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Archive => Indie Game Design => Topic started by: iago on April 14, 2003, 10:14:39 AM



Title: 24 Hour Games: Nine Games Open for Critique
Post by: iago on April 14, 2003, 10:14:39 AM
A number of 24-Hour Games (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=5951) have been completed over the past weekend.  This thread is getting started separately in order to kick off the critiquing phase for those games.

You can find a list of the games at:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/24HourGames/links/

Please, have at!


Title: 24 Hour Games: Nine Games Open for Critique
Post by: MPOSullivan on April 14, 2003, 12:16:11 PM
okay, i've got the day off tomorrow so i'll be going through everyones and doing some reviews of the material.  then hopefully i'll be able to play them soon and get some playtest thoughts in on them.

  -michael

    writing here because the thread looked lonely with no replies yet.


Title: 24 Hour Games: Nine Games Open for Critique
Post by: iago on April 14, 2003, 12:19:42 PM
Quote from: Zathreyel
okay, i've got the day off tomorrow so i'll be going through everyones and doing some reviews of the material.  then hopefully i'll be able to play them soon and get some playtest thoughts in on them.


Man, that'd be fantastic.  The chances I'm going to have of playtesting stuff locally are nil.  If someone else can... woot.


Title: 24 Hour Games: Nine Games Open for Critique
Post by: Simon W on April 14, 2003, 01:18:47 PM
I just have to say I love the dreamy non-violent quality of Troubadours of Verticaille (I was drawn to read this one first, because of the mention of Jethro Tull as one of the inspirations for the game - one of my all-time favourite bands). - well done John.

I'm not sure I've got the Destiny-Dice -Pool thing quite yet, but then I'm still suffering from my own efforts and I gave up after 16 hours, 'cos I realised I ought to get a couple of hours sleep before work!

After looking through T of V and then seeing the layout/art for vs Monsters (i'm envious Phil!), it makes me want to have another shot!

Look what this has done to me!

Gideon
http://www.geocities.com/simonwashbourne/Beyond_Belief.html


Title: 24 Hour Games: Nine Games Open for Critique
Post by: anonymouse on April 14, 2003, 06:42:49 PM
Ack. I'm up there? I guess I should take some time this week and at least finish it up. ;)


Title: 1940
Post by: Mike Holmes on April 15, 2003, 08:59:43 AM
1940

Very simple "what if" alternate history concept. This one being "What if the Germans had successfully launched operation Sealion, and had taken over England." I like the subject matter. I was on a team that playtested and demoed the Europa series of games, and one of the ones I never got to play was Operation Sealion. So I was instantly intrigued by the concept.

It's a complete game, in terms of having all the standard elements. That is, a player familiar with other RPGs could play it. There are some small missing parts, however (which could have been filled in with the author's remaining 8 hours). For example, there is a game effect for "Kill" as the result of an attack with a weapon, but unlike all the other entries, this one has no description. One can assume that this means that the character is instantly dead, but even that's not true in all RPGs. Further, even if it is true, there's no discussion of the ramifications of PC death.

Similarly, there are no rules or even suggestions for handling healing time. The penalties for wounding exist until the GM decides that the PC is well again, apparently, though no guidelines exist. Actually, it's not entirely clear what effects a Heavy wound are. Do you halve and then reduce by two as per a light wound? I'd assume not, but then what does "As light plus" mean? Could use some clarity here.

If a PC takes Opportunity Fire, is he considered to be able to shoot so even into the next round? Or only for the current? Does the character choosing this option automatically interrupt other characters? Or go after? Or a roll?

Also, apparently PCs get one Hero Point ever. There doesn't seem to be a rule for getting more, nor any reward mechanics whatsoever. This isn't automatically a problem, but if you're going to have Hero Points, why not have some reward mechanic associated. Seems another omission.

The other thing that would have been nice would be to expand on ideas for what sort of operations the characters would be likely to take on. Some adventure seeds, perhaps.

As a historical note, machineguns, especially WWII machineguns jam a lot. In fact some are just expected to jam after firing them for a while. Certain designs resist this (I think the Bren gun was actually pretty good), but the entry is for all MGs. A neat rule for belt fed ammo is to reduce the chance for jams based on having an assistant gunner.

Neat idea, with d20 skills, and Paranioa damage making for a rather standard system. Truthfully I'd probably swap out the system for GURPS leaving very much only a neat Alternate History idea.

Mike


Title: 24 Hour Games: Nine Games Open for Critique
Post by: Simon W on April 15, 2003, 09:22:00 AM
Yes, Mike you are quite right. There are missing elements, some of which I was aware of and others (like explaining a kill result, I didn't really give much thought to).
I was going to include lots of different weapons - Webley revolvers, Lugers, Brens, Stens and so on, but thought I would address those later, if I had time. Better to get something in there than nothing at all!
I really wanted to shove in some adventure seeds (ideally a whole starting adventure, which is in my head) but I also wanted a character sheet so I plumped for a character sheet. I agree those extra 8 hours would have seen the game looking much tighter but I realised that I have a life too and if I hadn't have started as soon as I had my idea, I would have had to have come up with another one later in the week and I couldn't guarantee when that would be or even whether I still had a full 24 hours available. Still, it was fun and I might do another over the Easter holidays!
Incidentally, I am still working on 1940-England Invaded and when I have put extra skills in, written up the adventure & scenario seeds, dealt with the weapons of WW2, chucked in a few tanks and other vehicles and dealt with wounding in more detail I'll put it up again.
Personally, I can't stand GURPS. I'd rather you play my system as intended, so I will go some to make it something you would prefer to play.
Thanks for taking the trouble
Gideon
http://www.geocities.com/simonwashbourne/Beyond_Belief.html


Title: 24 Hour Games: Nine Games Open for Critique
Post by: Mike Holmes on April 15, 2003, 09:40:34 AM
Criminal Element

This one reminds me a bit of Chalk Outlines, and other games that have attempted the genre. Right down to the Vices that, IIRC, are also in Chalk Outlines and have similar effects. This version incorporates a blackjack mechanic, and as such reminds me of Jake Norwood's game in design, La Famiglia. Jake, check out this one for some ideas on what sort of effects stats can have on blackjack.

For tied draws are the aces considered high or low (1, 11, 14)? Are face cards considered tens or their traditional values? What happens if the high cards are themselves tied? What about logistics like shuffling?

Interesting that winning a contest only gets you a .5 payoff unless a Collapse is involved. Collapses, where a character has some serious episode in relation to his Vice, are not well detailed, unfortunately.

I like that to introduce a newly created character that he the player has him tell a story about himself in character.

The combat system seems serviceable, though nothing special. Interestingly, it's somewhat difficult to kill a character, even with a shotgun. This seems to play right into some sub-genres, but not others. No discussion of PC death.

The Drama Point mechanic is fairly straightforward, and reminiscent of Adventure!'s Dramatic Editing. Given that rewards are given at the end of play I think that they might not be all that powerful. Why not give them in play for inspired stuff?

Overall, serviceable, but doesn't seem to have much that would move play to emulate the genre selected. Rules like Collapses, and such might do so if tweaked a bit.

Mike


Title: Dragon
Post by: Mike Holmes on April 15, 2003, 09:46:45 AM
Dragon

Dragon is an incomplete game with an interesting idea or two. The breath concepts, and the way Personas and Dragons are associated seem interesting. Hopefully it will get expanded at some point.

Mike


Title: Mutant Space Cowboys: A Time Travel Game
Post by: Mike Holmes on April 15, 2003, 10:08:06 AM
Mutant Space Cowboys: A Time Travel Game

A sci-fi western, MSC seems like it could have been inspired a bit by the TV show Firefly. Thematically the characters seem to be old west archetypes, but the trappings are sci-fi elements named such that they have a western feel. The game claims that characters are undifferentiated in system terms, but from what I can see this just means that there is no open skill system. Characters are defined by a set number of ablities like in InSpectres, but then are very customizable with mutations.

The "roshambo" resolution mechanic is simple, and reminiscent of Minds Eye. The combat resolution is simple, and perhaps redundant.

A weird twist (as if the game needed another) is provided by the  time travel rules that are included as part and parcel of interstellar travel. This is presented, and then the ramificaitons are totally left unstated. Which is novel, at least. It des beg the question why the western mode is so prevalent. But then, I think one isn't supposed to ask difficult questions in this game.

The whole is inspired by such stuff as The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and as such, all of it seems to exist merely to be free with the imagination. I'm tempted to buy into this, but I'm afraid that in actual play that a lot of pointless meandering will occur. Still, what is there looks like fun...there's just not a lot of it.

Mike


Title: Pace
Post by: Mike Holmes on April 15, 2003, 11:21:18 AM
Pace

Pace is very similar to all other resource allocation "fortuneless" games. For another more extensive example, see Active Exploits from Politically Incorrect Games.

All these games involve having some traits, and being able to burn some resource (often represented by the level of the trait itself) to boost standard success. In Pace it's Pips. The level of success is determined by the amount spent, generally, limited by traits (which is different, but seems to make the traits often pointless; they effectively become Karma scores for those with lots of Pips)). Pips are gained by failing or GM reward (candy reward, cool). This game like most others also allows a player to deficit spend giving each other pips to be spent later. I looked around, and it would seem that the players don't start with any pips, having to accumulate them by good play or failures.

Some of the currency issues in Pace are ones that we encountered in Universalis (like players deficit spending to bump each other's pools). The game only has caveats to handle this, though I wouldn't think it a huge issue with a good social contract. The game unnecessarily apologizes for the lack of an advancement rule, but personally I think it doesn't need one. The reward mechanic that it has suits it just fine.

The section on adventure creation is a well thought out addition. It doesn't give any genre details, but instead focuses on, well, pace. Which is very useful. In the end, with careful play, the winners will be the characters with the highest pertinent scores. This is functional but extremely simple. Which may be just what a game with the name Pace needs.

Mike


Title: Re: Pace
Post by: iago on April 15, 2003, 11:26:24 AM
Quote from: Mike Holmes
Some of the currency issues in Pace are ones that we encountered in Universalis (like players deficit spending to bump each other's pools).


Yeah.  One of the notions I'd had about this, honestly, was that deficit spending always goes to the GM, but I didn't want to over-reward player-to-player cooperation and preclude player-to-player conflict.  But I'm still mulling that one over.  Maybe something that goes 'halfsies', with half the pips going to the GM and half going to the opposing player.

Still thinking about other points of the analysis.


Title: 24 Hour Games: Nine Games Open for Critique
Post by: MPOSullivan on April 15, 2003, 11:35:46 AM
Mike,

yeah, some things suffered from a lack of a good editorial comb-through on the posted version of CE, things that i'm fixing now in the new write-up but to anser all of your questions:

are aces considered high or low for tied draws?
  aces are considered whatever the player has used the ace as.  if it was drawn and used as an 11 in the draw, then it is used as an 11 to break a tie.  Face cards count as 10s, just like in blackjack.  if the cards themselves are tied then follow these rulings:  Spades always come out on top.  red cards beat black (fire burns coal from spades) and diamonds are better than hearts (it's better to have a hard diamond than a soft heart).  clubs are always at the bottom of the pecking order.  if a card is still tied then go on to the next highest card.

collapses will have a lot more to them in the new release of CE.  and i figured that since it's harder to succeed in most actions when suffering a Collapse, it would be a nice throw back to the player to give 'em more DPs if they bet on their actions.

i agree with you on combat.  i didn't want any crazy rules, just ones that got the job done and got out of the way.  i also agree that the weapon damages aren't high enough, a problem that's rectified in the new CE.  i'm not trying to handily kill the characters but i do want to make combat deadly.  i also discuss character death in more depth.

I also agree with you on the DP award mechanic and have changed it.

I've worked on some of the rules in the hopes that they will help evoke the game setting a bit more.  a new version will be posted up soon.

thank you very much for the critique.  all of your complaints were definetly weak points in the game and areas that i hope to strengthen up.

i hope to have some reviews up later today for everynoe to read and please, everyone with a complaint about CE post it here and i'll try to answer it.

laters

    -michael


Title: Re: Criminal Element
Post by: iago on April 15, 2003, 11:40:42 AM
Quote from: Zathreyel
i hope to have some reviews up later today for everynoe to read and please, everyone with a complaint about CE post it here and i'll try to answer it.


I am not clear on how margin of success is counted if someone goes bust (over 21) in an opposed contest.

Let's say I have a 17, and my opponent goes bust with a 23.  Is this just a simple difference, so the margin of success would be a 6?  That's fine, and proposes an interesting 'defensive move' of turning your lower-number failure (13 vs 20) into a higher-number failure (23 vs 20) in order to cook that margin down.


Title: 24 Hour Games: Nine Games Open for Critique
Post by: MPOSullivan on April 15, 2003, 11:54:15 AM
that's exactly how it plays.  good eye man.  i have included examples of this in the new version.

oh, also wanted to mention that all players involved in a draw pull together their selected cards before revealing them. This is to ensure that a player doesn't see that he has failed and pads the MOS by changing his hand around.

laters!

  -michael


Title: 24 Hour Games: Nine Games Open for Critique
Post by: Mike Holmes on April 15, 2003, 12:52:47 PM
Sunrise

Risen seems to possibly have violated one of the small rules of the 24 hour game in that it was apparently inspired by a previous design. I can't find a link, but it really seems like I've seen this design before in some format. In any case, the idea is that genetically manipulated kids grow up to be menaces who are hunted. The PCs are the menaces called the Risen.

Chargen breaks up character effectiveness into attributes, skills, and the Balance. This strikes me as potentially abusable. Essentially attributes and skills are the same in power, but attributes are, I think, supposed to be broader. To compensate, the player gets three times as many skills for the points spent.

OTOH, the Powers, which seem to be the heart of the character, seem well designed. Using what I refer to as an "effects first" system, the powers represent mechanical effects over which any description can be laid. They seem to balance, at least minimally, however, I can see some showing up a lot more than others.

The combat is, typical of these games, serviceable but nothing to write home about. There seems to be an inconsistency on how damage is calculated between the text and the example.

The real problem is that there's no direction for what to do in the game. You get a character, who you understand is hunted. But there's no indication of what sort of action is to occur. One might well determine that the characters just run from bad guys with occasional confrontations. Which just doesn't seem to be enough to sustain more than a session or two. Worse, there's no indication of what to do with multiple PCs. I like the character concept; I'd just be unsure what to do with the game.

Mike


Title: The Troubadors of Verticaille
Post by: Mike Holmes on April 15, 2003, 01:38:48 PM
The Troubadors of Verticaille

A light game with a lot of feel, The Troubadors of Verticaille seems like it has potential in a minimalist way. Characters are rated on only one stat, Destiny which determines both target number to roll over, and number of dice rolled. Meaning that characters with a low destiny succeed with great regularity, and those with high destiny have a larger chance of great success.

Theoretically. Here are the actual unfortunate results.

Code:
             Expected          
Destiny       Value         Success
2               1.6         96.00%
3               2.1         97.30%
4               2.4         97.44%
5               2.5         96.88%
6               2.4         95.33%
7               2.1         91.76%
8               1.6         83.22%
9               0.9         61.26%

What this means is that the only reasonable stats to take would be four or five, or, for the player who really wants to be outrageous, something higher. Further, these just happen to be the levels that are rewarded by making the character more powerful in chargen. So this feature needs to be fixed.

That said, the way that Destiny goes up and down in the game is cool, and would seem in a very simple way to propel play. This flow is pretty neat. Another problem, however, is that given that Destiny increases can be spent on Talents and Passions, this means that the player can maintain at a level of 5 or so when defeating Problems. Passion use does, however, likely drop Destiny. So I see play floating between two and five Destiny in effect.

Dealing with the Fey is where the real fun lay. Because either the character gets something neat (enchantments), or he gets into some marvelous sort of trouble. Either way it's fun.

I really like the idea of setting your own difficulty ratings. And there are some interesting ideas for rewards. But I'd like to see something more, myself. In any case, the game allows a player to drive an interesting character as well as some ideas as to what such characters are about. The options for GMing are very cool, and allow for non-party play amongst the characters better than most games (which is important because I think that's what you'll get a lot of).

Mike


Title: Vespertine
Post by: Mike Holmes on April 15, 2003, 01:55:00 PM
Vespertine

Looks very well designed. I have only one question. What's the point? I think that the mechanics are all very tight, but what is the point of play? Is there redemption for these kids? Is that the point? If so, doesn't play head straight there?

I'm not knocking it, I'm just not getting it.

Mike


Title: Re: Vespertine
Post by: Jonathan Walton on April 15, 2003, 02:10:13 PM
Quote from: Mike Holmes
I have only one question. What's the point?


Survive until adulthood (20) without turning into a monster (and running off into the forest to sing unearthly tunes to the gods of Sin and evil).

Was that not clear?  I'm planning to expand it soon, with more color and story suggestions and such, so it'd be nice to get more details on what didn't click for you.

There is one striking mechanical flaw: you can only gain Sin by losing Soul, and Soul isn't recoverable.  Not good for long-term campaigns.  The modification I'm probably going to make for the revised non-24-hour version is to give each Sin a seperate Purity bar which you roll against when you indulge in that Sin.  Failure means you gain Sin.  Then, whever you use Sin powers you roll against Sin, and failure means you turn into a monster and lose a point of Purity.


Title: 24 Hour Games: Nine Games Open for Critique
Post by: Jeph on April 15, 2003, 03:56:16 PM
I can't think of any RPG that Sunrise is based off of. There may be one with similar mechanics and possibly a similar plot, but if there is, I've never seen it. I did draw heavily on X-Men, however, for the ideas. (More the movie than the animated series or comic books, as I'm most [read: at least minimally] familiar with that.)

There are definitely ways to 'break' Sunrise. Here's how:

2 point in Attributes, 3 in Skills, 1 in Powers. Buy Brn 6, Ref 1, Mnd 1. Buy Melee Combat 8, Dodge 7. Buy Improved Unarmed Damage 5 (thrice at 1 pick per +2 damage, twice at two picks per +2 since you're over the Max Picks limit). You'll need Strength 5 / Restraint 1 to fuel the IUD. So, you have:

An attack score of 8. That means that, unless your opponant has Disappear up and a maxed out Dodge, you'll hit at least half the time against any opponant. When you hit, you've got a damage of 16, or 5 wound points. A Brawn of 5 and a Dodge of 7 (or 8 in melee) let you stand up to considerable punishment. He really becomes fearsome in the hands of a good roleplayer, who can stalk him up with Character Points: By spending just one CP, he can deal 10 wounds a round, enough to put almost anyone down.

(The first thing I do after laying down the basics a game is to munchkinize it. It helps me counter my players. Who are both good RPers and extreme powergamers. It upsets me, sometimes.)

So, what does the above character remind you of? Think X-Men. Maybe put one point of Brn into Mnd and 2 into Ref.

Premise: I wish I had slept less and worked more, to make the premise clearer. As it is, I got 8 or so hours of sleep, and took another 2 or so off. But, five minutes before the deadline, I had half a page of background that didn't make sense unless I typed another page, and I still had to register for the Yahoo group. *sigh*

Anyway, I'm working on a revised version of Sunrise (now with 100% more Haikus!), which (while having more powers and stuff) will hopefully be a lot clearer on the premise.

EDIT: fixed the munchkin


Title: 24 Hour Games: Nine Games Open for Critique
Post by: anonymouse on April 15, 2003, 07:10:29 PM
I had Dragon removed, because it's definitely not something I want people to see yet. ;) At least not up there with all the other completed ones, though the link listed in the development thread is still active if someone wants to dig for that. I'd like to Eastman-variation it at some point, but would rather focus on some other things for the moment.


Title: 24 Hour Games: Nine Games Open for Critique
Post by: talysman on April 15, 2003, 09:00:30 PM
thanks for the breakdown, Mike. I may go ahead and fix the middle Destiny characters, then edit the text (to get rid of that sleep-deprived stream of consciousness feel) and add more description of the setting, as well as examples of play.

I'm not going to do too much with the game, however, just throw the final product up on a website as a freebie. the game didn't really interest me enough to hold my attention. I have other games that I'd rather focus on.


Title: 24 Hour Games: Nine Games Open for Critique
Post by: Mike Holmes on April 16, 2003, 06:29:41 AM
Cool.

I'm torn between the idea that certain things should be fixed and the idea that the games should stand as they are, to display what can be done in 24 hrs.

If they are a demonstration, then they ought not be be changed. If they are intended to be actually played, however, I think it makes sense to look at the excercise as just a way of getting directly to the playtest/review phase at which point they ought to be improved to make them functional.

Not to say that each of these has to achieve the status of a full published game. But just that a person recieving them for play shold not have any obvious problems with actually using them. Note that I didn't get into "what this game could also do" sorts of analysis. Only "what this game needs to do to be really functional as it stands".

The completed games are all, remarkably, worthy of play, IMO. They just need a little work to file off the rough edges. And most need a bit more text in the "what do you do?" area. But these things should all be quite easy to remedy.

Mike


Title: 24 Hour Games: Nine Games Open for Critique
Post by: iago on April 16, 2003, 07:44:25 AM
Quote from: Mike Holmes
I'm torn between the idea that certain things should be fixed and the idea that the games should stand as they are, to display what can be done in 24 hrs.


If I decide to revise Pace, I'm going to be preserving a 'pace-24.pdf' document.  And frankly I'd recommend others keep a "snapshot" of their 24 hour point work as well, precisely because of what Mike's talking about above.

Quote
Not to say that each of these has to achieve the status of a full published game. But just that a person recieving them for play shold not have any obvious problems with actually using them. Note that I didn't get into "what this game could also do" sorts of analysis. Only "what this game needs to do to be really functional as it stands".

The completed games are all, remarkably, worthy of play, IMO. They just need a little work to file off the rough edges. And most need a bit more text in the "what do you do?" area. But these things should all be quite easy to remedy.


This is good to hear.  And, interestingly, I got a chance to playtest Pace last night -- as a player, not as a GM, which was somewhat unexpected for me, but worked as a valuable perspective.  Yay, game that was easy for a friend-GM to digest in 15 minutes!

It did reveal a few "problems", I think, but I'm going to sit and chew on that for a little, and then probably toss it into an Actual Play thread, unless folks think that the spread of the 24 hour thing should be confined to a few threads in this forum...


Title: 24 Hour Games: Nine Games Open for Critique
Post by: Ron Edwards on April 16, 2003, 07:53:50 AM
Hi there,

I support the idea that the actual product of the 24-hour period be preserved, to show what can be done. All of them are vastly superior to the majority of games currently sitting on game store shelves, and I include the sketchier ones.

Why? Because the voice of the author and the bones of play are laid out for use. Even Dragon points the way to its eventual use, I think, since the "voice" conveys so much about the goals of play, at least in my reading.

That's the real benefit of this project. It shows that a game text is lessened by adding stuff, by changing the textual voice into a generic "like an RPG" voice, and by trying to please others besides oneself. In 24 hours, you don't have time for that crap. You get down the game, not some bizarre textually-modified presentation of the game.

It also shows what people might learn as their unnecessary assumptions. This shows up sometimes in phrases like "never mind retarded terms for Game Master, we all know what I'm talking about," which crop up all over the place in vs. Monsters. It also shows up in unnecessary text: Criminal Element does not actually use Static/Opposed mechanics; it quite rightly uses Opposed mechanics ... but Michael somehow felt the need to cast the mechanics-discussion into Static/Opposed terms. With any luck, he can now go back, read it, and say, "What the hell did I do that for?" with a positive impact on his later work (which might include developing CE).

Best,
Ron


Title: Vs Monsters
Post by: Mike Holmes on April 16, 2003, 08:42:02 AM
Vs Monsters

Maybe unsurprisingly, this is by far the nicest looking layout of all the games presented. And that's not saying that the others were bad (indeed I thought that they'd set a high bar until I got to this one), just that it's astounding to me that a layout that's fully worthy in every way of publication can be created along with a whole game in just 24 hours. That's really remarkable work.

I did find an error on page six in referring to the page with combat as P.00, and I think all the references are like this looking around. That's the exception that proves the rule that otherwise it seems perfect.

I like the trade off of Attributes for extra Stuff, both good and bad. I think there aren't any broken parts, but it would take a lot of messing with the design to be sure, and the Stuff comes in lots of combinations. But given its principles it all looks solid. The resolution system is simple and solid, using playing cards. One problem is that there are no rules for logistics of shuffling, etc. Do you go through an entire deck before shuffling? If so, clever players can keep track of cards played, and have an idea of what's coming.

Has anyone actually seen anyone roll to create a sandwich in an RPG? Because I see a lot of texts that admonish against this sort of thing. OK, I get that it's a humorous way of saying "only roll for important stuff" but the less positive statements you have about what's important, the less you can expect this sort of text to be useful. End Rant.

The initiative rule is simple, but also the sort of thing that leads to players arguing over seating, which is a metagame issue not covered in the text. The Damage rule mentions drawing as many cards as successes, but I see no mention of where successes are calculated. Other than that, the combat rules seem to work OK for what they are intended to do. Nothing stellar, however, given that this is what the game is about.

I like that the game is unabashedly about killing monsters. I dislike the fact that it's set in an ambiguous 19th century, and that I had to read most of the game to figure that out. IOW, the game doesn't tell you what characters are about, or what's supposed to happen. Likely that was supposed to be fixed by the section on Adventures, but alas time ran out.

I think that, ironically, Phil took a somewhat tongue in cheek approach to the project. That is the result doesn't seem to be serious. Which is too bad, because there are some good ideas in there, which could, and maybe should be developed. In any case it was fun to read.

Mike


Title: 24 Hour Games: Nine Games Open for Critique
Post by: Mike Holmes on April 16, 2003, 08:43:02 AM
There. Following up on the above post is nine reviews in 24 hours, which was my goal.

Mike


Title: 24 Hour Games: Nine Games Open for Critique
Post by: Matt Snyder on April 16, 2003, 09:03:10 AM
Quote from: Mike Holmes
There. Following up on the above post is nine reviews in 24 hours, which was my goal.

Mike


Way to go, Mike. Thanks for doing it -- I found your reviews helpful in finding out more about what these games are about. I for one appreciate it!


Title: 24 Hour Games: Nine Games Open for Critique
Post by: Simon W on April 16, 2003, 09:18:01 AM
I guess the question is "what are we gonna do with them now we finished 'em and are there any more to come?"

I know a couple of you have stated your intentions. I'm gonna finish mine off, like I said earlier. Then I don't know. Depends how happy I am with it I suppose.

Gideon
http://www.geocities.com/simonwashbourne/Beyond_Belief.html


Title: 24 Hour Games: Nine Games Open for Critique
Post by: iago on April 16, 2003, 09:32:36 AM
Quote from: Ron Edwards
Why? Because the voice of the author and the bones of play are laid out for use. Even Dragon points the way to its eventual use, I think, since the "voice" conveys so much about the goals of play, at least in my reading.

That's the real benefit of this project. It shows that a game text is lessened by adding stuff, by changing the textual voice into a generic "like an RPG" voice, and by trying to please others besides oneself. In 24 hours, you don't have time for that crap. You get down the game, not some bizarre textually-modified presentation of the game.


This is a more effective way of putting across a point I was trying to make in the whole 'Write More/Write Less' debate of a number of weeks back.  And it was an intuition that this would be the sort of effect that drew me to the 24-hour project.  It's worth mentioning that I read the majority of all of the material produced in this exercise -- which is a marked difference from most any other block of (longer) RPG material I come across.  

I'm beyond pleased that my intuition played out not only in my own design but pretty much in every other one that was done as well, and it's really, really tempting to make the 24-hour notion a core personal strategy in doing the "first step" of designing any game.


Title: Re: Vespertine
Post by: Mike Holmes on April 16, 2003, 11:12:43 AM
Quote from: Jonathan Walton
Quote from: Mike Holmes
I have only one question. What's the point?


Survive until adulthood (20) without turning into a monster (and running off into the forest to sing unearthly tunes to the gods of Sin and evil).

Was that not clear?  I'm planning to expand it soon, with more color and story suggestions and such, so it'd be nice to get more details on what didn't click for you.


Hmmm. Now that you mention it, I can see it. Especially in how the mechanics work. With the fixes you propose, I think you might just have something there. This is one case, however, where I'd suggest a little more direct text on what the object of play is.

Or maybe I'm just dense, and/or reading too fast. :-)

Mike


Title: 24 Hour Games: Nine Games Open for Critique
Post by: Mike Holmes on April 16, 2003, 11:18:57 AM
Quote from: Jeph
I can't think of any RPG that Sunrise is based off of. There may be one with similar mechanics and possibly a similar plot, but if there is, I've never seen it.


Huh.

I swear someone posted a game here with exactly the same premise, including the dates being nearly the same. I can't find it now, but I'm not imagining it. Can anyone help me out?

Also, interestingly, the game bears some resemblance to Rise Again (http://www.io.com/~xiombarg/ivan/riseagain.html) in terms of it being about genetic misfits.

Mike


Title: 24 Hour Games: Nine Games Open for Critique
Post by: Jeph on April 16, 2003, 11:56:06 AM
A search for "genetics" found only the Genome setting from Sylus Thane's 'Search for the New Frontier thread,' and I don't think I read that. *shrug* Either I can't find it, you're imagining it, or the evil space aliens came in and partially erased both of our memories. I'm betting on the last option.


Title: Dead Computer
Post by: philreed on April 16, 2003, 02:34:18 PM
I don't know what happened but my machine is dead. I've spent the last 24 hours dealing with it but all time for reading and such has been not available at this time.

I just wanted everyone to know where I've gone. Luckily there are multiple computers in the house but my work machine (with everything) is in sad shape.


Title: 24 Hour Games: Nine Games Open for Critique
Post by: scarecrowking on April 16, 2003, 04:36:15 PM
Mr. Reed,

I think vs. Monsters is pretty good, like someone else said, far beyond a lot of what is on game store shelves.  Umm, how exactly does one determine the number of successes mentioned in the combat section?  Other than that I can find little fault with it.  It's quick, basic, and looks to be very fun.  Just the sort of properties I enjoy in a game.


Thanks,
Brian


Title: 24 Hour Games: Nine Games Open for Critique
Post by: philreed on April 16, 2003, 05:53:00 PM
Quote from: scarecrowking
Mr. Reed,

I think vs. Monsters is pretty good, like someone else said, far beyond a lot of what is on game store shelves.  Umm, how exactly does one determine the number of successes mentioned in the combat section?  Other than that I can find little fault with it.  It's quick, basic, and looks to be very fun.  Just the sort of properties I enjoy in a game.


I'm not surprised at anything that can't be found in the PDF. As you can tell by reading it, my intelligence level dropped as I got deeper in.

As to number of success, if you have a 6 Fighting and the monster has 5 Defending, for every card you draw that is 5 or higher you get one success. This makes it sound simple to kill monsters (probably too simple now that I think about it). But now draw for damage and check the cap. If you get four successes and the cap is five, for every card you draw greater than five you do no damage to the monster. I'm not sure what I think of that after not having thought about it for a few days.

But right now I'm in worse shape when I wrote that. Give me a few days to get over the computer failure (and get some sleep) and I'll think about it again. And get to actually go over the other games.


Title: 24 Hour Games: Nine Games Open for Critique
Post by: MPOSullivan on April 17, 2003, 09:50:42 AM
Hey Ron,

thanks much for the mention and attention.  I agree whole-heartedly with your assesment of the whole 24HourRPG thing.  When i was writing Criminal Element i found myself too worried about getting the information down on the page to create a "gamer" sounding text.  This resulted in my own voice getting through a bit, especially in the way things were titled, and i wound up with something that i think is actually comfortable to play.  All of the books wound up becoming highly conversational, it was liek the authors were speaking directly to the player, discarding that wall of authorship that seperates creator and reader.  

Quote from: Ron Edwards
It also shows up in unnecessary text: Criminal Element does not actually use Static/Opposed mechanics; it quite rightly uses Opposed mechanics ... but Michael somehow felt the need to cast the mechanics-discussion into Static/Opposed terms. With any luck, he can now go back, read it, and say, "What the hell did I do that for?" with a positive impact on his later work (which might include developing CE).


now that you say it, i definetly see it.  there's no reason for that seperation and a quick description of how to assign difficulties for actions that don't have a character opposing you would be both simpler and more effective.  thank you for the pointer!

and, now that i'm in it this far, i do plan on developing CE to its fullest.  i've got a cover done for the book and a character sheet.  i've been re-touching the text and expanding upon a lot of ideas and working on a new introduction to the game.  trying to keep things short and sweet.  got it running around 20 pages now, wouldn't mind getting it up to around the same length as Whispering Vault or something.  100 pages, maybe a little more.  

laters!

    -m


Title: 24 Hour Games: Nine Games Open for Critique
Post by: Ron Edwards on April 17, 2003, 10:13:14 AM
Hi Michael,

Actually, I'd refer to the "voice" phenomenon as true authorship, as opposed to fake-ass authorship that tries to be all Industry-like.

I've taken further discussion of Criminal Element to its own thread, Comments on Criminal Element (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=6108). Let's do the same for any of the 24-Hour RPGs from now on.

Best,
Ron