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Subject: Useful layout for Marshal's notebook rss

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oli ver
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I think it would be useful to lay out the Marshal's notebook like this:


Having columns of three numbers makes it easier to see patterns. At a glance you can see how far the Fugitive could be hiding:
- with no sprint cards, by looking at the number below last known hideout
- with one sprint card, add 2 to the number below last known hideout
- etc.
Having three columns is also nice because the little headings remind you what the numbers mean in the fiction.

Alternatively, remove the heading and use the space to tally how many cards have drawn from each deck. Tally:
- the Fugitive's draws on the left (note their starting cards are already tallied) and
- the Marshal's draws on the right.
This may remind the Marshal to watch the Fugitive's draw as well as perhaps recording info useful for deducing the Fugitive's position.

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Hanne Beate
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This looks nice, but there's the sprint cards that makes it difficult. ;-)

If the Fugitive lay out no sprint cards it means that he escapes 1, 2 or 3 numbers ahead, because it's if he sprint more than 3 he have to lay out a sprint card.
The sprint cards also have two values, 1 and 2.

An example: The last hideout is 4, and he lay out 2 sprint cards. Then the next can be: 9, 10 or 11. If he lay out no sprint cards itt can be 5, 6 or 7. He can also bluff and let the Marshal believe that he lay out more than it is.
 
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oli ver
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Hanne67 wrote:
This looks nice, but there's the sprint cards that makes it difficult. ;-)

If the Fugitive lay out no sprint cards it means that he escapes 1, 2 or 3 numbers ahead, because it's if he sprint more than 3 he have to lay out a sprint card.
The sprint cards also have two values, 1 and 2.

An example: The last hideout is 4, and he lay out 2 sprint cards. Then the next can be: 9, 10 or 11. If he lay out no sprint cards itt can be 5, 6 or 7. He can also bluff and let the Marshal believe that he lay out more than it is.


I recognise all that. This is a minor change that may help the Marshal with some of their mental addition. It leans on the layout to simplify one of the steps. It won't solve the game for you.
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Hanne Beate
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watergoesred wrote:
Hanne67 wrote:
This looks nice, but there's the sprint cards that makes it difficult. ;-)

If the Fugitive lay out no sprint cards it means that he escapes 1, 2 or 3 numbers ahead, because it's if he sprint more than 3 he have to lay out a sprint card.
The sprint cards also have two values, 1 and 2.

An example: The last hideout is 4, and he lay out 2 sprint cards. Then the next can be: 9, 10 or 11. If he lay out no sprint cards itt can be 5, 6 or 7. He can also bluff and let the Marshal believe that he lay out more than it is.


I recognise all that. This is a minor change that may help the Marshal with some of their mental addition. It leans on the layout to simplify one of the steps. It won't solve the game for you.


Yes, I see. thumbsup
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Snasne Snaxx
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What if the notebook was rather a map?

I've been thinking that adding place names in addition to the numbers on all the cards would add a lot to the theme. Then the marshal could say, "I think you are in the park!" rather than "is this number 11?"
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Dave Stoner
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I really like your proposed layout. Especially the first one.
 
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Guy
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Ref the comments about adding place names to the cards It would definitely add to the theme, but it still would be a numbers based game
 
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Guy
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Really like the first one. It would be great if the art makes it look like a lined notebook, same for the back.

Did we end up with a larger notebook card?
 
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Snasne Snaxx
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A superquick photoshop job based on the board for the card piles of how i imagine a map could replace the marshals notebook. (not as practical as the OP suggestion, but more thematic perhaps?)

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Entrecruzado
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The pile names should be different, referencing region limits that actually exist anywhere. Not all countries have states, for instance.
 
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Tim Fowers
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I like the notecard layout. Let's keep brainstorming on it, but I can make the card bigger, to about 5.5in x 4in The goal is to make it look like "detective's notes", just haven't done art yet. The other idea was to leave the back mostly blank for freeform note taking.

We thought about adding location names to the pile board, but we went with a cleaner look.
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Dave Stoner
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Can anyone think of a good way to mark the notebook to indicate when you've made an incorrect guess? It's important to note how many hideouts are in play when the guess is made. As that incorrect guess may become a correct guess.

Perhaps dots (each representing # of played hideouts at the time of the guess) to the right of the number.

Whatever the method, it would be nice if the notebook allowed enough room around the numbers to keep track of this.
 
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oli ver
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Fubeca wrote:
The goal is to make it look like "detective's notes", just haven't done art yet.

Here's another way to orient the notebook.


Same idea just rows of three numbers rather than columns. This way the Marshal can look to the right of the last known hideout to see how far the Fugitive may have gone (+ any sprints, of course). One benefit of this is it may actually align with how the cards are spread on the table.

I also chucked in some light blue lines to make it look more like a notebook and added "notes" and "quotes" as suggested headings. Also, there's space for tallying the fugitive draws too.

I underlined 01, 02 and 03 to show the Marshal knows the Fugitive definitely had them. 00 is circled because the Marshal knows the Fugitive was there.
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oli ver
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Here’s one way the Marshal could briefly record their guesses, the revealed cards and other deductions with simple markings. I've modified this slightly from my first suggestion in the Kickstarter comments.

O : circle a number if it must be a hideout (either a revealed card or no other possible hideout)

_ : underline a number if the Fugitive is known to hold it or have held it (starting hand, revealed by an event, deduced if deck emptied, etc.)

X : cross out a number if it cannot be a hideout (in Marshal's hand, revealed as a sprint, guess was below highest known hideout, etc.)

/, //, ///, etc.: "half slashes" next to numbers guessed together but no hideouts revealed, e.g. / by both 5 & 15 if they were unsuccessfully guessed together; // on the other side of 5 & by 17 if they're the second multiple guess; /// for third multiple guess, etc.

># : "greater than" next to a number if when guessed it was higher than the highest known hideout. This means the Fugitive may not have gone that far yet and so the Fugitive could place it as a hideout later. Next to >, add a count "#" of hideouts on the table to show when guess was made. This may help deduce where the Fugitive may place this as hideout later, i.e. only cards placed after the first # cards

Of course, some Event cards can screw with the basic rules, like no backtracking, which could mean X or ># are incorrect. But I think that's just something to watch out for.

Anyhow, something like this could be part of a Marshal’s Guide to Good Note Taking, which might be a worthwhile addition to the rules to help players be better Marshals.
 
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Chris Schreiber
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I'm advocating that the Marshal board be kept very simple, symmetrical, and text free so that each player is allowed to explore their own method of bookkeeping. I like being helpful, but being too prescriptive with a system of notation takes away a sense of personal discovery and strategic ownership. To me, that's very important.

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oli ver
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Chris Schreiber wrote:
... but being too prescriptive with a system of notation takes away a sense of personal discovery and strategic ownership. To me, that's very important.

I only suggested ways to take notes because people were saying more complex notebook layouts were necessary to allow or guide proper notetaking. I don't really see how suggesting ways to take notes can make the game less enjoyable. A player will always take notes however they like, ignoring any suggestions or discovering their own method.

However, another approach could be to provide guidance on "what" to take notes about, rather than "how" to take such notes. For example, the guidance could be that the Marshal should take notes about:
- cards that must be hideouts
- cards that cannot be hideouts
- cards that were guessed together so either but not both could be hideouts
- cards that were guessed but could be still played later, because when guessed it was higher than the highest known hideout
- how many cards the Fugitive as drawn from each deck
- etc.

Chris Schreiber wrote:

This is a simple and tidy layout as it fits all the numbers neatly and splits into three decks nicely. I do find it interesting that you circle the first three numbers when you are advocating against prescribing notation.

I can see the appeal of such a neat layout, but it seems to prioritise neatness over usefulness. Because, at least for me, it's critical the notebook has columns or rows of three numbers. I'm happy to get rid of all the words and notation markings if it means keeping columns or rows of three numbers. Even though such a layout only helps the Marshal a little bit with their mental addition, because so much of playing the Marshal is about counting and double checking your counting, I feel any help simplifying that process is worthwhile.
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Chris Schreiber
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Oli ver, I think the criteria you work through are useful questions—especially for the app development of the Marshal Board. The person working on the app, Mark Fassett, is reading the comments in Update #5. Perhaps we should invite him to read your post? I have no idea what he's planning on incorporating into that UI, but those are good questions.

And you're correct about my circles. I stopped where I did because it looked nice and I'm super visual in nature. But what if someone wants to use circles for something different? I thought I was being helpful, but only to the way my brain works.

This made me think more about needing to vary only the font or text color and avoid what might be standard notation conventions on the board (circles, squares, underlines, checks, asterisks, tally marks). I've fiddled with my first design to leave notation choices more wide open for the player.



And yet, I can't turn off the part of my brain trying to make it look nice and still "cheated" in my example on the right---I'm still trying to add some urgency and narrative weight to the 42. At one point I tried a plane icon behind the #42 and a briefcase behind/next to the #1, but it was just too much. It looked like a children's game.


I actually think neatness is the usefulness. Any intuition on adding or implied mental framework on the board can run interference for someone thinking differently. For example, I can't have a bigger number displayed above a lower number in my mental heuristics. Take the 26 and 28 in your most recent example: I understand the display, but I experience cognitive dissonance to see 28 "above" 26. I can't turn that instinct off; I need a very strict left-to-right and top-down heuristic because that's how my brain works.


I also need fewer jumps in thinking, which is why I went with a landscape orientation as you did in your first example. Every time there's a line break, that adds cognitive load. Six line breaks was the fewest I could manage. And symmetry eases cognitive load too. At this point, I would want to test my assumptions and play with the board. If I print it out and try, I will share how it went for me.

Note: I actually based my color scheme on the version on the front page of the Kickstarter. There's a lot of line breaks on that one because of the portrait orientation. And, unfortunately, the 41 placement breaks my brain -- it gives primary urgency to a number that isn't the ultimate priority.

I agree completely with your premise that there should be some kind grouping based on the three locations. That's a given to me now. I used color for that distinction because it operates on another channel in the same space. Color is efficient. I also want to have as much empty space as possible, so I removed text because that adds a little interference (but mostly text just takes up space). And even though I wanted at first to be helpful with circles and a goal to show given information for the marshal, I'm fighting against using anything beyond numbers and color. In that regards, I "failed" by wanting a star behind the 42---but I still desire some sense of narrative urgency there.
 
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oli ver
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Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I can see now why having a plain ordering of numbers might be appealing. It's familiar and unremarkable; useful features for a tool you want to use and not think about. I haven't experienced the dissonances you mention with the other layouts I suggested, so I found them more useful than a plain sequence. But I understand now better how my suggestions might not work for everyone.
 
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Is the notebook or check list even needed?

I saw Tim Fowers play. And in his video, as marshal, he just kept the cards in order in his hand. You can see the sprint cards on the board, or add them to the marshal's hand as well.

The only proof that the number is eliminated is the cards in the marshal's hands, ones already revealed, and sprint cards revealed.

 
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