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Subject: Alternative to Instant Death Dice Rolls? rss

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Kevin Outlaw
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So, I literally had zero interest in this game, and then I saw the Watch It Played videos and the playthrough by Board with Life. My interest has grown considerably. However, as it stands at the moment I could never purchase this game because of the rule that rolling a tooth icon means instant death for a character.

I know, I know, I expect this has been discussed a few times before, and some people are going to love that tension. I also know that everyone gets multiple characters, and there are ways to avoid rolling the dice, but it still seems like dying in this manner is relatively common. I think it happened four or five times in an hour-long play-through by Board with Life, with two characters dying on their first ever activation.

The problem is, I know my game group, and I know that if anyone lost a player on turn one based on a single dice roll, the game isn't going to get a second chance.

This isn't a thread to bash the rule. The rule is what it is, and that's fine. I was just wondering if anyone who had played / playtested the game might be able to shed some light on if the rule might be easy to change without ruining the game, because every other aspect of the game looks amazing to me.

For example, would it be possible to do something like:

The tooth icon inflicts continuous damage in the same way as frostbite, but it cannot be cured, so the character will die in several turns. When the character finally dies, characters present risk infection as per the standard rules.

Of course, something like that would make the game a little easier, but would playing in the "hardcore" mode offset that?
 
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Christian K
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I think you eould be fine saying it gives a frostbite instead. I would try it out with the instant death rule though.
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Dennis Schwarz
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RedMonkeyBoy wrote:
So, I literally had zero interest in this game, and then I saw the Watch It Played videos and the playthrough by Board with Life. My interest has grown considerably. However, as it stands at the moment I could never purchase this game because of the rule that rolling a tooth icon means instant death for a character.

I know, I know, I expect this has been discussed a few times before, and some people are going to love that tension. I also know that everyone gets multiple characters, and there are ways to avoid rolling the dice, but it still seems like dying in this manner is relatively common. I think it happened four or five times in an hour-long play-through by Board with Life, with two characters dying on their first ever activation.

The problem is, I know my game group, and I know that if anyone lost a player on turn one based on a single dice roll, the game isn't going to get a second chance.

This isn't a thread to bash the rule. The rule is what it is, and that's fine. I was just wondering if anyone who had played / playtested the game might be able to shed some light on if the rule might be easy to change without ruining the game, because every other aspect of the game looks amazing to me.

For example, would it be possible to do something like:

The tooth icon inflicts continuous damage in the same way as frostbite, but it cannot be cured, so the character will die in several turns. When the character finally dies, characters present risk infection as per the standard rules.

Of course, something like that would make the game a little easier, but would playing in the "hardcore" mode offset that?


And remember, that you still have the same amount of action dice during that turn, so your remaining characters could just do more instead of the dead character. So it limits your options, but doesn't really reduce the amount of actions instantly (at least not during that turn).

You could make it just a little easier, if you say that when a tooth icon is rolled, you have to "confirm" the roll by rolling the exposure die again. The character then only dies immediately, if you roll another wound icon (50% chance). In all other cases, it is "just" a frostbite wound.
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Aditya C
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Losing a character isn't going to take a player out of the game. Even if it your last character you get a new one dealt to you. It's not the player that is being eliminated.
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Paul S
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I've not played (damn!) but my sense of it is that "you" are the character in this game. You and your group make decisions e.g. based on the tough choices presented by Crossroads cards. Those cards are not, I think, at all character-specific.

Your actual characters are just resources; so the replacement of a dead character is a sensible mechanic.

If you look at it that way, and that's certainly how I plan to play, then the insta-death issue is less important. You're not out of the game; there's no elimination; you just have new and different resources to work with. I can deal with that.
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Kevin Outlaw
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I am aware there is no elimination and that players operate teams of characters rather than having just one. I have watched two playthroughs today

In the Board with Life playthrough, Casey on his very first action of his very first turn lost his ninja character. If that happened to anyone in my group, then I would have roughly zero percent chance of getting that person to play the game again. It's annoying to plan your move, discuss with the group, and then just have that character die based on a dice roll before you can do anything.

If I was to get this game, I would need an alternative to the insta-death dice roll.
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Paul S
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Fair play. I understand your point, but it feels a bit like giving up at chess the first time you lose a piece. This isn't a RPG, so your comments about "losing characters" don't quite hit the mark for me. But I accept you know your group, so maybe this ain't the game for you.
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Nathan Woll
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Everyone starts with a fuel. So you conceivably never have to roll the dice the entire game. One guy moves using fuel, searches for fuel, next guy moves with that fuel, etc. You can do this with all your characters.
 
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Kevin Outlaw
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Beloch wrote:
Fair play. I understand your point, but it feels a bit like giving up at chess the first time you lose a piece.


That would be true if, every time you moved a piece in chess, you first rolled a dice and then remove that piece on the roll of a "1" rather than making the move you intended to make.

The issue my group would have is planning to do something, and then being screwed by dumb luck. That is why I wouldn't have such an issue if it was a case that the infection result was guaranteed to kill that character, but not until AFTER the character performed the actions he or she was doing. For example, if the infected characters all turned at the end of the current turn, or there was a frostbite-style countdown (as per my OP).

nswoll wrote:
Everyone starts with a fuel. So you conceivably never have to roll the dice the entire game. One guy moves using fuel, searches for fuel, next guy moves with that fuel, etc. You can do this with all your characters.


Interesting. I knew burning fuel avoided a movement roll, but you need fuel for a lot of other reasons. And you also roll the dice every time you remove a zombie from the board (unless you have a special power), so I'm guessing the fuel doesn't help there?
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Bill Reed
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RedMonkeyBoy wrote:
That is why I wouldn't have such an issue if it was a case that the infection result was guaranteed to kill that character, but not until AFTER the character performed the actions he or she was doing. For example, if the infected characters all turned at the end of the current turn, or there was a frostbite-style countdown (as per my OP).


So just DO this. It's not that big a deal.
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Mark Carter
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Play the game however you wanna play it. If you'll enjoy it more by removing that tension, then remove it. Or roll 2d6 and die instantly on a roll of 12 (1/36 chance)

Personally, I think that if the possibility of dying in a zombie game makes it too tense for you, then I don't think this game will be for you/your group. What's gonna happen if you get a tough crossroads card, or you can do 2 actions but need to do 3? Does the same principle occur? Where do you draw the line?

Again, play it however you wanna play it. You might find the game will actually be more difficult as you'll have less people dying so more people to attract zombies and need to be fed. And anyone with a secret objective to have X number of followers or X number more followers than anyone else will find it difficult.

ALSO, the Board with Life video was edited down. So there were plenty of turns where very little bad things happened but they didn't show them because turns were noting happens is boring
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Kevin Outlaw
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Mangoose wrote:


Personally, I think that if the possibility of dying in a zombie game makes it too tense for you, then I don't think this game will be for you/your group. What's gonna happen if you get a tough crossroads card, or you can do 2 actions but need to do 3? Does the same principle occur? Where do you draw the line?



If my OP comes across as me worrying about the game being too tense, then I really shouldn't have posted without having some coffee first, because that really isn't my concern at all.
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Ken Marley
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Anyone that dies from the instant death due to moving made a choice to risk death. They could have used fuel or asked for fuel, or chosen not to move.

Anyone that dies from attacking a zombie, choose to risk death. You can use weapons or abilities, or barricades.

Rolling the exposure dice is always a choice.



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Always nice to play with laid-back people. Perhaps slip them half a white Valium beforehand, so they take the results of probability like adults?
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Angus McEachran
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The instant death die result is a very interesting mechanic.

It provides uncertainty and risk, which introduces tension. It also does something very important: it provides information to all the players in a variety of subtle ways.

Watching other players to see how they manage that element of risk is probably going to be a key element of the game. Why is a player moving without asking for fuel? Are they trying to reduce their character count, or maybe even morale? Do they have a personal goal which hinges on the number of dead survivors, or are they the betrayer? When the group needs someone to take a risk and they refuse what is their motive?

These are just a few situations that this mechanic throws up, and which provides real meat for the game. I think you will lose a great deal from the game if you do not at least try to play as written.

Perhaps you can sell the mechanic on that basis: survivors are resources and how someone manages those resources is at the heart of the game. Remove the element of uncertainty and risk and the information provided is, in my mind, reduced in value.

Now I just have to actually get my preorder and test this theory!

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Kevin Outlaw
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Ginjav wrote:
The instant death die result is a very interesting mechanic.

It provides uncertainty and risk, which introduces tension. It also does something very important: it provides information to all the players in a variety of subtle ways.

Watching other players to see how they manage that element of risk is probably going to be a key element of the game. Why is a player moving without asking for fuel? Are they trying to reduce their character count, or maybe even morale? Do they have a personal goal which hinges on the number of dead survivors, or are they the betrayer? When the group needs someone to take a risk and they refuse what is their motive?

These are just a few situations that this mechanic throws up, and which provides real meat for the game. I think you will lose a great deal from the game if you do not at least try to play as written.

Perhaps you can sell the mechanic on that basis: survivors are resources and how someone manages those resources is at the heart of the game. Remove the element of uncertainty and risk and the information provided is, in my mind, reduced in value.

Now I just have to actually get my preorder and test this theory!



Thanks for this. There are some things I hadn't thought about in this.
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JonnyRotten
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Very well said. There is ton's of "Risk Vs. Reward" in this game, even on subtle things like moving. You can always request fuel to move if you are afraid of rolling that result.

In earlier versions of the game, it was a deck of cards, but the odds are the same with the die.

I know it seems harsh, and it can bite you on the first turn. But life is uncertain my friend. The best laid plans of mice and men...

Ginjav wrote:
The instant death die result is a very interesting mechanic.

It provides uncertainty and risk, which introduces tension. It also does something very important: it provides information to all the players in a variety of subtle ways.

Watching other players to see how they manage that element of risk is probably going to be a key element of the game. Why is a player moving without asking for fuel? Are they trying to reduce their character count, or maybe even morale? Do they have a personal goal which hinges on the number of dead survivors, or are they the betrayer? When the group needs someone to take a risk and they refuse what is their motive?

These are just a few situations that this mechanic throws up, and which provides real meat for the game. I think you will lose a great deal from the game if you do not at least try to play as written.

Perhaps you can sell the mechanic on that basis: survivors are resources and how someone manages those resources is at the heart of the game. Remove the element of uncertainty and risk and the information provided is, in my mind, reduced in value.

Now I just have to actually get my preorder and test this theory!

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jgilmour wrote:
But life is uncertain my friend. The best laid plans of mice and men...

...or of Mice and Mystics...am I right?? See what I did there? Anyone? Anyone?...
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jgilmour wrote:
Very well said. There is ton's of "Risk Vs. Reward" in this game, even on subtle things like moving. You can always request fuel to move if you are afraid of rolling that result.

In earlier versions of the game, it was a deck of cards, but the odds are the same with the die.

I know it seems harsh, and it can bite you on the first turn. But life is uncertain my friend. The best laid plans of mice and men...

Ginjav wrote:
The instant death die result is a very interesting mechanic.

It provides uncertainty and risk, which introduces tension. It also does something very important: it provides information to all the players in a variety of subtle ways.

Watching other players to see how they manage that element of risk is probably going to be a key element of the game. Why is a player moving without asking for fuel? Are they trying to reduce their character count, or maybe even morale? Do they have a personal goal which hinges on the number of dead survivors, or are they the betrayer? When the group needs someone to take a risk and they refuse what is their motive?

These are just a few situations that this mechanic throws up, and which provides real meat for the game. I think you will lose a great deal from the game if you do not at least try to play as written.

Perhaps you can sell the mechanic on that basis: survivors are resources and how someone manages those resources is at the heart of the game. Remove the element of uncertainty and risk and the information provided is, in my mind, reduced in value.

Now I just have to actually get my preorder and test this theory!



A turn one nuke for a character is still a hard sell. I need to think about it some more, but thanks for commenting.
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RedMonkeyBoy wrote:


A turn one nuke for a character is still a hard sell. I need to think about it some more, but thanks for commenting.


You're welcome! I'm sure others will chime in that have played it.

Believe me, when Isaac suggested it, I was against it at first. But I'm glad we went with it. It can really set things on edge, very quickly. It adds weight to the decision of moving around. I've had games where no one died from it, but we were dreading every time we were out of fuel and had to roll.
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jgilmour wrote:
RedMonkeyBoy wrote:


A turn one nuke for a character is still a hard sell. I need to think about it some more, but thanks for commenting.


You're welcome! I'm sure others will chime in that have played it.

Believe me, when Isaac suggested it, I was against it at first. But I'm glad we went with it. It can really set things on edge, very quickly. It adds weight to the decision of moving around. I've had games where no one died from it, but we were dreading every time we were out of fuel and had to roll.


Jon - I have a general designer question. From what has been revealed of the game it doesn't appear that it includes any sort of "turning" instances. In other words, bitten characters don't explicitly become zombies, as is the norm for most other games and movies.

Was this a conscious decision and why? I can guess that maybe simple death keeps the focus on the human interactions, but passing up the drama and theme of that bitten survivor turning into a zombie to be dealt with is an interesting omission, IMO.

OSG
 
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oldschoolgamr wrote:
bitten characters don't explicitly become zombies, as is the norm for most other games and movies.

Maybe not explicitly, but a killed survivor does spread the infection to other survivors in the same location. After that, the killed survivor disappears and becomes another face in the zombiecrowd.
 
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There is turning, but it's a bit abstracted. If you think of wounds as just getting hurt, the bitten result is "You got bit, and you are now a zombie". The bite effect spreads to someone else in the colony (As they got bitten killing the first person who was bit). And if they get bitten, it spreads some more.

Of course, if it's your guy that gets bitten, you have the choice of seeing if he lives, or spreads the bite (50/50 die roll). Or you can just "let him go softly into the night" and end of bite problem.
 
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jgilmour wrote:
There is turning, but it's a bit abstracted. If you think of wounds as just getting hurt, the bitten result is "You got bit, and you are now a zombie". The bite effect spreads to someone else in the colony (As they got bitten killing the first person who was bit). And if they get bitten, it spreads some more.

Of course, if it's your guy that gets bitten, you have the choice of seeing if he lives, or spreads the bite (50/50 die roll). Or you can just "let him go softly into the night" and end of bite problem.

I guess he means that no Zombie standee is placed instead of the killed survivor, effectively "turning" him.
I guess if you find the game too unthematic in this regard, you could always houserule that every bitten survivor creates a Zombie in the place it was killed, but then you probably won't have to worry about nonsense like "winning" the game anymore

I would think about it like this: the survivor got bitten and turned into a Zombie and thus a potential danger to the other survivors. Now the killing of more survivors is the "attrition" that is caused by this unexpected Zombie attack until it could finally be eliminated.
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