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Subject: Completely untested Scythe multiplayer campaign :) rss

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Ryan Lopez
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Update: Oct 8, 2016
I've updated the campaign files! They have been submitted here on BGG, and should be up in a few days.

I've made several adjustments to the campaign for this first revision. I’ll have to look up the names of some users on BGG and Facebook later who helped identify some issue, but here are some of the changes in Ver. 1.1:

Added a page with some general guidelines and global rules
Revised and balanced several episodes (some big changes, some smaller)
Reordered some episodes
Added a new Episode 9 (“Peace Talks”)–which is a crossroads for two possible endings to the game (oh yeah, the game now has two endings)
Wrote two new episodes for the “alternate ending” (added a total of three new episodes, but the campaign is only extended by one game, to a total of 11, because of the “alternate ending” element)
Updated the Episode Rewards Sheet
Added an Episode Rewards Summary sheet, for reference so players don’t have to flip through the campaign if they forget what a bonus means on the “Rewards Sheet”


Original Post:
Apologies for hijacking Morten's thread title, but it seemed appropriate since he inspired this project to begin with. whistle

In addition to Morten's inspiration, this project indirectly builds on some thinking that I laid out in a thread about looking at Scythe from a "historical" perspective.

In the link below, you will find my humble attempt to piece together a multiplayer campaign for Scythe with light "legacy-ish" elements. I have attempted to weave short background stories, unique setup and rules changes, and ongoing benefits for specific achievements into a thematic, evolving story arc that takes place over a series of 10 "episodes."

I set out on this task with two primary goals.
1 Offer new(ish) and experienced players interesting challenges each game, which will require players to explore different focuses and strategies.
2 Have players explore the post-war world of Jakub's and Jamey's world. To this end, I have tried to present a "natural" sequence of events, with specific rule changes and background stories that complement the events unfolding in the campaign.

I did borrow a couple of ideas from Morten for the first episode or two, so thanks again, Morten. For what it's worth, the first episode I designed was the Episode 3, but the ideas I took from Morten helped me flesh out what I wanted to do for the first couple of episodes, so thanks for that, Morten.

OK, enough with the prelude. If you have some time and interest, please check out my campaign and let me know what you think. I'm interested in thoughts, impressions, and confusions that arise from just reading through, as well as specific feedback on how it plays. Also, I apologize that everything is so ugly. I don't have a lot of time to spend on beautifying right now.

You can find the PDF files on my (admittedly underdeveloped) blog. Here is the link to the page:
https://worldsokayestgamer.wordpress.com/scythe-campaign/

I'll post them to Scythe's file page here on BGG soon too, but I think those take a few days to clear.

Thanks in advance for any feedback/help you all can provide me, and I hope this is enjoyable! I may not be able to play my own campaign any time soon (limited play partners--thank goodness for that Automa!), so I look forward to hearing about your experiences! You can post them here, or in the comments section of my blog page.

Edit: I forgot to thank Jamey and Morten for giving us a such an enjoyable game and for providing fertile soil in which I could cultivate my ideas! Many thanks to both of you, and Jakub too!!
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Morten Monrad Pedersen
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Once more thank you for doing this and I'm happy to lend you my thread title.

I also always love it, when something I do can inspire others and vice versa.
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Ryan Lopez
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I uploaded the files here on BGG, but they noted it can be several days to a few weeks before they are available.

Edit: that was quick! The campaign file is there now. Apparently, I needed to resubmit the awards sheet file as an add-on to that one, which makes sense. I don't know if I did it correctly, but if not, I'll get it up ASAP.
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John Bradshaw
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Very interesting. Evidently a lot of thought and imagination has gone into this.

I'm unable to devote that much gaming time to a single game, so won't be trying this out, but I'm interested to see what feedback you get.
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Ryan Lopez
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Ok, both files are now uploaded. The Episode Reward Sheet is on the same page as the campaign.
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Ryan Lopez
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Klaus Kristiansen
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caught a few oversights in episodes 2, 3, 6, and 10 (you know, just 40% of the game blush), so I'm going to work on a few updates, which I'll post here and on my blog as soon as I work them out. For now, you can make one of the adjustments by not allowing Rusviet's (red's) Township ability while they are escorting Tesla (ep. 3) or the mech (ep. 6)--thematically, they are too wounded/damaged to "warp" (and arguably this applies to Polania's (white's) Submerge ability as well, but it's less of an advantage).

Keep an eye out for Ver. 1.1 here and on my blog in the future!
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Carsten Neumann
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Hi Ryan.

Your campaign looks really interesting as you have to focus on different objectives all the time. Once I have some people (and this includes me!) that are good enough with regular Scythe, it's something I'd like to "attack" ;-)

You propose that people keep the same faction over the whole campaing (unlike in Risk Legacy). If I may ask: why? Do you want to keep the bonuses linked the players?

And if you do so - what about letting non-winner(s) choose their player mat(s) before winner(s)?

Carsten
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Ryan Lopez
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horstderadler wrote:
Hi Ryan.

Your campaign looks really interesting as you have to focus on different objectives all the time. Once I have some people (and this includes me!) that are good enough with regular Scythe, it's something I'd like to "attack" ;-)

You propose that people keep the same faction over the whole campaing (unlike in Risk Legacy). If I may ask: why? Do you want to keep the bonuses linked the players?

And if you do so - what about letting non-winner(s) choose their player mat(s) before winner(s)?

Carsten


Thanks for the interest, Carsten! As for faction mats, I just think it would increase players' investment in the game. The bonuses stay linked to the factions specifically so players can change if they want though.

Player mats should definitely change every game, but I do like the idea of letting players who've lost choose before winners! Interesting proposal--I'll plan on working it into the version 1.1 of this! My initial thoughts are to say that the faction with the fewest episode rewards choose their mats first, ties broken in favor of player who DIDN'T win the last episode, then randomly. Do you have any other thoughts? That's not necessarily the "best" way to do it, just my first thought. Thanks again!
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Ryan Lopez
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I've updated the OP to note the new version of the campaign.
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Christopher Melenberg
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Hey Ryan,

Just been getting into Scythe with a semi-regular group.

Not sure if anyone has playtested this and I'm surprised at how few comments there are here for such an impressive piece of work! I'm hoping this is not a dead project.

I have a few comments after reading through a good chunk of it (but not all). And I definitely have not play-tested it.

I LOVE how you've created a woven story from game to game and a sense of progression between games. The old typewritten font etc. is all really immersive with the theme.

I LOVE how each game will feel different because of how you've altered the set-up or rules.

I LIKE that you've included a ramping up system with bonuses BUT I think this could be improved. Right now only 1 player benefits which to me borders on penalizing and would not keep all players engaged. I have an idea that could help keep all players engaged and provide bonuses to everyone.

Example for game 1
Instead winner getting 2 starting resources every game (and everyone else grumbling about how lucky the other player is), put out the following cards or a list of bonuses and the player with the highest score gets first choice of ongoing benefits:
1 of any resource, players choice at beginning of game
2 steel
2 food
2 oil
2 wood
1 additional worker in the 3rd homeland space

While I also think it is AMAZING that you have created what appears to be 13 different games, I would be lucky to have a group of the same people commit to do 5 games. It's just too daunting. I have a couple ideas for this:

Personally, I could just pre-pick 5 of the games that look the most interesting.

OR

You could create a branching system for which scenarios play out. This also means that people would want to play the campaign again because they would play different scenarios each time.

The most obvious way to do this (to me) would be to use the bonus cards above. Shuffle and choose 1 more than the players, whichever card is not chosen would also have a number on it that tells you which scenario will be played next.

I'm sure there are other ways to accomplish this though.

Once again thanks for you putting in a lot of time and energy into this.

Should like any of the ideas I've mentioned, I'd be happy to help flesh them out with you.

Chris
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Ryan Lopez
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Hey Chris! Thanks for the feedback! I like the idea behind your suggestions, and I appreciate your kind words on my little campaign. I posted this back in October, gave it a little attention and revision at the time, then just got too busy. There was some excitement for it at the time, which was inspiring, but it died down quickly (as is the wont of most things online ), and I'm afraid I just lost some motivation after that.

That said, I wouldn't say this is a "dead" project, but it has been in a bit of a coma for a while. However, I have a little interest in revisiting it this summer (I'm a teacher), so maybe I can clean it up a little. Somewhat ironically, I don't have a regular group to play with, so testing is hard for me. Some members of my group are more willing to stick with one game for a while than others, and our games rotation is fairly large.

Anyway, I'd like to address your comments. First, I've posted some "updates" (months ago) on my blog. I made some changes to the first four or five games, after doing some testing at home. OK, on to things you mentioned.

TopherMel wrote:


I have a few comments after reading through a good chunk of it (but not all). And I definitely have not play-tested it.

I LOVE how you've created a woven story from game to game and a sense of progression between games. The old typewritten font etc. is all really immersive with the theme.

I LOVE how each game will feel different because of how you've altered the set-up or rules.


Thanks! I had two main goals. First was to create some interesting/unusual scenarios around which to play Scythe. I wanted to give players different "challenges" for the game, inspired by Morten's unique challenges in his Automa campaign. The second goal was to tell an interesting story with the games.

TopherMel wrote:
I LIKE that you've included a ramping up system with bonuses BUT I think this could be improved. Right now only 1 player benefits which to me borders on penalizing and would not keep all players engaged. I have an idea that could help keep all players engaged and provide bonuses to everyone.


I agree with this. As the subject of this post states, I hadn't tested this when I put it up. At the time, there was a lot of interest in the community in a campaign mode. I got inspired and whipped this up. It seemed like a decent enough base, and I knew I wouldn't have time to test it anytime soon, so I shared it as-is. In my limited testing later, I found the reward system to be a little problematic too. I have a few ideas for fixing it, and I like your idea too.


TopherMel wrote:
While I also think it is AMAZING that you have created what appears to be 13 different games, I would be lucky to have a group of the same people commit to do 5 games. It's just too daunting.


Agreed. I got a little carried away with this. In revising, I would try to dial it down to about 5-8 games instead. There are a couple of "fluff" games that could probably be tossed with little loss to the story.

TopherMel wrote:
You could create a branching system for which scenarios play out. This also means that people would want to play the campaign again because they would play different scenarios each time.[/q}

I think the branching system would be a little too complicated for my poor brain. It would also impede the storytelling a little, I'm afraid. It WOULD make for some great replayability, though.

[q="TopherMel"]Once again thanks for you putting in a lot of time and energy into this.

Should like any of the ideas I've mentioned, I'd be happy to help flesh them out with you.

Chris


Thanks again! I'll keep you in mind. I have a few other things going on this summer, including a pretty exciting side project I'm working on with someone, but it is taking up most of my free time! Still, if I have some time, I really would like to overhaul this campaign a little, and if you're willing to help, there's a good chance I'll take you up on it!

Thanks again, and feel free to play around with things a little. If you do, I'd love to hear how things went!

Take care,

Ryan
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Rien Moeyaert
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For what it's worth, some feedback from a 2-player perspective

The first two chapters were fairly balanced, doesn't matter what player count I reckon.

The third chapter is a daring one though, and I don't think player count is the main issue here. I like how the end game is triggered differently, but in a two-player game, it's impossible to catch up once Tesla has been caught. I can image it's a bit more tense with 5 players.

The main issue with this chapter though is how the core of a Scythe game is 'lost'. The 6 stars end-game trigger, and the money to decide who wins, is important. A lot of the faction powers are tied into it. For example, I had Nordic, so I could spread out and go get Tesla asap. My opponent, on the other hand, had Saxony. The power for Saxony is completely nullified in this chapter ("There is no limit to the number of stars you can place from completing objectives or winning combat.").

My main suggestion would be to not change the end game completely, but rather have it build towards it. For example, saving Tesla could net you $10 and a "free" star on a "shared objective card".

I have yet to play the following chapters, but I admire where it's going. The bonuses are a nice touch to help you out, but not auto-win the next games.
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Ryan Lopez
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RienMoeyaert wrote:
For what it's worth, some feedback from a 2-player perspective

The first two chapters were fairly balanced, doesn't matter what player count I reckon.

The third chapter is a daring one though, and I don't think player count is the main issue here. I like how the end game is triggered differently, but in a two-player game, it's impossible to catch up once Tesla has been caught. I can image it's a bit more tense with 5 players.

The main issue with this chapter though is how the core of a Scythe game is 'lost'. The 6 stars end-game trigger, and the money to decide who wins, is important. A lot of the faction powers are tied into it. For example, I had Nordic, so I could spread out and go get Tesla asap. My opponent, on the other hand, had Saxony. The power for Saxony is completely nullified in this chapter ("There is no limit to the number of stars you can place from completing objectives or winning combat.").

My main suggestion would be to not change the end game completely, but rather have it build towards it. For example, saving Tesla could net you $10 and a "free" star on a "shared objective card".

I have yet to play the following chapters, but I admire where it's going. The bonuses are a nice touch to help you out, but not auto-win the next games.


Thanks for the feedback, Rein!

I agree about the third game. I played it a couple of times in testing (4 players, tested solo), and I agree with your assessment, but I never had the chance to go back and revisit it. Honestly, I think people should just skip it at this point. I love the idea of it, but it just doesn't work. :/

Thanks again, and I'll appreciate any further feedback you may have!

P.S. One other thing that I considered, but never implemented, is giving the "propaganda bonus" to losers of every game. That way, in larger groups especially, there aren't so many cases where players end up getting nothing at all for a while.
 
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