Actual Play - Empire at The Kraken
Posted by: Gary Bowerbank On: Aug 11th 2010 edited
Just back from Germany and the self-styled gaming vacation that is
I've done a full report at UK Roleplayers for those terminally short of something to do.
I ran both Empires games and both were very successful from what I can discern. Due to a scheduling snafu due to illness and the organisers switching two days round I suddenly found myself running BtQ on two minutes notice and so regrettably didn't get chance to brush up properly on the nuances of Ship Combat and the like, but regardless it went very well, with everyone embracing the opportunity to make stuff up and generally doing what they wanted with the exception perhaps of one shell-shocked player.
One thing that I'm going to do for next time is have a proper ship's sheet - image of the vessel, include all the superstitions and tradtions, pictures of the other crew... I think an artefact like that would really help the players out.
Would it be worth game designers having something like that, along with a "full" crew of six player characters? This would aid potential referees who want to run a con game at short notice a bunch of resource to hit the ground running.
I set the Duty & Honour game in the American Revolutionary War, with the players taking the part of Hessen jägers (huntsmen and gamekeepers turned skirmishers and light troops). This worked really well, especially when you added in the 71st Highlanders as a rival "friendly" group, and a French spy, Loyalist turncoat General, cannon foundry etc. All very good stuff.
The quandary I have is that the players failed the final mission challenge and the spy got away. One player commented that this left a sour taste in his mouth (although half jokingly I thought), because they'd succeeded at that one last test, when just about everything was successful all the way through. I even cheekily allowed a further test to see if someone could dive into the river and catch the spy in flight, but that too was failed.
I think the story as a whole was good. Should be care that the mission was failure due to one card flop? Is there away of mitigating the bitter aftertaste of defeat - specifically in one-shot convention games? Because although you can make things better in a weekly game - this format might be the only time someone plays the game before deciding whether to buy it or not bother any more. I feel that most people enjoyed the system and will investigate it further. Others might be put off if they don't get the final Win after four hours of success.
Posted by: Neil Gow On: Aug 12th 2010
I've answered Young Master Bowerbank's questions on the Omni-Forums but I will reiterate here.
1. The final challenge thing is something I believe I dropped from BtQ because it delivers this negative play experience sometimes. It will be included in the conversion rules which will appear soon, on the site and in the new Miscellany.
2. BtQ will be getting the pick-up and play characters and ship stuff in the 1810 Miscellany, like D&H did in the 1809 one. When that is finalised, I'll also be putting quickplay packs onto the site reflecting this material for both games.
Personally, I think its awesome that Empire games got played at a convention like Kraken. Cheers for doing the donkey work, Gaz!
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