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Speculations and postulations (11/25 11:15pm)


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#1 Big Head Zach

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 04:02 PM

Just thought I'd provide what info I was able to glean from the video by stepping through it frame by frame. Yep. I'm a big dork.
As a disclaimer, all that follows is speculation and info gleaned from a subjective view of the provided promo video. Nothing is confirmed until FFG officially announces it elsewhere on the site. Feel free to comment and dispute any details I or others provide.

Investigators - the player characters, all working in some fashion for the New Angeles Police Department. It seems that while solving crimes is a goal for them all, they also have side goals depending on which organization they have allegiances to. They may also have multiple sides or "alignments" to their gameplay, as images show the same individual (Louis Blaine) in both a respectable and downtrodden portrait.

  • Louis Blaine - an aged, world-weary and corrupt police officer
  • Rachel Beckmann - a bounty hunter (human)
  • Caprice Nisei - a Jinteki clone with psychic ability
  • Raymond Flint - another detective
  • Floyd - a Haas-Bioroid android

Locations - places mentioned in the video. Spaces on the board indicate various spots in New Angeles as well as the space elevator and the Heinlein Moon Colony. Locations have a color and a symbols denoting relationships to other places / people / groups, as well as a pair of alphanumeric coordinates that correspond to axes listed along the edges of the gameboard, for easy reference. With a few exceptions, the locations aren't connected by lines. In this future Earth, our investigators must travel by airmobile (think The Fifth Element for an idea of rush hour in this city). Each investigator's vehicle has a distinct range (indicated by a cardboard arc) that they can travel in one unit of Time (Android's "Action Point" mechanism).

  • Beanstalk - This is the colloquial name for the space elevator that connects New Angeles to Heinlein Colony. From the way it's described it also acts as something of a commercial plaza, providing various shops, stores, and public hangouts all up and down its length. This gives it a means of paying for itself and its own maintenance, in effect, which would explain its vast importance to New Angeles.
  • The Midway (obviously the halfway point on the elevator)
  • The Castle Club
  • Broadcast Square
  • Eastside Tenements
  • Church of St. Theresa
  • San Bernadino Ruins (aww, did Arizona Bay come true partially?)
  • Tony's Flophouse
  • The Speakeasy
  • Strugatsky Apartments
  • Blue Sun Stadium (I want it to say that because I like Firefly, but it's not clear enough to read)
  • The Albertine Order
  • Adams Garden
  • Weyland Real Estate (referencing the Alien universe)
  • Roxie HT's Cabaret (a Chicago reference? Far out.)
  • West Skyway Terminal
  • Omnicorp
  • The Old War Memorial
  • Gila Highlands
  • <blurred>'s Microbrewery
  • <blurred>'s Electronics

Time - Android's turn sequence uses an Action Point Allowance mechanic, measured as units of Time. Iconically, it's shown on board elements as a gray clock with a number in the center. Time can be used in several ways, shown thus far:

  • To travel from location to location (distance dependent on the quality of vehicle the Investigator possesses). Locations connected by lines can only be reached by moving through a "time space" effectively showing the time needed to travel between the two locations. For example, one can only reach the Beanstalk's Castle Club from below by way of The Midway space, and requires 1 Time to move between them.
  • Check up on a Lead in the location the Investigator is in
  • Perform a location-specific action. For example, in the City Hall, Investigators can acquire a Political Favor (yellow star) by using up 2 of their allotted Time units. In the Castle Club, spending 1 Time and a "Worker?" Favor (red wrench) allows one to [flip the usefulness of special evidence?]

Leads - These are markers the investigators are tasked with pursuing and checking up on. At the start of the game they are arbitrarily placed on the board. Once an investigator lands in the same space on the board as a lead, they can spend 1 Time (AP) to check out the lead, which allows them to place a randomly drawn piece of Evidence (see below), look at it, and then place it face-down in the appropriate space on the suspect of their choosing. (The player to the right then moves the Lead to another space of the same color, forcing others to chase after it.) Since evidence tokens range from -5 to 5 in value, this effectively allows an investigator to build a particular suspect's case, or destroy another's (i.e. the investigators secretly try to place the most evidence on the suspect that will score them the most points - the murderer is not determined until the end of the game proper). Leads come in three flavors (as well as the evidence they turn up):

  • Documentary (Black camera icon) - Security camera files, log entries, computers
  • Physical (Red fingerprint icon) - DNA traces, fingerprints, footprints
  • Testimonial (Silhouette icon) - eyewitness accounts

Evidence - Players acquire evidence through the checking of Leads (and quite possibly in other ways, too). Evidence is drawn from a general supply of facedown tokens ranging in value from -5 to +5, and placed on a Suspect by Investigators, its value hidden except to the player who placed it. The sum total of all evidence tokens on a Suspect equals their Guilt - a value that determines who is the actual guilty party at the end of the game. Additional tokens can modify Guilt outside of Evidence tokens, such as having an Alibi, a Surprise Witness, or being caught Perjuring oneself.

Suspects - non-player characters who have motive, means, and/or opportunity to commit the crimes. Each Suspect is resistant to one type of evidence as well as vulnerable to another. Combined, these weaknesses and strengths help to "normalize" the suspects' final Guilt totals in a way that no one can clearly predict.

  • Thomas Haas - member of the Haas-Bioroid family. Possibly a young heir to the fortune? Seems like a playboy, if a tad androgynous. Has plenty of friends in high places, but tends to leave bits and pieces of himself about. (Resistant to Testimonial, Vulnerable to Physical)
  • Noise - aka Ji Reilly, a green-haired punk suspected on numerous occasions of electronic intrusion (though never charged). Great at covering his electronic tracks, but apparently has few friends (Resistant to Documentary, Vulnerable to Testimonial)
  • Mark Henry - a nervous-looking bald guy with a mark on his neck. A Jinteki clone judging from the tattooed ID on his neck. A very clean fellow who never leaves a mess behind, but who also, like Noise, creeps people out (Resistant to Physical, Vulnerable to Testimonial)
  • Eve 5VA3TC - resembles a supermodel, actress, or executive callgirl. Name would suggest she's a Haas android. Would not be surprised if she bore similarities to the character Pris in Blade Runner. Makes sure not to leave trash behind for stalkers to find, but can't help being in front of the cameras. (Resistant to Physical, Vulnerable to Documentary)
  • Sgt. Dejah Thosis (sp?) - looks slightly 'borged-up herself. Not too happy, either. Knows how to keep a low profile except for being a bit sloppy in keeping her affairs secure.(Resistant to Documentary, Vulnerable to Physical)
  • Vinnie "The Strangler" Malone - A gargantuan thuggish fellow, arrested on numerous accounts of murder. However, he seems to keep running into a lack of witnesses willing to close the lid on him; they either refuse to testify, or disappear strangely...yet it's hard not to notice a 6'8" behemoth on the security cameras. (Resistant to Testimonial, Vulnerable to Documentary)

Hunches - Every player is dealt a Guilty Hunch and and Innocent Hunch at the beginning of the game, each naming a particular suspect. Assuming all hunches are valued the same, the player is rewarded 15 VP if their Guilty Hunch suspect is convicted, and 5 VP if their Innocent Hunch is not convicted. If the player receives the same Suspect for both hunches, then they are "obsessed" with the individual, and will score the whole 20 points if that suspect is convicted. As you'll see below, the value of Guilty and Innocent Hunches can change based on the establishment of links to a conspiratorial group.

Cases - Either as a series of crises or an overarching scenario setter (like the GOO in Arkham Horror), these are the crimes you're asked to solve. Suspects are placed on specific starting locations when this case "opens".

  • Murder on the Midway - Miles Swanson, a lawyer for the Liberty Society, is shot on the Beanstalk Midway. Human First is suspected due to Miles' affiliations with the pro-AL group.

Organizations / Other NPCs

  • NAPD - The New Angeles Police Department. Players all work for (or are contracted by) them in some fashion. Some are concerned whether law enforcement is a suitable place for clones/androids, and whether they may eventually replace humans entirely in that capacity (which could be seen as a forfeiture of basic human rights, if one were paranoid enough). I'm guessing it is lead by a "Commissioner Dawn", who shows up later in the video as a possible Conspirator.
  • Jinteki Corporation - a bio-tech outfit. Their contribution to artificial lifeforms is developing clone technology (either cloning existing beings or genetically engineering them from the ground up). Headquartered in New Angeles.
  • Haas-Bioroid - an ever-so-slight tip of the hat to Kevin Wilson's alma mater. Haas are pioneers in robotics and sell mechanical androids/cyborgs as cheap labor. Headquartered in Heinlein Colony.
  • Human First - a human supremacist group that believes artifical lifeforms are slowly replacing humans as a workforce and a culture, and therefore resort to demonstrations, terror tactics, and possibly assassination to keep the "android threat" at bay.
  • Liberty Society - a pro-artificial-lifeform political action group. No doubt at odds with Human First.
  • The Order of Sol  -
  • Mayor Wells - The mayor of New Angeles. In the trailer it is shown that he was working with the Jinteki Corporation for some unsightly reason...at least, for this one game session.
  • <unreadable>nal Reese - he appears to be the only Link Table destination that provides less VP for some resource (also unreadable).

Symbols - warning - lots of speculation here.

  • Janus? Mask - it is seen in several places both in the video and the rulebook snippets provided. It may represent an ability to flip the "sign" of a piece of evidence so that it works for a suspect instead of against, and vice versa. (?) The mask symbols in general appear in the rulebook as special pieces of evidence worth 5 Guilt (red), or -5 Guilt (purple).

Favors

From Kevin's posts we've established these are influences or "favors" of various types, and "currency" that can be spent to carry out actions (similar to the Skill Cards in BSG, but only in that they're color coded).

  • Red Wrench - Worker?
  • Blue Martini - Street
  • Yellow Star - Political
  • Green Factory - Corporate

Conspiracy Link Area - This is where the players gradually piece together "the big picture" and determine what or who is behind the grand scheme of crime and corruption. We see the upper-right quadrant of the game board being taken up by a series of identically-shaped jigsaw puzzle pieces, forming a tesselation. The pieces can rotate 90,180,270 degrees and still fit together. The sides we see contain blue pathways ("links"), some of which have symbols on them (a combination of the three types of Evidence/Lead icons, an orange/blue skull face, a quadcolor jigsaw piece, and a clocktower). The last piece placed before the camera pulls away shows Jinteki Corporation's HQ, completing the pathway from the eye in the center of the board to the "Mayor Wells" connector - this would suggest for story purposes that Jinteki was in cahoots with the Mayor of N.A. Despite the artwork on the Flash video, the tiles do not depict suspects on the back. On the outer edges of the board are various groups (some mentioned above), each indicating some kind of Victory Point bonus for each "link" of a certain type that is connected to them (which I suspect are the icons on each jigsaw piece). The rewards are for possessing certain assets at game's end:

  • Guilty Hunches (red suspect cards dealt to players at the beginning)
  • Innocent Hunches (blue suspect cards dealt to players at the beginning)
  • Street Favors (blue martinis)
  • Political Favors (yellow stars)
  • Happy Endings

 What this suggests is that players have a means to adjust the way in which collectable assets of the game are scored, by either connecting certain groups or preventing the linking of others.

Last thing to blow your mind - right after the pull-out shot of the entire gameboard, there is a single frame containing the silhouette of a bonsai tree (the Jinteki logo).

 



#2 Big Head Zach

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 04:05 PM

The jigsaw tiles also may have cross sections of suspects on the sides opposite the blue links, judging from the still on the game's main page.



#3 Jason Strange

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 10:35 PM

 Great deductions... and abductions too. 



#4 geki

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 11:01 PM

 I'm pretty impressed. Did you take this info out of the trailer? Wonderful!



#5 Old Dwarf

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Posted 22 November 2008 - 01:56 AM

Man that is impressive!How much is really correct remains to be seen

but it does hang together.

 

OD


A Dwarf in Winter


#6 gschmidl

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Posted 22 November 2008 - 03:48 AM

 Fantastic conjecture. Will you calculate a final prediction correctness score based on the emergence of the rulebook?



#7 jabrams007

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Posted 22 November 2008 - 04:15 AM

Great job analyzing the teaser video!  This game looks really cool so far and I can't wait to learn more about it.



#8 Ruvion

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Posted 22 November 2008 - 04:52 AM

Wow...just wow. You got that much outta the trailer? I tried to pause in between shots, but didn't glean much off it.



#9 Big Head Zach

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Posted 22 November 2008 - 05:59 AM

gschmidl said:

 Fantastic conjecture. Will you calculate a final prediction correctness score based on the emergence of the rulebook?

*smirks* Sure. I just seem wrapped up in the mystery of this game just like everyone else, what with the viral campaign that went on. That one security camera shot with the colored windows also reminds me of the way the board is laid out. I'm not about to go back and draw conclusions from that.

What it seems like so far is that players have some means to influence who actually commits a murder, whether they knowingly possess it or not. If the drawing of the link tiles is random, their placement surely wouldn't be. Part of me thinks that once a certain condition is reached, the tiles are flipped over and somehow form the picture of the actual guilty party - but the problem with that theory is that over time and repeated plays, you would come to know what pictures are on the underside of each tile (since their blue-lined sides have other symbols on them), and would know what's been played.

Too early to tell. Need more teasers, Kevin! :)

 



#10 jadrax

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Posted 22 November 2008 - 06:06 AM

Wow, Impressive work.

Even more so if it turns out to be correct.



#11 ColtsFan76

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Posted 22 November 2008 - 06:50 AM

Big Head Zach said:

  • <garbled>mo d Flint - another detective? (I suspect his name will either be Thurmond, Raymond, or Desmond)

Definitely "Raymond" - I must have gotten a different still because it was as clear as day on my screenshot.



#12 KevinW

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Posted 22 November 2008 - 10:57 AM

That was such a nice bit of detective work, that I'll give you a few corrections for free.

The second detective in your list is Rachel Beckmann. She's a bounty hunter.

The fourth detective is definitely Raymond Flint, partially named after a notable author of detective stories.

You may wish to also apply your skills to the flash banner on the Android home page. Not a lot of new info there, but a couple bits and pieces for a sharp detective.



#13 Big Head Zach

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Posted 23 November 2008 - 05:10 AM

And no sooner had Kevin posted his reply that I went off for dinner, had game night at a friend's, drove home, watched TV, gone to bed, woke up, showered... and then screen captured the shot of the gameboard and pieces from the flash video...

The first thing that struck me was the arch with the car symbol on it. Perhaps this is used to determine how far one can travel in a turn (by way of one's own flying conveyance, or an aircab?)

On the left are a couple of the jigsaw pieces, showing images of the suspects (including one we've not seen in the video). If they were full-body images, they'd take up 3 pieces, it seems. My current theory is that in the forming of the links on the upper right section of the gameboard, these figures also are created on the reverse-side....OR...something about the way in which suspects are questioned/accused determines which pieces are selected.

On the board, there's 6 decks of cards. One of them (third from the left) clearly shows Raymond Flint. Not sure about the others. I had a thought there is a deck for each investigator, but not sure the images match up.

In the lower left, some cross-shaped pieces, one with the "skull-face" symbol I saw on one of the jigsaws. It looked vaguely similar to the "Janus Mask" symbol on the Castle Club location. The other two cross-shaped pieces have individuals I don't recognize.

Next, a series of 4 symbols: a blue martini glass, a green factory smokestack, a yellow star, and a red wrench (the same one I saw earlier). Obviously collectable assets, denoting some sort of influence that can be acquired.

A tiny square piece with someone's image on it. Too hard to make out.

Two larger pieces showing the respectable Louis Blaine, and Raymond Flint. Their shape (similar to ones in BSG) suggests they are investigator playing pieces, marking where you currently are.

Above that, a figure that vaguely resembles Rachel Beckmann, but not too sure. What is noticeable is that to her right, on the piece, are the green factory, yellow star, and red wrench symbols. There might be enough room behind the Vinne Malone piece to hide a blue martini symbol...no idea what purpose this serves.

Finally, a trio of rounded rectangular pieces with both positive and negative numbers. No clue what those do. Any ideas?

 

 



#14 KevinW

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Posted 23 November 2008 - 06:19 AM

Big Head Zach said:

On the left are a couple of the jigsaw pieces, showing images of the suspects (including one we've not seen in the video). If they were full-body images, they'd take up 3 pieces, it seems. My current theory is that in the forming of the links on the upper right section of the gameboard, these figures also are created on the reverse-side....OR...something about the way in which suspects are questioned/accused determines which pieces are selected.

These are not the actual backs of the jigsaw pieces. Andrew took some (thematically appropriate) artistic liberties for the box back. The real backs are less photogenic and more mechanically useful.

As for the red, yellow, blue, and green pieces, you're close. If you think about what sort of currency a cop/detective deals in most frequently, you might get this one.

Other than that, some interesting (and sometimes correct) conjectures. At the very least, an enjoyable thread. I'll be leaking more information on the game leading up to the rules posting and its release, so keep watching the site.



#15 Mike

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Posted 23 November 2008 - 06:29 AM

KevinW said:

As for the red, yellow, blue, and green pieces, you're close. If you think about what sort of currency a cop/detective deals in most frequently, you might get this one.

A hard one. Green is obviously money. One must be favors - I'd say blue. Red could be blood - that is personal sacrifice (like punching a suspect in an alleyway to get some information). Yellow? Not a clue.



#16 Jason Strange

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Posted 23 November 2008 - 09:36 PM

KevinW said:


Other than that, some interesting (and sometimes correct) conjectures. At the very least, an enjoyable thread. I'll be leaking more information on the game leading up to the rules posting and its release, so keep watching the site.

 

An investigation about an investigation game... Very fun!  I have no time nor the deduction abilities of Big Head Zach but I am enjoing this thread.

Go on!



#17 jpalmer1976

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 08:49 AM

In response to Kevin's reply, I'm going to guess that the different colored counters represent various forms of social influence, which can be used like a currency to purchase favors/items/access from the various in-game factions.  The blue martini glass may be a high class "social" influence, while the green smokestack may represent “industrial” influence. Yellow star, not so sure, maybe legal influence?  The red, maybe blue-collar worker influence… 

                Just one man’s thought.  Anxious to hear more about when I can order this one!


#18 Greekgeek

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 08:51 PM

Yellow Star: I think it is legal or p[olice buck up and influence.  After all the police badge IS a star in USA  isn't it?

 

We want more info!

We want more!

We want more!

We want more!

We want more!

We want more!



#19 Greekgeek

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 08:54 PM

Why can't you edit your posts?

 

Any way I think that the idea about the car on the arc is very clever. So clever in fact that I'll be dissapointed if you are wrong...



#20 Mike

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Posted 24 November 2008 - 09:06 PM

You can edit your posts. You just have to search for the little blue edit-link.

edit: It's just left next to your post number.






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