Archive for August 8th, 2008

Hitting the Right Balance + Organizing

2008 Aug 8

Continuing my series of little things I’m adding to the Geiger beta.

Here’s some stuff that helps keep characters alive:
– Gathering more advantage dice.
– Having scenes without confrontations.
– Teaming up in confrontations.
– Keeping the group together.
– Not pursuing Goals / confrontations with other characters.

Here’s some stuff that helps kill characters:
– Pursuing Goals / confrontations with other characters.
– Taking on the menace by yourself (without help).
– Not grabbing all the advantage dice.
– Having lots of confrontations when the menace has lots of dice.
– Splitting up the characters.

Hitting that sweet spot where most of the characters are dead, but one or two of them just barely get away or beat the menace… that takes some active balancing between doing things that keep the characters alive and doing things that will kill them. That balancing act… that’s the core of the game.

In fact, four things really make play sing:
– premise, setting (map), and characters that excite everyone
– scene framing with good pacing (mix of different things + timing)
– the right balance of getting killed and surviving
– a satisfying conclusion

If you got those four, Geiger Counter should work every time.

All the players should consider themselves responsible for making these four things happen, but the player(s) organizing the game (the one(s) reading this book, in all likelihood) has even more responsibility, namely, demonstrating how to achieve these four things and trying to shepherd the group through their first game. Sometimes, nobody else will be willing to throw their character under a bus for pure entertainment and the good of the game unless you do it first. Sometimes, folks won’t figure out that they should feel free to frame a 10-second scene solely containing the ominous sound of water dripping unless you do it first. Sometimes, folks won’t realize they’ve reached the final confrontation with the menace or need to step up the inter-character conflict unless you make that suggestion or just have your own character flip out.

Everybody’s equal at the table and you should remember you’re not the Game Master, but, at least until the group gets comfortable with the rules and play of Geiger Counter, it’s your responsibility to make it work. Often that means listening and trying to figure out what everybody else wants. Sometimes that means pushing the group in a particular direction. Good luck!

Geiger Beta & Transan Board Print

2008 Aug 8

Due to the confusion about what is or isn’t an ashcan, whether they are playtested or not, etc… what’s coming out at GenCon is the “beta” version of Geiger Counter, the “alpha” being that version that SG Boston and Go Play NW have been playing for the past 5 months.

Here’s the cover.

Also, I got the first printing of the Transantiago board back from Lulu and I’m going to have to tweak it a bit if I’m going to use that publication route. They print their posters on Kodak paper, as if they’re expecting photos (no surprise), but that makes the blacks bleed a bit more than I was expecting. Plus, they cut them inexactly, necessitating a white border around them. On the plus side, this means that dry and wet-erase markers should work pretty well, I think, though I haven’t tried yet.