ... this idea sprung into my head, and I have no idea whether it leads to something good, or is just a dead end.  I hope y'all don't mind me bouncing it off of you for a reaction.
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TonyLB
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« Reply #23 on: March 05, 2006, 07:25:11 AM »

Looking at it in the clear light of morning, tbis idea has more problems than I can readily shake a stick at.  Primary of them is that it encourages people to defure cool conflicts by turning them into lame conflicts.

"Okay ... the question is, will Ben trade his soul for the safety of these children.  I'm going to swap out Soul and replace it with Drivers License."

The swapping mechanic would be cool if it were always swapping to something more interesting for everyone at the table.  The "Ben will sacrifice Leila's Innocence rather than his own Soul" one fits the bill, but I'm not seeing a way (off the top of my head, anyway) to make that happen more often than "Ben will sacrifice his rock collection rather than his own Soul" (universally less interesting) or "Ben will sacrifice his position as President of the Supernatural club rather than his own Soul" (possibly more interesting to some, but probably not to the person playing the Faerie King).
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Warren
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« Reply #24 on: March 07, 2006, 04:14:36 AM »

I may just be looking at things too simply here, but during the "bidding phase" can't each player just keep the number of dice he wants to you in his closed fist, and then everybody hands are opened at the same time? For example:

Eric: Does Ben's Soul go on the table? Grab dice, everyone.

Eric grabs 3 dice and holds them in his closed fist.
Shawn isn't interested, so simply closes his fist around nothing - maybe miming getting dice from his pool to throw other players off.
Tony takes 3 dice from his pool and hides them hidden under his hand.
Sydney really wants that and looks at the other closed fists trying to assess how many dice to use. He picks up 4 dice and holds em.

Eric: OK, let's roll for it.

Everybody opens their hand and rolls the dice they have in their hand. Play then proceeds how you expect.

It's quick and simple, so I expect that I have missed something.
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TonyLB
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« Reply #25 on: March 07, 2006, 07:11:32 AM »

I'd just be so tempted to cheat, in so many ways.  I'm a pretty compulsive counter, so I'd know how many dice people had in their hands even if I made a conscious effort not to count their pool and compare it to what the pool was at the beginning of the action.  I can't turn that off, but I may be a bit on the "freak" side of the scale in that regard.


On an unrelated (to Warren's point) note:  I've been thinking (a lot) about this issue.  The question of "How do you quantify that Ben's Soul is more important than Ben's Drivers License?" has been weighing upon me heavily.  At the same time, the question of "How do you pace an episode such that people don't try to open up a big can of worms at minute 47 of a one hour TV episode?" has been weighing on me.  Strangely, I think they contain an answer to each other.  Check this out:

You want to know how important something is in a session?  Not how important it should be, or how important it could be, but how important it actually is?  Count how many times it has been offered as Stakes.  That's how many times it's been a factor in a major choice.  We'll just call that it's Importance.

But!, you justly retort, Ben's Soul, in any normal game, will have more potential to be important than Ben's Driver's License.  Yes, in an episode where his soul never comes up and his driving privileges do the drivers license has more Importance, but the drivers license should never be as important in its most important episode as his soul is in it's most important episode.  I agree with you.  Let us assign each card a (semi-)permanent value called "Potential."

Importance is always less than Potential.  Importance starts out at zero.  Each time the card is staked, it rises by one.  When it reaches Potential something happens.  That particular sub-thread has some big event that resolves ... I dunno.  Whatever's happening.  That bit is to be filled in later.  Let us assume that this "Something Happens" is a reward that players seek.  They like to make Something Happen.  The reward is proportional to the Potential of the card.

Let us further assume that Importance resets to zero at the beginning of every episode.  With me so far?

So, a card like Ben's Soul (Potential 7) is a lucrative prize ... but one that you have to work hard for.  You could try for a whole episode to drive its importance up to the point where Something Happens, and still fail.  But if you manage it, great!  Big prizes.  A card like Ben's Drivers License (Potential 2) is low-hanging fruit.  It's easy to resolve it, but resolving it doesn't buy you all that much.  Worth the effort, if you have no bigger prizes that you can reasonably seek.

At the beginning of a session, you've got maybe three hours ahead of you.  Then, you want to be looking around to see what big thing you can carry through the episode.  Maybe this episode (for you) will be all about Ben's Soul, or Rachel's Loneliness, or whatever.

Come the middle of a session, you're looking to see what's achievable.  Have you pushed Ben's Soul up high enough that you can get it to a climax?  Or maybe you want to jump ship to Rachel's Loneliness ... it's closer to a resolution, and if you capture it at the right time then you can control that resolution.  Sleazy!  Basically, around the middle-to-late period of the session, there's going to be a flocking effect, where people jump on to the clear winner(s) in terms of what's going to come to climax.  Better to have a part in an issue you didn't expect than to throw your vote away on the one you want but clearly won't get.

Then at the end of the session (after the clear winners have been resolved) it's time to go for the low-hanging fruit.  Has Ben's Driver's License already been important once in the episode?  Grab it, make it important again (for a denouement) and get a quick reward.

So what relevance does this have to what is being discussed right here and now?  Well, go back a few posts and notice where I'm talking about trying to make sure that the swapping mechanic only swaps something more interesting for something less interesting.  What if you simply say "You can only swap a card of greater Importance for one of lesser Importance"?
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Josh Roby
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« Reply #26 on: March 07, 2006, 10:01:20 AM »

I wanna see it in action, Tony.  I think you may be on to something, there.
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Eric Sedlacek
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TheCzech


« Reply #27 on: March 07, 2006, 12:12:24 PM »

There is a lot intrguing about your most recent model, Tony, but there are more details to come before I would even venture a guess on how it plays.
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