Talk:Day of the Thing
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I worry that the Things can become too powerful. If a Thing knows where the equipment is kept (which might happen if a scientist becomes a Thing), they can just tear up every Radio part. --Asher Stuhlman (talk) 9 August 2008
I agree. Seems like the "exponential" growth of the Things will make things too easy for them.
Also, an idea for a final phase of the game: once the radio is built, only 4 scientists can fit in the rescue helicopter. Scientists have to decide who gets to go in the copter to warn civilization. If 2 or more scientists are actually the Thing, then the Scientists still lose. (To give more incentive for Things to be sneaky in late game.) --Robert Yang (talk) 10 August 2008
Ah, although this got lost slightly in the writeup, I was imagining that "the laboratory" would be a single room known to all the players. So everyone would know where the radio was being built.
Perhaps it just needs a rule making machinery cards indestructable - a Thing would have to grab the cards and run, rather than tearing them up, which would give away their identity, and let the scientists give chase.
A helicopter endgame might be good - I was originally going to reuse an endgame mechanic from another Thing game I made (http://kevan.org/games/things.html - the scientists only win if they can identify all the Things), but felt that actually building the radio was probably difficult enough. Picking four seems like a good compromise - I'll certainly keep it in-hand for playtesting, if it turns out that the radio is really easy to build. It might make for a good "major victory / minor victory" ending. --Kevan (talk) 10 August 2008
In case anyone's reading this but not the events page, I'll be playtesting this game at Sandpit #7 on October the 29th. Given that it's nearly hallowe'en, I'll be rebranding it as Night of the Vampire, and making some tweaks to the cards. --Kevan (talk) 10 October 2008
Big changes as a result of playtesting - collected "radio" cards were handed over to the game moderator, so there was no scope for a Thing player to steal them (and no need for an actual, bored player to have to stand around guarding them). Exponential infection did turn out to be a problem on the night, and this has now been fixed by giving the Thing players a limited number of "Infection" cards, which they have to use up to infect people.
For the record, the good guys only collected four of the "coffin nail" cards, in Night of the Vampire, and the game ended with all but one player infected, all of them milling around outside the churchyard's only entrance. There was a lot of good drama before it hit that point, though - in the early game, two separate groups of five or six players slowed their approach to one another along a street, before both deciding to flee. And the two vampires (who'd each been slipped notes giving the other's identity) were brazenly chatting by themselves right outside the churchyard in the opening minutes, with nobody (apparently) suspecting them. --Kevan (talk) 4 November 2008
We ran this as "Night of the vampire" as a game in youth movement (10 12-14 year olds + 3 adults + game moderator) which worked pretty well. It was slightly re-themed to make the search for cart parts ("you want to escape from Count Dracula's castle but the cart has been sabotaged") instead of coffin nails. The group really enjoyed the game - while they are pretty passive usually and a bit reserved while I was explaining it, they played this with much enthusiasm and there were quite some discussions at the end.
We used 2 starting vampires (one teen, one adult) with 4 cards each. By the end of the game, there were 8 vampires, 2 of which were killed, and a lot of holy water was wasted (one of the vampires claiming half of the stash at the start of the game). It ended up as a narrow victory for the vampires, with the humans missing 2 car parts to escape.
I just ran this game as a first day of class activity for 20 college students. Even though I did not identify the two initial Things to one another, they still absorbed all but one person in about twenty minutes. What I liked best was the relative silence of the game, which we played in a library.
In the hot washup after the game, they all agreed that adding a couple of one-shot gun cards into the mix would have increased the drama.
Great to hear a game report, glad it went down well.
You really need the limited number of infection cards to stop things getting out of control too quickly, and forcing the Thing to switch to tactical infections once they're running low on cards. (It might be interesting to somehow include a second wave of infection cards, though - either collected from the moderator if nobody else can see them, or a set of different-coloured infection cards which can only be used once a Thing has chosen to irrevocably reveal its true nature by wearing a bandanna or something.)
The game had guns in an early design, but I decided against them - being eliminated from the game as an innocent human player seemed like it would be too frustrating. Would be interesting to see how it played out in practice, though, particularly with the players having to decide who gets the gun in the first place. --Kevan (talk) 2010-08-31 11:23:08
I'm planning to run this at a party in a park this weekend here in Melbourne, reskinned a bit to work outside. The players have discovered a buried alien spaceship and accidentally turned it on; it's blown up a nearby radio antenna and is slowly building up a signal that will convert all nearby humans into slaves, and in fact has already done this to two of the players (the initial aliens). These alien slaves have their minds destroyed and are able to convert other people via "Mind Control" cards. The group has worked out that the antenna was destroyed because they could use it to broadcast a signal that can cancel out the ship's one, but they'll need to find the parts of the antenna and fix it. The slaves can't convert anyone while near the radio connected to the broken aerial. The players have also worked out a way to make a mobile phone emit a "static burst" that destroy's the ship's control over a slave, though this destroys the phone and puts the slave into a coma. If they can find a few more compatible phones lost in the park, they can use those as well...
I ran the game as "Invasion", with the thematic changes above to suit the outdoor environment. I ended up with more players than I anticipated, including four very young players, who I was concerned wouldn't be able to follow the rules. I had them play as a single team with an adult, which should have saved the day. But playing outdoors had its own problems: for one, there weren't that many places to hide things in the fairly open, sparsely tree-filled area where the event was held. Many of the hiding places I had found weren't that difficult to spot, so I reduced the time limit to 15 minutes. Even so, the kids - who split up, against instructions - managed to find and return more than half the required number of cards (I stuck with 12) within a few minutes!
Another problem was with the "slaves" (our equivalent of the Thing): since the area was very open, it wasn't too hard to spot someone else using mind control or participating in other dodgy behaviour, so they didn't last long. I'm not sure I gave a very good instruction about the rules for becoming infected, either; a lot of infections were halted by someone using the "static burst" (the equivalent of the formula in the original), which I realised isn't allowed by the rules as written. Somehow most of the slaves were killed off, so there were only two or three at the end; I suspect the static burst cards may have been used more than once, despite instructions that they had to be destroyed to be used.
Still, everyone had fun playing, but the humans won with around 4 minutes to spare! I will have to try the indoor version, or an outdoor place with more furniture and trees etc.