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Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game» Forums » Sessions

Subject: I'm a bad traitor. Cautionary tale. rss

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Daniel Kearns
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I'm pretty sure this is just another "tanking" thread with an opposite negative outcome, but if you're interested read on.

My history: Owner, Teacher. 3 games experience total.

Game 1: Traitor present but everything went so badly, the traitor actually had to try to keep the colony going. Everyone lost. Great game.
Game 2: No traitor. Barely won. Great game.
Game 3: 3 new players to DoW. One other had played once before. I explain that the game is not a co-op. That each player wins and loses on their own. Including possibly a "traitor" who is really just another player with widely different objectives. I draw the traitor. Great game but I played really badly, decided not to tank the game in the end, and feel weird about it. See below.

We played the scenario where the main objective was to deplete two locations of search cards. A refugee truck shows up first turn and there's a massive influx of characters. Lots of powerful searcher in the colony and the scrounge-a-thon begins. My secondary objective is to have four equipped weapons which I complete by turn 3-ish and all I need to do is drop morale to 0.

I do two and only two traitory things:

1) I stop contributing to the crises and food early. No one notices as there is so much power searching going on it doesn't matter.
2) I suggest the group deliberately fail an early crisis to conserve and they agree (I realize now I should have forced spending early and spiked the early crisis).

I assumed there would be other opportunities to spike other crises with morale reduction but morale reduction crises didn't come up again until the last turn. I don't spike any of these crises. This was dumb, in retrospect I should have spiked them anyway and put a hurting on the colony which could have indirectly hurt morale. Just inexperience. To make matters worse, I had a couple of "community good" characters, guy who defends colony and the doctor making it hard for me to not do their jobs.

This was a great game regardless. Lots of cool stuff happened and lots of crossroads went off. Principal/Student combo searched the hell out of the school (great location). Lots of weapons, zombies went down like crazy. One new gamer (a "normie") was completely lost early but got really into it late game and she pulled off a near miss heroic effort on the last turn to retrieve a supply crate that saved the colony from certain starvation. It was pretty awesome.

I'm late in the turn order on the last turn. I've done nothing overt to suggest I was the traitor and I don't think anyone suspected. I can blindside tank the last crisis card and force a loss for the colony and a win for myself by contributing 2 bad cards. I really don't want to do this. I worry it would wreck a great game. I decide to let the colony win.

But then I panic and do something really dumb. I throw in 1 bad card to the crisis, not enough for me to win. I don't even know why, I had reasons but they don't make sense to me now. I felt like I should roleplay the traitor and reveal that I was there. Also I thought that the game should have that uh-oh moment that I wanted to play earlier but didn't because I felt I didn't have the chance (which I did but I was dumb about that too). At that point, I should have just played as loyal and let them have the win.

When revealing the cards, it was clear something weird had happened but the main objective was completed. I think all but one of the pro-colony folks won. I show I was the traitor and say it was a great game and didn't want to tank out the colony and blindside on the last turn. But it was clear I could have if I wanted to and so there was this weird, well-I-should-have-won asterisk type of feeling that undercut the success of the colony, which I wanted to avoid.

If I had to do it again, I would have tanked out the colony on the last turn. Certainly not the half-assed goof I made. There was nothing they could have done about it but I guess that's the game. I really wished I had given some indication earlier that I was there because I felt I had backed myself into a corner at the end.

Not the end of the world but it made me feel weird about a great game. I may just play without the traitor card from now on. I like DoW well enough as it is and I'm not sure I'm cut out for traitor games. I played the Resistance many times this weekend though and really liked it maybe because it is short.

Being the traitor is difficult, complicated, and just plain confusing for your first time. Definitely gave me a new appreciation for the problem.
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Ken Dilloo
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I'd keep the traitor role in. It just adds so much to the game. There are plenty of just co-op games around.

Sounds like you also just got caught in-between and should have played all nice, or all aggressive. I can relate. Introduced this game to my in-laws, who are not gamers, but have played some surprisingly heavy stuff with me. I almost had a bad physical tell, when I got the traitor card. To make matters worse, my sister-in-law accidentally played a unhelpful card into the first crisis.

If memory serves, I played mostly nice, but then got to a point where it was going to be very difficult to win, as the traitor. Gave it a good effort, but they won, mostly, with individual goals.

TLDR: Keep the traitor, and accept this as part of teaching the game.
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Wade
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dkearns wrote:
Being the traitor is difficult, complicated, and just plain confusing for your first time. Definitely gave me a new appreciation for the problem.


True, the first time. Then you realize that you have to play nice until you complete your non-morale objectives, and then you have to be ruthless. It sounds like you really don't want to be, which is fine. It's just not your type of game. You can always play the hardcore version, which uses no secret objective cards (true co-op) and the main objective is much harder.

Whether or not you win as the betrayer, you should never see getting morale to zero as "tanking". It's completing one of your objectives. That's where I think many people have a problem with this game.
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Daniel Kearns
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I understand and objectively I know it isn't tanking. But the reason I felt like it was tanking was that everything else I did I played so poorly, but I could still win, and everyone else could lose, by me playing 2 cards at the end of the game in a way they had no ability to stop. Just felt really cheap with no real story or experience other than I won. After 2 hard-fought hours, just didn't feel right.

I think you're right though. If the same group were to play this multiple times or if there were even a predominance of veterans, I probably wouldn't have had as much of a problem. Or maybe I still would, not sure, haven't been put in that situation yet.

Thinking about it more, some of my dissonance was also from teaching. I was trying to help new players learn the game and suggest things to do that would help the colony and at times I would forget my role, or rather, I wasn't thinking about all the ways I could advance my goal as a traitor.

But again, winning easily as the traitor, without playing well and not really thinking about it, just isn't satisfying. NOT winning as the traitor also wasn't satisfying. Bleh. On top of an otherwise great game too.

TL;DR I think the game is fun and fine as is, I just blew it.
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Kelly Bass
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braceletwinner wrote:
Whether or not you win as the betrayer, you should never see getting morale to zero as "tanking". It's completing one of your objectives. That's where I think many people have a problem with this game.
In contrast, I see the act of getting morale to zero and still losing by failing your other betrayer objective as "tanking".
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David "Davy" Ashleydale
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There are definitely people in my gaming group that don't like being the "bad guy". It just leaves a bad taste in their mouth. Perhaps that's part of what's going on here.

Also, I'm sure you wanted them to like the game. Maybe with a win under their belts, they would feel better about the game and be more willing to play again. I've introduced very difficult-to-win games to people and sometimes an initial loss is enough to put them off of playing it for a long time.
 
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Wade
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chockle wrote:
braceletwinner wrote:
Whether or not you win as the betrayer, you should never see getting morale to zero as "tanking". It's completing one of your objectives. That's where I think many people have a problem with this game.
In contrast, I see the act of getting morale to zero and still losing by failing your other betrayer objective as "tanking".


Then you shouldn't be playing a game in which you object to completing your prime objective.
 
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David "Davy" Ashleydale
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braceletwinner wrote:
chockle wrote:
braceletwinner wrote:
Whether or not you win as the betrayer, you should never see getting morale to zero as "tanking". It's completing one of your objectives. That's where I think many people have a problem with this game.
In contrast, I see the act of getting morale to zero and still losing by failing your other betrayer objective as "tanking".


Then you shouldn't be playing a game in which you object to completing your prime objective.


I wouldn't say "prime", but perhaps more like, "Then you shouldn't be playing a game in which you object to completing some of your goals, but not all of them."
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Wade
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randomlife wrote:
braceletwinner wrote:
chockle wrote:
braceletwinner wrote:
Whether or not you win as the betrayer, you should never see getting morale to zero as "tanking". It's completing one of your objectives. That's where I think many people have a problem with this game.
In contrast, I see the act of getting morale to zero and still losing by failing your other betrayer objective as "tanking".


Then you shouldn't be playing a game in which you object to completing your prime objective.


I wouldn't say "prime", but perhaps more like, "Then you shouldn't be playing a game in which you object to completing some of your goals, but not all of them."


It's listed first on every Betrayal! card, so it is most definitely "prime".
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Michael McKibbin
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If you're teaching the game to brand new players, you can play straight co-op without a betrayer. Let the newbies pick up on the rules and flow of the game, then add the betrayer into the mix once they're hooked.
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Daniel Kearns
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hgman3 wrote:
If you're teaching the game to brand new players, you can play straight co-op without a betrayer. Let the newbies pick up on the rules and flow of the game, then add the betrayer into the mix once they're hooked.


Yeah, I think this is what I'll do from now on.
 
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I played with two complete newbies. They were all very leery of me because i have a reputation of being the traitor and i am told i do it well... except for a game of BSG where i tanked a crisis with red cards when i was the only player that can draw red cards lol. Anyways, i was not the betrayer this time and i failed to put the signs together until after the game that another veteran player was the betrayer. I actually purposely got two of my characters killed to complete my objective, the morale loss is what gave the betrayer time to strike the final blow.

Dispite the two new players losing,they had a blast playing. With my gaming group of friends we are cool with a traitor doing their traitor stuff to mess everyone over. I have allowed the colony to win when i had zero chance of completing my mission....where I have desperately tried to extend the length of the game to give myself more time to complete my objective which results in the colony winning.

For the most part, our traitors do traitor stuff and thats just how it is. I have seen two boards flipped....both from dead of winter lol... not in actual anger but jokingly and frustrated and laughing about it. So fun.

I will have new players to shadows over camelot play without a traitor but not in dead of winter.
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