Saturday, 11 October 2014

Hobo Thundercats and Pushover Monsters

Running a new game is exciting, if a bit stressful. No matter how intimately you know the rules, no matter how much you understand the theory behind the game, it's almost always a bit different on the ground. These concepts to not exist in a vacuum; there are other people there to, and they interact with mechanics differently then you do. It's multi-leveled learning experience, and one I dread and never get tired of.

Multiply that by ten and it sums up how I felt today, running prototype of a game that I've put a great deal of effort into.

Fortunately, I can say that I had enough fun that any nervousness I felt was shooed of for the duration of the playtest. Not only was Trident Con full of lovely, friendly people, I also managed to find enough players to fill my table and they all seemed to have fun playing Break!!

(Special thanks to My friend at Dungeons & Donuts, who helped me with the Pre-Gen character sheets. Great guy, I'll tell you what)

Also fortunate was that I got both positive and critical feedback. While you secretly want everyone to tell you how great it was and how you're obviously some game design prodigy, the truth is that critique is necessary for this sort of thing - and regrettably uncommon. (Well, in a constructive manner at least.)

I don't want to drone too long, but basically;

The Positives!
- The basic rules were easy to pick up and were fun in play. Someone pointed out that they would likely be easy to teach to someone who didn't have much experience with these games at all, which is a big pro for me.
- People liked the special species and calling abilities for the most part. They came into play a lot, and while I could use a bit of tightening on the verbiage, there was enough there that people felt their characters unique and interesting to play.
- I had one unplanned player, but we had a new character rolled up for him rather quickly. The "Hobo Thundercat" he ended up with was popular, so I think I may have to make it an official pre-gen.
- Apparently the bits of setting they got to interact with interested some of the players enough they wanted to see more, which is a great feeling when you're a giant ham like me.

I should note that the group itself was a very good mix of players; some of them were fans of games like Dungeon World and Fate, others liked older games and Dungeon Crawl Classics and one had only recently started playing, with 4E D&D. I was really happy for this, because what they seemed to like during the session was pretty diverse. I want Break!! to be enjoyable on multiple layers.


The Negatives!
- The Wounds system has a good structure, but it isn't as severe as I'd like it to be as is. I'm going to tweak it a bit to be a tad more dangerous, at least in the standard game. I'll probably keep the current method in as a sort of "Easy Mode" for GM's who want to tone back character death/mutilation without eliminating entirely.
- The Monsters were a bit too easy to beat. While the players enjoyed themselves, they pointed out that with the exception of one rather nasty creature they were generally convinced they could take on anything they met without much hesitation.
- Minor, but as stated before, I really need to tighten up some of the verbiage.

I think of all the problems to have, this is one of the best. Hope you are all ready to hear me go on about monsters for a while.

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