Jon Vallerand
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I'm working on a Heist game which is still in early development (as in, I'm the only one who's played it, and it's not ready to show others). While talking to friends about it, some parts of the game have been raised as very anti-thematic, and I disagree, and so I wanted to get more opinion on the subject.

The game is about Danny Ocean-like groups of thieves, and so the Ocean's series are my main source of thematic inspiration. So my question is, if a game did these, how thematic would you find it? Would it help or break your immersion?

Problem 1: In the game, players do the Heists and plan it at the same time, like it is presented in the Ocean's movie. They go through various obstacles, and solve them through spending time (representing planning). You can also recruit a new member during a job, because it represents the planning, not the job itself. I'm not even sure I'm explaining it intelligibly.

Problem 2: The game uses a time track (like in Olympos or Patchwork), and when a player declares he's going to start a job, he says when he's going to pull it off (placing a token on the appropriate spot on the time track). Other players can then deny them that job by doing it first: it's sort of an auction-like thing, where you claim you can do it in less time, and whoever uses the least wins and gets to do the job. If you don't want to do it in less time, find another one. A friend has said that it's like the thieves calling dibs on a job, which doesn't really make sense: I think it's acceptable abstraction for a board game.

Problem 3: The stuff you steal can be either fenced, and then you get money (to pay your folks, or buy equipment), or kept, and then gives you fame. The most famous thief gang is the winner. People have pointed out that a good thief gang is one you don't know about.


Now as I said before, my opinion is that these work. However, if I'm the only one of that opinion, I'll need to change things if I want the game to work for other people (which I do).
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Benj Davis
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Problem 1 seems to be missing a problem.

Problem 2 sounds like a communication issue. It doesn't sound like calling dibs to me, it sounds more like just gazumping the others and getting there first.

Problem 3 seems fine to me. It it's based on the kind of cinematic thieves in Ocean's 11, then gathering fame (at least within underworld circles) is totally legit. Having that fame come from stealing stuff then keeping it, though, that seems off.
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Jon Vallerand
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Thanks for answering!

Jlerpy wrote:
Problem 1 seems to be missing a problem.


So in the game, the planning and the doing happen simultaneously, like in the movies, where Danny describes the plan in voiceover while you see it unfolds, often with shots of the planning in there too.

However, some people have a problem with that. They think you should plan, then do. That the planning should be the first step only, not the whole thing.
 
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Stephen Rochelle
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#1 reads like the sequence is "plan for a while", then "do a job for a while", like the two phases of Galaxy Trucker. Right? And you can spontaneously hire/play/whatever a new crew member during the "job" portion that you never mentioned during the "plan" portion, and people are objecting to the new guy not having shown up during the "plan" bit. Is that a good summary?

If so, I think your explanation is fine. Consider having some sort of "twist" currency that allows for a limited number of those mid-job interjections (that would also allow you to make it more than just "hire a guy" that could be slid into the job). It's the late-movie twist that wasn't spelled out earlier, but is explainable enough that you roll with it (Brad Pitt shows up as a doctor and somehow no one questions it).

#2: Gunning for someone else's job makes sense for rival cinematic Danny Ocean-type thieves gangs. The one thing that sticks out to me is explicitly underbidding someone. What if the system is instead that a job can't be attempted until someone has bid on it, but that then any player can attempt to complete it in less time (without announcing that they're trying to do so)? Could be interesting if you don't know that one of your opponents is trying to come in ahead of you.

#3: but a good cinematic thieves gang makes sure that (1) the fact of the theft is embarrassingly public and (2) they gain fame within the criminal community while not leaving enough evidence to be prosecuted. Note that Ocean's 12 opens with the aggrieved guy from the first movie tracking down and exacting revenge on the gang, but he can't get them thrown in jail. So, "fame" is cool. "Keep the loot for fame", though, does seem to break down a bit thematically (but I can see where it might be useful for game purposes).

For #2 and 3, I think there's a common thread that you're thinking "movie" and your friends are thinking "reality" (such as it is for gangs of globe-trotting super-thieves). That's not so much a problem of the theme as it is how the core idea of the theme is being presented. Even #1 falls under that, assuming I've read it right -- the underlying idea sounds like it's being missed.
 
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Andrew H
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I worked on a "Oceans 11" type game for the two player PnP contest. If you can use any of the design, please feel free WIP-Fiendly Competition:The Casino Heist. A game for the 2016 2-Player PnP Contest (Contest Ready)

To answer your questions.
1)Multiple groups attempting the same heist is very similar to Oceans 12 with Ocean's group and the French guy both trying to steal the same thing. Recruiting new members is similar to Julia Roberts joining the second film's heist, and several people in the third one. These seem very thematic. The time resource works fine, either by itself or in combination as a planning resource.

2). I think it works as an abstraction too. Once something is stolen, another thief couldn't physically steal the missing item (for example the stock and the egg in the second movie). Letting the fastest group get the heist represents this. Sometimes another gang wouldn't know about the plan, and would spend time planning the event. If they saw another group, they might speed up their plans out of fear they are moving faster. You could have some expense to join your auction to represent this planning, but in most games it works best if only the winner pays.

3)They don't want fame with police, but there is also an underworld level of fame and respect among thieves in movies. Think of how respected Matt Damon's parents were in both sequels. They were reliable experts that could be called on to fix anything with their knowledge and experience. I think this is what your fame represents.
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Benj Davis
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JVallerand wrote:
Thanks for answering!

Jlerpy wrote:
Problem 1 seems to be missing a problem.


So in the game, the planning and the doing happen simultaneously, like in the movies, where Danny describes the plan in voiceover while you see it unfolds, often with shots of the planning in there too.

However, some people have a problem with that. They think you should plan, then do. That the planning should be the first step only, not the whole thing.


Piffle! Good heist movies always have jumping back and forth.
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Dan Mansfield
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For #3, replace "fame" with "notoriety" and it fits the theme.
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On problem #2, what if there were different rewards for how you pulled off the heist.

If you win the bid from the "client" you get a financial reward + notoriety.

If you pull the job but hadn't won the bid, you could fence the stuff and get a lower reward than what the client would have paid.

Additionally, if you had a certain amount of tokens that represented your character's "calling card", you could chose to leave one behind when you pulled off a heist, whether you had won the bid or not, and it would give you notoriety ( or extra notoriety if it was for a client ) for pulling off the job. The more calling cards you leave behind though increases your chances of getting caught somehow in a future heist, though.

As an added incentive to complete jobs without a bid, money could be used to purchase equipment that can make jobs easier to complete.

With the ultimate goal of notoriety, it could be a balancing act of winning bids for jobs versus running a side job to level up.
 
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Jon Vallerand
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livevyne wrote:
On problem #2, what if there were different rewards for how you pulled off the heist.

If you win the bid from the "client" you get a financial reward + notoriety.

If you pull the job but hadn't won the bid, you could fence the stuff and get a lower reward than what the client would have paid.

Additionally, if you had a certain amount of tokens that represented your character's "calling card", you could chose to leave one behind when you pulled off a heist, whether you had won the bid or not, and it would give you notoriety ( or extra notoriety if it was for a client ) for pulling off the job. The more calling cards you leave behind though increases your chances of getting caught somehow in a future heist, though.

As an added incentive to complete jobs without a bid, money could be used to purchase equipment that can make jobs easier to complete.

With the ultimate goal of notoriety, it could be a balancing act of winning bids for jobs versus running a side job to level up.


So just to clarify, the bid is done in time. In other words, it goes like this:

Player A: I'll do the Casino Heist on Day 31.
Player B: I also want to do it. I'll do it on Day 29.
Player A: I'll do it on 27 then.
Player B: Whatever, I didn't really want to do it anyway.

Since the amount of time you have to do a job directly affects your odds of success, having less time means a worse yield, or even getting caught. It's not bidding on a client, but basically beating someone to the steal. However, for balance issues, it has to be that only the one who gets the payoff loses the time, or else you can get hosed pretty bad. However, it is criticized as being unthematic (which, granted, it is, but is it immersion-breaking is my question).
 
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Anthony Haines
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Jlerpy wrote:
Problem 3 seems fine to me. It it's based on the kind of cinematic thieves in Ocean's 11, then gathering fame (at least within underworld circles) is totally legit. Having that fame come from stealing stuff then keeping it, though, that seems off.


Suggestion! Don't keep the money. Give it to charity instead.
Have project cards (or whatever) which you buy to gain victory points.
Could have titles like
* Save the orphanage
* Frame the corrupt politician
* Keep the soup kitchen going
* Buy out the land developer
* Set up a school in the poor quarter
* fund pro-bono lawyers
etc.
 
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