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Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game» Forums » General

Subject: Why bother with the possiblity? rss

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Bradford Lounsberry
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In Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game you are pretty much guaranteed that someone at the table is a frakkin' toaster. Paranoia is immediate in that game. It works. Great game.

In Dead of Winter, which I equally love, it seems that the possibility, no matter how slight, of there being no betrayer gives the players a comfort zone they really shouldn't have. And it has often led to the betrayer easily taking down the colony unnoticed.

I intend to implement a variant to always include 1 betrayer card and one less than the number of players normal objective cards. That way there is always a betrayer.

But I'm curious if there is something I am overlooking. Are there reasons for not doing this that I have overlooked or experiences that just haven't manifested in my games?

I've played a lot with different, unexperienced groups so maybe my lack of consistency with the same group hasn't allowed the meta-game to grow as well.
 
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Sean West
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ralsar wrote:
In Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game you are pretty much guaranteed that someone at the table is a frakkin' toaster. Paranoia is immediate in that game. It works. Great game.

In Dead of Winter, which I equally love, it seems that the possibility, no matter how slight, of there being no betrayer gives the players a comfort zone they really shouldn't have. And it has often led to the betrayer easily taking down the colony unnoticed.

I intend to implement a variant to always include 1 betrayer card and one less than the number of players normal objective cards. That way there is always a betrayer.

But I'm curious if there is something I am overlooking. Are there reasons for not doing this that I have overlooked or experiences that just haven't manifested in my games?

I've played a lot with different, unexperienced groups so maybe my lack of consistency with the same group hasn't allowed the meta-game to grow as well.

I don't really have enough experience with the game to give you a definitive answer but my personal feeling about it is that the chance that there is no betrayer adds a level of uncertainty about what the players are doing that increases tension in the game. If you stack the deck to be sure that there is a betrayer then you are actually giving all of the players an additional piece of information and reducing the level of uncertainty.

Using the standard rules, there is a 50% chance of there being a betrayer in the game. I can see manipulating the deck to increase that to maybe an 80% chance, for example, but I would always allow for the possibility that there is no betrayer.
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Antonia
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ralsar wrote:
I intend to implement a variant to always include 1 betrayer card and one less than the number of players normal objective cards. That way there is always a betrayer.

But I'm curious if there is something I am overlooking. Are there reasons for not doing this that I have overlooked or experiences that just haven't manifested in my games?


Well, part of the fun of Dead of Winter is that you are not certain if there is a traitor in the group. So there is a complete additional level of the gaming experience where you wonder if somebody acts weird because of their personal goal or because they are traitors.
I Battlestar this aspect can not exist. If somebody acts weird he IS the traitor, or he is just playing as a jerk (I experienced that actually once).
In Dead of Winter one might act weird but still be a good group follower. So yeah, if there is always a traitor I think
a) the game probably will get harder for the non-traitor players because you will exile players faster. And since everybody makes strange stuff sometimes you will end up with not enough people to fulfill the goal
b) those weird moments are lost, when you realize that everybody wanted generally the same all along
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Ossian Grr aka "Josh"
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When comparing to BSG, it makes more sense to think about it as "Everyone is a Cylon Leader".

There's a primary goal, most people are working toward it and one person might be working against it, but everyone also has their own personal agenda in order to win.

Secret Objectives, whether you are pro- or anti-survivor, are always going to encourage some sub-optimal play. Which is better than guaranteeing a betrayer, in my opinion.

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David Hammel
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A lot of the hidden agendas play people like traitors, so you just never really know. If you (meant generally not specifically) have a false sense of security about this game, you'll learn real quick.
 
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W. Cracker
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I agree whole heartedly with your point. And a traitor among us based on the flip of a coin...now that's tension!!! The meta-game becomes surviving and watching your back, i.e., the play partly becomes watching the play of the other players. Kinda like real life sometimes.

seanmwest wrote:
ralsar wrote:
In Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game you are pretty much guaranteed that someone at the table is a frakkin' toaster. Paranoia is immediate in that game. It works. Great game.

In Dead of Winter, which I equally love, it seems that the possibility, no matter how slight, of there being no betrayer gives the players a comfort zone they really shouldn't have. And it has often led to the betrayer easily taking down the colony unnoticed.

I intend to implement a variant to always include 1 betrayer card and one less than the number of players normal objective cards. That way there is always a betrayer.

But I'm curious if there is something I am overlooking. Are there reasons for not doing this that I have overlooked or experiences that just haven't manifested in my games?

I've played a lot with different, unexperienced groups so maybe my lack of consistency with the same group hasn't allowed the meta-game to grow as well.

I don't really have enough experience with the game to give you a definitive answer but my personal feeling about it is that the chance that there is no betrayer adds a level of uncertainty about what the players are doing that increases tension in the game. If you stack the deck to be sure that there is a betrayer then you are actually giving all of the players an additional piece of information and reducing the level of uncertainty.

Using the standard rules, there is a 50% chance of there being a betrayer in the game. I can see manipulating the deck to increase that to maybe an 80% chance, for example, but I would always allow for the possibility that there is no betrayer.
 
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trevor

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I gotta agree, for me it's less tense when you know someone is a traitor. Then the game is fuguring out who it is.

When you play a game where there could be a traitor but maybe not, you really have to watch people. You all have a common goal but you are always suspicious, which can really hurt the team if no one 'fully' trusts anyone.

I also agree that it makes it easier for the traitor, but that should make things even more tense for the good guys.......
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Robin Moss
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Actually I think one of the better changes added in the excellent Exodus expansion for BSG is that you have one more Loyalty card than players (an extra You Are Not A Cylon card, and you add an additional YANAC card each time someone is executed or any other game effect causes them to draw an extra Loyalty card) specifically because it adds one extra layer of uncertainty that keeps the players guessing, like in Dead of Winter. In Exodus it also works best if you add the Conflicted Loyalty cards (Final Five and Personal Goal), again because they add valid reasons for players to potentially act suspiciously - or for Cylons to attempt to cover for themselves - exactly the same way the Secret Objectives do in DOW.

For our group the only thing we're not happy with is the specific odds, which as has been mentioned above are easy to adjust. In our most recent games of DOW we have exactly followed the BSG:Exodus rules - one non-Betrayer Secret Objective per player plus one Betrayer Secret Objective, so in a four player game there's an 80% chance of a Betrayer, but just enough uncertainty for the Betrayer to play into.
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Peter Mulholland
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I always play with 1 non-betrayer objective per player, plus 1 betrayer objective. This means there is a very high chance that we do have a betrayer, but leaves that slight chance that there isn't.

For me, and my group, this is one of the best parts of the game. It definitely isn't a cushion, but adds to the tension. As previous posts have mentioned if you know you have a betrayer then its just a case of working out who it is. If you're not 100% certain then you have to work out if you have one, and then who it is. Is that player the betrayer, or did they make a genuine mistake (or are they just an idiot...)?

This game is all about the interactions with the players, and the tension between them - and having that seed of doubt about whether or not someone is a traitor makes a lot of difference...
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Todd France
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seanmwest wrote:
Using the standard rules, there is a 50% chance of there being a betrayer in the game. I can see manipulating the deck to increase that to maybe an 80% chance, for example, but I would always allow for the possibility that there is no betrayer.

raw_bean wrote:
For our group the only thing we're not happy with is the specific odds, which as has been mentioned above are easy to adjust. In our most recent games of DOW we have exactly followed the BSG:Exodus rules - one non-Betrayer Secret Objective per player plus one Betrayer Secret Objective, so in a four player game there's an 80% chance of a Betrayer, but just enough uncertainty for the Betrayer to play into.

You guys know that's exactly the "Betrayer Variant" in the rules, right?
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Joao Rodrigues
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pseudotheist wrote:
seanmwest wrote:
Using the standard rules, there is a 50% chance of there being a betrayer in the game. I can see manipulating the deck to increase that to maybe an 80% chance, for example, but I would always allow for the possibility that there is no betrayer.

raw_bean wrote:
For our group the only thing we're not happy with is the specific odds, which as has been mentioned above are easy to adjust. In our most recent games of DOW we have exactly followed the BSG:Exodus rules - one non-Betrayer Secret Objective per player plus one Betrayer Secret Objective, so in a four player game there's an 80% chance of a Betrayer, but just enough uncertainty for the Betrayer to play into.

You guys know that's exactly the "Betrayer Variant" in the rules, right?

lol I intended to answer exactly this yesterday, but I decided not to, just to see if anyone would say something to them.
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Kenneth H
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raw_bean wrote:
For our group the only thing we're not happy with is the specific odds, which as has been mentioned above are easy to adjust. In our most recent games of DOW we have exactly followed the BSG:Exodus rules - one non-Betrayer Secret Objective per player plus one Betrayer Secret Objective, so in a four player game there's an 80% chance of a Betrayer, but just enough uncertainty for the Betrayer to play into.


What I wanted to know is, if you're following the Exodus rules, when does the Sleeper phase take place?

(Wouldn't that be a fun variant to explore!)
 
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Brian
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Dead of....Caprica?
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Barry Miller
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ralsar wrote:
...it seems that the possibility, no matter how slight, of there being no betrayer gives the players a comfort zone they really shouldn't have.

But isn't this exactly like how a similar real-life situation would be? And thusly one of the great aspects of this game?

The whole, "Could be a bad apple among us, but don't know for sure" element is so realistic, it's brilliant.

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Sean West
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I don't remember reading about the 80% thing in the rule book. Like I said, I'm pretty new to this one and have worried more about the standard setup than adding variants. Though it is possible I had heard about this variant in a video review or something and was channelling it subliminally.

I think I'm happy just to say that I must be as brilliant as the designers and that's why we both had the same idea.

bgm1961 wrote:

ralsar wrote:
...it seems that the possibility, no matter how slight, of there being no betrayer gives the players a comfort zone they really shouldn't have.

But isn't this exactly like how a similar real-life situation would be? And thusly one of the great aspects of this game?

The whole, "Could be a bad apple among us, but don't know for sure" element is so realistic, it's brilliant.

I actually think that including the possibility of there being no betrayer REDUCES the players' comfort zone rather than increasing it. If you KNOW there is a betrayer, you can be comfortable in focusing your energy on weeding him out but if there may not be one and yet someone is acting weird... well, that's a whole new kind of uncertainty and should make you very uncomfortable.
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