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Did you do this on purpose?

Started by LordSmerf, August 27, 2005, 10:08:36 AM

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Emily, it was great to meet you at GenCon even if I never did get to really talk to you.  Here's one of my big questions after reading through Breaking the Ice: The single shared character sheet is brilliant and elegant, but was it intentional on your part to design it so that to actually use that sheet the players need to be seated next to each other?

See, the sheet is oriented such that, if you don't want to pass it back and forth all the time, you have to be looking at it from roughly the same angle.  Since there's just one sheet you've already got to be in close physical proximity, and since you need to look at it from the same angle (as opposed to having one part of the sheet oriented one way and the other part another, a la Polaris) you end up with the players sitting next to each other with nothing between them most of the time.

This is, in my opinion, one of the absolute coolest things about Breaking the Ice (which is impressive considering how many cool things I think there are): the manipulation of physical space through cues.  And I'm just burning with curiousity, not because it matters to play but because I'm just sort of naturally curious...  Did you do that fully intentionally or was it just one of those totally sweet things that worked out because of some of the other choices you made in design.

Don't get me wrong, I could talk for hours about the fascinating impact that the Breaking the Ice character sheet has on play, but the physical stuff is really stand-out to me.

Current projects: Caper, Trust and Betrayal, The Suburban Crucible

Emily Care

Wow, Thomas. Thank you for pointing it out. I wish I could take credit for that one. But no, happy accidentville for this. Since you are using each other's traits in the game, both players need to be able to easily read what is on the other sheet--and there are shared attributes & resources so it was natural.  I thought I was being tricksy with some other underlying effects, but d@mn, the game holds more surprises.

Quote...the manipulation of physical space through cues.
Yowza--that's something to chew on. Should they be head to head in a game that is more competitive? What if there were a game where certain characters shared a sheet, but not others, grouping the players in different ways around the table.   

yrs in thought,

Koti ei ole koti ilman saunaa.

Black & Green Games


Quote from: Emily Care on August 28, 2005, 01:39:27 AM
Yowza--that's something to chew on. Should they be head to head in a game that is more competitive? What if there were a game where certain characters shared a sheet, but not others, grouping the players in different ways around the table.   

I will appeal to my boardgaming experience for a moment.

When I am playing a two-player head-to-head game, I require that my opponent sit across the table from me.  It doesn't even work to sit across the corner of the table, either (e.g. I sit at the head of the table, you sit next to me, and we face across each other like that).  I do not feel the same sense of competitiveness without this physical setup.  Most two-player boardgames are intentionally set up with this sort of seating arrangement in mind.  Just think about any chessboard, and you'll see what I mean.

However, I also own the Lord of the Rings cooperative board game.  This game is unusual in that the play group is working together against the game.  As a result, there is a definite orientation to the board, as you can see here.  While it's possible to gather around the table for this game, I find that I generally seat the players so that they are in a semi-circle.  After all, it's us against It.  The exception, of course, is if we are using the Sauron expansion, which allows a player to control the forces of darkness.  In this case, the good players sit in a semi-circle, facing the board, while the Sauron player sits on the other side of the board, facing his opponents.

Polaris also has a specific seating arrangement, with the opposing players (Heart and Mistaken) sitting across from each other.

So I'd say that there is definitely something worthwhile here that probably bears further exploration.
Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown

Andrew Morris

Interestingly, I found that the character sheet inspired one of those moments where you find your perceptions twisted swiftly into a new configuration. The whole issue of forcing the players to sit next to one another wasn't an issue since we were next to each other on the couch anyway. But figuring out that both characters were tracked on one sheet made us go "What the? Huh? Oh...OH!"
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