Talk:Property of a Traitor

Talk:Property of a Traitor

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(The Ludocity website previously had integrated forums, but they fell into spam-covered decline and were shut down in 2015. The comments in this section have been automatically converted from that forum.)

I ran this at Sandpit 11 and it seemed to work very well.

Notes about lessons learned:

Mobile handset clue: Handsets can be locked with a PIN code The default PIN with a new SIM is 1111 (or at least it is on Orange) Don't try and buy second-hand mobiles from dodgy little shops, it's more trouble than it's worth. I got a new unlocked LG handset for £20. There is a very simple Motorola handset available from Phones 4 U for £5 plus £10 mandatory top-up - I didn't get it because it was on Virgin and wasn't sure of reception, but probably OK No-one seemed to have trouble with mobile phone reception between the BFI delegate room and the vicinity of South Bank

Directing players: I hinted quite a lot to the players in the first game, commenting that they seemed to be on the right track, asking leading questions and so on. They were ready to make the arrest after about 35 minutes and I had to stall a bit.

In the second game I was more hands off, but they still finished after only 45-50 minutes of the hour.

Probably best not to even start hinting for the first 15 minutes or so.

Giving players roles: The second group started out with all the players trying to work on the same clue simultaneously. I told them to divide their efforts more and encouraged one player to take charge of writing down findings ... I think this was a good idea. Less successfully, when one player said that "someone should go and swipe the Oyster card", I said that it sounded like he had volunteered and encoiuraged him to go. He didn't know the area very well, took ages to do it and commented that he felt like he'd missed all the fun when he finally got back. Should probably let people select their own tasks and only push if everybody is reluctant/distracted and clue is important.

Duplication of props/redundant paths: Would be safest to have duplicates of everything as far as possible. Second group ironed the receipts looking for messages, which burned them up. Would have been a shame (although not disastrous, since they were still legible enough) if that had happened in the first group.

Players locking the phone through too many failed PIN guesses would have been bad (needs a call to Orange to unlock it I think, might not have been feasible at that time of night) - first team burned 2 out of 3 attempts before I confiscated. There was an alternative path there because I copied the inbound SMS history onto the SIM card. They could have taken out the SIM and put it into another phone - one player suggested this but never tried it. Interestingly, the LG phone wouldn't let you copy the outbound history, so there is an inbuilt penalty for locking the phone.

Nobody thought to check the time stamps on the photos as far as I could tell (I made them consistent with receipts/SMS messages). One player used camera UI to zoom into the photos .... Could actually be a mechanic for future puzzles.

Crossword: one player said he found the crossword task v. easy since he'd done that crossword - maybe use older crosswords to avoid this. --benhenley (talk) 2009-05-08 01:50:19

Out of interest, did you have a plan to stop players getting too sidetracked by misunderstandings or unexpected coincidences? Holly mentioned being on standby as a mystery clue-giving phone voice - would you also have used that as a mystery voice of authority, if players were clearly wasting too much time trying to decode the wrong book, or tail the wrong target, or repeatedly interrogate an innocent pizza delivery number? I imagine it'd be a bit difficult, in terms of the character narrative, for the spymaster to come forward with authoritative statements of "wait, that's definitely wrong". --Kevan (talk) 2009-05-08 13:31:39

If they'd been floundering to get one of the three required answers, I would have had the handler call up and give it away (or give a big hint).

If the players are barking up the wrong tree, the spymaster can say things like "Hmmm, in my experience they would probably..." or "What puzzles me is ..." The other thing to bear in mind is that you should ensure the players divide their attention rather than all trying to work on the same clue, so it doesn't matter so much if some of them are following the wrong track.

Also, I think it's a good idea to have multiple, mutually-confirming trails to the answers. As an example, the passphrase for the first Sandpit 11 run was a line from a poetry book called The Budapest File. There were two paths to it:

1. A note saying "Look in the Budapest File p. 90" (on the back of a Poetry Library leaflet), and another note giving the ISBN of the book. This enabled them to go to the library and find the underlined phrase - which they did.

2. A photocopy of the relevant page, shredded but with the underlined phrase ringed with red marker - they also stuck it together, but I think they had found the underlined phrase first.

Putting the shredded page together was a slower and more tedious, but more certain route to the passphrase. If they'd gone the wrong way with path 1, they would probably have ended up at path 2. Of course, solving both paths just confirms that they are definitely on the right track, so nobody feels like they've wasted their time. --benhenley (talk) 2009-05-08 17:29:29