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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 62 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [Mortal Coil] Why Not Declare Actions?  (Read 3236 times)
Garvey
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Posts: 27


« on: November 30, 2006, 03:21:46 PM »

I understand how the game is supposed to be played, but I'm wondering why the game was designed in this way.

Why are actions kept hidden when bidding, and only revealed after the fact?  I imagine it is to maintain suspense, but I'm not sure why it wouldn't be better for everyone to declare their actions ahead of time, with infinite revision in response to other people's actions.

When I ran Mortal Coil we ran into problems with people declaring actions that were of very different time scales.  One person wanted to perform an action that would resolve almost instantly, and another wanted to do a very long term action, and it wasn't clear how to resolve this.  We moved past it, but it seemed like it would be solved by simply talking about actions ahead of time.  It also resolves problems where players (or even the GM) uses an inappropriate Faculty for an action, or does something that violates the shared consensus of the theme document.

It also seems more realistic to talk about actions ahead of time, in that you would often have time to react to what your opponent does (such as in an argument, where you talk in turn) and offer a counter action rather than being suddenly blown away by their action.  I suppose reallocating is the solution to this.

Even if you declare actions ahead of time, there is still the tension of how many tokens will be allocated to the action (with a minimum of one for a declared action).

Will declaring actions ahead of time break the game or will it work fine (or even better)?
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Matt
Brennan Taylor
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« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2006, 03:30:27 AM »

There is some predictability already built into the system, and not declaring actions before allocation maintains the suspense you need for the game to be strategic. If everyone knows you are only taking one action, they are going to know how many tokens you will have available and it will be easier to counter you.

If you do try it with actions declared beforehand, I would be very curious about the outcome. Definitely post the results here if you play it this way.

Also, the reason you only get one reallocation round is because a conflict can potentially go on for a very long time if you allow infinite reallocations.
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Simon JB
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Posts: 53


« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2009, 08:17:47 AM »

I'll take the liberty of waking this thread to life since it's on the first page and everything. Let me know if you don't want more of that kind here, okay?

My group is about to try out Mortal Coil after having run Solar System for a long and happy while, but on the topic of this thread we will probably do it like the OP suggests. We like to use the rules to serve the fiction, so to speak, and want players to describe what they do in the fiction and from that decide which skills/aptitudes/abilities are used when we resolve the conflict rules-wise. I mean, rather than having players state "I'm using Officer to tell the guards to let us in" we want to hear the PCs words from the player, and to do the equivalent in for example combat feels important when we play. So, we will probably describe actions in the fiction so clearly that we might as well speak openly about which aptitudes are relevant.

I think I will try to maintain more of the tactical uncertainty by encouraging describing more than one action, so that in most conflicts there will be several actions for the action tokens to be divided between.

How specific are you guys with what is going on in the fiction before the first reveal? (And I intend that question to be on topic with the OP.)
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Brennan Taylor
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« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2009, 03:02:14 AM »

I don't mind resurrecting old threads.

If you are going to do actions openly, then you will definitely need a rule in place that mandates multiple actions. A single action is extremely predictable.

As far as fiction in relation to actions goes, I usually have narrative fiction descriptions of what's going on occur after the reveal. So resolution, then description. Let me know how your modification works out.
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Simon JB
Member

Posts: 53


« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2009, 07:44:36 AM »

Right, I will!

Thanks for popping back in!
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