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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 69 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: The tumbling tumbleweeds  (Read 3464 times)
Matt Snyder
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« on: June 10, 2002, 09:56:14 AM »

Well, just like Dust Devils says, it's time to shoot or give up the gun.

After reading Ron's thoughtful review of Dust Devils half a dozen times, I've come up with a set of revisions for the game.

What I want to know from other folks is WHO THE HECK IS DOWNLOADING THIS GAME?!? I can't explain the altogether surprising, humbling and delightful "Most Popular" download position in the Forge Resource Library, and my own web site traffic that shows 500 downloads the game.

And yet, no doubt due in large part to my own lack of posting, feedback has been surprisingly minimal. Ron, Sean Wipfli and Clay Dowling seem to have played the durn thing, and all have offered fantastic feedback. Anybody else? I'm really looking forward to any feedback -- be it from players or "readers" -- as I work toward the ashcan for GenCon. Then it'll be time to play the damn thing once and for all in the Forge booth! Showdown at the Forge/Adept Press/Key 20 corral.

Later,
Matt, whose own Devil is Procrastination, and he never seems to get more cards for that in conflicts that matter. Just fewer and fewer cards.
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Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra
Jake Norwood
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« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2002, 10:05:02 AM »

I've got it. I've read most of it. Haven't played it yet...I want to, but not bad enough to disrupt our current schedule. Hopefully we'll have an Actual Play report on it, oh, this month.

Jake
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"Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." -R.E. Howard The Tower of the Elephant
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Matt Snyder
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« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2002, 10:10:34 AM »

Quote from: Jake Norwood
I've got it. I've read most of it. Haven't played it yet...I want to, but not bad enough to disrupt our current schedule. Hopefully we'll have an Actual Play report on it, oh, this month.


Hope so, Jake! Looking forward to it.

FYI for everyone, as abit of explanation, this thread was sparked by an email I got from a site editor in Israel who contacted me today requesting my permission to translate DD into Hebrew. Now, I'm cool w/ that, but it sure surprised the heck out of me! "You want to do what?!? Uh, sure. Cool!"Then I started figuring out the numbers and was dumb-founded to see the latest "Most Popular" numbers and my own site's reporting.
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Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra
deidzoeb
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« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2002, 11:28:27 AM »

Hi Matt,

I downloaded Dust Devils.  It looks really good.  Hoping to play it as soon as I can get my gaming group interested.

The movies mentioned in the rules give some good ideas, but I think it would be helpful to list some brief examples of scenarios that could be used for the game.
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Matt Snyder
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« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2002, 11:54:51 AM »

Quote from: deidzoeb
Hi Matt,

I downloaded Dust Devils.  It looks really good.  Hoping to play it as soon as I can get my gaming group interested.

The movies mentioned in the rules give some good ideas, but I think it would be helpful to list some brief examples of scenarios that could be used for the game.


Thanks! That's a fine suggestion. I think you've identified one of the key things the game needs -- an example of how to play the thing, and some suggestions for scenarios. Dust Devils is a different game for some folks, and that kind of play could use some illumination, as you suggest. I'll definitely be including this in the "final" version.

Some other things I intend to revise/include:

* A few simple mechanics tweaks -- like clarifying that each Deal is for one significant conflict only, and then all players return cards for a new shuffle and Deal for the next conflict.

* Clarification of just how many cards one can Call / Play in a hand, and which of those counts toward High Card for narration.

* A folding mechanic, by which players can "escape" a conflict, but perhaps lose an ante (probably a Chip).

* As I said above, play examples, including some guidelines on scenario preparation.

* Expansion of the Devil mechanic, which can be set to higher and lower numbers. I'm thinking of calling this the Ante, and Folding requires one to increase the Devil rating (i.e., the ante) by one. (Not sure what to do if it's already at 3, which I pegged as the maximum).

* Explanation of NPCs with Devils. That is, Dealer-controlled characters who might benefit/suffer from Devil mechanics.

* As Ron says in his review, advice for players that "playing it safe" is really a bad idea and no fun in the game.

* Also as Ron suggests in his review (like many of the revisions above), some text explaining the Western era, type and locale.

That's most of the revisions, though there are some other specifics -- rules tweaks mainly that Ron and others have suggested.
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Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra
hardcoremoose
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« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2002, 12:11:19 PM »

Matt,

I never did get my download to work, or the word file you sent me.  I went the extra length though and got Matt Gwinn to print me out a hard copy (actually, he had done it already without me asking).

Matt and I recently returned from CobbCon, a four-day, 14-person weekend gaming fest held at my friend Martin's house.  We intended to play Dust Devils, and actually got as far as making characters and doing an intro scene before a lunchbreak terminated the game prematurely (sadly, we didn't get back to it).

Nonetheless, some interesting discussion was had.

One immediate problem experienced by the players as they tried to make characters was that it seemed like a humorous game to them.  The half-sized character sheets, the cliched western naming convention for skills, and the fact that the Devil wasn't presented either in the rules or the character sheet as something important (their words, not mine) all led them to believe it was a sort of western parody game.  We quickly corrected them, some revisions were made to characters, and we were well onour way to having a good game, but the comments from these people (all non-Forgites) might be worth considering.  Some aesthetic choices about presentation*, as well as a spotlight on the Devil and how important it is to play, might drive home the serious nature of the game.

I believe Matt had some questions about game mechanics, but I'll leave that to him.

- Scott

* I can't believe I just gave you advice about presentation.  That's worth a laugh.
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Matt Snyder
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« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2002, 12:41:33 PM »

First off, I'm happy to say that I've identified and (hopefully) solved the issue that made some folks unable to download the Dust Devils PDF. If you had that problem before, please try again here:

http://dragons.carlisle.ia.us/downloads/dust_devils.pdf

If anyone still has a problem getting a copy, please contact me and I'll get you one somehow or another!

On to an overdue reply

Quote from: hardcoremoose

One immediate problem experienced by the players as they tried to make characters was that it seemed like a humorous game to them.  The half-sized character sheets, the cliched western naming convention for skills, and the fact that the Devil wasn't presented either in the rules or the character sheet as something important (their words, not mine) all led them to believe it was a sort of western parody game.  We quickly corrected them, some revisions were made to characters, and we were well onour way to having a good game, but the comments from these people (all non-Forgites) might be worth considering.  Some aesthetic choices about presentation*, as well as a spotlight on the Devil and how important it is to play, might drive home the serious nature of the game.


Scott, you raise an issue that has been brought up early on -- that is, the tone of the game conflicted between gritty, deadly serious to campy, slang-ridden fun. I think it's a valid criticism, and I'll be altering the prose -- and perhaps the visual presentaion some too -- to that end.

That said, I think some of those borderline humorous elements, like the Traits (for those who may not know or remember, Traits are descriptors like "Fast as Lightnin' " or "Tougher 'n rawhide") are fitting even in a game as potentially dark as DD. I keep referring back to it, but take Unforgiven. Clearly, it's a serious, thoughful movie, yet there are great moments of humor mixed it, as well as some colorful language that makes the whole combination work.

For example, when Morgan Freeman's character, Ned, can't shoot the cowboys from the cliff and Clint Eastwood's character, Will, takes the rifle and does the job, there's a prolonged dying scene in which the dying cowboy hollers to his partners as he dies. Now, the scene is meant to drive home the point that killing is a messy, ugly, and not at all glamorous business. But the scene is almost (darkly) humorous as Will shouts down to the cowboys, cursing at them to give the victim a drink of water. It's an awkward, absurd scene that is both mildly humorous and intensely disturbing.

So, that's my long-winded version of saying that some humor, delicately handled, has a place in Dust Devils.

Oh, and I'm thrilled you guys even cracked the game open! Really! Hope you get a chance to give it a shot--pun intended--later on.

Matt
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Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

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