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[Contenders] First game

Started by JC, August 11, 2007, 06:49:46 PM

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hi :)

first game of Contenders tonight, and we had a blast, even if we didn't make it to the end-game

the three of us played through Skype, using real card decks (we couldn't find anything practical to emulate cards online)

I'll post my the setting and PCs, the scenes, and my questions in seperate posts


two of the players are Polish, so we went with the idea in the book about Eastern Europe during the Cold War...


Eastern European country during the Cold War. East-Germany. East-Berlin. 1970. Underground fighting, as entertainment for Communist Party members. Professional boxing and gambling is illegal. Corrupt secret police (Stasi).


Who is your Contender? 40 years old, working class
Where does he come from? East-Berlin
Why does he fight? to get money for his teenage daughter Elsa - she's a junkie, a prostitute, and she's pregnant
What kind of an individual is he? has a hard time controlling his temper
Connections: Daughter
Ultimate hope? I get enough money to buy my daughter an abortion, and she uses it for an abortion, not drugs
Ultimate fear? her life is wrecked by having to raise the kid, and my family's shame

Who is your Contender? Hans Heckler, a German redneck in his early twenties.
Where does he come from? He comes from some poor village near Berlin.
Why does he fight? He needs money for his mother's medicaments and operation. She can't walk.
What kind of an individual is he? He wasn't the brightest boy in the village, but he's quite determined.
Connections: Mother
Ultimate hope? He hopes his mother gets better.
Ultimate fear? He fears his mother's paralysis spreads to the rest of her body, and she dies.

Romanian forty something old boxer, brutal guy.
Connection: Girlfirend
Ultimate hope? Astrid escapes to west Germany.
Ultimate fear? We'll end up in prison.

a bit of a trend going on there with the connections, now that I look at it...


Heinrich Vogel - Stasi officer; uses Igor
XXX - political dissident (woman)
Otto - the shady promoter; pimps Elsa
XXX - communist party member; in contact with Otto
Fritz - Hans' uncle
Elsa - Dieter's daughter; works for Otto; Hans is falling in love with her
Nina - Dieter's wife
Gerald - bribed judge; buys sex with Elsa through Otto


Heinrich Vogel, a young Stasi officer, hires Igor to beat the shit out of a dissident. The woman begs Igor not to hurt her, and he lets her go, and runs off, when Vogel is out for a cigarette break.

Dieter works as a bouncer in a sleazy bar. Some patrons get drunk and start some trouble, inadvertently bothering Vogel, who's having a quiet drink. Dieter takes care of the rowdy clients, and earns Vogel's thanks.

Hans works in a pig-farm near his home village. He messes up, and his co-workers make fun of him. He gets angry, throws some punches, and is fired. Hans decides to leave for nearby Berlin, in search of a job.


Igor goes to Otto for a fight. Otto schedules a short match against Holger, as entertainment for a Party member's russian guests. Otto also promises to provide prostitutes. The Party member doesn't even aknowledge the boxers' presence.

Hans travels to East-Berlin on a farmer's tractor. He then meets up with his uncle Fritz, who tells him he could be a boxer. Fritz puts him in touch with Otto, and they set up a bout.

Dieter takes Elsa to the zoo. This keeps from doing God knows what out on the streets.


Igor fights Holger in front of the Soviet guests. Igor gets knocked out in the first round, with his girlfriend watching.

After this warm-up fight, Hans fights Karl. Holger cheers Hans on (he doesn't like Karl), and the young Contender goes on to win by the narrowest of margins. One of the russians approaches Hans after the fight, telling him he'd be interested in setting up a match with a russian boxer.

Dieter learns Elsa is pregnant, talking to one of her friends. He decides to pick up his old gloves again to get her the money for an abortion. He kisses the worried Nina, promising her he'll be OK, and goes to see Otto.


After the fight, Igor finds his girlfriend talking to some Party members outside the building. They talk, and he accepts to fight some more in the future, if they try and help her escape the counrty.

Hans hauls his uncle Fritz's big bags of coal to improve his Conditioning.

Dieter fights Wolf in a very dirty bout. Dieter Brings the Pain, but the match still ends in a tie. A flashback shows us someone bribing Gerald, the judge.


Igor gets paid by Otto to look after Elsa, who's whoaring for him. Igor takes her to Gerald's house, where she gets abused, while he waits downstairs.  Otto then pays them both, after taking his share. Elsa gets abused some more by Otto, in exchange for some drug money.

Hans schedules a long match with Otto. At one point, Elsa walks in, asking after Gerald. Hans starts to fall in love with her.

Dieter spends some time working on his technique.


Vogel threatens Hans: if he doesn't go all the way in his next fight against the russian, they'll have Igor break her limbs.

Dieter asks Otto for a rematch against Wolf.

Hans fights Vlad, the Russian, in a grueling bout. He's very defensive, trying to go all the way. The Russian knows something's up, so doesn't hesitate to resort to street tactics. Hans finally wins on points, pocketing a huge bet on the way. He's swimming in money now!


OK, now, some rules questions...

1/ the char-gen rules aren't clear to me, as far as stats are concerned
   do you start with 1 Contender Hope, 1 Connection Hope, 1 Pain, 1 Cash, 1 Rep, +1 bonus point?
   or 1 Contender Hope, 0 Connection Hope, 1 Pain, 1 Cash, 1 Rep, +2 bonus points?
   or something else?

2/ player A goes for a promotion scene
   then player B threatens player A's connection
   on his next turn, does player A do the fight scene that follows from the promotion, or the fight scene that follows from the treat?

3/ when you burn Hope during a fight, and you burn a connection's hope down to zero, do you lose that connection?

Filip Luszczyk

The game was fun :)

The last match was one hell of a fight, but at it was worth it. Now Hans's mother doesn't need to have her legs operated - he'll simply buy her a Rolls-Royce ;)

Contenders is a cool game, although not having the book I've been somewhat confused by the differences between demo and full version.

I'd like to know if it's possible to take another PC's connection as a new connection for the character. If so, I wonder would it break something if I took Elsa as a new connection for Hans, with the ultimate hope in the lines of "I hope she'll give birth to her child". I'm not sure how the system would handle contradictory hopes/fears.

Also, I wonder about the purse spliting rules. It doesn't seem the purse needs to be split roughly equally, but with splits like 4/1 one can gain quite a lot of Cash (although there's some gamble to it). The whole negotiation thing during promotion scenes seems kind of fuzzy to me, too - are there some more concrete guidelines in the full version?


I don't mean to be a pain, but we're playing again tomorrow, and I'd really like to know the answers to the rules questions

can anybody help us out?

thanks for any input!