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ICA run

This ran twice at the ICA last night, along a stretch of the Mall, Carlton House Terrace, and the treeline of St James Park (the lake of which had already been drained by an enthusiastic Royal Parks scavenger). Both winners got three or four of their specialised items, and a good handful of extras.

Both games had a curve with lots of scavenging at the start, lots of trading at the end, and a somewhat fuzzy middle - in the first game, individual players were left to guess when to switch tactics and start trading, but in the second I gradually put the word out that there were only twenty cards out there. I've tweaked the rules so that players are now told how many cards are hidden right from the start, and suggesting that they switch to trading after the half-way mark, if they're not finding any more cards out there.

Anecdotal highlight: one player openly shooting her friends with her newly acquired Gun (which was in the Lockbox, and opened near to a large group of trading players), and a devious survivor saying "quick, swap me your most valuable item and I'll swap it back after she's shot you" to the person who looked like being her next target. He didn't give it back. --Kevan (talk) 2009-04-23 14:25:33

Most people headed either up the steps behind, or into the foliage in front of the ICA, so I crossed the road and scavenged on the other side of The Mall amongst the dead trees.

I'm fairly sure I was the first player along there, but still only managed to find one card. Even by about half-way through I'd come across a couple of players who seemed to have handfulls!

Out of curiosity, what was the distribution of cards like? Where there many along by the trees? Did any get picked up by non-players, I wonder. Am I just not very observant?!

Trading seemed to be really difficult, with people mostly just saying "no". Maybe nobody wanted some boots... --genzaichi (talk) 2009-04-23 16:59:26

There were four or five cards on the far side of the road, for the first game - a few stuck to railings, trees and bollards, one perched in some daffodils, and the Live Chicken buried under bark chips next to one of the trees (with its location described in a Diary Entry card). I suppose that side of the road was pretty crowded, though, so the cards could have been spotted and taken by passers-by. As a card-hider, it can be difficult striking a balance between "looking breezily official so that nobody challenges you" and "being discreet, so that nobody walks over to see what you hid, after you've gone".

The trading possibly picks up as the game progresses; that players will be more interested in your boots if they can remember talking to someone earlier who wanted them. I'd have thought there'd have been enough speculative trading of "worthless" items, though, to keep things moving - that if nobody's wanted my string for ten minutes, I might as well swap it for your boots and go back and try the same people again. Perhaps it's balanced by the fear that you'll immediately bump into someone who wanted your string after all. --Kevan (talk) 2009-04-23 17:14:28

We'd spotted you doing The Nonchalant Walk as we were preparing for Shrine!

Later in the game, on the other side of the road, I spotted some gaffa tape on a railing that looked like it might have hidden a card at some stage so I wondered if there were some on the railings where I'd been too. I'd kind of also assumed the railings were the edge of the play zone too, so not looked in the daffs.

It was a veritable market-place for the last 10 mins of the game! I was hoping for some speculative trading too, but it didn't seem to work out that way, even the tin-opener wasn't tempting people!

There'll always be demand for string. --genzaichi (talk) 2009-04-23 17:36:20

Go Play Northwest

I ran this game over the course of a day and a half at Go Play Northwest, a small role-playing game convention in Seattle, Washington, US. The idea was to have the game running in the background of other organized slots, with players noticing each other by a special sticker on their con badges and trading cards when they played together.

However, my loose organization failed in several respects: I didn't get there on time to run an organized signup, so I held rolling signups and hid sets of cards throughout the venue in a few stages. We ended up with eleven players. Earlier players still got first crack at finding cards, though, and the window for the game was probably too long. I started handing out sheets on Friday night, but most of the trading took place just before I started counting up points on Sunday morning.

The players had fun, but were understandably frustrated by certain players coming out with a distinct advantage. The winner had 17 points, and the second-place finisher had 16, but the third-place player only had 7. Second place was actually something of a late signup, but lucked out by finding the key and the lockbox and grabbing a lot of points by means of the gun.

I'll probably put together several Ludocity games next year, including this one, and run them together in one of the assigned three-hour game slots. I think that will work better.

I made PDFs of the game cards and character sheets, substituting American spelling and removing ICA references for clarity; I've posted those on the wiki page. --BrendanAdkins (talk) 2009-07-04 03:34:41

Aha. Thanks for the report, and nice work on the handouts.

Spreading the game out over a day and a half is interesting. From the scoring, I imagine this amplified the effects of players dropping out - at the ICA I saw one player having to leave early, and slyly trading a cold bottle of beer for the rest of his hand, both players being completely happy with the swap. If players are doing other things alongside the game, I imagine that increases.

We also saw the bulk of the trading apparently happening in the final ten minutes, because - obviously - most of the players were heading back to the same place around that time. Thinking about it, the game could probably benefit from a pre-announced "marketplace" event halfway through, at a specific location - encouraging players to meet up (and talk about how they're doing) seems like a good way to start them thinking about trading. --Kevan (talk) 2009-07-04 15:26:13