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Keeper neutral or playing to win?


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#1 valvorik

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 06:00 AM

Is there any indication of whether the Keeper is like an RPG Keeper "there to pose challenge but not out to gut you like a deep one" or is the Keeper a "player" and valid in "racking up the head count!"?

Rob



#2 Old Dwarf

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 06:42 AM

That may be up to the individual Keeper(if it's my wife,I'm toast ) it does appear that the Keeper is a Player with his own agenda so I expect a Deep One "Gutting" is in order.

 

OD


A Dwarf in Winter


#3 Winter324

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 07:42 AM

Old Dwarf said:

That may be up to the individual Keeper(if it's my wife,I'm toast ) it does appear that the Keeper is a Player with his own agenda so I expect a Deep One "Gutting" is in order.

 

OD

 

Dang, that is almost exactly what I was going to say.  Wife=Keeper=Me Screwed. 

Me=Keeper=She Wins=Me Screwed.



#4 Steve-O

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 08:28 AM

valvorik said:

Is there any indication of whether the Keeper is like an RPG Keeper "there to pose challenge but not out to gut you like a deep one" or is the Keeper a "player" and valid in "racking up the head count!"?

Rob

I would expect the Keeper is in it to win.  All of FFG's board games are designed this way.  A role that can be assigned to a human player is designed to have a fair chance at victory, whatever the victory conditions are.  If they were going to design it like an RPG, they would've made an RPG.  They do have a whole other section devoted to RPGs, you know.

Does that mean it will be impossible for the Keeper to throw the game in the interest of "making things fun" for the others?  No, of course not.  If that's how you want to play there's precious little anybody else can do to stop you.  But board games as a general rule are not RPGs.  No matter how full of fluff, each player is in it to win.



#5 GrumpyBatman

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 09:20 AM

One of the things I despised about Descent was the way the overlord was out to crush the players (at least for the guy who ran it when we played.) I see the "1 vs the rest of the players "games as more like RPGs where the monster controller is a DM and runs the game just hard enough to challenge the players so that they think they will lose but pull out a win in the nick of time. A suspenseful success for the good guys makes for a fun time. I do not mean to say the controller should never win, but pulling out all the stops to always crush the other players is not my style. Of course, I am sure many of the players in my RPG games would disagree and say I am TPK'er. LOL!



#6 Hellfury

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 03:01 PM

I pray this lacks the adversarial touch that descent has. Frankly, it stinks. If I want to play such a game, I would just play descent.

I am hoping beyond hope that the Keeper is not "in it to win it" but more of a dungeon master role. I know this isnt a roleplaying game, but plenty of board games have had a similar role in the past and maintained some semblance of neutrality. Dungeon crawls come readily to mind and they are like this because of the desire to recreate a roleplaying environment in a boardgame.

For some reason, I don't think Mansions of Madness will fall far from that tree. At least, I hope not.



#7 Steve-O

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 01:47 AM

GrumpyBatman said:

 

One of the things I despised about Descent was the way the overlord was out to crush the players (at least for the guy who ran it when we played.) I see the "1 vs the rest of the players "games as more like RPGs where the monster controller is a DM and runs the game just hard enough to challenge the players so that they think they will lose but pull out a win in the nick of time. A suspenseful success for the good guys makes for a fun time. I do not mean to say the controller should never win, but pulling out all the stops to always crush the other players is not my style. Of course, I am sure many of the players in my RPG games would disagree and say I am TPK'er. LOL!

 

 

I agree with this in the sense that I also dislike how the Overlord basically has to crush the heroes early or else resign himself to failure.  I don't have any particular problem with the 1 in 1-vs-many pulling out all the stops to go for victory, but it would be nice if there was an even chance of winning throughout that didn't rely on killing the others before they get the unstoppable awesome items that guarantee victory.  (And on the flip side of that coin, "pulling out all the stops" doesn't necessarily mean the OL/Keeper has an awesome position early on, either - ie: he can try his best and still not win.)

It's unclear if there will be any form of character advancement in MoM.  If not, then the investigators should remain roughly as killable throughout the adventure as they are at the start.  That's a good thing because it means the Keeper wouldn't have to rush to get the job done, he could play it out a bit and still have a shot of a climactic victory near the end.

Of course, while having no character advancement makes it easier to balance the opposing sides against one another, it also makes any form of "campaign" less exciting.  Character advancement isn't strictly required to tell a good story, but it certainly is one of the defining factors in most "campaign" style games.  So, pick your poison.

As I said before, no matter how they set the game up I'm sure it will be possible for the Keeper to play like a GM, give the investigators a run for their money and let them win in the end.  I highly doubt the rules will be written with that goal in mind, though.  Seriously, who would want to play the Keeper if the rulebook flat out said "look, you're going to make a big show of it, but at the end the other guys will win."  I don't consider myself a competitive person, but what's the point in playing a game for 6 hours (knowing FFG) if the outcome is already foreordained?

Edit: An example of how this game could be made well would be Last Night on Earth.  That game pits 2-4 hero players vs 1-2 zombie players with strong story-based victory conditions that vary from game to game.  Every time I've played that game it's been down the wire.  Sometimes the heroes have won and sometimes the zombies, but the question of who will win has always been up in the air until the last turn.  It's an extraordinarily well balanced game in this general style.  There is no character advancement, no campaign, but each individual game is an exciting story in its own right.



#8 Mike

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 08:05 PM

From what I gathered so far, the victory conditions of the keeper are not as easy as "kill everything". It says so on the page: He might have to kill one investigator and place him on an altar. Also, don't forget that you spawn with a new investigator should your current one get devoured.

It won't be like Descent or Doom - and I'm thankful for that.



#9 Hellfury

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Posted 10 October 2010 - 11:32 AM

Mike said:

It won't be like Descent or Doom - and I'm thankful for that.

 

Amen to that.



#10 Mal Reynolds

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 03:22 PM

it seems the keeper have a plot on his own to accomplish before he can claim victory, I'm sure that killing all the investigators is such one way of doing so.

I don't mind the keeper vs player style in a boardgame even with many rpg elements. it all depends on the rules.

If the game mechanics are balanced enough, I see no reason why the keeper should not do his best to claim victory, and at the same time make an enjoyable storytelling experience for the whole group. After all failing in the mythos universe is not as bad as failing in other games.

That said, the game mechanics that covers exactly what the keeper can do at anytime, is  especially important. next what strategies does he have? will he attempt to save his strength and threat tokens, until he is ready to spring a deadly trap, or will he bleed out the investigators slowly, by sending one creature or threat at the time? Can he attempt to split the party, and than go for the weaker group? If the keeper's strategi is to slow down the investigators by using small amounts of resources at the same time building up to something nasty. than he will be very depending on succeding with the few resources he will use against the players. the threats with low danger, but with  a potential for slowing them down might fail, forcing the keeper to change tactics or even his strategy. Ideally the keeper's strategy should vary from adventure to adventure, or even from situation to situation. in this way you might avoid the whole Descent rule of "throwing everything against them at the start works best every time" thing.

they way I see it that if the keeper is forced to play as "neutral" than it wouldn't be much fun for him would it? Besides winning a MoM game because the Keeper didn't do his best to win? that would be lame.

Ofcourse this "winning" mentality wont work in a RPG because the overall agenda is quite different. But in a boardgame, I think you will have a hard time incorporating the "neutral keeper stance".

so Keeper, do your worst! I dare you! and good gaming



#11 Ivan Kerensky

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 07:45 PM

 Seems it is time to dust up the old mantra.

"OL is not GM" become "K is not GM" :)

 

You can't ask a boardgame player to assume a neutral position, it put it in a stupid position and make the game pointless.

 

Will you play a wargame about Gettysburg and ask the Confederate player to go easy on the North because historically he is supposed to lose ? No, you dont. 

If a game is designed as being played  as a match between player then it is to the game and the rules to provide for the balance and challenge, and to the player to abide to thoses rules. The only thing I would agree would be than anyone exercice 'fair play' and refrain from exploiting any error or loop-hole that they found in them.

You can play an Overlord (or now a Keeper) while using all your arsenal and trying the best to win the game and still lose, and still have fun. The same way the heroes are supposed to do their best and sometimes fail and have fun doing so.

What  I am wondering is what ratio of OL/K victory would be seen as a fair share for the game to be balanced ? should he win 1 game out of 5 or 1 out of 2 for the game to be balanced ? for the players to feel it balanced ?

 

 



#12 Jeffrey Paul

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 12:18 PM

I ran some Demo games at my local game store today and everyone had a blast. 

The keeper is clearly trying to win, but this doesn't in any way make the game antagonistic.  In fact, the genious of the game design is that together all of the players, including the keeper, are trying to create a scary mystery story.  In every game I ran today the investigators lost, but the sense of mystery and suspence was great, and there were some epic heroic moments. 

I suspect the best keepers will focus on creating suspense and a sense of doom instead of just focusing on killing off the investigators.  So racking up a "Head count" doesn't make for a good game, and is generally not a requirement for the keeper to win.  Also, the game promotes that players rotate the player who acts as keeper for different games, so everyone will get a chance o try to kill, drive insane, or scare their friends investigators. 

 After running a number of winning games as keeper I'm actually craving a chance to play a (probably doomed) investigator!



#13 JerusalemJones

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 05:35 AM

I believe over our demo weekend, the game were split 50-50 with Keeper/Investigator wins. AS the Keepers got more expereinced with the game, their wins increased. And in some of the games, it literally came down to one more turn making the difference!

Some tactics won't work in future games. In one game a mosnter managed to get two samples from the same investigator on back to back turns, and made it to the altar without issue. In future games, I don't suspect an Investigator will allow themselves to be sampled twice, and will just let the mosnter escape with pursuit. It game me so much threat that the players almost didn't have a chance (I say almost because, even though I won, one more turn would have made it so the Investigators won instead).

It seems like there is an even chance for either side to win, as long as people are playing smart. If one side gets stupid, it gives an advantage to the other.






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