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Author Topic: Exhaustive list of everything you can do with Story Tokens?  (Read 12270 times)
Sindyr
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Posts: 795


« Reply #15 on: September 29, 2006, 12:33:25 PM »

* Making extra conflicts at the beginning of a page.  Page 18, grey box about pages. (This one is subtle, and I missed it the first 100 times or so I read the box).

Tony, can I get confirmation? A story token can be used to create a conflict before anyone takes their turn that page?  I am only asking because it seems an odd rule.
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-Sindyr
Sindyr
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Posts: 795


« Reply #16 on: September 29, 2006, 12:45:15 PM »

-(?) Getting another reaction roll?
-(?) Using a used up Ability? (A power you have already used this page, a non-powered ability you have used this scene)

OK, I pretty sure that the above two things are not canon in the book, unless you consider them to be implies by the text that states: "In most situations where each player gets to do something once (i.e. gets a turn) a Story Token can be spent to do it again."

If our group *did* permit people to spend a story token to get another reaction roll or to use a used up Ability (A power you have already used this page, a non-powered ability you have used this scene) would that be particularly unbalancing or make the game significantly different or less fun/playable?

The main tactical shift this allows is if you only have one "5" ability, and have already used it this page, then all the extra turns in the world will not help you - you can't use it again this page.  However, if you could spend a story token to use that ability again (in addition to the token for the extra turn, if needed) that would potentially permit you to roll down an opponents die where according to the standard rules you can't.

However. this may be fairly insignificant since you will probably be wanting to roll up your low dice more than you would want to roll down theirs.  Still, being able to spend a story token to refresh a used Ability does mean that you can't run out of powers to use while you still have Story Tokens.

Is this a bad thing, or does it fundamentally shift gameplay?

I do assume that letting someone spend an action token to get a second reaction roll would not significantly alter gameplay when they could have spent that token for a whole new turn - except that on a whole new turn, their opponent gets a free chance (well, one that doesn't costs STs) to react.  If one's reacts, one's opponent successfully reacts, then I can spend a ST to react again, and again, etc - if my opponent has no story tokens then they are screwed.  Might slightly shift some subtle tactics.

What do you think, guys?
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-Sindyr
Sindyr
Member

Posts: 795


« Reply #17 on: September 30, 2006, 07:36:15 AM »

-(?) Getting another reaction roll?
-(?) Using a used up Ability? (A power you have already used this page, a non-powered ability you have used this scene)

Thinking about it some more, unless anyone disagrees, my gut is telling me that allowing the two above uses for story tokens is consonant with the base idea behind story tokens, and while not supported in black and white in the text; would probably make for a good house mod.  I will recommend it to my group(s).

I will also recommend, unless Tony says otherwise, that the use of a Story Token to introduce a new conflict at the beginning of a page before players take actions is a strange inclusion that was probably not intended. Therefor I shall recommend that STs not be allowed to be used thusly. (Unless/until Tony says he *did* intend that usage.)
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-Sindyr
TonyLB
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« Reply #18 on: September 30, 2006, 08:54:58 AM »

Tony, can I get confirmation? A story token can be used to create a conflict before anyone takes their turn that page?  I am only asking because it seems an odd rule.

I am confirming this rule.  A story token can be used to create a conflict before, during or after the claims phase.

Not only does this allow you to create a conflict that everyone can immediately claim sides on (the usual tactic) it also allows you to create a conflict that nobody can claim sides on without spending STs (by doing so after the claiming phase) or to systematically screw the people who claim before you by creating the conflict after their free claim, but before yours, and claiming a side.
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Sindyr
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Posts: 795


« Reply #19 on: September 30, 2006, 01:36:58 PM »

OK, thanks for the confirmation.
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-Sindyr
Tuxboy
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Posts: 125


« Reply #20 on: October 05, 2006, 02:37:19 AM »

Quote
Quote from: Sindyr on September 29, 2006, 01:45:15 PM
-(?) Getting another reaction roll?
-(?) Using a used up Ability? (A power you have already used this page, a non-powered ability you have used this scene)

Thinking about it some more, unless anyone disagrees, my gut is telling me that allowing the two above uses for story tokens is consonant with the base idea behind story tokens, and while not supported in black and white in the text; would probably make for a good house mod.  I will recommend it to my group(s).

Firstly, I think this will fundamentally skew the resource balance toward story tokens which I think is a bad thing as resource balance is a very important part of the game design.

Secondly, allowing the unlocking a used unpowered ability strikes me as a very broken and unbalancing house rule no matter what method is used to unlock the ability. It has the same effect as using a powered ability without taking the debt for its use, it is pretty much the same as saying "You can use a story token to roll on any die that isn't a 6 without using an ability" as that is what the mechanical effect is.

My opinion, but they are your house rules.
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Doug

"Besides the day I can't maim thirty radioactive teenagers is the day I hang up my coat for good!" ...Midnighter
Sindyr
Member

Posts: 795


« Reply #21 on: October 05, 2006, 05:47:51 AM »

I appreciate the feedback, and think I pretty much agree - let's assume that spending a ST to use a used-up resource again is out.

I *am* tempted, though, to permit the other use - an extra reaction - because to my gut that does not seem horribly unbalanced.  Any thoughts?
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-Sindyr
Matthew Glover
Member

Posts: 160


« Reply #22 on: October 05, 2006, 06:09:27 AM »

There is a downside to spending a ST for an extra action:  everybody else has a free shot at reacting. 

If you allow spending a ST for an extra reaction, though, other players also have to spend STs to react to it.  I think this again increases the power on Story Tokens.
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TonyLB
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« Reply #23 on: October 05, 2006, 07:25:36 AM »

Also, in a practical, around-the-table way the rule about buying reactions directly will shut other players out for longer periods of time.  Right now, if two folks get into an ST-war over a conflict, I get to occasionally stick my input in edge-wise as a reaction to their actions.  If that same war goes to pure reactions then I just get to sit back and spectate until they're done.

That might mean that you get something done in five minutes rather than ten, and that would be good.  But it would be five minutes I'm completely shut out of, instead of ten where I get a chance for input every minute or so, and that's something to consider.
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Sindyr
Member

Posts: 795


« Reply #24 on: October 05, 2006, 09:14:21 AM »

Hmm.

Let me look at the two methods for combatting a good roll by an opponent:

1) An extra action
-occurs at the end of turn, giving people no chance to use their free action to deal with your extra action's consequences
-gives you up to 2 chances to roll on the dice, gives each other player up to one chance to roll on it (if you are rolling up, you get two chances to get a six)
-has immense flexibility as you can spend that action on any action you like
-makes a another whole turn happen
-gives up the option for using debt - staking, splitting, schisming, etc.
-significant potential downside. Example: four players, three are united to try to see you not succeed in a conflict.  You spend a ST for an extra action.  You roll up your die, keep the result.  one person rolls down your die.  You try to roll it back up, and suceed.  Two more people try to roll it down.  You got 2 chances to roll it up versus their 3 to roll it down.  Therefor, spending the ST was quite probably a thing that hurt you more than helped.  I don't like this.

2) An extra reaction
-occurs before the next person's turn/action
-gives you one chance to roll a die not selected by you but by another player
-gives one no other abilities or options or flexibility, unlike an extra action would.
-potentially speeds up story token wars
-potential downside of giving one person more "play" opportunity, without giving anyone else anymore.  In my game reactions however go very fast - probably only 30-45 seconds each.  So we are only talking about 30-45 seconds per token spent thusly.
-potential upside of faster play.  A full play turn seems to take much more - say 3-5 minutes, making that from 5 to 10 times as much time.
-potential upside of spending a token gets you and only you something tactical.  With an extra action, your opponents gain a benefit, potentially (as illustrated above) greater than yours.  With an extra reaction, you gain someting and your oppoents gain nothing.
-potential upside of remaining more true to the description of story tokens in the text: In most situations where each player gets to do something once (i.e. gets a turn) a Story Token can be spent to do it again. (page 17)

One other note.  My group handles actions and reactions thusly:
The person who's turn it is takes an action. If he rolls his dice and keeps it, the chance for first reaction goes to the person on his left. He can either pass or choose to react.  Whether or not that person reacts, the person to their left gets the next chance for reaction. This continues around the table.

When it comes back to the person who made the original action, they then get a reaction chance.  And then the opportunity for reaction to *their* roll passes to the left again.  Each person gets only one reaction, but they can "save" their reaction to react later in the cycle. However, once you get X passes in a row, where X is the number of players, even if people have saved reactions (have previosuly passed their reaction oppourtunity) the time for reactions is over.

Example: (leaving out the narrative text, debt spending, and character descriptions for clarity)
Adam, Bob, Charlie, and Debra are playing.  It's is Adam's turn.

Adam: I am rolling up this die (points at a die showing a 1 on a conflict he has claimed)  - woot! A 4! I keep it.
Bob: I pass my reaction. We are tied on this conflict, and I don't mind it going another page, as that will let Debra claim the side you are claiming now - and I can tell she wants to!  I don't mind her winning - but I don't think I am going to like what you would narrate - so I leave the tie in place.
Charlie: I pass as well.
Debra: Well, I actually kinda wanted to steal your claim next page - or let Bob win - so I *will* react down on that... lol, a five again.
Adam: I am still winning, so... pass.
Bob: Sigh - I react - a four!
Charlie: Pass
Debra: I have already used my reaction, so I must pass.
Adam: Hmm - if I pass, Bob will have to pass - and that will be four passes in a row and end this action.  So I will react to my own dice - a three! Grrr.... I keep the four.
Bob: Pass - since I have no reactions left...
Charlie: I till have an unused reaction - I could mess with you all. ;)  But, pass.
Debra: I too must pass since I have no unused reactions.
Adam: Grrr... same, that's four passes, ending both the action and the page.

That's how we handle the structure of reactions - each person has one chance to react beginning with the person to the left of the original action.  Once everyone passes in a row, the reactions are done.

Here's how the above example could be different if Adam had some story tokens and used them token for an extra reaction:

Adam: Hmm - if I pass, Bob will have to pass - and that will be four passes in a row and end this action.  So I will react to my own dice - a three! Grrr.... I keep the four.
Bob: Pass - since I have no reactions left...
Charlie: I till have an unused reaction - I could mess with you all. ;)  But, pass.
Debra: I too must pass since I have no unused reactions.
Adam: I have no more free reactions so I pass - which would normally end the reactions phase, *but* I am spending a story token for another reaction! Bang zowie - a five!
Bob: Damnit - no tokens here, and no freereactions left, so pass.
Charlie - hmm - I still have a free reaction - and now it's payback time for what you did to me last page!  Rolling that die down - a two!
Debra: Wow!  Thanks! No tokens here. Pass.
Adam: You rotten fink - I knew you would make good on your revenge! heh heh. Ah well.  Pass.
Bob: Pass - still no tokens here.
Charlie: Pass.
Debra: That's four passes - are we done?
Adam: Nope - Spending *another* story token (grrr) - tha two is now a...  four! (sigh) - well, I am out of tokens, so that's that.
Bob: Pass, of course,
Charlie: Pass.
Debra: Pass
Adam: .. and pass, turn over!

This seems highly workable to me.  Especially since if someone uses a token to get another reaction, you can still use your free reaction after, assuming that you haven't already used it up.

Sound good?
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-Sindyr
Matthew Glover
Member

Posts: 160


« Reply #25 on: October 05, 2006, 12:36:18 PM »

Your reaction procedure has the acting player giving an opportunity to react after all the other players, where the book has the acting player getting first chance at a reaction (pg 40).  Did you do that purposefully to give the acting player a chance at having the "last word," so to speak?

As you pointed out, spending a ST for an extra action has a significant potential downside, though whether or not people choose to react to your action depends on a lot of factors (limited usage of Abilities, accrued Debt, narrative concerns about this particular goal's effect on the story, strategic concerns about this particular goal's effect on resources, things like that) so I submit that the actual downside is probably less than it might seem, especially as the page number gets higher and blockable abilities get used up. 

Extra Action:  With each subsequent ST spent, you get your action and reaction, where other players each get a reaction.  I'm fine with this.  If you really want to win, you're going to have to fight for it and accrue Debt for it.  Either the other players will eventually decide the cost (in Debt) is too high to keep fighting you, or you'll decide the cost is too high and give up, or you'll run out of Story Tokens.   I also like that this preserves the established Action + Reactions procedure set up in the rules-as-written and is inclusive to every player (as I think Tony mentioned earlier).

Extra Reaction:  With each subsequent ST spent, you get your reaction, where other players get nothing.  In order to effectively fight the spending player, you have to dump Story Tokens.  I think this exaggerates the value of STs too much, throwing the ST/Debt/Inspiration economy out of whack.  At the same time, I don't like the way it elongates the Action + Reactions cycle.  I think this has the potential to significantly change the way the game plays. 

I understand that this may appeal to somebody who wants to move from this (with four players):
Nearing the end of the page...
ST Action + 4 Reactions
ST Action + 4 Reactions
ST Action + 4 Reactions
ST Action + 4 Reactions

To this:
Nearing the end of the page...
ST Action + 4 Reactions + 4 ST Reactions from player A + 4 ST Reactions from player B

I really don't like what that does to the value of Story Tokens, though.  And inflating the value of STs could lead to more gloatfests.  Who wants that?  :D

Oh, and I almost forgot.  In your example, you suggest four players, with three of them ganging up against the fourth.  Man, in that case, just take your Story Tokens and lie down.  If all the other players are that strongly against whatever you're proposing, rewriting the rules so you can more easily fight them is a losing proposition, even if you do win the conflict.
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Sindyr
Member

Posts: 795


« Reply #26 on: October 05, 2006, 01:27:54 PM »

Your reaction procedure has the acting player giving an opportunity to react after all the other players, where the book has the acting player getting first chance at a reaction (pg 40).  Did you do that purposefully to give the acting player a chance at having the "last word," so to speak?

Sortof...  but I don't think there's a big functional difference - after all if he rolls, accepts, and wants to react to his own rolls, then he probably did not do that well and other people may not pass for now until he reacts, after which they can react anyways.

In our game, pass your chance to react does NOT mean losing your chance to react as long as someone else reacts before it gets back to you again.  Only if *everyone* passes in a row is the reaction phase over.  And as soon as someone does react, you need another string of unbroken passes to end it. Of course, as people use up their reactions you will get longer unbroken strings of passing.

Mostly the reason I have the original actor reacting last is just that he just *acted* - lets give everyone else a chance to react, and *then* he can go again.

Quote
Extra Reaction:  With each subsequent ST spent, you get your reaction, where other players get nothing.  In order to effectively fight the spending player, you have to dump Story Tokens.  I think this exaggerates the value of STs too much, throwing the ST/Debt/Inspiration economy out of whack.  At the same time, I don't like the way it elongates the Action + Reactions cycle.  I think this has the potential to significantly change the way the game plays. 

I understand that this may appeal to somebody who wants to move from this (with four players):
Nearing the end of the page...
ST Action + 4 Reactions
ST Action + 4 Reactions
ST Action + 4 Reactions
ST Action + 4 Reactions

To this:
Nearing the end of the page...
ST Action + 4 Reactions + 4 ST Reactions from player A + 4 ST Reactions from player B

Well, it does give another use for STs, which makes them a little better, but using them to React can in many ways I think sacrifice much of their potency.  To me, it seems balanced - and the upside complelling. YMMV.

Quote
I really don't like what that does to the value of Story Tokens, though.  And inflating the value of STs could lead to more gloatfests.  Who wants that?  :D

I have other ideas to control that... (grin)

Quote
Oh, and I almost forgot.  In your example, you suggest four players, with three of them ganging up against the fourth.  Man, in that case, just take your Story Tokens and lie down.  If all the other players are that strongly against whatever you're proposing, rewriting the rules so you can more easily fight them is a losing proposition, even if you do win the conflict.

I was hoping someone would bring that up - it another reason actually supporting my idea, because it illustrates that sometimes even thought you *could* spend a ST for an extra reaction, choosing to lose and rake in the new STs can be a better choice.
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-Sindyr
Sindyr
Member

Posts: 795


« Reply #27 on: October 07, 2006, 11:50:12 AM »

OK, here is the integrated list, as far as I can see:


Exhaustive list of all official uses for Story Tokens:
  • Taking an extra action for one character you are playing.  Can be done only after each character has had their normal turns, near page's end.
  • Bringing in a new character to play alongside your existing one.  Can be at the start of any page.  However many characters you have, each one gets one action, on your turn, in any order.However, it's still just one reaction per player.
  • Taking an extra Claim - can only be done during the Claiming phase.
  • Creating a new Conflict any time at the beginning of a page, before everyone's turn. (before, during, or after Claiming.)

To the above list, our group will probably add one more thing via a house rule:
  • Taking an exra reaction when you have already used your one free reaction.
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-Sindyr
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