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[IAWA] Will it work with 8 or more players?

Started by WildElf, August 05, 2008, 04:14:33 PM

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My open invitation to some friends works a little too well. Just about everyone is coming.  Now, I could uninvite people and split up the group.  My place is too small to split up the group on the same day (and I'm the only one who knows how to run, anyway) so that's not an option.

But, IAWA doesn't seem like it would break from that many people.  Especially if the game is light on NPCs and the players are targetting each other more.  I've played in it with 6 players, and that worked pretty well. So 8 just seems like a couple of more.

Is that right?  If not, what's the maximum it works well with? And also, why not? What is the problem that comes up over X amount of people.  I know usually the concern (for games in general) is screen time, but conflicts are so fast that I'm not worried about that. Should I be?  Will some PCs get sidelined into side characters? (This happened to me with four players, but I was also trying to cram a 2nd chapter into the last hour of a con game, including character creation).

Any specifics on how it worked (if you did anything to help it work) or why it failed would be great.


There is nothing probability wise within IAWA's mechanics that should prohibit eight players from playing.  Sure the amount of screen time is sliced down but here's a few suggestions.

1) I would draw six cards instead of four from the oracles.

2) Remember that the GM is responsible for establishing scenes so make sure to cut back and forth at appropriate times and keep things fairly even among the players.

3) Remember that the GM's job is to play "the rest" of the characters which may or may not include the role of central adversity.  If a player takes a character or emerges as the primary source of adversity then play to that with your own NPCs.

4) Remember that the PCs are *potential* protagonists and not necessarily guaranteed to be one (this is partially what The Owe list is about).  Sometimes winding up playing a supporting role or as mentioned above the primary villain is a fact of play even with just three players.  Don't try to force everyone into the role of main character, let play and the clash of Best Interests do that.


Christopher Weeks

I came looking for an answer to "Will it play with only three of us -- or is there some kind of breakdown that happens?" and I don't see any discussion of that, but thought I might as well ask here instead of starting a new thread.  Do people have experience playing with fewer than the suggested numbers?


The only thing I'd be wary about is having too little time.

Honestly, I think you'll only need the standard four oracle entries, if you make judicious use of implied characters.  Ask your players 'who might be related to this situation?'  I'd lay back, have a couple of NPCs to fall back on, but let the players take care of the rest, and make my big job be making sure the game marched on.


Thanks for the tips.

Jesse, I was wondering about the cards. It seems like 4 might be okay, but then that could depend on which ones are drawn.

Yeah, main characters usually just develop naturally. I prefer it when players end up playing the "bad guy" with best interests all directed mostly at each other and with this many, that should be easier to have happen. I've found with two players they tend to pair up, but even with "just" four, at least one person ends up being an antagonist. But with the newness of many players, I think there will still be a "on the same team" inclination.

4 vs 6 cards, I think four could work too, although I'd be worried about being too judicious. Have an extra card to produce an interesting colorful character might be better than fleshing out "Citizen #4" from the harbor town.

Quote from: Christopher Weeks on August 06, 2008, 06:36:24 AM
I came looking for an answer to "Will it play with only three of us -- or is there some kind of breakdown that happens?" and I don't see any discussion of that, but thought I might as well ask here instead of starting a new thread.  Do people have experience playing with fewer than the suggested numbers?

Yes, it works just fine! You'll have to do more work on NPCs to keep the fire going and scene frame aggressively. And you'll probably end up with a fairly linear story, but it works just fine. It might seem like you'd need more NPCs, but I found that I actually had too many the first time playing with two players. You still want to develop as many as you can before play, with Best interests, to give the players and yourself hooks, but if they don't seem to attach themselves to an NPC in their Best Interests, then don't try to force it in. Best to let them fall to the wayside.


Hi all,

Long time lurker, but I figured I'd finally get around to posting something.  I've recently found my way into an ongoing game of IAWA, and on Wednesday we played a session with 8 players and a GM.  It actually went surprisingly well, all things considered.  The experience of the players themselves ran the gamut from having played 8 or 9 sessions, to one player who was a completely new to the system.  We used the standard 4 cards from the oracles, and managed to come up with enough characters for each of us with no real problem.  I believe 3 of the characters were recurring, and we only got bogged down a little bit in figuring out the relationships between the old characters, the new characters, and the events that would be taking place.  As for running the session, it was a little slow just to begin with, as we starting setting up the scenes.  Once the GM realized that we were all pretty confident with the conflict resolution mechanics, however, he essentially just let us go at it ourselves, so we had players moving around the table, and having two or three separate scenes going on at once.  This had two effects: firstly, the game sped up quite a bit, since everyone was involved in some sort of action at some point, and secondly, each player, it seemed, got to experience the story in their own unique way.  There were numerous points in the session where my character moved about and I got to be genuinely surprised by coming across the outcome of conflicts between two other players.  Anyways, I'm rambling on, but my point is, the game DOES work with 8 players, as long as those players have a handle on the system and how it works.