Actual Play – Big Bad Gauntlet (10/17/2015)

Big-Bad-Gauntlet_02GMs: Kasi Jammeh, Sophie Lagacé, Bry Hitchcock, and John Kim
Agents: Eric Zim, Bruce Harlick, Shaun Hayworth, Brian Williams
Audience*: June Garcia, Charles Chung, Ashley Richter, Mike Murray, Adam Fox, Rob Harrell
Players*: Ken Gribble, John Cornell, Kevin Murphy, Rachel Tevlin, Gennaro Kukonu, Johnathan Wright, Mike McFarland, Joe Sondow, Michael Kwan, Jennifer Blight, Duane Padilla, Justin Padilla, Randy Lubin, Mario Cole, Shantih Moriarty, and Jon Edwards
Adversaries: Lali Cheshire and Sean Nittner
System: Fate Accelerated (modified Fate Economy)

* The audience and players lists are based off the online sign ups for Big Bad Con, however, those often change at the con itself, so I’m not sure if these lists are entirely accurate.

Wow, that was crazy. Four games, each of them connected, and each of them threatened by a central pair of adversaries.

Rather than go into all the details of how it worked, here is the basic description of the event, here’s the instructions sent to the GMs, and to the Agents.

What rocked

We hosted a co-op four game event with a central adversary (by the end adversaries!) and our marginalized factions overthrew them!

At the end we had an nearly hour long debrief and got at ton of good feedback for how to improve the event for next year.

A healthy host of folks said they had a great time.

Our agents were stalwart emissaries that backed my every… oh wait, never mind, the Monkey King turned on me and joined the faction. I guess that is a win as well!

We did it all in 4 hours. Though it was challenging, that was a huge improvement over BBGM in six hours in the past.

What could have improved

We accidentally allowed an audience member the ability to completely cut off one faction from it’s goal. That was a compel we should not have taken, as it was a pretty big bummer for one table to find out the Moon Princess was no more.

We had some pretty strict rules about the Fate economy that were circumvented by two tables and that put those tables at a stark advantage over the other tables. By the end of the game that meant one table was blowing through our challenges without batting an eye and the other ones were really struggling with them. This is definitely something we’ll address next time going over the modified economy with the GMs just prior to game.

There was a big of a frantic rush to get started and work on the goals ASAP which meant a few players who weren’t familiar with Fate were playing catch up. Just like we’re going to sit down with the GMs, next time we’ll also have a Fate 101 for the players before it kicks off.

Having 30+ people in that room got WARM. Next year we’re going to take the Forum Room for this! Yeah, it means displacing larps but we just couldn’t breathe in there. Either that or reduce ourselves down to three games.

Actual Play – Big Bad Gauntlet [Playtest] (9/27/2015)

Big-Bad-Gauntlet_02Participants (in various roles): Lali Cheshire, Karen Twelves, J Li, Ezra Denney, Tom Vallejos, Colin Fahrion, Eric Zim, Brian Williams, Sophie Lagacé, Edmund Metheny, and Sean Nittner.
System: Fate Accelerated (in pieces)

Big Bad Gauntlet designed by Lali Cheshire.

After many slack conversations, emails, phone calls, google docs reviews, and much tinkering, we got together to try out a playtest of the Big Bad Gauntlet for Big Bad Con.

The playtest was vastly informative. As we had it structured the GM/Leaders were really a first among equals and the Agents, coming to them with challenges were the actual authority/GM. We were using a PTA style resolution system with decks of Fate Cards. It felt like it had a lot of promise but when we started breaking down the structure of play, it became pretty apparent that this was only working because our players and GMs were doing their best to keep it working.

After a lot of discussion we decided to go with a more traditional model of GMs running their own games but having a very limited fate point economy (and what fate points they did have went away when used) that could be supplemented by bribes from the Agent and help from the Audience.

We walked out ready to have more slack conversations, emails discussions, and start some new google docs!

A note for future games: A hand of Fate cards, where each player secretly puts one card face down into a pot, works in effect a lot like the crisis mechanics in BSG. It didn’t end up being utilized for this, but I really like the idea of using this more in the future.