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Subject: FURNITURE HUMPING or The Luv-Luv Bot™ Gets the Chair rss

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Chris Tannhauser
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Curls of smoke from Blaine’s cig licked the glass. Outside, the dim canyons of New Angeles sucked and held the brownish light of a dying day. Heinlein glittered in the twilight above, a beacon of hope... Blaine snorted. Filth just spatters higher in low-gee, he thought.

The camera flash behind him strobed an image of the apartment over the glass -- shattered furniture, a bloody handprint, the victim, naked, with his head folded back underneath him. Then, blinking it away, the smoggy, golden sunset. Blaine dropped his cig and ground it out with the toe of his scuffed dress shoe.

It always starts with a body -- hot ones, fake ones, dead ones. Blaine had all three. Two other detectives working the case, Floyd Bunchanumbers, a robot, and Nisei, that creepy clone.

"I'm human!"

Blaine looked her up and down, lighting another cig. "You're product, cheap labor. You're no better than that clockwork errand boy over there."

Nisei’s face tightened with remembered pain. "My receipt says I'm human. I might be artificial, but he's fake." She jerked her thumb at the robot.

Blaine chuckled. "Oh, the clone calling the robot fake. That's rich. Lissen, sweetheart -- you were decanted last week. You're garbage."

"Unlike you," she intoned icily, "I'm a copy of a very nice person."

Blaine shrugged. Maybe the faux-dame had a point. Over by the body, the robot was walking around without pants again.

---

It's like humping furniture. The thought made Blaine want to spit, but the aircar’s ashtrays were all full. She’s on a lot of video, should make this easy. Eve Bunchanumbers. Suspect Number One.

He was cruising on autopilot, the image of the woman-shaped machine bent and used by what could only be drug addicts or clones projected onto the windscreen. The false starscape of New Angeles at night strobed by to either side.

It had to be a robot... that image of the head tucked under, neat as folding a sweater, that image that the booze could blur, but never quite efface. Pinning it on the machine was just the thing to set his world right again. After a long string of gut-punches and crotch-kicks this case was his ticket to getting up off the asphalt, stepping away from the gutter, maybe even getting Sara back. Finally, a win he could pretend to be proud of.

---

It took a week to get all the evidence bent in the right direction. She was on a lot of video, Eve Bunchanumbers, and that made it easy to make more. A week of beating feet, trading cash for favors, calling in old markers. Getting this close, seeing how it could all fall together, gave Blaine the courage to tell Mr. Li to piss off. He was in nobody’s pocket now, a free agent of fate, almost someone Sara could love.

And then he saw how easily it could all fall apart.

Blaine got word that someone had put out a hit on Eve Bunchanumbers, someone bribing Lunar miners to lure her out of her Toybox and blow her out an airlock. That, she could handle, being a robot and all. But once outside, where Heinlein’s security goons were careful -- slow -- they’d tool her up with pipes and spanners, a surreal ballet of bulky vacuum suits and the darting, broken figure of a porcelain-skinned Venus in cheap lingerie.

You know, to make it look like an accident.

Blaine worked his informants hard. To the breaking point. Pain in, opportunity out. The last pieces of the plot fell out of bloody mouths, couched in sobs, true lies that could burn whole lives down:

Nisei whoring herself for three days in Director Haas' low-G pleasure drome to secure a clean hit. Floyd Bunchanumbers taking a ride on the corporate shuttle to Humanity Labor to seal the deal.

Blaine met him on the 74th floor parking pad. He took a deep drag off his cig and flicked it away as the robot walked toward him. Though the jet-wash of the departing shuttle pulled at his clothes, Floyd plodded forward steadily, unfazed.

Man and robot stood in the hard lights of the landing pad, regarding each other. Blaine held back tears of rage as Floyd whirred and ticked quietly, the silent sideways smear of the traffic pattern rising and falling behind him.

Blaine cleared his throat thickly. “I'm trying to save a life here, Floyd.”

The robot seemed to consider this. “The way I see it, Mr. Blaine, you're trying to take one. An innocent one.”

“Innocent?” Blaine snorted. “C'mon -- my case sticks and that miserable coupling device gets switched off. You call that a life?”

The robot started to walk past Blaine, who caught him by the shoulder. Floyd allowed himself to be stopped.

“Floyd, you go in there, you do this thing, you'll be taking three lives, not just one half-life.”

“Three lives, Mr. Blaine?”

A mélange of dark emotions flicked across Blaine’s face. “When she dies my case goes to shit. And then I got nothin' left to hang onto...” Then, “She left me, Floyd. Walked out. For good this time.” He paused, released his grip. “It's the slide, Floyd, the long, hard slide to the bottom. I swear to God before I hit the last thing I reach for will be you. That's three lives. Maybe not by my calculations, but definitely by yours.”

Minutes passed. Without a word, the robot turned on his heels and strode to the edge of the platform and stepped off into the city at night...

Floyd was done with the chaotic world of men, but not yet ready for irretrievable shutdown. He sought instead the comforting spirals of a rose, radiating the perfect truth of the golden mean, knowable, reliable, beautiful and clean.

---

The pieces were falling into place. The stories we were telling, the questions we were asking, the threats, the broken arms, they were all adding up, giving rise to a headless golem of conspiracy. Everyone wanted to believe it. It just made sense. And no one wanted to be left on the dock when that ghost ship sailed.

Were Humans First! really behind the murder? Who cares. We spun a web of lies that caught and tangled the wings of reason, stopped them beating, and strangled the life out of truth. Truth. A dirty little word, everyone seeking it, fighting for it, wanting to know that the bullet they just hammered through that corpse's head had a good reason to be there. The right reason. As if that made a difference.

I was the first one to figure it out -- when it comes to people, there's nothing like the real thing. But when it comes to truth, you can't tell the difference between God's Own and a cheap knockoff.
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In service to the Imperium of Man
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Re: “Humping Furniture” or “The Luv-Luv Bot™ Gets the Chair”
Well, wow.
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Rod Batten
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Re: “Humping Furniture” or “The Luv-Luv Bot™ Gets the Chair”
Great story, love the pulpiness.
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Ubergeek
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Re: “Humping Furniture” or “The Luv-Luv Bot™ Gets the Chair”
Well thanks for the great effort and nice story but for that kind of ambiance I'll read a book. Overall a great intro to a session but I find it tells absolutely nothing about the game. I give it a thumb up for creativity but unfortunately it wasn't the type of session report I was hoping for.
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Chris Tannhauser
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Re: “Humping Furniture” or “The Luv-Luv Bot™ Gets the Chair”
And now for the completely dry, mechanical overview of how that all went:

I started with Eve as my guilty hunch, so I was determined to put as much dirt on her as possible.

As play progressed, we were a little too reluctant to play dark cards on one another -- it felt like crapping in each other's milkshakes -- so ultimately I was the one who blew the Sara story, all by myself, by spending too much time on the case and not enough time wining and dining her.

(This is something we've already discussed and figured out how to frame: The dark cards are not so much YOU personally taking a dump on ME as it is you acting as the universe's impartial hand-of-fate to add yet another challenge to my already crummy life. So, nothing personal in the dark cards -- just another interesting story element.)

We spent a lot of time fighting over Eve -- I was too obvious in my frame-up, and the other two (Grafzepp & Count Zr0) got busy digging up alibis for her. Then, towards the end, they did the math and realized if they didn't just plain whack her, I'd win. So they set about getting her whacked.

Two of the hit markers came from puzzle pieces (I think) and they saw they could get the third one at Humanity Labor, but only if Nisei played the card that got her a favor from Haas (the three days with the Director) that she converted into a free shuttle for Floyd from the Moon to New Angeles.

This was all happening literally on the last player's turn (Floyd's) on the last day.

I was scrambling for something, anything, to stop it -- and there it was in my hand. One of Floyd's dark cards that prevented him from using a location (the card where he checks out to go ponder roses).

Successfully framing Eve was the difference between winning and last place for me, so, at the last possible moment, I pulled it off.

It's important to note that the session report above is how the game felt for me -- it's very subjective. There was a lot more going on, and the game probably looked very different from the point of view of the other two players, who were playing out their own lives alongside mine, like a bunch of badly meshing gears. And I mean that in the good way.
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Chris Tannhauser
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Re: “Humping Furniture” or “The Luv-Luv Bot™ Gets the Chair”
Walt Mulder wrote:
Well thanks for the great effort and nice story but for that kind of ambiance I'll read a book. Overall a great intro to a session but I find it tells absolutely nothing about the game. I give it a thumb up for creativity but unfortunately it wasn't the type of session report I was hoping for.

Believe me when I say that I hear you on this. I struggled with how to put together a good recounting of the session, one that encapsulates the full sweep of multiple lives being lived, the mechanics of the game, and the tensions that arose from the interplay between the two. I'm not sure such a thing can be pulled off without becoming either an epic, pages-long report or a mere shard the actual experience.

Hats off, and my Other Thumb, to the first person who can pull this off well.

In the end I chose to tell the story of the session as it felt to me -- this is what I was left with after all the bits were packed up. Something like this is what I hope to experience again.

So... procedural RPG? Experience Euro? Story engine that has an actual game inside it? Hell if I know...
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Game Whore
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Re: “Humping Furniture” or “The Luv-Luv Bot™ Gets the Chair”
Interesting, Chris.

I was a bit on the fence about this (OK, I admit it, only a tiny bit on the fence), mainly because of its epic length: as a dad, and also surrounded by people who might balk at anything over a couple hours, I might get to play Android rarely, if ever. Not a bad thing at all, but a limiting factor.

But damn it all, I'm a Blade Runner geek through and through (the only thing to top this in game format would be the Chinatown adaptation); and if a game can communicate this much ambience and atmosphere (although granted, you're a talented writer), then I'm sold.

Thanks for the report.
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Gunther Schmidl
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Re: “Humping Furniture” or “The Luv-Luv Bot™ Gets the Chair”
"Procedural RPG" is giving me horrible, horrible flashes of CSI: New Angeles.

"Looks like the First Law..." (puts on sunglasses) "...wasn't commutative."
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Re: “Humping Furniture” or “The Luv-Luv Bot™ Gets the Chair”
Gonna need about three doses of Sunnies mixed in with Tri-Phet to get the grip of that mind-fuck out of my stimpack.
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Chris Tannhauser
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Re: “Humping Furniture” or “The Luv-Luv Bot™ Gets the Chair”
bbenston wrote:
I was a bit on the fence about this (OK, I admit it, only a tiny bit on the fence), mainly because of its epic length: as a dad, and also surrounded by people who might balk at anything over a couple hours, I might get to play Android rarely, if ever. Not a bad thing at all, but a limiting factor.

I only get to play Twilight Imperium (Third Edition) maybe twice a year. It's not nearly enough -- I'd love to throw it down every other weekend -- but then, at this rate I'm always hungry for more and look forward to playing it for years to come. Same with Here I Stand.

If I only get to play Android twice a year, for all the reasons you state above, it won't be enough, but I'll relish each session. I think it's that good.

bbenston wrote:
But damn it all, I'm a Blade Runner geek through and through (the only thing to top this in game format would be the Chinatown adaptation); and if a game can communicate this much ambience and atmosphere (although granted, you're a talented writer), then I'm sold.

I hesitate to recommend it -- don't get me wrong, I think it's brilliant and quite possibly the best game I've ever played -- but I recognize that that's just me. I have no idea how it will work for anyone else. I think it's going to be a very polarizing game, love it or hate it, with no daylight in between.

PS. Thanks for the kind words. It's like you played a light card on me: "The Editors Were Wrong."

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Brian Peters
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Re: “Humping Furniture” or “The Luv-Luv Bot™ Gets the Chair”
HiveGod wrote:
Two of the hit markers came from puzzle pieces (I think) and they saw they could get the third one at Humanity Labor, but only if Nisei played the card that got her a favor from Haas (the three days with the Director) that she converted into a free shuttle for Floyd from the Moon to New Angeles.

You can buy drop ship passes for other players? I didn't know you could trade tokens...
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Chris Tannhauser
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Re: “Humping Furniture” or “The Luv-Luv Bot™ Gets the Chair”
fnord3125 wrote:
HiveGod wrote:
Two of the hit markers came from puzzle pieces (I think) and they saw they could get the third one at Humanity Labor, but only if Nisei played the card that got her a favor from Haas (the three days with the Director) that she converted into a free shuttle for Floyd from the Moon to New Angeles.

You can buy drop ship passes for other players? I didn't know you could trade tokens...

The specifics of the Nisei card allowed the move. I'm fuzzy on the details (it was the two of them plotting against me, after all) and for all I know we played it wrong. I'll see if I can get George to pull up the actual card, since I don't own the game yet.*

*Horrible side-note: Every year my family makes me set aside some game titles so they can get me something for Christmas. This year I didn't buy myself Red November, Ghost Stories, or Android -- for all I knew, they sucked, and I could wait. The more I read about Android, the more I was itchin' to play -- so I side-stepped the issue and gifted one to Grafzepp. We played, it's a 10, I gotta have it... and it's looking like it's not actually going to be under the tree!
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Brian Peters
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Re: “Humping Furniture” or “The Luv-Luv Bot™ Gets the Chair”
HiveGod wrote:
and it's looking like it's not actually going to be under the tree![/size]

Ha! well, it wouldn't be too hard to tell, unless there is another 20 pound game from FFG someone might get you.
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Re: “Humping Furniture” or “The Luv-Luv Bot™ Gets the Chair”
HiveGod wrote:
Curls of smoke from Blaine’s cig licked the glass. Outside, the dim canyons of New Angeles sucked and held the brownish light of a dying day. Heinlein glittered in the twilight above, a beacon of hope... Blaine snorted. Filth just spatters higher in low-gee, he thought.


Oh golly ! You just might be the Raymond Chandler of the BGG.

"Filth just spatters higher in low-gee..."

More someday, OK?
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Re: “Humping Furniture” or “The Luv-Luv Bot™ Gets the Chair”
HiveGod wrote:
And now for the completely dry, mechanical overview of how that all went:


I did kind of look for a dry session report in the original post but what I found was more entertaining.

I play a lot of these kinds of games simply for the narrative they generate and this session (and you) have done a remarkable job of it.
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Brian Peters
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Re: “Humping Furniture” or “The Luv-Luv Bot™ Gets the Chair”
oh yeah, since i never said:
well done!
i enjoyed both the storyfied and dry reports. good combo. they both informed each other well.
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Re: “Humping Furniture” or “The Luv-Luv Bot™ Gets the Chair”
Walt Mulder wrote:
..but I find it tells absolutely nothing about the game...


Oh but it DOES sir, it does. Soon as you play the game, you'll see that all of Chris' descriptions are simple embellishments of turn by turn gameplay that we actually experienced.

I consider myself very fortunate to play a game w/ imaginative people like Chris and George. For us, the game is usually just a mechanic to wrap our own goofy/extreme/silly/hard-core/jokey narrative around that evening. A game like this gives us so much source material so fast that I felt like I lived a whole movie or novel in one session. i.e.-

"Floyd did some serious soul-searching and after discovering that he was useful to all of these meat-bags surrounding him, he realized that the best way to continue to serve them was to land a high-profile case for the NAPD. Installing some on-board lab equipment, stealing an ultra-fast speeder, and bribing his way through the Labor board's red-tape process to put a hit on that poor framed bioroid seemed like the quickest way to get that done. And yes, during his second visit, cheuffeured in by his owner, president of Haas Bioroid herself, he tried to finalize the deal to take out that hopeless comrade, but was met by Blaine who convinced him that he had something else inside of him, something like humanity. He heard and decided to believe in it and contemplated in his favorite spot, letting Blaine complete his manufactured, sordid story, hoping it would do somebody, somehwere, some good.

Despite failing to close this case, the Commissioner was impressed enough to buy him off of Haas and now he is fullly owned by NAPD. Not a total win, but good enough, as now he truly has a purpose . . ."

That's how it happened for me. Great writing in the cards, amazing wheels within wheels, a little imagination and good, good friends make for a killer session. Ready for the next, anytime.
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Matt Bruce
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Re: “Humping Furniture” or “The Luv-Luv Bot™ Gets the Chair”
The fact that this game inspired someone to write a piece like that tells me significantly more about it than most blow-by-blow turn reports can manage.

Bravo!

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Magic Pink
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Re: “Humping Furniture” or “The Luv-Luv Bot™ Gets the Chair”
THANK YOU for the dry, mechanical overview. These "story" session reports are a complete waste of time.
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Chris Tannhauser
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Re: “Humping Furniture” or “The Luv-Luv Bot™ Gets the Chair”
Magic Pink wrote:
THANK YOU for the dry, mechanical overview.

You're welcome. Here are some more crunchy details for you:

Everyone ended up getting a Jinteki or Haas favor (+3 VP) after the clone picked one up. In order to get one for myself I had to burn points getting a warrant and then travel over and burn resources to get one. Wasteful, since it took me twice as much effort to get one as the other players (who start with warrants on the favor locations) but there was no way I was going to let them start pulling ahead without an answer, especially if someone ended up getting two or more.

Also, the fight over the conspiracy puzzle was interesting. Floyd got into it early and often, what with his extra action point and free follow-up on a lead (that guy never sleeps!). He was dominating the conspiracy and angling to have it hook up with the Media for his own purposes. I got in late, but just in time to literally bend the conspiracy away from the Media and toward Humans First. That ended up being the only completed link, making all street favors worth +1 VP.

I then made sure I had a couple of those for game end. (There's a boardspace where you can trade time (action points) for street favors.)

All in all I think the conspiracy puzzle was something we didn't pay enough attention to until late in the game, but then, there's so much going on I don't blame us. Next time, though, next time...
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Re: “Humping Furniture” or “The Luv-Luv Bot™ Gets the Chair”
This is what the game should be for me. looking past the mechanics into the story i can build for my character. does winning even matter int his one, or are we here for story time?

well done, thanks.

-M
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Brian
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Re: “Humping Furniture” or “The Luv-Luv Bot™ Gets the Chair”
I had a short and unsuccessful career as a robo-prostitute.

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Peter Folke
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Re: “Humping Furniture” or “The Luv-Luv Bot™ Gets the Chair”
A hivegod session report! FOR ANDROID!

What a christmas gift

Your love for the game really shines through. Having only read the rules, it's kinda hard to follow the mechanics of the game (as others commented), but I think with this game only reading the dry mechanical overview would give a very bad impression.
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Re: “Humping Furniture” or “The Luv-Luv Bot™ Gets the Chair”
Walt Mulder wrote:
Well thanks for the great effort and nice story but for that kind of ambiance I'll read a book. Overall a great intro to a session but I find it tells absolutely nothing about the game. I give it a thumb up for creativity but unfortunately it wasn't the type of session report I was hoping for.


Sounds like you are in most part alone in your thinking.
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Chris Tannhauser
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Re: “Humping Furniture” or “The Luv-Luv Bot™ Gets the Chair”
malloc wrote:
This is what the game should be for me. looking past the mechanics into the story i can build for my character. does winning even matter int his one, or are we here for story time?

Well, I won't lie -- it was nice to win. BUT -- win or lose, you are left with a unique story, and who ever remembers the mechanical processes of such games afterwards, anyway? The beautiful thing about Android is that even if you lose, that becomes part of your story. If they had whacked my suspect and relegated me to last place, that failure would have been the climax of the story above. A sad, bad, take a hop into the traffic pattern kind of ending, but no less compelling or complete.

At the end of the game, everyone walks away with a story. Since narrative is my favorite thing about playing games, there is literally no way I can lose at this one.
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