$20.00
$15.00
$5.00
Recommend
2 
 Thumb up
 Hide
15 Posts

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Board Game Design » Board Game Design

Subject: (Poll) PC vs. NPC "bad guy" for family play rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Jeff Warrender
United States
Averill Park
New York
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
mbmbmbmbmb
This thread is a follow-up of sorts to a different thread, one which generated a fair bit of heat and maybe a bit of light as well. In the game in question in that thread, players are competing but there's also a common NPC enemy that functions as a game clock, such that players could all lose if they don't complete the objective before the clock runs out.

(First, a brief pause for a request: this game is not a "semi co-op", and this thread is not intended to be an exploration of the virtues and vices of semi co op games generally. Please, people like clearclaw, don't threadjack this thread to talk about your opinion of semi coop games!)

The latest idea we've had is to shift the "bad guy" to an actual player who mostly plays by the same rules as the other players (i.e., not a GM). This, we thought, might introduce more tension, since you're not racing against the clock, you're racing against the actual enemy, and one of you personifies that enemy.

I suspect gamers would have no issue with this, but I'm slightly concerned about whether this presents any concerns for family play, and whether in a given family setting, no player would want to take on the bad guy as a PC. (It may not help that in this game, the bad guys are, in fact, the Nazis) Is it better for us to all be (more or less) good guys trying to outpace the NPC enemy, or is it better (or at least tolerable) to have one or more of us on the bad guy team?

Hence, the poll below. If this seems to be a significant concern, we have a few options, the best of which might be having enough roles available that the game can function without a bad guy PC (but then it still needs some bad guy NPC systems...)

Poll
If you play games in a family gaming setting occasionally or regularly, does the requirement that one player take on the "bad guy" role present any concerns?
Yes - I suspect we'd avoid this game entirely
Yes - probably one of the adults would always take on the bad guy role
Somewhat - we might give it a try but we'd definitely prefer a game without a "bad guy"
No - I don't think this would be an issue for our group/family
No - I don't play games in family settings very much if ever, but I don't think it's a problem
      38 answers
Poll created by jwarrend


3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Shaun Morris
United States
New Jersey
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
It's sort of a twist on the many versus 1 concept where the "1" is the "Nazis" player. Considering that many war games have you take on the role of Nazis, I don't think it'd be an issue. And as it's an Indiana Jones themed game, I think that'll make it even easier for families since they can conceptualize it as being more the general nemesis of Indy as opposed to playing a Nazi.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Robin Armstrong
United States
Utah
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
The idea of eveyone "ganging up" on one player doesn't sound appealing to me. I doubt my family would want to play it, either.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Warrender
United States
Averill Park
New York
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
mbmbmbmbmb
Defcon64 wrote:
The idea of eveyone "ganging up" on one player doesn't sound appealing to me. I doubt my family would want to play it, either.


It wouldn't really work that way, or at least, the game won't require that sort of thing. It would be interesting to monitor whether players role-play in such a way that the non-Nazi players collude to kneecap the Nazi guy just to prevent the Nazis from getting the grail. But that's not explicitly part of the game.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sturv Tafvherd
United States
North Carolina
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm in the middle. It can go either way, mostly depending on who's in the group. And maybe depending on my own mood.

Most of the time, I'm perfectly willing to be the traitor / GM / "evil mastermind". Especially since I also tend to be the host of the game night, it seems fitting to have everyone try to beat me...

... and yeah, maybe it's my ego, but in most competitive games in my group, the goal would be to beat me anyway.


So the question really boils down to whether the group wants a pure co-op with me ... or against me.

;p

On a serious note: that "evil mastermind" may actually be a good solution to alpha gamers. Have the alpha gamer take on that role; and everyone else plays cooperatively
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gláucio Reis
Brazil
Rio de Janeiro
RJ
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm not very fond of team or one-versus-many games. Also, even among gamers, my experience is that the owner of the game usually ends up playing the overlord or whatever the bad guy is called, every time. I much prefer totally competitive or totally cooperative games.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Warrender
United States
Averill Park
New York
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
mbmbmbmbmb
Just as a point of clarification, as the initial thread may not have made this clear: I'm not specifically envisioning this as a 1 vs. many game; at least, not mechanically. I believe the design goal will be that the turn mechanics will be mostly the same regardless of which role you have. Some of the details will be a bit different -- for example, we may have different player powers -- but it's a race game, and everyone is trying to be first across the finish line. It's not like Fury of Dracula or Descent or any other game where there's a single player acting as GM or overlord or arch-villain or whatever.

My interest, then, is more in whether people have any concerns about the theme. When you're playing an adventure game in a family setting, is everyone equally comfortable playing a villain if assigned that role, or does everyone prefer to be a hero? That sort of thing.

Hope this makes more sense.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dimitri Sirenko
Canada
Vancouver
BC
flag msg tools
jwarrend wrote:
Defcon64 wrote:
The idea of eveyone "ganging up" on one player doesn't sound appealing to me. I doubt my family would want to play it, either.


It wouldn't really work that way, or at least, the game won't require that sort of thing. It would be interesting to monitor whether players role-play in such a way that the non-Nazi players collude to kneecap the Nazi guy just to prevent the Nazis from getting the grail. But that's not explicitly part of the game.


i voted that my family in particular wouldnt have a problem with this but i would be careful about the Nazi thing. I can see a lot of people especially in a family setting getting upset that they HAVE TO play Nazi now. Being a villain is one thing. Being part of existing entity that killed off millions of people is another when it comes to family games.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Warrender
United States
Averill Park
New York
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
mbmbmbmbmb
3CreativeMinds wrote:
jwarrend wrote:
Defcon64 wrote:
The idea of eveyone "ganging up" on one player doesn't sound appealing to me. I doubt my family would want to play it, either.


It wouldn't really work that way, or at least, the game won't require that sort of thing. It would be interesting to monitor whether players role-play in such a way that the non-Nazi players collude to kneecap the Nazi guy just to prevent the Nazis from getting the grail. But that's not explicitly part of the game.


i voted that my family in particular wouldnt have a problem with this but i would be careful about the Nazi thing. I can see a lot of people especially in a family setting getting upset that they HAVE TO play Nazi now. Being a villain is one thing. Being part of existing entity that killed off millions of people is another when it comes to family games.


That's right. In the game they're referred to as "The Enemy", both for the reason you mention as well as to allow for the possibility of different scenarios, some of which the "bad guy" is not actually the Nazis. But, yes, trying to get a consensus position on this concern will be important, as the "enemy" euphemism is obviously pretty transparent.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
K S
United States
Tonawanda
New York
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
The "bad guy" role would work fine for my family, but I don't believe that I or anybody else in my family would play a game where we are a Nazi.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daniel Rodriguez
United States
Rochester
New York
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Not only would my family play this (me, wife, 12 year old girl, 10 year old boy), i would totally play the nazi. why not? it's a game.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John Breckenridge
United States
Richmond
Rhode Island
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
If all the "good guys" have to beat each other and the "bad guy" to win, and the "bad guy" has to beat all the "good guys" to win, it seems like the only difference between being "good" or "bad" from a player's point of view is that the "bad guy" can directly interfere with other players, which might actually make being the bad guy more fun for some kids. I'd say make the game symmetric and take whatever the powers and abilities of the "bad guy" are and make them optionally available to all the players, so it's up to the "heroes" whether they want to win the race on their own merits or use some "dirty tricks" to slow down the other players.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Warrender
United States
Averill Park
New York
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
mbmbmbmbmb
jbrecken wrote:
If all the "good guys" have to beat each other and the "bad guy" to win, and the "bad guy" has to beat all the "good guys" to win, it seems like the only difference between being "good" or "bad" from a player's point of view is that the "bad guy" can directly interfere with other players


That's right; the player goal is the same regardless and so the question is mostly about whether (esp. younger) players would think taking on the role of the "bad guy" was distasteful.

Quote:

I'd say make the game symmetric and take whatever the powers and abilities of the "bad guy" are and make them optionally available to all the players, so it's up to the "heroes" whether they want to win the race on their own merits or use some "dirty tricks" to slow down the other players.


There's sort of an element of that, in that players can acquire equipment cards, some of which give you the ability to cause some trouble for the other players.

As I may have mentioned, each player starts with several equipment cards, and so my latest thought is to define your role through the equipment cards that you receive. It could be that the starting cards have a side A and a side B. Side A is the same for all players and is "vanilla good guy/girl character". Side B is different for each player, and represents various character archetypes, some of whom are outright bad guys and others are bad guy sympathizers and others are noble but complex.

In this way, no one would be required to be the bad guy; the game could still function regardless of which characters are present.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Christopher Lloyd
Norway
Stavanger
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I feel that ideally, everyone should be able to take on the role of "the traitor" or "the enemy".

Would this game end up with the same player (mum or dad) playing the opposition?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Reuben In the Rookery
United States
St Louis
Missouri
flag msg tools
Regardless of the design or the theme, any situation with one person playing against a team is capable of unleashing explosive tension within a family setting.

My experiences with these sorts of games has been varied, but the bad experiences have been so bad that I generally prefer not to play these games at all.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.