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Subject: "Nothing happens" rss

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Simon Blome
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I love this game! We had a couple of sessions and each one of them was memorable for different things, for example a 4-player game with 2 exiled players (one of them the traitor) going to the last round. The tension!
Up to now, we triggered a good quarter of the crossroad cards (ca. 20), which means 4-5 triggered cards per game on average. I think this is a good average, because we played only short scenarios until now. The crossroad cards trigger rarely enough to be special and frequently enough to offer some interesting moments in a game.

That said, it was a bit unsatisfying that almost every other crossroad card we faced read like this:

- Option 1: Do something fancy/risky/challenging/thematic.
- Option 2: Nothing happens.

I think this structure is very viable in that it offers some optional mini-adventures on a risk-reward basis, but it occurred too often for our tastes. Seldom was the situation for the colony so desperate that we needed the reward badly, so it was safer to choose option 2 in most cases. Personally, I wished there were more crossroad cards with a positive/negative outcome no matter what we choose and that it changes the game somehow.

What is your experience? Were we just unlucky to have several cards with a similar structure in a row?
 
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Greg
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I've had a decent variety in my games.

That said, the thing to keep in mind is that while the "group" might not need something enough to take the risk, an individual player may want/need something worth taking the risk. They don't even have to be the betrayer to do this, as their secret objective may require something that they may be able to get by taking that risk from the Crossroads card.

Unless you are playing this as a pure co-op with no secret objectives cards, it's up to the individual player to decide whether to take the risk of the Crossroads card, not up to the group. That is unless it's a Crossroads card that requires a vote, but other than that, the player who's turn it is gets the final say. Now that plays into how desperate are they to do something that the group doesn't like? Will they be accused of being the betrayer? If it goes well they can say, "see, it was no big deal"
 
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Simon Blome
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Hahma wrote:
I've had a decent variety in my games.

That said, the thing to keep in mind is that while the "group" might not need something enough to take the risk, an individual player may want/need something worth taking the risk. They don't even have to be the betrayer to do this, as their secret objective may require something that they may be able to get by taking that risk from the Crossroads card.

Unless you are playing this as a pure co-op with no secret objectives cards, it's up to the individual player to decide whether to take the risk of the Crossroads card, not up to the group. That is unless it's a Crossroads card that requires a vote, but other than that, the player who's turn it is gets the final say. Now that plays into how desperate are they to do something that the group doesn't like? Will they be accused of being the betrayer? If it goes well they can say, "see, it was no big deal"

I totally agree and when the cards occurred I thought for myself, let's see what he/she does here. But in one game for example we faced 3 or 4 of these cards in a row and everytime the "Nothing happens" option was chosen by the player (or the group in one case). That made me think about giving that option in the first place and whether it's a frequent thing in the deck.
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Enon Sci
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I seriously hope they've changed there design philosophy for the upcoming expansion crossroads (no indication more crossroads are being considered for said expansion, but it stands to reason). Morally grey options are far more exciting than obvious light/dark choices.
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Greg
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I haven't read them all or heard them all, as doing so outside of playing the actual game would suck the fun out of it for me. So I don't know the ratio of obvious choice cards vs ones that could go either way. I have seen plenty so far that aren't obvious and could go either way.
 
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James Sitz
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A lot of the character-specific crossroads cards are either good thing 1/good thing 2, or bad thing 1/bad thing 2.
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Justin Colm
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The worst thing is when a Crossroad card triggers but only one of the options are viable. For instance, voting thumbs up or down on whether to 'spend 5 food tokens to..' Hey, whoah stop right there. We only have three food tokens so it's a moot point... boy, that was anti-climatic. In three games so far we've had a number that ended like this, where only the 'do nothing / take no risk' option was even possible.

Not triggering is fine but for them to be irrelevant after you've read it is annoying.

Ironically, given it's the titular mechanism, I think this is the most badly implemented part of the game.
 
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Greg
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High Flying Bird wrote:
The worst thing is when a Crossroad card triggers but only one of the options are viable. For instance, voting thumbs up or down on whether to 'spend 5 food tokens to..' Hey, whoah stop right there. We only have three food tokens so it's a moot point... boy, that was anti-climatic. In three games so far we've had a number that ended like this, where only the 'do nothing / take no risk' option was even possible.

Not triggering is fine but for them to be irrelevant after you've read it is annoying.

Ironically, given it's the titular mechanism, I think this is the most badly implemented part of the game.


Did you have any good ones at all?


A lot of people think it's one of the better parts of the game.


I guess it all depends on what people expect going into the game. Some people want to have a crossroads cards to trigger a lot and then always have the most meaningful decisions to make when they do trigger. Some people think of them as a nice light touch to add some immersion to the game and to add to the experience, but not be the driving force behind the experience as a whole.

For me and my gaming group, we are happy to have them trigger a handful of times a game. Personally, I only read the trigger part of the card unless it triggers because I don't want to see any more of the card so that it's a nice surprise when it is triggered.

Different strokes for different folks.
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Justin Colm
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Hahma wrote:
High Flying Bird wrote:
The worst thing is when a Crossroad card triggers but only one of the options are viable. For instance, voting thumbs up or down on whether to 'spend 5 food tokens to..' Hey, whoah stop right there. We only have three food tokens so it's a moot point... boy, that was anti-climatic. In three games so far we've had a number that ended like this, where only the 'do nothing / take no risk' option was even possible.

Not triggering is fine but for them to be irrelevant after you've read it is annoying.

Ironically, given it's the titular mechanism, I think this is the most badly implemented part of the game.


Did you have any good ones at all?


A lot of people think it's one of the better parts of the game.


I guess it all depends on what people expect going into the game. Some people want to have a crossroads cards to trigger a lot and then always have the most meaningful decisions to make when they do trigger. Some people think of them as a nice light touch to add some immersion to the game and to add to the experience, but not be the driving force behind the experience as a whole.

For me and my gaming group, we are happy to have them trigger a handful of times a game. Personally, I only read the trigger part of the card unless it triggers because I don't want to see any more of the card so that it's a nice surprise when it is triggered.

Different strokes for different folks.



In fairness, we did have a few decent ones too. We had the one where you can choose to search the locations for the missing child (and we achieved it too). That was in our very first game. But even with that one the penalty for taking the task and failing was basically the same as for not attempting it, again making the decision totally moot. Why wouldn't you attempt it?

It just seems that maybe 80% of the time the Crossroads card has no real effect on the game, even when it triggers. On top of that is the inevitable forgetting to look out for the conditions or someone went to the toilet and missed it etc. So then you play the card late or just discard it without playing.

Also, we have one player who is not a strong reader and who I suspect does not really look out for the card conditions coming into effect unless they are very obvious ones. Granted, that is an issue specific to our group, but I'm sure it must be true in other groups too, assuming we are reasonably typical. I personally like games where the strong readers can take responsibility for things like this, rather than forcing those with lesser skills to handle them. Not everyone is comfortable reading out loud. When we play a game like Eldritch Horror for example I read all of the non-personal cards out. Again, I know that is a group issue, but there are players who will find handling those cards a real chore, and there must be a more elegant way to handle the mechanic to minimize that problem.

So:

The cards are frequently irrelevant, even when they trigger (ie only one option is possible).

Many of the choices are no brainers or are ignorable without penalty.

It's very fiddly: you have to remember to take the card, you have to analyze the board, you have to watch avidly to see if it activates. All of this slows down play, is a chore, and distracts your attention from your own strategy.

It's a chore at best and a burden at worst for players who aren't strong readers.

And so far, the cards just haven't added enough to the game to justify any of it.

I want to just add that we love the game, and I like the potential of the Crossroads deck. I just don't really like the execution of that one particular mechanic.
 
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Dan Licata
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High Flying Bird wrote:

Also, we have one player who is not a strong reader


Being a strong reader myself I never realized how hard it is for some people until I started playing this game. The easy solution: read it for them. Just because the rules say the person on your right has to draw, read, and watch for triggers for crossroads cards doesn't mean you have to do it that way. Except for you turn you could read all the cards and it would have no affect on gameplay at all. I think it was set up that way just to keep people involved when it wasn't their turn.
 
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Colby Dauch
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Crossroads cards have to create a decision. When making these I saw 3 main possibilities for creating this:

1. Choose between 2 good things
2. Choose between 2 bad things
3. Choose to do something risky for a reward or choose not to risk it.

You can do variations on that like get a lesser good thing if you don't take a risk, or get a slightly bad thing if you don't take the risk etc but those are the main 3. If we had not done any of the risk vs reward cards we'd only have 2 mainstays.

Sometimes there is a clear option to go for as a result of your current game state. No avoiding that really. The advantage of the card is it still spells out an event. It still infuses narrative. An element that adds narrative to a game is in my opinion justified on that basis alone.

You are allowed to have another opinion. You own the game, you are allowed to play without the crossroads cards... but I for one don't think I'm capable of ever seeing eye to eye with the kind of person that looks at this crossroad element and says, 'meh lets not use those'. Me and that kind of person are polar opposites.
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Greg
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screamingtruth wrote:

Sometimes there is a clear option to go for as a result of your current game state. No avoiding that really. The advantage of the card is it still spells out an event. It still infuses narrative. An element that adds narrative to a game is in my opinion justified on that basis alone.



Yep. Sometimes there are clear choices depending on the situation of that particular current game, while during other games, that same card may have different implications.

Above all, regardless of anything else, it adds to the immersion of that game experience.

 
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Justin Colm
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danlicata wrote:
High Flying Bird wrote:

Also, we have one player who is not a strong reader


Being a strong reader myself I never realized how hard it is for some people until I started playing this game. The easy solution: read it for them. Just because the rules say the person on your right has to draw, read, and watch for triggers for crossroads cards doesn't mean you have to do it that way. Except for you turn you could read all the cards and it would have no affect on gameplay at all. I think it was set up that way just to keep people involved when it wasn't their turn.



The trouble is that I can't tactfully say 'hey, shall we handle those cards for you' to that person. I don't want to insult or patronize them.

You're right, there's ways to improvise but I kind of feel an elegant mechanic would consider this problem and be implemented in a way that doesn't need improvisation. But maybe I'm expecting too much. At the end of the day, a narrative game is going to require some reading.

I do want to stress again that we enjoy the game and this is one minor niggle.
 
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Dan Licata
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High Flying Bird wrote:

I do want to stress again that we enjoy the game and this is one minor niggle.


I agree having someone poor at reading, reads in a monotone with no emotion, or obviously doesn't care about the theme the cards bring in does tend to lessen their effect. I would just say when you teach the game "If you don't feel like reading/acting out the cards when they come up let me know and I/one of us can read it instead". Most people that can't read are uncomfortable when asked to do so, I think they would jump at the chance to get out of it.

Either way I love the cards, love the story it creates, no matter if the choice is hard or not they just keep adding to an amazing experience.
 
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Justin Colm
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screamingtruth wrote:
Crossroads cards have to create a decision. When making these I saw 3 main possibilities for creating this:

1. Choose between 2 good things
2. Choose between 2 bad things
3. Choose to do something risky for a reward or choose not to risk it.

You can do variations on that like get a lesser good thing if you don't take a risk, or get a slightly bad thing if you don't take the risk etc but those are the main 3. If we had not done any of the risk vs reward cards we'd only have 2 mainstays.

Sometimes there is a clear option to go for as a result of your current game state. No avoiding that really. The advantage of the card is it still spells out an event. It still infuses narrative. An element that adds narrative to a game is in my opinion justified on that basis alone.



This final point I disagree with. For me, it is frustrating to read the card (the story) and then have no proper resolution to it. I would rather that piece of narrative not be there than for it to be unresolved or irrelevant. For example, the card I mentioned above: "Option 1: Spend 5 food tokens to.." We don't have 5 food tokens to spend. There was no choice to be made. That is anti-climatic. Anti-climatic events subtract from the game experience, not add to it.

Sure, it's part of the random nature of the cards that they will have greater or lesser relevance depending on the game state, but my opinion is simply that, on balance (of three games played to date), the Crossroads cards have had very little effect on the game.

I don't want to remove them from the game because I feel it is (or should be) an integral part of it. I'm not one of the gaming phillistines you imply aren't your sort, I just feel that the mechanic doesn't work for us as well as I hoped it might when I bought the game. I'm not saying they have no part in the game, or that I dislike the concept or that I thought 'Meh. Let's take them out', as you quite rudely put it. I WANT to use them. But I've taken the message that I'm not 'the kind of person' you want to play your games and will bear it in mind with future releases of yours.

 
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Greg
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High Flying Bird wrote:


Sure, it's part of the random nature of the cards that they will have greater or lesser relevance depending on the game state, but my opinion is simply that, on balance (of three games played to date), the Crossroads cards have had very little effect on the game.




When you say "had very little effect on the game", do you mean as them not affecting the outcome of the game, or not effecting the immersion/story, or not effecting an important gaming decision?

I think there will be people that will have different expectations than what the designed intentions were. I mean, I saw a thread with a variant where they wanted the crossroads to trigger more often so badly, that they suggested all players draw a crossroads card in order to have a better chance of it getting triggered. Their expectations seemed to be that the crossroads cards triggering were a major part of gameplay and were disappointed that they weren't.

 
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Colby Dauch
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High Flying Bird wrote:
screamingtruth wrote:
Crossroads cards have to create a decision. When making these I saw 3 main possibilities for creating this:

1. Choose between 2 good things
2. Choose between 2 bad things
3. Choose to do something risky for a reward or choose not to risk it.

You can do variations on that like get a lesser good thing if you don't take a risk, or get a slightly bad thing if you don't take the risk etc but those are the main 3. If we had not done any of the risk vs reward cards we'd only have 2 mainstays.

Sometimes there is a clear option to go for as a result of your current game state. No avoiding that really. The advantage of the card is it still spells out an event. It still infuses narrative. An element that adds narrative to a game is in my opinion justified on that basis alone.



This final point I disagree with. For me, it is frustrating to read the card (the story) and then have no proper resolution to it. I would rather that piece of narrative not be there than for it to be unresolved or irrelevant. For example, the card I mentioned above: "Option 1: Spend 5 food tokens to.." We don't have 5 food tokens to spend. There was no choice to be made. That is anti-climatic. Anti-climatic events subtract from the game experience, not add to it.

Sure, it's part of the random nature of the cards that they will have greater or lesser relevance depending on the game state, but my opinion is simply that, on balance (of three games played to date), the Crossroads cards have had very little effect on the game.

I don't want to remove them from the game because I feel it is (or should be) an integral part of it. I'm not one of the gaming phillistines you imply aren't your sort, I just feel that the mechanic doesn't work for us as well as I hoped it might when I bought the game. I'm not saying they have no part in the game, or that I dislike the concept or that I thought 'Meh. Let's take them out', as you quite rudely put it. I WANT to use them. But I've taken the message that I'm not 'the kind of person' you want to play your games and will bear it in mind with future releases of yours.



I think you are reading rudeness where none is intended. You suggest I think people who appreciate different aspects of something than I do (board games in this case) are 'philistines'. I may have been guilty of grouping you in with a comment I saw that suggested the game effects be in bold so the narrative text could be skipped. I am suggesting that the narrative elements are important to me and I have trouble seeing eye to eye with someone who would want to gut them. I'm not suggesting what is important to me should be important to others and I'm not suggesting that I'm right and they are wrong. That was the intention behind my comment suggesting that others are allowed to have differing opinions. I don't see my opinion as the end all be all. I do think my opinion could be insightful, not because it is more important,rather because of my hand in the development and publication of the game being discussed. As for buying our future games, we really try to do a good job of setting expectations on what is important to us in a game. We do that to attract customers who share those values. I have a real emotional reaction whenever I read about a paying customer who didn't enjoy a game we made. That emotion is not arrogant superiority as you seem to suggest. That emotion is regret. I have a very strong sense of responsibility towards customers. I never want to disappoint. Since tastes vary the only way to try to ward off disappointment of this nature is to try to set expectations around the types of games we make.
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Remi Bureau
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High Flying Bird wrote:
screamingtruth wrote:
Crossroads cards have to create a decision. When making these I saw 3 main possibilities for creating this:

1. Choose between 2 good things
2. Choose between 2 bad things
3. Choose to do something risky for a reward or choose not to risk it.

You can do variations on that like get a lesser good thing if you don't take a risk, or get a slightly bad thing if you don't take the risk etc but those are the main 3. If we had not done any of the risk vs reward cards we'd only have 2 mainstays.

Sometimes there is a clear option to go for as a result of your current game state. No avoiding that really. The advantage of the card is it still spells out an event. It still infuses narrative. An element that adds narrative to a game is in my opinion justified on that basis alone.



This final point I disagree with. For me, it is frustrating to read the card (the story) and then have no proper resolution to it. I would rather that piece of narrative not be there than for it to be unresolved or irrelevant. For example, the card I mentioned above: "Option 1: Spend 5 food tokens to.." We don't have 5 food tokens to spend. There was no choice to be made. That is anti-climatic. Anti-climatic events subtract from the game experience, not add to it.



See, I don't agree with you there, that it substracts anything from the game. Even if you can't satisfy one of the option (eg. Spend 5 food tokens), that card tells you what you just missed.

The survivor look at themselves thinking, if only we had had more food!

On another note, I like hating the cards where after reading the 1st option, everybody's thinking "no way I'm voting for option 1", and then you read option 2, and everybody votes Option 1...
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Jack Darwin
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Anarchosyn wrote:
I seriously hope they've changed there design philosophy for the upcoming expansion crossroads (no indication more crossroads are being considered for said expansion, but it stands to reason). Morally grey options are far more exciting than obvious light/dark choices.


Oh, interesting perspective. I personally haven't seen any that have been light/dark choices. I've seen several 'risk for reward' and several 'choose between two undesirable options' as well as some morally grey ones too. I guess we've had very different samples.
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Simon Blome
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I just scanned through the crossroad deck, only looking for a "Nothing happens" as second option suggesting the risk-something-or-not-structure.
It turns out that every 4th crossroad card is of this particular structure. I'm fine with that and I think we were just a bit unlucky that only these cards triggered in a row.
 
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