*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
June 15, 2021, 08:36:49 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 141 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: All Roaches are not created equal.  (Read 5666 times)
Martin Higham
Member

Posts: 26


« on: May 02, 2006, 12:16:25 AM »

A couple of weeks ago I got an opportunity to play the Roach. There were four of us, all old time roleplayers who hadn't roleplayed for many years and were as rusty as hell. Things didn't go well and it took us a good 90 minutes to play the first event. The game was abandoned at this point because at least one player wasn't having fun.

I've listed below some of the feedback from the players. I'm hoping that feedback from a failed session is as interesting and useful as from a successful one.

Character generation went fine and we ended up with four interesting academics. In retrospect I don't think we took dramatic enough relationships to the other players. Ours were more of "I like this person because..." which was hard to maintain when they were backstabbing you.

The cards - Things started going wrong as soon as the cards were dealt out. Depending on the card, players just weren't clear on how to interpret thm. The rules say "during the scene of his choice, the player must act on the instructions given by his card". So when you draw a card that says "Ruin - Cause another player character to lose two points of reputation" what you should do? There is no way within the game that this loss can be caused. You can try to win a scene where the other player has reputation at stake but you can't cause him to lose it. Alternatively, should you narrate a ruinous situation and cause the player to lose the reputation without recourse or defence?

Reputation - This leads on to another area that bothered some players more than others and that is the whole reputation thing. One player stated that they felt that the wagering of reputation and potential for winning got in the way of the playing of the narrative game. I think this is magnified because of our heavy boardgaming background. Are we playing a game of reputation manipulation or a narrative game? While it might be easy to say both, we didn't think that the mechanics gel in a way that supports this.

GM'less - A GM'less system clearly relies on the other players to actively contribute and control the game. One player found it hard to play in this environment even though is quite comfortable in GM'less card based story-telling games. I was wondering how things worked in other Roach games that people have played in - particularly when involving new or inexperienced rpg'ers. Does one person tend to adopted a lead (soft GM) role in the early events of the game to help people get going. A couple of players thought the GM'less aspect would have worked better if the game itself provided more structure.

Having struggled through the session I don't think that two players would play again, which is a shame. Personally, I would give Roach another play. I can understand the players' comments but for me, the narrative and conflict opportunities win out.




Logged
Jason Morningstar
Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 1428


WWW
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2006, 04:27:28 AM »

Thanks, Martin!  Yes, negative feedback is more valuable than positive by some measure, so I appreciate your post.  I'm sorry your Roach game didn't get off the ground.  I'll comment on the areas where you had trouble, but bear in mind that it may not be an ideal game for your group, and that's just fine.  If people weren't having fun, you were right to stop and do something else.

Were you playing the Game Chef version or the published version?  The Game Chef version is genuinely broken in a couple of areas, having been written in a week, in a laudanum haze.

Many of the cards (particularly the opportunities) have a mechanical effect and don't require a huge narrative effort if a player isn't feeling it.  Two sample ways to play "Ruin":

1.  After the last scene in the event has been played and you realize you never acted on your card, casually mention the scathing review of another character's research that you just published. Tell them to dump two reputation and move on.

2.  As a status/power conflict with another character, introduce your careful plot to expose their financial misdeeds and bring in the chair of the Faculty Senate (and his luminary die!) as part of the "investigation".  Play your card and force them to lose some reputation, adding insult to (hopefully) injury. 

In my experience with new players, it's been important for the most comfortable player (usually me in games I've initiated) to use the first scene of the first event as an example of both how the game works mechanically and what tone is appropriate, based on our lines and veils discussion.  If you start out strong and really dig into your "I love this person and hate this person" relationships, you are off to the races.  Again in my experience, people who have never role-played do as well or better than old hands.

Thanks again and I hope this is helpful. 
Logged

Eric Provost
Member

Posts: 581


WWW
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2006, 09:23:53 AM »

Martin,

A train-wreck of gamer baggage!  Awesome! 

Jason did a good job of addressing your specific questions, but I'd like to address something else you said that jumped out at me, if I may.

Quote
Character generation went fine and we ended up with four interesting academics. In retrospect I don't think we took dramatic enough relationships to the other players. Ours were more of "I like this person because..." which was hard to maintain when they were backstabbing you.

With a little bit of emphasis from yours truly.  Here's the thing; You're not supposed to maintain those initial relationships.  Not anymore than seems entertaining.  In the last game I played with Jason, I started out with the idea that I was totally going to do everything in my power to ruin his character.  Before the end of the first scene of the first act, I had suddenly become his lackey!  So, don't take that "You like this person/hate that person"-rule to mean that you have to keep it that way throughout the story.  It's nothing more than a good jumping-off point for further mischief.

-Eric
Logged

Jason Morningstar
Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 1428


WWW
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2006, 09:38:38 AM »

Hey Eric and everyone else,

I appreciate your enthusiasm, but please don't jump into threads where someone has had a negative experience and is asking questions.  I didn't state this at the outset but I'm stating it now. 

Anything else - including rules questions (page numbers, please!  The appropriate page explaining "love/hate" relationships is 22), especially style and play experience questions - please do jump in like a Roached undergrad. 

Thanks!

Any more questions, Martin?
Logged

Martin Higham
Member

Posts: 26


« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2006, 12:16:01 PM »

Were you playing the Game Chef version or the published version?  The Game Chef version is genuinely broken in a couple of areas, having been written in a week, in a laudanum haze.

The published version. I was pleasantly surprised by the production (all those great illustrations) and of course the roach. You know, Laudanum Haze is either the name of a rock band or a new rpg.

Quote
Many of the cards (particularly the opportunities) have a mechanical effect and don't require a huge narrative effort if a player isn't feeling it.  Two sample ways to play "Ruin":

1.  After the last scene in the event has been played and you realize you never acted on your card, casually mention the scathing review of another character's research that you just published. Tell them to dump two reputation and move on.

2.  As a status/power conflict with another character, introduce your careful plot to expose their financial misdeeds and bring in the chair of the Faculty Senate (and his luminary die!) as part of the "investigation".  Play your card and force them to lose some reputation, adding insult to (hopefully) injury. 
This helps a lot. Not trying to force fit the opportunities into the scenes would have certainly made things simpler.
Quote

In my experience with new players, it's been important for the most comfortable player (usually me in games I've initiated) to use the first scene of the first event as an example of both how the game works mechanically and what tone is appropriate, based on our lines and veils discussion.  If you start out strong and really dig into your "I love this person and hate this person" relationships, you are off to the races.  Again in my experience, people who have never role-played do as well or better than old hands.

Thanks again and I hope this is helpful. 
While I was the most comfortable player (having read the rules a couple of times), being so out of practice meant that I couldn't lead as strongly as I probably needed to. I felt that by the end of the first event we were starting to get into the swing of things. It's a shame it took us so long to get there.

Thanks

Martin
Logged
Martin Higham
Member

Posts: 26


« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2006, 12:22:55 PM »

A train-wreck of gamer baggage!  Awesome! 
Well put. Hopefully I'll be getting some regular play of some of the indie rpg's over the coming months and I can shake of some of that baggage.

Quote
With a little bit of emphasis from yours truly.  Here's the thing; You're not supposed to maintain those initial relationships.  Not anymore than seems entertaining.  In the last game I played with Jason, I started out with the idea that I was totally going to do everything in my power to ruin his character.  Before the end of the first scene of the first act, I had suddenly become his lackey!  So, don't take that "You like this person/hate that person"-rule to mean that you have to keep it that way throughout the story.  It's nothing more than a good jumping-off point for further mischief.
As Jason highlighted - p22. I'd missed that key sentence but I'll know next time.
Logged
Jason Morningstar
Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 1428


WWW
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2006, 04:05:47 PM »

I hope you get a chance to try again, Martin.  If you do, let us know how it goes!
Logged

Pages: [1]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!