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The Committee - Actual Play

Started by Eric J. Boyd, November 03, 2007, 03:06:18 PM

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Eric J. Boyd

Let's use this thread for links to actual play posted elsewhere. If you've got a game of The Committee you want to post about, please use the Forge's Actual Play area and drop a link here, too.

Eric J. Boyd

I ran across a brief actual play report from over at Endgame in Oakland, CA. Sounds like Rich had a good time, although I'd love to hear more about what happened during the game. Does Rich or anyone else from that game have more juicy details to offer?

Eric J. Boyd

Malcolm Craig has posted an actual play report of his group's expedition to the Golden Arch here.

Eric J. Boyd

I recently received an e-mail from Paul Strack regarding his games of The Committee at the last two Endgame minicons. I'm happy to see that it's delivered entertaining play for him. He's also developed a couple tweaks of his own - I really like the addition of Acclaim that must be given away. He generously gave me permission to re-post, so I thought I'd share:

QuoteI think the only meaningful house rule I used was "always push two dice" instead of "push one trait die plus optionally a descriptor die". I did this because (a) it was easier to explain and remember and (b) it sped up later conflicts.

Another house rule I use is that each player has 3 different colored Acclaim chips that they *must* give away by the end of the game or have them count against their final score. The rest of my house rules were more along the lines of "stuff I left out because I didn't have time to explain them in a 4 hour game slot".

There are two other minor additions that might be interesting. I used different colors for trait and descriptor dice to make it easier to tally Acclaim points. Also, we switched from clockwise to counter-clockwise for play rotation between locations, so that players would face a variety of opponents.

Here is the combined feedback on the two games I've run.

The first game was 3 players (me and two others). Both players had some exposure to indy story-games and both enjoyed the game. One of the players is generally anti-story-game, mainly because he prefers immersion-style play and dislikes having to leave character. However, he felt that CotEoM gave him a clear split between in-character and out-of-character time and he was able to get into character often enough to enjoy the game.

In the 3-player game, we played out a complete story, including rules explanation, in about 3 hours. This was with 2 scenes per player at each location. The adventure as in the Amazon, ending in the Jaguar-people city in conflict with the Nazis.

The second game was 4 players, excluding me. I decided to coach instead of play, because I think the sweat-spot for CotEoM is 3-4 players. I made several of mistakes in this game:

1) I dropped the conceit that the characters were meeting after the adventure and narrating the results. In the first game I ran, this conceit dropped by itself half-way through, so I figure I could do without it (one less thing to explain). However, I found that without this conceit, the players had a harder time conceptualizing what was going on, so next time I run I will put this back in.

2) I messed up character introductions. I forgot that the characters should be formally introduced before the other players assign them unattached descriptions, and it made the character introductions weaker. This was forgetfulness on my part, not a deliberate omission.

3) I figured that a 4 player game would not take much longer than a 3 player game, and planned for 2 scenes per player at each location again. I didn't realize that I was *teaching* twice as many players and they would not have my example to follow in play. It took twice as long to explain the rules (nearly an hour instead of 30 minutes) and game-play also took much longer.

In the end, I had to shorten the 2nd location to a single scene per player, and skipped the 3rd location entirely to get to the final conflict within the allotted 4 hours. This meant that the players never encountered the more difficult 5d10 and 6d10 hazards, which made the hazards seem much easier than my 1st game. I did explain this to the players afterwards.

4) In the 1st game, I used a digital timer. In my 2nd game, I used a sand timer. I figure the sand would add to the tension because it was harder to tell exactly how much time was left, but surprisingly it was less effective. I think the rapidly decreasing numbers in the digital timer added more tension. The real problem could have been that I never got to the harder hazards, though.

Despite all that, the players enjoyed the game a lot. The 2nd game was an adventure to Shangri-La in the Himalayas seeking the Fountain of Youth, again with Nazis.

In both games, it took playing out the first location for players to learn the rules. The game is definitely easier to learn by playing than by discussing the rules up front, so I deferred explanations until we reached the right point in play. Also, the players weren't force to draw on "special" resources (unattached descriptors and gear/associations) until the end-game with their tougher hazards. Neither of these are weaknesses of the game, just an observation.

I am pretty pleased with the game and plan to use play it some more. Right now it is my favorite "3 player" RPG (me plus two other players), though I think the game would bog down with 5 or more players. I might try one of the more competitive alternative with a larger number of players.

Feel free to post the above if you like, either in its entirety or in excerpts.

Thank you Paul for playing the game and letting me know how it went for you.

Eric J. Boyd

I can't help but smile after reading Waldo's actual play report about searching for El Dorado and hijacking Nazi zeppelins en route. I look forward to the next installment.

Eric J. Boyd

Waldo (aka MJ Harnish) has posted Part 2 of his actual play report. El Dorado found in Antarctica, dinosaurs, and Vatican soldiers--sounds like a wild time was had by all.

Now I want to see someone use the rules to tell a grim and gritty action tale--maybe inspired by Carl's hack of the key phrases for a Shadowrun tale of an op gone wrong. Rock!