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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 125 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [Engle Matrix Game] I need some help seeing if buying arguments is good mechanic  (Read 1838 times)

Posts: 582

« on: June 06, 2007, 07:02:10 AM »

I want some help finding the bugs in a new rules mechanic I'm playing around with.

The basic rule of Matrix Games now is that each turn a player makes an argument for what happens next in the game (it is given a "to happen" roll). If it happens it is added to the "Matrix" of the world. Other players can jump in with counter arguments and there can be secondary rounds of arguments. This is the game now.

The new rule is to start the game giving players a set number of tokens (20) that they can buy arguments with. They are not buying an automatic success or doing a round of bidding like in Universalis. Instead they are just buying a an argument that is resolved just like they have been. What the tokens do is set an end point to the game and show players that they have to work fast and directly if they are going to accomplish their goal.

I did a play test of this at Marcon in Columbus Ohio in May. My brother and I played a game of "Evil Wizard School" (which will be available on RPGNow pretty soon). We were two teachers vying with one another for control of the school once the old master died. I dove straight into recruiting the students to support me. Ian pursued a plan of hiding and setting up secret pit falls. In the end we had a 50/50 chance of either of us winning.

The argument tokens did work to keep us focused and at least for me they made the game not feel empty. I find that when I'm playing open ended games (especially ones that allow near total freedom of action - like EMGs) that I get a yucky empty feeling if there are not three or more players. The more players the better. I was a little concerned that this would happen here. As it was it didn't. The time limit imposed by the tokens and knowing I had to be focused kept the game fun and engaging.

I posted this on the MatrixGame2 yahoo group and one of my members said he had tried somethign similar in the mid 90's in a Pirate miniatures game. He gave his players 5 coins. What happened was two players cancelled one another out using their arguments. This soured them on the game which killed the fun for all. Clearly this was a hybrid game. The arguments were only there to supplement the skirmish rules but I can see that this could happen with other groups.

I'd like to hear other ways you can think to break this system. Ways to kill fun with it or otherwise hack it.


Chris Engle
Hamster Press = Engle Matrix Games

I've used variations on the token idea in other games - such as wargames at the Seven Years War con this March. I know it works well with sporting players who aspire to be gentlemen. I'm concerned about players who have less polite manners.

Chris Engle
Hamster Press = Engle Matrix Games
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