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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'm planning on giving this a playtest in a week or three. Before I do that, are there any obvious game-breaking strategies that I might have overlooked?

The one I'm nervous about is how the Cops can lock down the game by arresting all the Robbers at once - this feels like it might be fair enough and should be an explicit victory condition, as it's reasonably trivial for the Robbers to avoid it (just split the party, and if one side gets arrested en masse, they can use their one phone call to warn the others; plus, the Kingpin will always be free to escape and coordinate).

Is the halfway point still fun, though? If four Cops arrest four Robbers, how much is it in their interests to just kettle them indefinitely? I suppose there's the danger that they may be holding the Undercover Cop without realising - and the Chief of Police daren't warn the whole force never to arrest the Undercover Cop, because the Crooked Cop will pass that information onto the Kingpin... --Kevan (talk) 2012-07-30 17:24:04

It does sound like kettling the robbers would be the way to go, I'm not sure the potential downside of capturing the undercover cop would be enough to offset the benefit of lockdown.

Anyway, couldn't you just kettle in pairs, the undercover cop gets the other robber to phone in the report, then the chief of police can release the undercover guy with impunity.

So exhausting the 'one phone call' would be the mechanic there. Although I guess kettling is repeated re-arresting, so they'd have the right to another phone call? --Nick (talk) 2012-08-03 12:20:13

The downside of the police keeping their Undercover Cop in custody is that they'd have no idea what the Kingpin was planning. I haven't really got a feel for how much information the moles will be able to sneak out, but I'd hope it was enough that you'd really struggle to win the game without their help.

I was intending to allow repeat phonecalls, but even with limited calls, I don't think the kettling tactic is bulletproof - the Chief of Police has to be at least a little subtle about releasing the Undercover Cop, because either of the arresting officers could be the Crooked Cop. The optimal tactic might be to kettle in pairs, and have the Chief of Police release any pair that contains the Undercover Cop, but if the Kingpin saw two pairs of his gang arrested indefinitely, and the third pair released for no obvious reason, that would give him a big clue.

Maybe it just needs a tweak to say that to keep X Robbers imprisoned, you need X+1 Cops. (Two-stage arrest; you tag someone and arrest them for 5 minutes, but after that time you either have to let them go or put them into permanent custody if you're in an area with enough Cops.) Committing three Cops to keep each pair of Robbers kettled would quickly become crippling, and if you set up a single "prison" area, the Kingpin would pick Missions far away from it. But if the police are coordinated enough to arrest and gather every Robber except the Undercover Cop, they win. --Kevan (talk) 2012-08-03 14:23:49

A belated write-up of the August playtest.

So I think this worked in most respects - the only problem in the playtest was that numbers were a little thin (4 vs 5, which required a bit of a balancing hack) and players felt that the mile-square playing area was probably too large - if you hear about a game event all the way across the map, there's no way you can get there to make any difference. Not sure what the exact balance between player numbers and map size should be, but they should be proportional.

The game ended when the Cops happened to locate the cafe that the Kingpin was using as a base, and with no obvious way to stop one Cop from following him and eavesdropping his every move, the Kingpin conceded. One suggested way to fix this was to make it so that if a Safehouse's location had been made available to a Cop (either from an arrest being attempted there, or the Kingpin asking the Lawyer to inform the Cops of this), the Cop couldn't enter it. This would allow a tailed Kingpin to duck into a Safehouse and leave by another exit. (Particularly effective if the Safehouse was, say, a tube station.)

From a game runner perspective, the game really needs both a Lawyer and an Agent - I tried running it with the Lawyer serving both roles, but it was a little too tough to get between locations while also coordinating the game and fielding randomly-arriving phonecalls, and problematic that I couldn't use the tube to travel without losing my phone connection. --Kevan (talk) 2012-11-21 17:09:51