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The Shipwreck Arcana» Forums » General

Subject: Some stories... rss

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Bourg Ghislain
France
Dijon
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Hi,

First of all, I want to say that I love the game : it is simple to learn, quick to play but very involving. The flow of the game is very nice. You play the clue giver and the puzzle solver. For our first game, my girlfriend and I played 4 games, one after the other, in order to "try" every arcana, (and also because we were having fun). We had few questions about some arcana (Iron & Feast) and look at them on Meromorph FAQ, which is very clear.

We love the arts on the cards. They are very stylish (make me think about Mike Mignolia's Hellboy). Because of the various links between cards (the key in the hand the Raider, who is marked by the Judge...), they do tell a strange story, or engage the players in doing so. If you don't see those links, Kevin Bishop has written 3 tales, which have been compiled by Jeff Hammans in the Book of Lore.

The premice of the story is deliberately short and simple : "trapped in a drowned world, you and your alliers are doomend - or are you ? Using a mystical deck and a healthy dose of logic, you can predict each other's fates and escape unscathed."

In the game, you play with "fates" (numbered tokens) and arcana, which you use to give clue to your allies. When there are a certain number of clues on an arcana, it fades. When an arcana fades, you lose time, unless your team has made a right prediction.

Here is my point, which only purpose is to discuss about one aspect of the game. I don't really understand what "fate" token are supposed to be and why the arcana help to predict them. It doesn't reduce the fun of it but I'm just trying to find a way to "justify" the story within the game. Here's a suggestion:

1/ Every player starts with two fate tokens and will give clues to the others players by placing one token on the arcana. Those "fates" can be seen as visions of a probable future but I don't find this very compelling. What I find more fun when I look at my 2 fates is their little bips and their interactions with arcana.
2/ The arcana represent characters, objects or places. They have a condition for placing fates on them and a time limit (number of "bips"). WHen you place a fate on an arcana, you give a clue but you also "advance" time. Higher clue requests more time (bips).
3/ You lose the game is the doom token reaches 7. The doom tokens advances in two conditions : 1 point when you make a wrong prediction, 2 points when an arcana fades during without a right prediction. So the game encourages you to make a prediction when you place a fate that will make an arcana fades. So you must successfully manage the arcana (by using theme as clue and making educated guess when they fade).

So let's assume that we are in drowning world with some heroes, objects and places (arcana) that need to fulfill their destiny, to be saved or reached. When you place fate, you just help them to accomplish their quest. You win the game when you make 7 right predictions, that is to say, when you successfully managed the placement of fate on arcanas : helping them to accomplish their destiny.

What do you think ? What is the story you tell when you play TSA ?
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Brian Compter
United States
Foxboro
Massachusetts
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If I really wanted a story based game, I'd pick up something like Above and Below or Fallout.

In my mind, this is a pure logic and deduction game that is simple to learn and eats up 20-30 minutes of satisfying game play. Perfect for lunch time at work or something to kill time while another game finishes up on game night.

So I don't mind the thin theme. I'm here for the game play. That said, at least they put in some effort to make it look awesome and not be just a plain old abstract.

YMMV
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Bourg Ghislain
France
Dijon
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I bet I wasn't clear enough when I wrote that I love the game and that the "lack" of theme around fate tokens and arcana doesn't reduce fun for me.

So, as said earlier, I love the game and find it very entertaining. I also like the short premice of the game, the very intricate artworks and the short tales of Kevin Bishop. I think the game has a very compelling theme (people in a drowning world using a magic deck to prevent their doom) that comes through the arts and gameplay.

As you describe, I play the game as a logic and deduction game but I find that the theme is absolutely not thin. I'm not waiting for the authors to give me a clearly written story (as in Above in Below) because I think the arts tell a "free-form story" that players can create if they want to. There is no storytelling aspect involved. It is just a possibility. And since I like the theme and the universe created in TSA, I'm trying to "rationalize" the mechanics according to the theme. No more, no less.
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Rickard Örtegren
Sweden
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Just wanted to say: i came to the forum looking exactly for this type of discussion thank you for your ideas Bourg, i’ll try them out teaching the game to myself and my group or see if I come up with something else.

It always baffles me when people respond so negative to an idea as the responder above. Everybody geeks over boardgames their own way, why question it? It's not like the OP is going to realize he was wrong or something. Let people enjoy games the way they enjoy games
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Bourg Ghislain
France
Dijon
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Thanks for your support ! I totally agree : everyone should enjoy games the way they want.

For the stories, another possibility is to rely on the fortune telling aspect of arcana and the links between the illustrations. When I play the game, I spend some time before and/or after the game, just to look the artworks and to search for connections between cards.
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