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Dead of Winter: The Long Night» Forums » Variants

Subject: "The Vault" house rule rss

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Josh
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I still can't believe this card actually got printed.

As I mentioned in the thread when it was previewed, there are 3 basic problems with the card's text:

Problem #1: It takes a very specific type of group to be able to handle the sharing of personal secrets. Many game-groups are not that type of group, and it could actually be problematic for lots of individuals who just want to play a game and/or have legitimate triggers.

Problem #2: If someone tells a so-called secret, but it's a complete lie or stupidity, there's no way to verify it and it could start stupid arguments.
(i.e. "I can believe it's not butter!" or "I'm secretly from the planet Krypton")

Problem #3, and this one is the part that actually bugs me the most because it overlaps the mechanical and thematical intents of the card:
If you are the Betrayer, even if the group is otherwise amenable to the card as-printed, you have in-game incentive to "not tell a secret" so that there are 2 more zombies added by the Fail condition. This means that you have to "roleplay shame", and it also means that if the check was spiked it points a big red arrow at the face of anyone who refuses to share a secret. So you're likely going to end up sharing a secret anyway, to continue hiding your allegiance.

All of this to say I'm going to use this simple house rule with The Vault:

FAIL: Place 8 zombies at the colony.

Simply put, this effectively just assumes that all-but-one character is willing to share a secret, and is going to be the average outcome anyway.

I'd love it if there were some in-game way to simulate what they were thematically going for, but due to the general genericness of Crisis Failures anyway, and the fact that Crises actually fail pretty rarely in the first place, there really isn't much point in taking it further than that.

 
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Jean-Philippe Thériault
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jozxyqk wrote:
Problem #1: It takes a very specific type of group to be able to handle the sharing of personal secrets.


Not a problem. Add more zombies.

It's "add 6 + 2x zombies to the colony" with an optional reduction.

jozxyqk wrote:
Problem #2: If someone tells a so-called secret, but it's a complete lie or stupidity, there's no way to verify it and it could start stupid arguments.


Not a problem outside of a tournament setting. Don't play with assholes.

jozxyqk wrote:
Problem #3, and this one is the part that actually bugs me the most because it overlaps the mechanical and thematical intents of the card:
If you are the Betrayer, even if the group is otherwise amenable to the card as-printed, you have in-game incentive to "not tell a secret" so that there are 2 more zombies added by the Fail condition. This means that you have to "roleplay shame", and it also means that if the check was spiked it points a big red arrow at the face of anyone who refuses to share a secret. So you're likely going to end up sharing a secret anyway, to continue hiding your allegiance.


Feature not bug.
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Josh
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Sounds like your mileage varies, XDarkAngelX.
I personally don't believe that a boardgame like this has any place (for example) telling introverts to reveal their innermost secrets, when they just sat down to play a reality-escaping game. And there are plenty of other reasons why the mere existence of the mechanic could make people uncomfortable.
I know I'm not alone in this judgement.

XDarkAngelX wrote:
jozxyqk wrote:
Problem #1: It takes a very specific type of group to be able to handle the sharing of personal secrets.


Not a problem. Add more zombies.


I guarantee it makes some people uncomfortable for the sentence to even be on the card.
And it opens up the possibility of people pressuring other players into telling a secret because "We just can't afford those 2 zombies. Come on! We will lose the game if you don't tell us a secret!"

XDarkAngelX wrote:
jozxyqk wrote:
Problem #2: If someone tells a so-called secret, but it's a complete lie or stupidity, there's no way to verify it and it could start stupid arguments.


Not a problem outside of a tournament setting. Don't play with assholes.


I don't consider this an asshole thing at all. I consider it the default instinct. "Let me just say something so it counts as a zombie-reduction." Then, players -- especially those who have incentive to add more zombies, like the Betrayer -- might question the validity of your secret, which can totally derail the game.
 
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Josh
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...And, like I said, since the likelihood of actually drawing this Crisis *and* it failing is pretty small, and since Crisis Card Failures are usually more generic, it really doesn't affect game balance whatsoever if you slightly modify the Fail or even remove the card from the deck altogether.

I'm just calling attention to it because it irked me at preview, I received the game yesterday, and it caught my attention again as I was sleeving.
 
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Jean-Philippe Thériault
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8 is wrong though. The whole point of the card is that not 100% of non-Betrayers will opt in. I would do 6 + x if you really want to suck all the fun out of it, since 50/50 decision to choose to reveal a secret seems closer to the spirit of the card.

And I am an introvert. I really don't need coddling from people who think it makes me broken.
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Josh
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"Introvert" was just an example.
Another example would be an ex-couple who still play games together.
There are lots of situations that make "adding external secrets to the game" an uncomfortable or severely-derailing situation.

Thematically, the card is about that scene in every horror movie where the people are locked up together and think they're gonna die, so they share things they wouldn't normally have said. I get that.
But taking it outside of the game and going into people's heads, especially when there is in-game incentive to pressure people, can only lead to badness outside of very specific types of playgroups.
It would be better if it were about the -character- secrets, like "Reveal your secret objective and draw a new one" or something, or if it were just completely abstracted with flavor text and a number picked (or a die rolled).

I've argued more than I should about this silly card.
My deep dark secret is that I don't care that much, personally, but I'm more worried about having to explain this card to other players in certain specific groups.
 
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Steven Albano
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I feel like if you have a problem with the card or feel that a certain group might have a problem with the card, just remove it.

And I also disagree with most of your points, but if someone doesn't want to "role play" shame, then this probably isn't the game for them to begin with.


 
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Davy Ashleydale
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"... reveal a non-game-related secret they have never revealed to their fellow players before."

Does it have to be a secret that none of them have ever heard before or can it be secret that some of them already know, but that's new to at least one other person?
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Oden Dee
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secret that none of them have ever heard before
 
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soak man
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IMO, I can see how people wouldn't want to pull out of the game to tell something personal, but related to the thematic feel of a zombie apocalypse, you need to build trust with the people you are surviving with. Telling secrets seems unrelated, but it's not. It also seems uncomfortable, but it's supposed to be.

I'll tell you right now that if I was sharing a colony with someone who was afraid to tell me that they used to have a crush on Steve Urkle, I would instantly think "Really? That's it? What else aren't they telling me?"

I completely understand why people don't think this card fits into the game (it doesn't, it pulls you out of it), but I don't think it's mechanically unsound and I think thematically it also fits.

And if you don't want "silly" secrets, house-rule that they have to be serious, or dark, or embarrassing, or whatever. We'll see who ACTUALLY wants to save the colony then!
 
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Josh
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soakman wrote:
I'll tell you right now that if I was sharing a colony with someone who was afraid to tell me that they used to have a crush on Steve Urkle, I would instantly think "Really? That's it? What else aren't they telling me?"


Sure, but in this case, you're not actually trapped in an old bank vault in a colony surrounded by the undead, afraid you might die within a few hours. You're not even LARPing it.
You're at your buddy Joe's house, having a few beers and playing a boardgame about the zombie apocalypse.
Or you're at a convention, playing a game about the zombie apocalypse with complete strangers.
And you've drawn just another Crisis Card, most of which have a completely mechanical fail condition.
You're caught off guard about just how out-of-game the effect is.
There are many people who, for whatever their reasons, would not want a card like this in a game like this.

And like I said, even with the best of intentions, it could also lead to in-game delays on an already long game, debating what is and isn't a "valid secret". Especially when someone like the Betrayer wants to find excuses for the zombies to be added, which is incentive for loopholes and rule-ambiguity.

For me, the biggest problem with the card is how un-mechanical it is.
It reminds me of the VTES card "Madness of the Bard", which makes you have to sit around and decide "what is a rhyme? what is an instance of not rhyming?" etc. It didn't take long for it to become banned.
For an effect that adds or removes bits from the board, you should be able to have as definitive of an answer as possible.
Especially when the ultimate difference of effect is so minor, it isn't worth the extra discussion.

 
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I mean, I think our definitions of a "long" game are probably different. I think Arkham Horror is a long game. Eldritch Horror is like a medium length game. DoW is probably the quickest game I own.

Either way, like I said, thematically it fits. It pulls you out of the game to ask "what is the player willing to do for the colony?" It's the same sort of meta question you get when a player has to decide whether they want to contribute a fuel to the crisis even though they need fuel for their personal objective. It makes for a hard decision that may ACTUALLY be hard for the player. Depending on their scruples and personality.
 
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Jean-Philippe Thériault
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Man. That Vampire card is awesome.

Can we rename this thread to "Party Poopers"?

(Also: sure, ban if from tournaments, that's entirely a different story.)
 
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Josh
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In any case, this is in the Variants forum for a reason. It's an optional simple variant to be able to keep the card in the deck if your particular group isn't keen on sharing personal player secrets. For any reason.

Other than that the argument has spiraled a bit out of control due to disagreements about basic fundamental assumptions of how gamers think, and there's no winning it either way

My apologies for getting overly defensive.

I'll most definitely report back - maybe in a Session Report - if/when I actually have a DoW game where the fail condition of The Vault is relevant whatsoever and its card text would matter.


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No harm, no foul. If any game is subject to house-ruling, DoW: TLN is. There are just too many non-answers in the instruction about how to incorporate the modules.

This is the kind of game (imo) where the rules are a little loose on purpose. Each group will decide what is fun for them and go from there. They even have a custom Crisis Card generator on the official site so you can introduce whatever silly/serious/game-altering variations you want.
 
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Davy Ashleydale
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My main concern with this card is coming up with secrets that no one I game with knows. Some of us have been gaming together/friends/family for decades!
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Oden Dee
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What makes it harder is that a secret isn't merely a fact that the others don't know, but information that someone wants to keep private and thus few people in the world know.
 
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Sadakuun Blackheart
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i house rule this card to simply be that "secret" is to reveal your hand. that's pretty thematic mechanic solution.
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George Zee
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It's rather simple. Just lie about something non-game related. How will other people know? lol.
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Josh
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ZekeMM25 wrote:
It's rather simple. Just lie about something non-game related. How will other people know? lol.


Right, which makes the exercise pointless.

But my point (partially) was that there is in-game incentive to challenge the validity of the secrets.
The Betrayer (or a Survivor with certain non-Betrayer Objectives), who wants 6+2X zombies on the board instead of just 6, will want to both say "I don't want to share a secret", and say "Your secret doesn't count" to everyone who reveals something, real or fake.
And this is whether you're playing with a group of old friends who have been gaming together for 40 years, or sitting down at a table with strangers who have never met at a Con.

Since there's no way to mechanically rule "What is a valid secret to satisfy the conditions of the card?", there should at least be some sort of backup rule to prevent the game being dragged on by stupid debates about non-game-related junk...
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JK Laiho
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Wow, what an idiotic card on so many levels. I'm glad it didn't appear in our only session of TLN so far. Thanks for bringing it up, I'll be removing it from the pool immediately.

The card could have potential if it made you roleplay one of the characters you control, but I struggle to think of a meaningful thematic mechanism whereby your roleplaying action could be termed a success or failure, resulting in zombies added when failing. "Your roleplay sucked, add zombies" won't do, it would just be embarrassing to the more timid players who can't act or improvise on the spot. Better to just take it out.
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Oden Dee
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Card came up in my game.
Betrayer thought he was about to be discovered, panicked, and easily tanked the game. Questionable action!

+12 zombies.
Multiple deaths.
Game over.
 
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Josh
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Warlock00 wrote:
Card came up in my game.
Betrayer thought he was about to be discovered, panicked, and easily tanked the game. Questionable action!

+12 zombies.
Multiple deaths.
Game over.


Are you saying the Betrayer convinced 2 other players to not tell secrets?
What exactly happened?
Shenanigans?
 
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