Old forum comments
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Oh, she did. She did.
And we really wanted to get cheap masks in there as well, but mechanically I don't think it quite meshes. It's almost perfect that you could get players to put masks on during the eyes-closed phase, but it doesn't really make sense for superheroes to still be "in costume" when everyone opens their eyes; you'd be standing there in a red mask and cape, but players would only be able to get the "this is Ben in real life" information from it, and have no clue which actual hero you were dressed up as. Too much cognitive dissonance. It could work with a different theme (where you were playing characters who'd wear identical costumes for some reason), but the idea of superhero costumes carries too much baggage.
Ha, good one.
Although thinking about it, a small piece of narrative could save it, simply by saying that - although everyone has their own latex costume, ice armour or robot suit - all heroes and villains wear the same white eye-masks. --Kevan (talk) 2009-06-24 16:15:05
Okay, this ran at last night's Sandpit (with masks instead of raised hands), but was sadly abandoned after a few rounds, as it wasn't really working out. The main problems seemed to be:-
It took a while to collect and copy down every character's name at the start. It took too long to count up and process the good and evil, for each disaster (even with a snappy notation system). With fourteen players (and at least half choosing to attend each disaster), there was just too much information out there for anyone to get any real feel for other players' secret identities. Although we tried to streamline the voting (separating it into "heroes, don your masks; now villains, don your masks" made it slightly quicker to count), I think the main issue may have just been the size of the group - playing it with just seven or eight may have been enough to keep things manageable.
We had some great feedback from the players, though, including a great suggestion from Lycra Girl (whose real name I'm afraid I didn't catch) that - at the price of being able to make up your own silly name - we could use named tokens, so that when you sit down at the start of the game, you're given a handful of pre-inked "Professor Plutonium: Evil" tokens, and can silently hold these up for the moderator to collect during the eyes-closed phase. You could even have fewer tokens than rounds, to add a level of strategy to helping out.
Although we were hoping to design a prop-free game that wouldn't require any great preparation from its players, it's looking like this might work better as a simple card game. If you also gave players a few "Professor Plutonium is on patrol" cards, then you could actually eliminate the eye-closing entirely, and just ask players to walk across the room and hand a card to the moderator, if they're helping out or patrolling.
I'll try the card variation the next time my youth group meets, and I'll report back. It seems like there needs to be a set number of times that you can participate, unless I'm mistaken. There should be a formula to make the perfect number of rounds if every player is to have 3 action cards (aid or prevent catastrophe) and 3 patrol cards... Hmmm... I'll have to think on this. But maybe I'm totally wrong...
What other things need to be polished in your opinion, Kevan (or Holly)?
EDIT: It also seems that this game would work better sitting in a circle and putting cards in the middle when the moderator calls for it... Have any of you guys ever played the Resistance by Don E.?
There's also an game going on right now on the Geek:
I think you're right that it's all down to the card balance - three action, three patrol and three skipped rounds seems about right, but we need a second playtest to find out how that works in practice. (It seems likely that most action cards will be saved until later rounds, but that should balance out if both teams are doing it.)
And yes, sitting in a circle should work, so long as there's still a way to show who's put a card in each round - I could be wrong, but I imagine you'll get a few rounds with too many players to keep track of by memory alone. If you're not using actual masks, then a stack of "mask" cards (blank on one side, with a mask on the other) could take their place, and be flipped in front of people. --Kevan (talk) 2009-07-15 17:01:58
I'm going to try this game this weekend for sure, and I'll report back...
Here's what I was thinking though, Kevan. You could give each player 3 notecards with giant 'A's written on them for "Action," and 3 notecards with giant 'P's written on them for "Patrol." When the Moderator plays out the scene and calls for the villains to respond, they can hold up their notecard with the letter on it. Then, when the heroes go, just repeat that step. When everyone opens their eyes, those who responded (or were on patrol) could just raise their hands and then the discussion will ensue. Do you think this might work?
It's all about the streamlining, really. When everyone opens their eyes, the moderator has to be able to say "So, Mantisman and The Brick arrived to fight the fire, but Dr Migraine and Murderbot were already there..." - that will require either a very sharp memory, or some note-taking while eyes are closed. It's only a short design step to put the names of the heroes on the cards, so that the moderator can just grab them during a single eyes-closed step, and look through them (even laying them out on the table as they're read out) to announce the events of each round.
I don't think the game necessarily needs an eyes-closed phase any more, though, if you're using cards - players can just slide face-down cards across to the moderator, and optionally announce "Never fear, I'll save the day!", "We will destroy you all! Pile in, fellow villains!" or "Ahem, I'm just popping out for some cigarettes." if they feel like bluffing or strategising. I think the reactive behaviour of other players is likely to be just as interesting as blindfolded prediction would be.
Hope the playtest went well. I hope 15 players didn't turn out to be too large a group (I was away over the weekend, so didn't have time to give a warning). Capetown can't take infinite players, and is bound to hit a point where there's just too much data sloshing around each turn. If the moderator reads out a long list of ten or twelve possible heroes and villains each round, it's going to be tough for players to narrow down any clear suspects from that. --Kevan (talk) 2009-07-21 11:37:44
I tried to get it together to playtest, but there were so many other games going on that it kind of got pushed to the side. I was also going to try out Standoff, but use silverware instead of poker chips, haha. I got the idea from Benjamin Butler, the Union Major General in the American Civil War, who was known as "Spoons," for supposedly pilfering silverware from wealthy southern homes.
Anyway... I really wanted to try it, but after rereading the rules, I was actually only going to play Capetown with 7-9 people and go from there. Hopefully I'll get to test it this coming weekend... --BigBur (talk) 2009-07-21 15:44:28
The card-game version of this ran as part of "Beyond Werewolf" at the Hide&Seek Weekender, with a couple of changes. I'll write it up in full when I've got a moment, but in summary:-
Players had three Action cards and only two Patrol cards (the crime scenes were getting a little crowded, with three Patrols) Some events were crimes and disasters, but others were parades and celebrations. The nature of the event determined who got the point if it was a tie (or if nobody turned up). It's probably worth noting down secret identities when giving the cards out, so that you can quickly verify and score unmaskings (and so that players can't cheat by lying about their identity, once they've played three action cards). Heroes won both times (despite having 5 disasters to 4 parades); hard to tell from just a couple of games, but I wouldn't be surprised if there was more traditional narrative impetus to stop a disaster, than to cause one. --Kevan (talk) 2009-08-03 14:26:12