Recommend
2 
 Thumb up
 Hide
10 Posts

Near and Far» Forums » General

Subject: Lessons from Near & Far? What would you like from Storybook Game III? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Enon Sci
United States
Portland
Oregon
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Above and Below was a blast, but the storybook, and its general integration with the other mechanics, certainly faced criticism. Ryan, to his credit, showed an uncommon degree of openness to these criticisms. Near & Far incorporated remedies to many of these ills (most notably: better integration of narrative beats between themselves and with the other mechanics).

Nothing is ever perfect, however. If Red Raven were to do a "Storybook Game III," what elements or alterations would you like to see?

My list of suggestions:


* Continue the map book. The spatialization of quest, and general correlation with the artwork, is a very good idea. It lets curiosity drive the adventure, with a logical reward at the end (e.g. see a castle on a tall hill? It might be difficult to get to, but when you finally make it the adventure is appropriately themed / related to the specific location which stoked your curiosity).

* Cooperative play. This would largely mitigate the issue of people stealing quests, or otherwise hoarding one of the key elements of play (it is what sells this game, after all).

* Incorporate failure states into the narrative. This is a lesson I learned from Will Wright, the inventor of the Sims, and I think he was spot on: failure states can be fun. They're a legitimate branching point in the narrative of your play experience, and don't have to be merely endings or reset points. As No Pun Included rightly critiqued in their recent review of Near & Far, the heart mechanic makes failure a paper toothed tiger in many respects (something that has the semblance of the fearful, but isn't in application). Since you can always succeed at a quest if they're both willing and modestly prepared, the only real option is to make failure potentially rewarding as well (narratively, at the least). Include branches, rewards and decisions in the failure side of the equation, even if merely quirky traits the characters could acquire (ala Tales of the Arabian Nights). This way, one may be more inclined to accept defeat, and the narrative could branch in an interesting direction.

---
--
-

My contributions aside, what are yours?


p.s. For those curious about this provocative idea, here's the Will Wright lecture that originally spurred these design notions.



It's well worth a glance.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
C&H Schmidt
Germany
Heidelberg
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
To be honest, I like both Above and Below and Near and Far as euro games with fun stories, not so much primarily as story-telling games. And I think N&F has the better underlying game, so I like it better. It's so clever and tight!

I would just really like to get an expansion atlas for N&F some time -- playing on the different maps is so lovely! (Although it matters a lot less in Character mode).
The new maps could also incorporate even cleverer story mechanisms.
6 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Benjamin LB
Switzerland
Lausanne
Vaud
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Coop play would be nice, indeed.

Quote:
If Red Raven were to do a "Storybook Game III,..."

Is that just a guess ? I believe they have announced, long ago, that there would be a third one. I might be wrong, though.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Benj Davis
Australia
Summer Hill
NSW
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I was really pleased to see that Near & Far added fiction for your successes on your different options, but yeah, I'd love to see there also be fiction for failures, and for those failures to have effects too (beyond "you don't get stuff").

I would also love to see a cooperative game in this kind of mould. I'd especially like to see one that's focussed around building up a community.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Achim Zien
Germany
Oldenburg
flag msg tools
designer
badge
There's a theory: if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There's another theory: this has already happened.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I am also a bit disappointed about the effect of failed rolls in this game. "Nothing happens" to me is really the worst outcome. It negates your entire action. The game denies you playing it. That's really sad.

I'd really rather have consequences (or at least: some flavor) to failure.

Fail a quest? → Bandits' combat value goes up by one.
Fail another quest? → Discard a treasure and find a treasure.
Fail another quest? → A new quest opens up on an uncamped space.


That'd really make failure more interesting instead of the brutal, staring nothingness it is right now.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Charles Waterman
United States
Commerce Township
Michigan
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Good example of different tastes. I prefer a game that isn't about punishing players. (Although I love Alhambra, so go figure...)
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Scott Mohnkern
United States
Germantown
Maryland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This has been run at my FLGS store several times, and the general reaction is "more quests, that are easier to get to." With Near and Far some players were disappointed at how much effort it took to get to actually play a quest, because of the whole movement/blank space/heart mechanic system.

Make the game more about the story, and less about figuring out how to get to the spots to tell the story.


Anarchosyn wrote:
Above and Below was a blast, but the storybook, and its general integration with the other mechanics, certainly faced criticism. Ryan, to his credit, showed an uncommon degree of openness to these criticisms. Near & Far incorporated remedies to many of these ills (most notably: better integration of narrative beats between themselves and with the other mechanics).

Nothing is ever perfect, however. If Red Raven were to do a "Storybook Game III," what elements or alterations would you like to see?

My list of suggestions:


* Continue the map book. The spatialization of quest, and general correlation with the artwork, is a very good idea. It lets curiosity drive the adventure, with a logical reward at the end (e.g. see a castle on a tall hill? It might be difficult to get to, but when you finally make it the adventure is appropriately themed / related to the specific location which stoked your curiosity).

* Cooperative play. This would largely mitigate the issue of people stealing quests, or otherwise hoarding one of the key elements of play (it is what sells this game, after all).

* Incorporate failure states into the narrative. This is a lesson I learned from Will Wright, the inventor of the Sims, and I think he was spot on: failure states can be fun. They're a legitimate branching point in the narrative of your play experience, and don't have to be merely endings or reset points. As No Pun Included rightly critiqued in their recent review of Near & Far, the heart mechanic makes failure a paper toothed tiger in many respects (something that has the semblance of the fearful, but isn't in application). Since you can always succeed at a quest if they're both willing and modestly prepared, the only real option is to make failure potentially rewarding as well (narratively, at the least). Include branches, rewards and decisions in the failure side of the equation, even if merely quirky traits the characters could acquire (ala Tales of the Arabian Nights). This way, one may be more inclined to accept defeat, and the narrative could branch in an interesting direction.

---
--
-

My contributions aside, what are yours?


p.s. For those curious about this provocative idea, here's the Will Wright lecture that originally spurred these design notions.



It's well worth a glance.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Zakimos Kleidos
Italy
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
I just wish that the author would take more time developing his games before moving on to the next one. N&F could have been perfect with just a few adjustments and the same could have been said about A&B, making a third game unnecessary.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Enon Sci
United States
Portland
Oregon
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
montebanc wrote:
Good example of different tastes. I prefer a game that isn't about punishing players. (Although I love Alhambra, so go figure...)


Lets be clear here, however, embracing failure states has nothing to do with punishing players. Rather, I've advocating greater reward.

Currently, when you're tasked with failing a quest, it's a no-brainer. You will burn hearts to succeed. Otherwise, you fail (game over on that quest) and the marker disappears. From a player's standpoint, there is only one option: push for success at all costs. There is literally nothing to think about, like movement in Monopoly.

What I'd advocating for is to make that analysis less clear cut. By incorporating failure states, the player now has to consider whether the heart expenditure is really necessary. Some might opt to fail, just to see what happens. Have the failure state be a branch in the narrative and not a game over screen.

In an old video game called Shenmu 2, there is a scene where a kid steals your backpack and you have to chase him through the streets. Succeed, and you get your bag back; you get a reward and meet the kid. Failure, however, wasn't merely a "you failed, restart" screen, but would open up a new quest -- the kid got away, now you have to find clue to discover his identity / where he lives to get your stuff back. It didn't penalize the players, but rewarded them with more content, in a sense. Or, rather, both branches offered reward, albeit of different natures.

This, to me, is just life. No matter what road we go down, growth and reward is inventible (even if it comes with a touch of pain ). But, honestly, I just dislike how the decision to use hearts for success is inflexible in N&F.

3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rich A
United Kingdom
London
NW London
flag msg tools
It really depends on what you want. I don't want a pure story telling game. Above and Near both attempt to marry story telling with Euro. They are very good but I would prefer a stronger slightly deeper Euro to go with the stories rather than stronger stories. Game mechanics come first for me.
 
 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.