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Subject: Spreadsheet for moderating rss

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Danilo Martins
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Hello, folks!

I currently pre-started a game (#22) for a few of my friends. We love EH and we have been playing it for a while now. We also play a lot Battlestar Galactica, including here on BGG. And that's what I want to talk to you about.

I'm currently the maintainer of a very useful tool for moderating Battlestar Galactica games on BGG, namely the Orphius-JasperHawk spreadsheet (can be found at github.com/jasperhawk). Its concept is very interesting, and without it I guess it'd take 10x the effort to moderate each game. I appreciate all the work that I saw done by the moderators here on Eldritch Horror, but honestly I think this is a lot of work. A TON of work. Moderators already spend so much time doing a "community" work, that I think the more we can make their (our) jobs easier, the better.

So I decided to spend some time before starting the game to my friends to simply placing all the cards and sheets on a simple spreadsheet, and work on automating it later. I just started working on this and thought that maybe this is public interest. Maybe more people are interested on helping, testing, using, throwing ideas, etc. So I decided to place this here, make it a public project.

What I plan to do on the spreadsheet on the short to medium term, in order:
- List all characters with all their data
- List all ancient ones with all the information
- List all mysteries for each Ancient One
- List all Mythos
- List all assets / unique assets / artifacts / spells / conditions
- List all clues
- List all locations
- List all monsters and epic monsters
- List all encounters
At this point, the spreadsheet can be used manually to moderate an entire game, in conjunction with Redamikanas' excellent image files

After this point (which shouldn't take THAT long), it's time to start automating. My thoughts:

- Create a "investigators hands" system in which we can track everything related to each investigator (his current location, current Health/Sanity, attribute improvements, items, clues, tickets, conditions, etc)
- Create a drawing system for items (including getting items with special attributes, such as "draw the first weapon on the deck")
- Create an automatic Mythos shuffling / deck preparing system, including options for Hard/Normal/Easy games, based on the ancient one
- Create a "start game" system to select players, expansions, ancient one, special rules when needed, placing everyone where they should go and distributing starting items automatically
- Create a "turn" system (starting with actions, then encounters, then mythos)
- Create a "Current Mythos" system for the end of each turn
- Create a "posting template" for the current status of the players based on the current PBF conventions
- Automate the Image Generation, placing all the needed info on a CSV file and plotting the current game status on an image

And at this point, I presume the job of moderating a game should be cut in half, probably even less.

So, what how can you help?
1. First and foremost, by typing the card attributes into a template spreadsheet. I'm currently working on this, but this will take some time. More hands on deck means it'll be done faster
2. Verifying what was already done, by me or by other contributors. Checking for spell is less important than checking for content, though.
3. Suggesting on how to present data on a structured form. This is hard. The game is NOT structured - there are more exceptions than rules. Ideas like "we should use separated columns for each card atribute" or the opposite "we should place all the card attributes on the same column" is what I meant by this
4. If you have programming skills (mainly on Basic and Scheme or Python), you can help with the development of the spreadsheet itself on the second stage (after all the data is already typed)
5. Sharing your experience as a moderator and the difficulties you have, what can be made easier and what should or should not be done


I know this is a long post, and even though I tried, I simply can't write a TL;DR for this.

So, who's up for it?

EDIT: Of course, here's the link for the template spreadsheet (don't worry, I'll try to advance much more on this work during this week) -- https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1GkOhuK9kMEGwPar9wwAe...
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Ricardo Donoso
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Cool cool cool!

I'll try to help you with the typing, since my programming skills are too rusted.
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Ricardo Donoso
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one thing passed thru my mind, in the MONSTER tab of the spreadsheet, we should have a space for "Number of Tokens", because some monsters have different numbers, like cultists.
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Xelto G
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Quote:
- Create a "investigators hands" system in which we can track everything related to each investigator (his current location, current Health/Sanity, attribute improvements, items, clues, tickets, conditions, etc)

Using this will have to be easier than simply doing it all manually, of course, otherwise it's kind of pointless to try.

Quote:
- Create a drawing system for items (including getting items with special attributes, such as "draw the first weapon on the deck")

Make sure you shuffle the deck after each draw like that, of course.

Quote:
And at this point, I presume the job of moderating a game should be cut in half, probably even less.

Only if you do a flawless job of programming, otherwise fixing the goofs will take more time than it's worth.

Quote:
5. Sharing your experience as a moderator and the difficulties you have, what can be made easier and what should or should not be done

My biggest problem has been error-making, actually. Frequently on my part, sometimes on the players part. So whatever system you try to come up with, it would have to incorporate "oops, I didn't mean to do that" or "oops, missed the -1 modifier".

And, call my either cynical or experienced, but I've never really found any electronic DM aid that saved me more time and effort than it cost me, barring electronic dice-rollers. So I doubt I would use this. But I wish you the best of luck with it.

Now, the things that I have found incredibly practical, or would find useful:
* a spreadsheet with monster stats and abilities (have one)
* an asset randomizer (something you more or less mentioned)
* someone setting up the BGG dice rolling widget so that you can choose a game, and have it change the buttons to the most common dice rolls for that game. So instead of saying d4 / d6 /d8 etc, it would have a row showing "1d6c[5] / 2d6c[5] / 3d6c[5]" with a blessed and cursed row, plus a regular d4 button. For bonus points, allow the user to customize his widget however he wants. Yeah, I know how likely this is. Nonetheless...
* on a related note, increase the character limit on the randomizer so that I can return to putting in monster names and full spell names into it.
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Danilo Martins
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rdonoso wrote:
one thing passed thru my mind, in the MONSTER tab of the spreadsheet, we should have a space for "Number of Tokens", because some monsters have different numbers, like cultists.


There are only a few that have more than 1 of each (the ones I already typed - which are 100% of the monsters I have on the monster cup). Also, it'd be a pain to increase the chance of drawing a random monster based on the number it has - maybe a counter just for reference would be useful. And if a Cultist is on a location, for instance, it'd be difficult to draw another one on another location on a spreadsheet-based system. So on this specific case I prefer to have multiple lines, one for each monster.
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Danilo Martins
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Xelto,

if you play Battlestar Galactica, I highly suggest trying out github.com/jasperhawk - it's the spreadsheet I'm currently working on for quite a few months. I'm able to moderate 8 games at once, spending around 30 minutes per day on all of them combined (I mean only ~30 min per day, checking twice or thrice, which leaves around 10-15 minutes each time I check the game for updates).

The idea of a spreadsheet is that, well, it's a spreadsheet. So any errors you just have to "fix it back" - for instance, if you killed a monster that wasn't there, just spawn it again on the same location and place the amount of damage it had before.

Setting up some BGG dice rolling widget, though, is probably out of my reach. I could try to set something up with their API or greasemonkey, but that'd be somewhat complex.

I'll just have to try and see. On this weekend I'll have a few hours to spare on typing cards and effects. I'm thinking if I should type the flavor text as well for the encounter events, since they're extremely cool, but that'd triple the effort.
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Danilo Martins
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To whom it may concern,

I spent some of my free time today typing, typing and typing until my fingers bled. Not figuratively.

Here's what is done typing, for now (only base + FL):
- All investigators on the base game
- All spells
- All clues
- All common assets
- All artifacts
- All conditions
- All Other World Encounters
- All monsters
- Azatoth's sheet
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Danilo Martins
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Danilo Martins
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So, no love, guys?



100% dynamically generated for everything that's on the board. Doom, Omen, Eldritch+Counter for Comet and Eclipse omens, portals, all text elements, expedition and all the location positions.

Soon I'll also have monsters and players on each location (still deciding on how). Delayed players will be turned sideways automatically, dead investigators will be tinted red/blue (depending on health or sanity depletion). I'd love some input on this, though!
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Danilo Martins
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Let me tease you guys some more...

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Walts
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Looking to run a Under the Pyramids PBF soon ... any
further with the data on this?

Walts
 
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Joe Reed
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That's some impressive work. Consider love received.
 
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Danilo Martins
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I actually stopped working on the web interface and was working on a "bot-based" system. I'll resume the work on the web interface soon.

Unfortunately, the first version will only support base game + forsaken lore. But as soon as I get it stable and working, I'll add every expansion.
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Danilo Martins
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Test
 
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Danilo Martins
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Test 2
 
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Jack Liu
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Mawkee wrote:
I actually stopped working on the web interface and was working on a "bot-based" system. I'll resume the work on the web interface soon.

Unfortunately, the first version will only support base game + forsaken lore. But as soon as I get it stable and working, I'll add every expansion.


This looks amazing.

As someone who would love to get more games of this in, I can't wait to see more
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