Recommend
2 
 Thumb up
 Hide
12 Posts

Android» Forums » General

Subject: WHY are the suspects so BORING!? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Christopher Todesco
United States
Chicago Suburbs
Illinois
flag msg tools
Read it again, carefully...
badge
Hey! I bought OverText! I'm cooler than you!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Android is nothing if not very deep in story. Each of the five detectives has a completely different background, different story, and different events that get played on him/her during the game really mix things up. Each detective had very different strengths and weaknesses, and the feel of playing each detective is very different. They really did a good job making you feel the burdens of the different detectives and the effects on the investigation-- Rachel's money problems and daddy issues, Caprice's sanity and dealing with being a clone, Floyd's programming, Raymond fighting his past, and Louis fighting corruption. Each one drastically changes how you play the game.

The murder sheet itself has a little less of an impact on the feel of the game. For the most part, it just kinda changes the locations on the board of a few various aspects of the game, and introduces a different rule change. (and another rule change in the form of a murder-specific event at the beginning of week 2) This is not much different than, say, the change of bad-guy in Arkham Horror, or change of scenario in Last Night on Earth.

The suspects, however, might as well be nameless/faceless, and having one particular suspect as a hunch isn't any different than another. Sure if you read the suspect cards, there are some interesting stories... but really the only difference in how they play is which file is Strong and which is Weak, and only vaguely changes which evidence you go after when following leads. Yes, there are events that mention particular suspects, but it still doesn't matter if your guilty hunch is that suspect or not. They're interchangeable. In the end, the suspects could be replaced by a sheet of paper with three boxes on it and a number, the hunch cards each having a corresponding number, and it wouldn't change the game much.

I'm not suggesting a variant, or even trying to speculate why... I'm just venting on an aspect of the game that I find a particularly shallow spot in a game that is so deep.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris J Davis
United Kingdom
London
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Overtext pending moderation...
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
What sorts of differences could you envisage between them?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tom Thingamagummy
United States
Oakland
California
flag msg tools
Don't make me bust out the drama!!
badge
Panda is a Werewolf. The Village wins!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
They have different types of evidence they leave behind though... I think the big brute guy has physical evidence as strong. So I keep thinking he leaves trails of where he's been by, "SMASH! oops, sorry, I brokeded it."

At least, I kept making up stories as to what type of evidence I found and how they left it behind.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris J Davis
United Kingdom
London
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Overtext pending moderation...
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The only things I can think of would be a special ability for each suspect. How about something like this:

Vinnie the Strangler: Whenever Vinnie is moved to a detective's location, that detective gains 1 Trauma.

Eve: Whenever a male detective starts his turn in Eve's location, he receives 1 less Time that turn.

Thomas Haas: Whenever a female detective starts her turn in Thomas Haas' location, she receives 1 less Time.

Dejah Thoris: Whenever Dejah is moved to a detective's location, that detective must lose one political or corp favour, if possible.

Noise: Whenever Noise is moved to a detective's location, that detective must lose one street or society favour, if possible.

Mark Henry: Whenever a detective places evidence after following up Mark Henry as a lead, he may draw two evidence tokens, choose one to place and discard the other.

Just initial thoughts. Wadda ya reckon?
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Christopher Todesco
United States
Chicago Suburbs
Illinois
flag msg tools
Read it again, carefully...
badge
Hey! I bought OverText! I'm cooler than you!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Yes, Tom, as I pointed out, there are differences in the suspects as to what gets tossed (strong and weak files) but that mechanism is still very nameless/faceless Euro-game-esque spreadsheeting... It doesn't give the suspects any personality. That's what so cool about the different detectives is they are unique and their personality comes through in the different ways the players have to play them. Sure, the suspects DO have background stories, and even some kind of personality printed on the card, such as Vinny's says "Use extreme caution when confronting him.", but does that really effect the game? no...

As for Chris's suggestions, that's a start... it makes the different suspects' testimony tokens actually mean something as opposed to just another lead. It'd also be interesting if each suspect had an ability that you could use by either spending time or favors rather than just a punishment (similar to Lily Lockwell). But that's not quite what I meant. When you pick your detective, it significantly changes how you are going to play the game-- each has different strengths and weaknesses, and the light/dark cards makes the story progression completely unique to that character.

However when you pick your Hunch cards, you don't think "ahh crap I've got Vinny" or "because Mark's my Innocent, I should change strategy a bit"... Even the Strong/Weak evidence system isn't enough to make you reconsider strategy like "I've got Noise, so I should lean towards following testimony leads." The best strategy for leads still seems to be go for whatever is closest. If the Strong/Weak evidence system were a little... stronger... (such as all points in the Strong file are doubled, all points in the Weak file are halved) maybe it would make me hunt down specific types of leads or change my game strategy significantly. But that still feels like nameless/faceless Euro-game-esque spreadsheeting.

But even a more influential Strong/Weak evidence system that would compel me to hunt specific types of evidence, like described above, wouldn't satisfy my desire for feeling more of the suspects' personalities and stories. I would want the "choice" of suspects to significantly change the game's progression, your strategy to victory, and the feel of the game in the same way your choice of detectives does. like.. if each suspect had specific circumstances and a stack of event cards similar to the detectives.... Like I said, I'm not proposing a variant or even requesting one... just some thoughts.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris J Davis
United Kingdom
London
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Overtext pending moderation...
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Desco wrote:
Like I said, I'm not proposing a variant or even requesting one... just some thoughts.



But I like your thoughts, and I'd like to explore them further. What ideas do you have to expand on this concept? Your event card decks, for example; can you think of any way in which they could be implemented in an interesting, thematic way? Do you have any other ideas on how to make the suspects unique and flavourful?

My mind is also sparked by what you said about the different types of evidence. You're right - at the moment the type doesn't really seem to make much difference, and the best strategy is just to go for whatever is closest. The differences between the different files at the moment pretty much does nothing but add yet another random element into the murder investigation, which is already quite luck-based to begin with. I wonder if the doubling/halving *all* evidence tokens variant wouldn't be the way to go to give the game a bigger dose of strategy...
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Christopher Todesco
United States
Chicago Suburbs
Illinois
flag msg tools
Read it again, carefully...
badge
Hey! I bought OverText! I'm cooler than you!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Grr... I accidentally navigated away from the compose page and lost my whole reply.

Ok, lemme start with differentiating types of evidence tokens... (again.) Adding events for entering a space with a suspect token, requirements for following their leads, and bonuses or penalties for placing their testimony evidence would certainly be interesting add a few new decisions when following leads, but I don't think it would significantly change a player's strategy. However, if you combined that with a reason to chase specific leads, then yes you would start to influence the players' behavior. Now, you and I have talked recently about unforeseen consequences, and this is no exception. This will force players to go further to get to the leads they need, meaning they will either place less evidence, or just be more judicious in deciding which leads to play as evidence and which to use to uncover the conspiracy.

But this still doesn't make the suspects themselves very unique. I look at it this way... In Clue(do), it really doesn't matter who the murderer is, what the weapon was, and where it was committed-- the game is the same regardless of what's in the envelope. You could exchange the people, weapons, and places with numbers, letters, and colors, and the game would play the exact same. (Abstract Clue? Isn't that called Mastermind?) Unfortunately, the same is true for Android. It doesn't matter who your hunch is, and the only makes a very minor different in where you place evidence based on their Strong-vs-Weak files, and that's not very thematic. Even if you were to implement some kind of testimony change like described above, your play strategy doesn't change significantly depending on who's on your Hunch cards (unless of course they're both the same) and that would be the goal of any attempt to address this.

(I hate rewriting posts I lose... I never feel like I write everything I wrote the first time.)

I don't know what the answer is. My initial inclination is to have a stack of event cards for each suspect, just like each detective has Twilight cards, that you draw and resolve when placing evidence on them. However, I'd be very afraid that any big addition to the suspects would divert too much attention away from the detectives' stories, and that's really what makes Android unique. I like exploring design thoughts and game variants because it helps my own designs. In fact, the biggest reason why I bought Android in the first place is because I was already using similar mechanics for one of my games, and I wanted to see how they felt in a commercial game.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris J Davis
United Kingdom
London
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Overtext pending moderation...
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I discussed this with my game group after our latest game of Android last night. The first thing that came of it was that we *shouldn't* implement any addtional rules at the moment, at least not until we're all much more familiar with the game, simply because the game has too many rules to begin with. It's difficult enough keeping track of everything at the moment without needing to remember addtional *different* rules regarding each of the suspects.

However, putting that aside for the moment (so just as a theoretical exercise, or possibly for a future time when we *are* able to do all the in-game bookkeeping as second nature), how about this: a small deck of cards for each suspect (maybe just six cards each or so). Each time a detective follows up that suspect's lead he announces which action he will perform using that lead (place evidence, uncover conspiracy or dig deeper) but before carrying out that action the player draws one of the suspects cards.

Each card has three entries on it - one for each of the three actions. The player reads out the entry corresponding to the action he chose, which may give a benefit or penalty (similar to the encounter cards in Arkham Horror). You could also include flavour text to make interrogating the suspects more thematic (as if this game needed more flavour text).

So how about an example:

Eve

Place Evidence
"I found this nearby... I didn't think anyone would miss it."
After placing testimony evidence on a suspect, draw an additional evidence token and place it as physical evidence on the same suspect.

Uncover Conspiracy
"I can't... They'll find me... recode my directives..."
Reset your hero marker to the lowest pile of conspiracy tiles before drawing a tile.

Dig Deeper
"Why don't we talk about this over coffee? Or something stronger?"
If you are playing as Louis Blaine, lose 1 Time. If you are playing as Raymond Flint, lose 2 Time.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Christopher Todesco
United States
Chicago Suburbs
Illinois
flag msg tools
Read it again, carefully...
badge
Hey! I bought OverText! I'm cooler than you!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Yeah--no, I never wanted this to result in a big rules variant either, I just wanted the discussion.

Hmm.. Your card-when-following-a-lead idea sounds OK, but it increases the number of random events to a point where it could start to become unmanageable. After a while, you can't even have a strategy because with so many random events, any plan you have will quickly be invalid. The game will not be strategy so much as managing randomness. I'd much rather you KNOW what the consequences are ahead of time (i.e. either list them on the suspect card, or if you're using a deck, deal them face up at the beginning of the game.

A complaint I have about games of this type (Arkham Horror, A Touch of Evil, etc) is to be "good" at the game is usually nothing more than having read through all of the cards and knowing the risks/rewards of any action, or have played enough games to know all of the cards (or reading a strategy guide that has done this for you instead of figuring it out for yourself). This means newer players, or those that only play occasionally, are at a huge disadvantage over those that play all the time or obsess over reading all of the cards. And to me, this takes away from the fun of having random events-- they're not so random to someone who knows all of the cards and is waiting for one specific event to do something whereas newer players don't even know that event will happen. The solution to that is a much bigger deck of cards, but then you're whacking into that "just managing randomness" thing again.

This is where board games fail to meet the same level of the unknown factor that RPGs have, but this is going into a little too deep into game-theory.

War-like or 4X games like Twilight Imperium rely a whole hell of a lot less on random events to create interesting situations. (Yes, there's much more randomness in the combat resolution, but that's not what we're discussing.) Although they still do have random events, their effects allow a player to adapt their strategy--even a newer player--to them, as opposed to carrying out a strategy and having a random event determine whether it was successful. The Plot cards in Android are a perfect example of this. Although newer players may not know what is going to happen when they have a happy ending or sad ending (without pre-reading the crossroads/resolutions), they can be assured "something good will happen" if they resolve both cards with good baggage.

Getting back to suspects in Android, what I'd really like to see is something that you can read over the suspects' cards and a reasonably intelligent player would know how to adapt their strategy in order to deal with their hunches.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Once the Geek has you, there is no escape...
United States
Binghamton
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
So I just got Android yesterday and just went through and counted and bagged the components today. I haven't read the rules and, therefore, I obviously haven't played. But, your discussion has intrigued me and I thought of something that I think might be pretty good (It's 2:30am. Of course I think it's good!).

For each suspect, you might have one or two ways in which they interact with the characters. For example:

Vinny:
Roll 1d8. 1 = 3 trauma. 2-5 = 1 trauma. 6-8 = nothing. Perhaps different characters get modifiers. Louis gets a +2 on this roll. Raymond/Rachel +1. Perhaps Caprice can avoid this role entirely (what is she, psychic?). Floyd -2 (can he defend himself from a human?). Basically whatever you think would be thematic.

Do you pursue leads on suspects that are your innocent hunch(es)? Would you approach Vinny in an effort to clear his name? Again, I haven't even read the rules yet. But, if so, then perhaps there would be a positive interaction possible as well.

With additions like this, basically a small paragraph for each suspect, you could experience the, "Aw, crap!! I've got Floyd and Vinny's my guilty hunch!" Or, "Sweet, I'm Caprice and Dejah is my innocent hunch. She's more likely to help me out. (Maybe?)"

Of course, having character specific modifiers (or whatever) may really lean the game away from one player and towards another. But you get the general idea.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris J Davis
United Kingdom
London
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Overtext pending moderation...
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
How about this for an idea, then:

Each suspect has a linear track made up of (for example) nine spaces, with a marker placed on the center space at the start of the game. For each suspect, a specific type of event will cause the marker to move in one direction or the other. Each set of three spaces on the track specifies a different type of event that will happen if a detective encounters that suspect.

So for example:

Vinnie

The encounter marker moves towards this end of the track each time the Vinnie lead is followed up.

Enraged
9
8 - Any detective following up the Vinnie lead gains 1 Trauma.
7
-----
6
5 - No effect
4
-----
3
2 - Any detective following up the Vinnie lead gains one street favour.
1
Repentant

The encounter marker moves towards this end of the track whenever the Vinnie lead is moved to a religious location.

(This example would require modification of the lead movement rules, but it's just meant to be that - an example).

And of course the spaces between each section, as well as the start position of the encounter marker and the number of spaces it moves can be changed based on how you want each character to behave.

Better?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris J Davis
United Kingdom
London
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Overtext pending moderation...
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
For anyone who's still paying attention to this thread, I've decided to incorporate a simplified version of this idea into my Android:Redux game. You can see the finished articles towards the end of the page here:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/553565/android-express/p...
1 
 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.