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[44] Actual play input -- ashcan buyers please read!

Started by Matt Snyder, August 22, 2007, 05:30:29 PM

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Matt Snyder

The Ashcan Front was a big success for Paul and me. We set goals in doing this project. While it will take a few months to see real results, those goals are well on their way to being met.

Specifically, in the case of my game 44, I'm already getting good feedback. One group played the game at Embassy Suites at the con, and I played on Sunday as well.

Both groups encountered what I already knew was something to address with the ashcan. The game's currency economy is a delicate thing. The balance can make the game one-sided and less fun. The one-sidedness can occur in either direction -- sometimes The Director overwhelms. Sometimes the players overwhelm the director.

So! Time to start fixing, and I have a great place to start. Those of you who picked up 44 at GenCon will want to check this out.

The Conspiracy Grows

Look for this section, The Conspiracy Grows, on page 23. It instructs the Director to increase Agents, add new Agents, increase Control rating or increase Program rating, all by 1 point. This rule was a specific fix to one-sided games where the players overwhelmed the Director. I've over-compensated it seems.

Try this instead: Allow the Director to ONLY increase Agents by 1 point per player scene. He can't add to the same agent twice in a row -- he has to add another Agent or create a new one. This will make for a large roster of nasty Agents! Keep 'em coming. And, remember, you can't use more Agents than your Program rating as Director (or as Operative).

The Director cannot use those The Conspiracy Grows "freebies" to increase his Qualties (i.e. Control and Program). The Director can still buy increases for Control and Program with Reserve dice, however.


One more fix to try. Ralph Mazza came up with a brilliant idea. He recommends creating a mechanic during scene framing that lets the active player deny one Agent. That is, the player says, "Hey, Director, you CANNOT use Agent So-and-so in this scene." It would limit only one Agent.

To do so, the player must spend a Reserve die or use a Trust Fund die. There is no die value limit. Just spend any die.

(Ralph also recommended letting the Director deny one Bond for main characters, but I'm inclined to let this go.)

The Zero Hour

I have no fix for the Zero Hour (end game). I think The Conspiracy Grows fix may solve the problem of the players not being able to win if the Director gets ahead early and keeps growing. But, I'd like player groups to let me know if they just can't get any different results in the Zero Hour besides Replacement.

(EDIT: Added cost to Denying an agent!)
Matt Snyder

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra