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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 211 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Entering Convention Mode  (Read 8832 times)
Peter Nordstrand
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« on: April 11, 2006, 04:41:12 AM »

Hi Roach-players,

I am hoping to play the Roach a lot this friday on GothCon. It is a drop-in event, and I intend to attract hordes of innocent players. At least that's what I intend. More likely, I will get to play the game a couple of times.

How long does it take to play, on average? Does increasing the number of players tend to increase playing time drastically? Is there anything I can do to deliberately shorten or lengthen the playing time?

What pitfalls shall I expect, remembering that I have never actually played the game? What common problems does beginners run into? Where are we most likely to go wrong our first time?

How do you get people to want to play the game? What do you say? What do people need to know before sitting down to play.

Is there anything else you think I should have in mind?


Thank you.

/Peter
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Alex F
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« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2006, 05:05:27 AM »

We found that enthusiasms such as Manipulation, Cruely and Status - especially status - were easy to form conflicts around, and drive machiavellian fun Roach-play. Some of the others such as Pleasure/Hedonism etc also would do much the same, but others require a lot more work. I had Wit and introduced it almost every scene I could but rarely got a die for it, but this may just be our group setting a high bar for awarding them. I suspect that other enthusiasms such as sport and creativity might also be trickier. I would recommend making sure everyone has at least 1 'obvious' enthusiasm, to prevent them being borked in the conflict system.

Ditto for expertise: James used his Chinese History to procure lotus-leaf poison and crazy blowpipes, whereas I struggled to introduce medieval literature and John failed  with free-marked economics. Anything that has physical items obviously associated - sculptures(art), bunsen burners(chemistry), shovels(geography), scalpels(biology) - is more likely to provide inspiration than the more abstract. So again, encourage new players (unless they have a strong inclination) to go that route.
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Peter Nordstrand
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« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2006, 05:17:02 AM »

Thank you for helping me out.

How did you not get a die for introducing an Enthusiasm? That is so not how I've read the game. Am I missing something?


All the best,

/Peter
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Jason Morningstar
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« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2006, 05:22:19 AM »

Peter!

You get a personal die for introducing your enthusiasm (or your expertise) into a scene:

"Dr. Keller makes quite an entrance at half time, landing on the football field in his home-made aeroplane" (Sport)

"Dr. Keller calmly strokes his dog-eared facsimile of The Domesday Book as the Pemberton Panthercats lie prostrate before his altar" (Medieval literature)

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Jason Morningstar
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« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2006, 05:35:34 AM »

How long does it take to play, on average? Does increasing the number of players tend to increase playing time drastically? Is there anything I can do to deliberately shorten or lengthen the playing time?

What pitfalls shall I expect, remembering that I have never actually played the game? What common problems does beginners run into? Where are we most likely to go wrong our first time?

How do you get people to want to play the game? What do you say? What do people need to know before sitting down to play.

Games average 3.5-4 hours, and I'd assume a longer game if you are introducing new players and new ideas.  More players means more scenes and a slightly longer game.  In actual play I think the ideal number of players is five, but others disagree.  Bring blank character sheets and a copy or two of the cheat sheet from the Web site. 

You could shorten the game by eliminating a couple of scenes, and although I've never tried this, I think it would work out all right.  I think I might removed #1 and #3. 

DO NOT FORGET to have a discussion of lines and veils before play, especially with strangers.  Communicate the shared desire to craft a fun tale, and stress that "winning" is really a polite fiction, and that everyone should work together and support the horrible things other players come up with. 

Remember the "I call bullshit" rule.  The game allows a huge degree of freedom in narration, and this can get out of hand if your group is not on the same wavelength, which requires trust and communication that you may not have at a convention game.  If someone elects to cause some huge calamity early in the game, suggest holding off and building to a cataclysm by the last event instead by shaping several smaller conflicts.  You can set the tone by taking the first conflict in the first event and making it fun, challenging, and subtle. 

Be prepared to offer suggestions and support if a player freezes up - the very best way to help is to get them to review their enthusiasms and expertise and current card, and show ways to tie them together in a way that will make their character shine. 

When I explain the game, I call it a weird cross between H.P. Lovecraft and the Marx Brothers, with telepathic cockroaches and campus politics, all played for very dark laughs.  Show them the comics if you can.  If they are not interested after that, well...try somebody else.

I hope that helps!  More questions? 

--Jason





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Alex F
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« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2006, 06:16:23 AM »

Hmm. We were playing bonus dies out more causally: if the Expertise/enthusiasm fuelled your motivation for a conflict or was assisting you in some way, you got the dice. Peter, you will want to discount my 2c, maybe to 0.5c!
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Jason Morningstar
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« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2006, 06:21:08 AM »

That's a group thing, Alex, no harm done - "narrating in an Enthusiasm" can be interpreted very broadly or very narrowly.  It's good to be on the same page, and to challenge players who are using it without a satisfying bit of color thrown in, but beyond that it will vary from group to group.  I'm usually very lenient on this - others (I'm looking at you, Eric Provost) are much more strict.
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Eric Provost
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« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2006, 06:45:54 AM »

Tee hee...

Yeah.  I'm totally strict.  I'm all about letting everyone at the table know when I'm not satisfied with their narration.  At the same time, I also acknowlege that the narration everyone's providing isn't rules-breaking or game-harming in any way.  I just like to really really push people to jump up to a higher standard. 

A while back I came up with a personal credo about how everyone should have the responsibility and authority to entertain everyone else at the table, and I tend to use any available BS rules to share that credo with my fellow players.  It seems to go over well with some players, but definiately not with all players.  I know Remi usually doesn't care for it.

-Eric
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Peter Nordstrand
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« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2006, 06:59:15 AM »

Alex, no devaluation of your kind help is necessary. Again, thank you for your assistance. It has helped highlight the lenient vs. strict issue. I guess I am in the lenient camp.

Jason, thank you for clarifying things. Most helpful and very precise, indeed.

Eric, you seem like an annoying son of a bitch. [Insert friendly smile here.]

Cheers,

/Peter
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Jason Morningstar
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« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2006, 07:43:13 AM »

Eric, you seem like an annoying son of a bitch. [Insert friendly smile here.]

Oh, trust me, he is...
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Eric Provost
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« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2006, 10:57:11 AM »

I'll wear that hat. 

Although, I'm still waiting for someone to turn around and stuff my character sheet into my mouth.  One day...
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Remi Treuer
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« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2006, 11:15:39 AM »

I know Remi usually doesn't care for it.

He really doesn't, but that's a discussion for a different time.
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Jason Morningstar
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« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2006, 11:23:53 AM »

Seriously, that's a very interesting discussion you guys should totally take somewhere. 
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Eric Provost
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« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2006, 11:42:41 AM »

Quote
Seriously, that's a very interesting discussion you guys should totally take somewhere. 


That's totally up to Remi.
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Sydney Freedberg
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« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2006, 12:30:49 PM »

I had Wit and introduced it almost every scene I could but rarely got a die for ....Anything that has physical items obviously associated - sculptures(art), bunsen burners(chemistry), shovels(geography), scalpels(biology) - is more likely to provide inspiration than the more abstract....

Tony Lower-Basch made "Wit" work for his character like a charm by having the character be one of those awful people who laughs at his own jokes even though nobody else ever does -- boy, is that a good way to get people invested in hating your character, too.

My character had "Cruel," "Self-Destructive," and "Ancient & Foreign Languages," and got immediately Roachbound, and it was just too easy to get all three dice every conflict: Just berate people savagely, inserting mock-Sumerian imprecations to taste, until it's obvious that your character is just making things worse for himself by being such a jackass.

Or, y'know, gouge out your own eye for that Self-Destructive die: That worked for me, uh, twice.
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