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Subject: The Keeper's Dillema: won the game or enjoy the game... rss

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Jakub Glazik
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In the game yestarday I have some dillema. Scenario is not important but for inquisitives there is spoiler tag on the end with describe of session.

I have objective that could be revealed any time and won in certain circumstance. Problem is first time I have possibility to win in the middle of the game. Reason was a little luck in Mythos Cards and specific Investigators choices. I am pretty sure a most of readers say now: "Reveal objective and won!" But that was not so obvious for me... I was not satisfied with the game yet, I just wanted more. My players too. Whatsmore, 3 of 4 players were new so I did want to show them as much as possible. But thic certain circumstace is not so easy to obtain in the future so I was risking to lost.

So I have a question: what would you do in similiar situation?

I am a little bit weird too, because I have motto: "Better than won game is good game." So I decided to not reveal objective and let the Investigators enjoy the game. And I was right. I could not again create winning situation. The result was draw, but summa summarum we were all satisfied - it was great session! So I feel my choose was right.

Now spoiler - Scenario 2:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Scenario 2, objective 1A
One investigator was insane in the middle game, and he was just walking around in the neighbourhood of 4 cultists. So I had 2 or 3 situation when I could reveal objective, roll a die and probably won. But I resigned. When players revealed clue 1 that investigator was 1 space from Cultists but 3 spaces from door out of monastery. And it was his turn. He just run away. I don't have good Mythos Cards in that moment to hold him. Bad luck!
Later I have only one situation but with three cultists (harder die roll). Again bad luck! Finally, in the last moment one investigator was killed. So it was draw.
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Lexingtonian
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So you played it more like a role-playing game. If everyone liked it that way, that's great.

Since you're asking for opinions, I personally detest when my opponent throws a game to avoid disappointing me. If I wanted to suck at my opponent's teat like that, I'd play an RPG.
 
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Markus
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So this is my new overtext ? Hmmm...
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I didn't get a chance to play the game yet but for me the experience is what matters. For me - as the designated keeper - it's important to give the other players a great time but at the same time making their ride as hard as possible. I have no problems with losing this game as a keeper but i want to see their faces struck with horror devil
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Jakub Glazik
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I think I choose that way generaly because of beginners. In their second game and similiar situation they still will be pity to end the game so soon, but deffinetely there will be no mercy.

Thanks for your opinion!
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Federico Galeotti
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I believe you find life such a problem because you think there are the good people and the bad people. You're wrong, of course. There are, always and only, the bad people, but some of them are on opposite sides.
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See also this thread:
The Sacred Role of the Keeper — Win at All Costs or Tell a Good Story?
 
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Jakub Glazik
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Thanks for the link. I have missed it.
Now I think I make a mistake. After session I tell my players that I have almost won and just don't want to end game too early. That was wrong, and ruined effect I would like to gain. Naxt time I let Investigators think their won (or draw) was their contribution.
 
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Balazs Szendroi
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I had this problem as well quite often while being the keeper.

A quick example:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
In scenario 3 where you have to bring zombies to the altar, if the investigators doesn't know the objective, you can win in some rounds easily, and its no fun at all


I know the core of the game is finding out the secret objective, but I think it would be better from a gameplay perspective if the investigators would know the goal of the keeper. I think nothing destroys the mood more than when the 4 investigators are enjoying themself, making plans, and than you suddenly announce that you have won. Later when they know the 3 possibilities its not that bad, but it can seriously destroy the first 2-3 plays of each scenario.
 
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BT Carpenter
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We played Scenairo 4A and when the objective was revealed, the players called it because they counted the distance to the door and the time it would take to get there and declared things hopeless.

Sometimes the game will end abruptly in the middle of things, and maybe he shouldn't have gotten so close to the cultists when he was insane... ripe for being turned against his fellow man.

Next time they're in that house, they'll play differently.
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Patrick
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rzabcio wrote:

So I have a question: what would you do in similiar situation?


I would have kicked their ass. It is not a friendly story telling game. It is a competitive game. You got lucky.
And, honestly, if I was one of your investigators and I found out you threw the game I would have been PISSED at you. I will happily plays games win or lose but I hate it when you throw games for me to win. The only time it is some what acceptable to throw an occasional game is to my mother. I will sometimes play sloppy with other people but never actually throw a game.


That being said if you WANT to play it like an RPG it's your game. Enjoy. This is just my $0.02.
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Paul Agapow
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rzabcio wrote:
So I have a question: what would you do in similiar situation?

I am a little bit weird too, because I have motto: "Better than won game is good game."


That seems like a reasonable call to me.

MoM is a complicated game, and there's lots of opportunities for one side or the other to get lucky. And finishing the game with a "hey guys, I just won because I drew this card etc." is an anti-climax, making what the players did for the last hour an irrelevance and a bad story. So it fails both as a game and a narrative.

Look at it this way, you're rebalancing the game and eliminating things the designers didn't intend to happen. That's a good thing.
 
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Jakub Glazik
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Really thanks for sharing, guys! I was thinking about it and have now much wider look at the case and see it is often not so obvious to throw game just because climax. But I think I can now define some "golden rule":

Playing the first time in the scenario and/or with new players it is sometimes good to make a little cheat but to make game good. Playing with veterans and/or another time in the scenario - do not hesistate to teach Investigators the power of Mythos.
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Patrick
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rzabcio wrote:
Really thanks for sharing, guys! I was thinking about it and have now much wider look at the case and see it is often not so obvious to throw game just because climax. But I think I can now define some "golden rule":

Playing the first time in the scenario and/or with new players it is sometimes good to make a little cheat but to make game good. Playing with veterans and/or another time in the scenario - do not hesistate to teach Investigators the power of Mythos.

I wouldn't say that I change my play style based on the newness of the game but on the ability of the players. I will always punish the good players because I know they will learn from it. I will always play sloppy with my parents because I know they won't.
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Kevin Outlaw
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There's another thread dealing with this topic, and it sounds like a lot of players are using the keeper role as a GM - telling a story and going easy on the investigators.

Funnily enough, people are also complaining about the game having limited replayability.

Everyone should play the game as they want, but I think you have to remember, if you are playing this like a storytelling game, where you are purposefully making moves to let the investigators win, then you are limiting the replayability by your own design. If you are using this game to tell a story, you get 15 plays out of the box, and then your investigators will be bored because they will have seen and beaten everything.

If you want to be able to replay the scenarios you HAVE to be a ruthless keeper. You have to hurt the investigators and play to win to keep everything fresh.

I think you get a choice - play 15 stories, or play many more hard-fought, closely contested games.

Your mileage, of course, my vary
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Jakub Glazik
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Yes, I know that's another thread with the same topic and I feel not good with it but I just missed it...

And...
RedMonkeyBoy wrote:
If you want to be able to replay the scenarios you HAVE to be a ruthless keeper. You have to hurt the investigators and play to win to keep everything fresh.
Exactly! And that's where my funny names as "goldern rule" will work:
- first playing in the scenario - much more like RPG,
- other times - ruthless.
It is like kind of experiment - learning scenario and learning players. Later keeper would use this knowledge as adventage. Treated that way this could increase replayability. By one, first time.

But as it was said many times - as more players as more kinds of sessions.
 
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Quinn G.
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Play to win AND enjoy the game!

Be as descriptive as possible with every action, every room, etc. Play some 1920's music. Turn down the lights. Have plenty of alcoholic drinks on the table.

When the investigators inevitably go mad and struggle to kill each other as eldritch horrors casually slither over their struggling bodies and out into the world to bring about the end of all things... (that was a long run on sentence)... your players will be thrilled to have had a truly Lovecraftian themed experience in gaming.

Unless they are whiny cloud-huggers who are pissed you wouldn't let them carebear stare the cthonian into making them chocolate chip cookies and having mimosa's in the garden... then you should kill them all for your own satisfaction and gloat about it as much as possible.. if your lucky you might actually get one of them to cry.
 
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