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Playing the Keeper - How to


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#1 SolennelBern

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Posted 26 May 2011 - 02:19 AM

Hi, I posted it on BGG and post it here too simply to gather as much opinion as possible on how to play a Keeper based on my yesterday session where 1 investigator among the 3 was constantly telling how to play a Keeper and keep it smooth so they could unfold the story.  Yesterday's game was not that fun to me as we had several 15-30 minutes downtime aguying about the "Keepers' role".  Please read my post and tell me if I play wrong of right! Thanks a bunch!

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Hi all! I've been playing MoM mostly as an investigator and completely love the game. Tonight I wanted to try playing as the Keeper. We we're 4 players, so 3 investigator agaisnt me the Keeper.

I'll keep it simple: Do you play the Good or the Bad Keeper. Here's what I mean:

Good Keeper: You don't care about winning the game. You just let the other Investigators unfold the story and throw some cards here and there just to play with them.

Bad Keeper: You want to win! You let the Investigators unfold the story but you make sure they understand that there's a greater power over their heads that could smith them anytime but ultimately, you don't want them to to accomplish the task they're here for.

I ask that because one the the players (and one of my best friend) told me that a Keeper should not be to harsh and should let the Investigators win the game while giving them a challenge while they play. The Keeper don't necessarily have to win the game...

I sincerely don't agree with that and if the Keeper was there only to give the Investigators some hard times here and there I don't think there would even be a player/human Keeper...

Am I wrong thinking that way?

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TLDR version: I play to win the game.  I play to let the Investigators unfold the story while keeping them on the edge.  It's not my problem if they focus on the wrong thing going on on the board and don't discovered the first clue after 3 hours of play, even though THEY KNEW WHERE IT WAS...

Thanks a bunch all!



#2 Tobec

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Posted 26 May 2011 - 05:54 AM

In a perfectly balanced game, playing a keeper there to create mood for the players to explore through would be the same as playing as a keeper trying to win.  Mansions isn't perfectly balanced.  Part of it depends on your playgroup.  If you are all competitive players, play all out.  If the players are more theme/roleplayers, then it would be a mistake to play all out to win.  Personally, from my limited experience, I'd say Mansions is too unbalanced in favor of the keeper to have any fun playing with a keeper out to win.  It's just too easy.  So if you want to make for an unfun game, sure, go ahead and play all out to win.  I'm sure your play group will drop Mansions fairly shortly.  I personally would not want you as keeper in my games.  Now this seems harsh, and I'm not blaming you for the desire to win, as we all have it.  However, I think with more experience with Mansions that you'll find the lack of balance in it.  So in order to make it a fun game for all, you have to throttle back a little as the keeper.  It is unfortunate, because Mansions has potential, but Fantasy Flight Games messed up on the balance aspect of the game. 



#3 SolennelBern

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Posted 26 May 2011 - 06:09 AM

Tobec said:

In a perfectly balanced game, playing a keeper there to create mood for the players to explore through would be the same as playing as a keeper trying to win.  Mansions isn't perfectly balanced.  Part of it depends on your playgroup.  If you are all competitive players, play all out.  If the players are more theme/roleplayers, then it would be a mistake to play all out to win.  Personally, from my limited experience, I'd say Mansions is too unbalanced in favor of the keeper to have any fun playing with a keeper out to win.  It's just too easy.  So if you want to make for an unfun game, sure, go ahead and play all out to win.  I'm sure your play group will drop Mansions fairly shortly.  I personally would not want you as keeper in my games.  Now this seems harsh, and I'm not blaming you for the desire to win, as we all have it.  However, I think with more experience with Mansions that you'll find the lack of balance in it.  So in order to make it a fun game for all, you have to throttle back a little as the keeper.  It is unfortunate, because Mansions has potential, but Fantasy Flight Games messed up on the balance aspect of the game. 

I completely agree with you.  I RP a lot whe playing cards, I read the italic text and try to add some mood in the game.  Same thing when an evade test is missed, sometimes I don't hit the Inv. trying to evade and add some RP elements like "In your evade attemp the Cultist tried to grab you but stepped on his robes and fell.  You take no damage.".  I like to add some flavor to the game so the players feel immersed.

Let me explain the situation with an example:

All game long I, as the Keeper, hold on and played more "softly" on the Investigators so they can unfold the story and find the clues, explore, have fun but i'll throw some stuff in their way so they still have some challenge.  Near the end of the game I see that they're near their objective and could win the game in a couple of turns.

What would you do as a Keeper:

1- Continue at the same pace and eventually, if they play right, the Investigators will win the game.

2- Go in for the win since they're so near victory and use whatever powers you can to stop them, all this while RPing all the same and keep the game interesting. 

I don't say i'm going all out on them all the time, just that I start the game being "soft" and the more they advance, the more "agressive" I become as the Keeper.



#4 tiborvadovan

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Posted 26 May 2011 - 07:27 AM

I think my group would stop playing if the keeper pulled too many punches.

Knowing that the keeper is honestly doing his/her best makes those rare victories so much more satisfying. Of course, you must have a playgroup that doesn't mind losing 4 or 5 consecutive games before finally managing to overcome the scenario. I guess it just depends on your playgroup expectations.

I think using MoM in that way (i.e: the keeper just promoting the game experience for the investigators) is just a subpar RPG experience (MoM is not versatile enough to accomodate that). I'd recommend just trying the CoC RPG instead if that is what you prefer. IMHO.

Similar discussions flare up now and then in the Descent comunity, and I guess you can always find people that prefer one of the two approaches.

 



#5 SolennelBern

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Posted 26 May 2011 - 08:27 AM

Ok, i'll rephrase my first post with 2 sentences, which one, in your opinion, describe the best a Keeper and it's goal, keeping in mind that a Keeper also has to set the mood and make sure the game is fun for everyone :

1- A Keeper may accomplish his/her objective.

2- A Keeper should accomplish his/her objective.



#6 Slimu

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Posted 26 May 2011 - 11:56 PM

I've played only 2 MoM games, and I have the same problem as you. Lately I've been reading a lot about the rules/how to play. Right now, I think the role of the Keeper is to tell a good story. Winning comes second. The first option seems right for me.

Of course, the investigators must try to play a role, not act like playing a round of AH, where you just go killing monsters and closing gates, and the story elements come second. During the last match,  I've got in a situation in which 2 investigator's had to escape the house so they could win. One of them got out while the last one couldn't get out (it was the last round and he was to far away). He was playing with Sister Mary so he went to the end of a corridor and used his last action to drink whiskey, while my zombies were closing in. I really think that's how a story should be told. It's not about winning (doesn't mather which side), but trying to tell a good story.



#7 Elbi

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Posted 27 May 2011 - 04:07 AM

Your definition actually bugs me.
"Good" and "bad" are values that add another layer to the discussion. I'd appreciate "max. fun" or "max. competition" instead, as they do not evaluate the Keepers actions instantly. One CAN play to win, killing off investigators left and right without being annoying or "bad". I know you mean the evil kind of bad, but I don't think "nice" and "evil" have a lot to do with it. "Nice" Keepers can still kick you in the groin and spawn a Maniac on you if you're down, as long as it fits the theme.

I, myself, try to make it the most fun for everyone, including myself. And since it's Cthulhu, "fun" basically includes a) risk of death, b) permanent danger and c) horrible, horrible things everywhere.
Usually I'll try to keep the game going until the finale. You know, the last Event card imminent and stuff. If "Kill two investigators" is the objective and I COULD kill them off within 5 turns, I DON'T. Because I don't want to gather people around a table only to seriously annoy them for 20 minutes. Got better things to do, really.

MoM is no RPG, of course. But it's not a purely competitive game as well. If you want competition, might I suggest, I don't know, Chaos in the Old World. Everyone's equal, everyone wants to win, NOT screwing someone over doesn't improve the experience.

MoM is a game centered on narrative. You tell a story. Like every story, even MoM games can include suspense, if done right. Maybe the story allows you to permanently attack the investigators. But if it is not 100% necessary, why would you? Hobo moves, gets attacked by Zombie, evades, gets attacked again, evades,... BORING!
Try to throw different encounters at them.
Maybe do nothing except picking up cards for 2, 3 turns!
"Presence" is a great card to create suspense. The players realize your increasing your Threat only to unleash some horrible monster, see the Trauma cards increase in your hand... add in an evil laughter now and then, a "just as planned" when they decide to enter the Basement and there you go, your players might be more afraid than if you'd spawn a Zombie each turn.

Just think about how you'd want the Story presented as a movie. A classical Horror movie, not the new kind of "People enter house, get knocked out, wake up and the next 60 minutes are filled with their bodies being chopped to pieces". People don't enter the ghost house and get attacked instantly. You don't see Zombies in the first couple of minutes in Resident Evil movies (unless it's a flash back).
Let them explore the entrance hall, the next room, maybe add some Mythos card to play. Spawn a single small monster, maybe the turn before the 1st Event is resolved. Build up pressure, maybe slow down after turn 10 to increase pressure again during the finale. Don't crust their hope immediately. It's more fun to crush it if they really think they're gonna win, after all

In my opinion, the "Keeper can win" part is there for two reasons:

  • One even my players enjoy: The Keeper does not necessarily win if the investigators lose. This has some impact on how the Keeper plays the game. He cannot just slow investigators down, keeping THEM from winning. He needs to manage resources as well. Moving monsters somewhere through the Mansion just to trigger an event might not sound hard, but when you need to slow the players down AND do something on your own, you're in a position of conflicting goals. Those are awesome! Dilemma! Greatest way to enforce players (in this case the Keeper) to think about the game, try new stuff, etc. If the Keeper'd win just by stopping the investigators, some stories would come down to "move every monster to room X, wait for the investigators to find the Clue that sends them there, party party". Sure, a couple of Stories STILL end up that way, but there is muuuch more stuff  to do in most others.
  • Offering the Keeper a way to win stops the... let's call em "really nice" Keepers from doing nothing. If the game would read "Keepers should try to make the game fun for their players", some bad (as in: less skilled) Keepers might interpret that as "create a super happy fun Mansion where everyone gets a Shotgun in turn 1 to dance with". Bit sarcastic there, but that's basically what I gathered in several other threads when "Keepers should stomp the players ASAP" guys talk about us Storytellers. If the newbie-Keeper sees a card that tells him to do X, he might try to do X instead of creating super happy fun Mansions. Way to go.

edit
HAH, just found the graph I was looking for. It's based on a talk from John Romero (the Game Designer).

A graph showing difficulty compared to level progression. The further the players get into the level, the higher the difficulty rises. However, it doesn't permanently increase, there are moments of decreasing tension as well.

Of course this graph relates to a whole video game, so you won't manage to get so many breaks in a single game of MoM. But permanently increasing pressure -> tiresome. Allow them to ease up a bit in between fights. You'll need the threat anyway ;)


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#8 SolennelBern

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Posted 27 May 2011 - 04:40 AM

Elbi said:

Your definition actually bugs me.
"Good" and "bad" are values that add another layer to the discussion. I'd appreciate "max. fun" or "max. competition" instead, as they do not evaluate the Keepers actions instantly. One CAN play to win, killing off investigators left and right without being annoying or "bad". I know you mean the evil kind of bad, but I don't think "nice" and "evil" have a lot to do with it. "Nice" Keepers can still kick you in the groin and spawn a Maniac on you if you're down, as long as it fits the theme.

I, myself, try to make it the most fun for everyone, including myself. And since it's Cthulhu, "fun" basically includes a) risk of death, b) permanent danger and c) horrible, horrible things everywhere.
Usually I'll try to keep the game going until the finale. You know, the last Event card imminent and stuff. If "Kill two investigators" is the objective and I COULD kill them off within 5 turns, I DON'T. Because I don't want to gather people around a table only to seriously annoy them for 20 minutes. Got better things to do, really.

MoM is no RPG, of course. But it's not a purely competitive game as well. If you want competition, might I suggest, I don't know, Chaos in the Old World. Everyone's equal, everyone wants to win, NOT screwing someone over doesn't improve the experience.

MoM is a game centered on narrative. You tell a story. Like every story, even MoM games can include suspense, if done right. Maybe the story allows you to permanently attack the investigators. But if it is not 100% necessary, why would you? Hobo moves, gets attacked by Zombie, evades, gets attacked again, evades,... BORING!
Try to throw different encounters at them.
Maybe do nothing except picking up cards for 2, 3 turns!
"Presence" is a great card to create suspense. The players realize your increasing your Threat only to unleash some horrible monster, see the Trauma cards increase in your hand... add in an evil laughter now and then, a "just as planned" when they decide to enter the Basement and there you go, your players might be more afraid than if you'd spawn a Zombie each turn.

Just think about how you'd want the Story presented as a movie. A classical Horror movie, not the new kind of "People enter house, get knocked out, wake up and the next 60 minutes are filled with their bodies being chopped to pieces". People don't enter the ghost house and get attacked instantly. You don't see Zombies in the first couple of minutes in Resident Evil movies (unless it's a flash back).
Let them explore the entrance hall, the next room, maybe add some Mythos card to play. Spawn a single small monster, maybe the turn before the 1st Event is resolved. Build up pressure, maybe slow down after turn 10 to increase pressure again during the finale. Don't crust their hope immediately. It's more fun to crush it if they really think they're gonna win, after all

In my opinion, the "Keeper can win" part is there for two reasons:

  • One even my players enjoy: The Keeper does not necessarily win if the investigators lose. This has some impact on how the Keeper plays the game. He cannot just slow investigators down, keeping THEM from winning. He needs to manage resources as well. Moving monsters somewhere through the Mansion just to trigger an event might not sound hard, but when you need to slow the players down AND do something on your own, you're in a position of conflicting goals. Those are awesome! Dilemma! Greatest way to enforce players (in this case the Keeper) to think about the game, try new stuff, etc. If the Keeper'd win just by stopping the investigators, some stories would come down to "move every monster to room X, wait for the investigators to find the Clue that sends them there, party party". Sure, a couple of Stories STILL end up that way, but there is muuuch more stuff  to do in most others.
  • Offering the Keeper a way to win stops the... let's call em "really nice" Keepers from doing nothing. If the game would read "Keepers should try to make the game fun for their players", some bad (as in: less skilled) Keepers might interpret that as "create a super happy fun Mansion where everyone gets a Shotgun in turn 1 to dance with". Bit sarcastic there, but that's basically what I gathered in several other threads when "Keepers should stomp the players ASAP" guys talk about us Storytellers. If the newbie-Keeper sees a card that tells him to do X, he might try to do X instead of creating super happy fun Mansions. Way to go.

edit
HAH, just found the graph I was looking for. It's based on a talk from John Romero (the Game Designer).

A graph showing difficulty compared to level progression. The further the players get into the level, the higher the difficulty rises. However, it doesn't permanently increase, there are moments of decreasing tension as well.

Of course this graph relates to a whole video game, so you won't manage to get so many breaks in a single game of MoM. But permanently increasing pressure -> tiresome. Allow them to ease up a bit in between fights. You'll need the threat anyway ;)

I really like your post Elbi.  Thank you very much!

I think I didn't choose the good wording to explain the situation...english is a second language to me :)

If I keep the same example I took in my OP, the Story #2.  I choose to gather X number of Cultists in Y room to summon Z demon (I thought that story path was awesome btw).  At the beginning of the game I tried to set the mood and told the investigators with my semi-legendary evil grin: "Watch your every steps in there, I can feel evil at every turns and foresee an unpleasant future for all of you". 

I said that in a RP style and everyone got all "moody" except one player, the one I mention in my OP.  We immediately started arguying when he said to me: "You know, the Keeper is not there to win, don't throw every cards at us at once and place monsters everywhere.  You're there to tell the story and blablablahhh...".  See my point? We didn't even started the game that he already was on me and our first argument started...15 damnably unfun minutes while the other 2 were just listening and told the guy to just let it go and simply obey the Keeper's will!

You see the problem?  This happened 3 times during this game...3 times where the mood disappeared and never came back.



#9 Elbi

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Posted 27 May 2011 - 05:33 AM

Don't worry, German's my native language and thesaurus.com one of my best friends ;)

Sounds like a really bad player. I guess that's the same player you mentioned in that other thread, with the burning Foyer?

If you can replace him, you might want to think about it. Maybe just once, so he realizes that he annoys everyone? You don't need to stop being friends, but... you know, sounds like he doesn't have fun. You don't want to invite people to a game, just to annoy them for two hours, right? Better not invite him, so he doesn't need to fight with you over something he doesn't like anyway... (If I wants to continue playing, maybe this forces him to think about how he appears to others. Don't tell him that he's not invited because he annoys everyone, tell him that you don't want to cause him the trouble )

Can you talk to him, or is it just more crying? Try to explain that you have an objective as well. This ain't an RPG where a total player kill is regarded as "Storyteller Fail", but a board game where the Keeper's goal might be to do exactly this - kill everyone.

If you can't or don't want to replace him and he continues to talk unreasonably, maybe go all HULK on him. You know, the old You think I'm evil? Let me SHOW YOU EVIL, MUAHAHAHA routine. Followed by Now that you know how easily I can annoy the **** out of you, would you pleeeaaaase stop crying whenever I do something to reach my objective?

Perhaps he just needs a benchmark. Right now, he rates your behavior on a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is "omg, a monster attacked me!".
Replace that with 1 to 10, where 10 is "omg, please let my character die, because right now I'd rather stop playing instead of being humiliated every turn."

 

I'm thinking though - what would happen if you'd completely ignore him?
Monsters don't attack him, instead moving past to attack other investigators.
He never receives Mythos cards.
The story resolves completely around the other players.
While he still interacts with the game, opening doors, attacking monsters, etc. the game doesn't interact with him.
You know, like you'd handle one of these children who cry because they want attention. Show them that all their screaming doesn't help a bit, instead it's counterproductive?


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#10 SolennelBern

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Posted 27 May 2011 - 06:38 AM

Elbi said:

 

Don't worry, German's my native language and thesaurus.com one of my best friends ;)

Sounds like a really bad player. I guess that's the same player you mentioned in that other thread, with the burning Foyer?

If you can replace him, you might want to think about it. Maybe just once, so he realizes that he annoys everyone? You don't need to stop being friends, but... you know, sounds like he doesn't have fun. You don't want to invite people to a game, just to annoy them for two hours, right? Better not invite him, so he doesn't need to fight with you over something he doesn't like anyway... (If I wants to continue playing, maybe this forces him to think about how he appears to others. Don't tell him that he's not invited because he annoys everyone, tell him that you don't want to cause him the trouble )

Can you talk to him, or is it just more crying? Try to explain that you have an objective as well. This ain't an RPG where a total player kill is regarded as "Storyteller Fail", but a board game where the Keeper's goal might be to do exactly this - kill everyone.

If you can't or don't want to replace him and he continues to talk unreasonably, maybe go all HULK on him. You know, the old You think I'm evil? Let me SHOW YOU EVIL, MUAHAHAHA routine. Followed by Now that you know how easily I can annoy the **** out of you, would you pleeeaaaase stop crying whenever I do something to reach my objective?

Perhaps he just needs a benchmark. Right now, he rates your behavior on a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is "omg, a monster attacked me!".
Replace that with 1 to 10, where 10 is "omg, please let my character die, because right now I'd rather stop playing instead of being humiliated every turn."

 

I'm thinking though - what would happen if you'd completely ignore him?
Monsters don't attack him, instead moving past to attack other investigators.
He never receives Mythos cards.
The story resolves completely around the other players.
While he still interacts with the game, opening doors, attacking monsters, etc. the game doesn't interact with him.
You know, like you'd handle one of these children who cry because they want attention. Show them that all their screaming doesn't help a bit, instead it's counterproductive?

 

 

Again, very nice post!

I already thought about many options to resolve this matter.  In fact, i'm far from thinking about removing him from play for a game, he's one of my best friend (and the owner of the game pwahahahah) and he like to tease people to death (me too as a matter of fact), so it's part of our behaviors and I lived with that, and mostly enjoyed it, for the past 13 years hahah.

Next time i'm Keeper, i'm certainly gonna use all I have to make the game tense, scary and enjoyable to all players.  In fact, I have my wrongs in it too since it was my first game as a Keeper and the overall experience was very boring and annoying because of our behaviors.  One of the other 2 players even said to him that you have to respect the Keeper so you don't burn in hell for all eternity...that calmed him a bit for a couple of turns before we started arguying again pwahahaha.

In fact, I really don't mind respectful and constructive arguying while gaming and imo it's part of the fun, but that one shot was not fun.  It was more of a "my way of the highway" conversation, from both sides.

Nest time, i'll make sure to use all I have (monster spawning, trauma cards, mythos cards, etc) to set a dark and grim atmosphere so they'll all wet their pants for 2 hours.  I love being the Keeper and i'm glad to see that I was mostly right about my goal: Win the game in the most horrifying, insane, scary, and bloody way while keeping the overall experience highly enjoyable for us and the fun factor to it's highest!



#11 amikezor

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Posted 27 May 2011 - 07:39 AM

I think Elbi got it right.

There is no reason why the keeper should prevent him to win. He is not a keep in an RPG but half a player (ie. he can loose). The game is interesting for its ambiance. Winning, loosing is just not so important. Well, it may be even true for all games (I try to win if I can but won't bother loosing at all, as long as I got some fun out of it :)


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Mansions of Madness, Esoteric Order of Dagon

Play Arkham Horror with a Keeper

Variants for Arkham Horror

 


#12 Elbi

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Posted 27 May 2011 - 12:13 PM

@ SolennelBern:

Alright, kicking a) the best friend and b) THE OWNER OF THE GAME might be hard, yeah... Well, as long as YOU can continue playing with him! Just sounded like it was permanent critic from somebody that annoys you more than anything else. If you annoy each other all the time, that seems fine


@ amikezor:

Yeah, exactly that. Basically it's not about winning. For BOTH sides.
Of course you don't need to start the game with "Yaaay, today I'm gonna lose sooo hard!" on your mind. I doubt that'd be a healthy mindset!


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#13 tiborvadovan

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Posted 28 May 2011 - 01:14 PM

Insightful posts by everyone.

I particularly like the way you sum it up, i think it's quite accurate:

SolennelBern said:

Win the game in the most horrifying, insane, scary, and bloody way while keeping the overall experience highly enjoyable for us and the fun factor to it's highest!

You're going to be a great keeper :)

 


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#14 WayneMiller

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Posted 29 May 2011 - 05:13 AM

I see two elements. One is a kind of sportsmanship, the other is about handicaps. In any game, unless you're playing in a tournament, I'm pretty lax about people taking back a move or rerolling a cocked die. It's just a game.

But as far as intentionally letting the investigators win or holding back certain cards, I'm not for that. If the keeper has a much greater experience level than the investigators, give the keeper a handicap so that the keeper can still play competitively. One less threat per turn or whatever you decide, but I think its more fun for everyone -- even the investigators -- if all feel like the keeper is unrestrained.


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#15 Elbi

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 01:54 PM

WayneMiller said:

[...] if all feel like the keeper is unrestrained.

 

That's where the magic happens ;)

Of course you can't tell them "Sup guys, I'm gonna let you win today" or even "I'll be nice today and don't go all-in on you" - in the best case, they never know whether you played nice or not. Otherwise their victory might actually feel bad. I mean, if I *know* I'll win, winning isn't as satisfying as it would be otherwise.

Therefore you try to punish them if it fits, but thanks to Keeper Actions + Trauma + Mythos we keepers can always decide how evil we play. Sure, you can attack someone. Or you can attack someone, play a Trauma on the character and as soon as the player decides to attack the monster, the weapon jams, lights go out and he can't leave the room any more.

Always pretend to be Evil Incarnate, but try to be fair secretly. Fair. Not amiable

 

edit:

That said, botched rolls, misscalculations on keeper's and investigators' part and unforeseen events will always ensure that whatever plan you had, WILL go wrong. So, if you try to play fair at all times, there will be games where investigators have no chance of winning and others where they cut through the Mansion like a knife through butter. That's okay. Makes 'em feel heroic and awesome, compared to "omg, we fail sooo hard right now" :)


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#16 Kaelix

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 04:40 AM

 Great thread guys. Good read!


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#17 niarBaD

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 04:12 PM

I tend to play Keeper the same way I play Overlord in Descent. I make sure my victi... I mean players always have a shot at victory. I taunt and I tease them with it, quite often legitimately giving them good advice as to how they might achieve their goals and win (well when they know what they're goals are. Sometimes I'll just give good advice as to how to do whatever it is they want to do).

The role of Keeper is that of balance, you don't want to just destroy the investigators because then they won't have any fun (And in all honesty it isn't that fun). In the same sense, I don't see the Keeper as full on story telling either because in that regards it's going to be much harder for them to win.

This is first and foremost a board game, it is not player vs board, it is player vs players. Which means there will be losers and there will the winners, I find it wrong if a Keeper completely disregards his own objectives to just give a challenge and not attempt to win themselves. That's not them playing a game, that's them playing an RPG not this board game.

I personally enjoy dangling the victory in front of my players. They will always have a chance of victory, however I'm an odds man, I do my best to make sure the advantage is always in my favor and that they might have a shot but at the last second I can crush them.


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#18 KevinBakon

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 06:16 PM

 When I play as the Keeper, I favor playing my monster spawn abilities over mythos/injury/insanity cards.  The physical monsters present a visible threat to the player that they can try to avoid, while it is difficult to prepare for the mythos cards.  Simply walking into a room could make a painting hit you in the head, which results in a broken leg.  ...Now the character moves slower and misses out on getting to the fun stuff.

When I do play mythos cards, I try to spread the pain around as much as I can instead of piling on one person.  It's not fun for an investigator to hobble around, crippled and crazy, behind all the other players.  I played one game with lots of players (and therefore lots of threat), and I spent all my cards bullying one person.  I felt like a jerk at the end of the night.  Now, I try to be more sporting.

Classroom Curses is my least favorite scenario because of the heavier reliance on the mythos and injury stuff.  At least, that's how it seemed to when we played that one.



#19 KevinBakon

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 06:16 PM

 When I play as the Keeper, I favor playing my monster spawn abilities over mythos/injury/insanity cards.  The physical monsters present a visible threat to the player that they can try to avoid, while it is difficult to prepare for the mythos cards.  Simply walking into a room could make a painting hit you in the head, which results in a broken leg.  ...Now the character moves slower and misses out on getting to the fun stuff.

When I do play mythos cards, I try to spread the pain around as much as I can instead of piling on one person.  It's not fun for an investigator to hobble around, crippled and crazy, behind all the other players.  I played one game with lots of players (and therefore lots of threat), and I spent all my cards bullying one person.  I felt like a jerk at the end of the night.  Now, I try to be more sporting.

Classroom Curses is my least favorite scenario because of the heavier emphasis on the mythos and injury stuff.  At least, that's how it seemed when we played that one.


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#20 limiter3118

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 04:44 AM

Good thread, everyone.  This question reminds me to a degree about something I found out on boardgamegeek when I was looking up an article on Mancala.  Even though in Mancala, you can take your time and figure out the best move, it's not meant to be played that way.  It's meant to be played with quick descisions to keep the game flowing and players who play that way are accorded a greater respect.

In some ways,Mansions of Madness is like this.  What is the most lethal option for the Keeper to do to the Players is not always the most fun for the group.  When I play Keeper, I try to keep a balance between trying to win, without winning unfairly.  What I mean is this:

If you have a surprise, "I win automatically" card up your sleeve, I don't believe it should be played, as it seems usporting to me.  I'll give you an example.  Last game we were playing Scenario #2, The Inner Sanctum.  One of the win conditions was that all remaining players had to escape.  I had knocked a player's sanity below 0.  I then drew from the trauma cards, "There is ONE way out . . ."  If I used that card, there is no point in playing out the rest of the scenario.  I can win any time I want to, just by playing this card.  It hardly seems fair.  Instead I chose to win by trying to prevent the investigators from leaving until the game clock ran out.  (BTW, I ended up actually losing this one - I miscalculated, and the last investigator was able to get out because I forgot to make a play . . .)

At any rate, a good time was had by all, as opposed to what I believe would have been a frustrating ending coming from an Unseen "I win" card.

I should also mention that I would say this way of playing is applicable for probably about 90% of all groups, UNLESS they contain hardcore gamers who can accept that bad ends can happen unfairly in a microsecond - In that case, go for the quick kill.

Anyway, that's my two cents.


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